An easy sweet potato casserole recipe made with cinnamon, pecans, and then topped with toasted mini marshmallows. The perfect side dish!
There’s just something comforting about the smell of cinnamon, the sweetness of the warm mashed sweet potatoes, and toasted marshmallows that just make me happy. I mean… all types of food make me happy but you know what I mean. ;)
Would you consider sweet potato casserole a dessert or a side dish? Hard to decide, right?
I’ve always considered and enjoyed this as a side dish. Kinda like a pregame to the real dessert. OH YEAH. I know a lot of people that rather enjoy this dish as dessert. Either way, it’s a win-win! Whether it’s a potluck, Thanksgiving or just dinner with the fam, this classic casserole is by far the BEST side dish!
For Thanksgiving, I make this every year. Every time, there’s a potluck, I bring sweet potato casserole. If it’s Friendsgiving, guess what I’m bringing? You guessed it – sweet potato casserole.
Let’s talk about how incredibly easy it is to bring all this together. You literally throw the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot, cook them until tender, and then mash them UP. You mix in all the spices and pecans then top with marshmallows.
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sweet potatoes – The star of the show! I usually buy medium-sized sweet potatoes. If you can only find small or large ones, make sure to get 2 1/2 lbs worth. That should give you the 8 cups you need for the recipe.
- Cold water – Enough to create steam to soften the sweet potatoes in the pot.
- Brown sugar – The molasses in brown sugar complement the sweet potatoes so well. It sweetens the deal!
- Unsalted butter – This adds richness and flavor to the sweet potatoes. I like using unsalted butter so I can adjust the salt myself.
- Vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt – The vanilla and spices also enhance the flavor of the mashed sweet potatoes. It all comes together to make this the perfect Fall casserole!
- Pecans – This gives the casserole the perfect amount of crunch in every bite. If you have a nut allergy, I’d omit any nuts from the recipe.
- Mini marshmallows – The mini marshmallows toasted on top of the casserole are the cherry on top of the soft, buttery mashed sweet potatoes. I like to add these right before serving time so they are perfectly toasted for dinner. If you don’t have access to an oven at dinner time, you can use a kitchen torch!
Can I make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?
Yes, you absolutely can!
Once the sweet potato mixture has cooled and all the spices are well combined, add the mixture to the casserole dish and place it in the fridge until the next day. The next day, you bring the casserole dish to room temperature then top with pecans and mini marshmallows. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in the oven and that’s it!
Ta-daaaa. See how easy that is?! That’s why I make this every year!
You just can’t go wrong. Alternatively, you can, of course, make it all in one shot and serve warm. The final outcome will always be ooey gooey, cinnamon-y, and toasty. I promise there won’t be any leftovers.
Video for Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
I hope you make this and absolutely love it!
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- 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (6-8 medium sized sweet potatoes or ~8 cups chopped)
- 3/4 cup cold water, or enough to fill the pot to create steam
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half of one stick or 1/4 cup), softened (sub for vegan butter to make dairy-free)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped, divided (optional, omit if you have a nut allergy or only using marshmallows)
- 2 cups mini marshmallows, optional (or sub for vegan marshmallows)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish or deep baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a pot with the cold water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat. The sweet potatoes will become tender with the steam. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender enough to mash. Drain. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer tender sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 1/4 cup of pecans (save the rest for later). Mix until all is well combined.
- Add the sweet potato mixture evenly into the casserole dish. Top with remaining pecans and mini marshmallows, if using. Bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted. Remove from oven. Serve and enjoy!
Originally posted in November 2016; Updated recipe and photos in September 2018.