Sweet Potato Pecan Crisp

Sweet potato crisp

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I think most of us would say, “Don’t get fancy on me, just make the standards really special.” That’s why this down-home sweet potato dish is always a big hit. It’s an old southern specialty that graces almost every holiday table. Your mom would probably call it a sweet potato casserole.

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My version is a little more “gourmet” than most (only in that nothing in it comes out of a can and there are no marshmallows) but I promise it has all the same comfort and appeal as Mom’s.

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Sweet potatoes are gently boiled and mashed, stirred with butter and brown sugar, then baked with a crumbly, crunchy pecan streusel topping.

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Like most sweet potato dishes, this one straddles the line between sweet and savory.  It goes with dinner but you might be inclined to eat it for dessert.

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It’s “that dish,” the one everyone reaches their fork into long after the meal is done. One more bite here, one more bite there…come to think of it, you might want to double the recipe :)

Sweet Potato Pecan Crisp
Printable Recipe

Serves 6-8


For Sweet Potato Mixture
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

For Topping

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and cook until soft and tender, 20 – 25 minutes. Drain and let cool.

3. In the meantime, make the topping: Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Off the heat, add brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and mix until well combined. It should look a little lumpy. Stir in chopped nuts.

4. In a large bowl, mash sweet potatoes with a large fork until very smooth. Add remaining sweet potato mixture ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

5. Place sweet potato mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Spread topping evenly over sweet potato mixture and bake for about 40 minutes, or until topping is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Sweet potato crisp 3

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  • mmmm! I make a similar one like this- I am not a canned kinda gal, either. Great pics! I put a link to your site on mine- hope ya don’t mind! :)

  • I agree..you just cant make this with the canned stuff!!!
    Amazing. This is my favorite Thanksgiving side!

  • This sounds just wonderful to me! Those southern recipes are always the best :-)

  • Oh this reminds me of the sweet potato casserole from Ruth’s Chris! My bf loved it so much that iw as going to try and make my own version of it but now I have something to go off of!!! Thank you!!!

  • Shelly Sealy

    I have been making this dish, mostof my adult life. Not exactly the same but very close. It is just as good cold or even the next day. Wonderful side dish or desert. In my recipe though I also add some FROSTED FLAKES to the topping mixture. Just add it in with the other ingred. it makes for the best topping ever. Try it, you will surely love it.

  • Jenn,
    I really feel like you should do a cookbook at some point. I have tried so many of your recipes, and they are all amazing!!

    I’m making your sweet potato crisp, roasted carrots with thyme, and roasted brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving.
    For Christmas Eve, I’ll have Hot Buttered Apple Cider ready for my guests to enjoy, and later we’ll enjoy your mac n cheese as a side dish.
    And pretty much everyday I’ve been eating pumpkin muffins (made from your pumpkin bread recipe) for breakfast.

    I think it’s safe to say that I am a major contender for Once Upon a Chef’s biggest fan!

    Best regards,
    Danielle Foster

  • alice

    Made the sweet potato pecan crisp for Thanksgiving dinner today. It was fantastic, very similar to one I’ve made in the past, but yours was much better. I just halfed the topping recipe. was able to make the sweet potato a day earlier and just added the topping before baking. My guests loved it. Thanks for another great recipe. Have tried several and they are all great. thanks,

  • I was never a sweet potato fan until last year when I was introduced to some “outside the box” recipes. Now I know how good sweet potatoes can be, and this recipe looks great. Will definitely try it this holiday season.

  • Cynthia

    This will be on our dinner table this Thanksgiving!

  • Amanda

    We made this around the holidays. It’s so fabulous it could almost sit alone in the dessert category, too. The pecans really balance the sweetness well.

  • pattybee

    These were the best sweet potatoes I’ve made for Christmas dinner. My future son-in-law said they were the best he ever ate!

  • Liz McNett Crowl

    I discovered this recipe a couple of years ago here and LOVE IT! I like to take veggies to family get togethers and this one is always a hit, with people asking for the recipe. I use more sweet potatoes as the topping is pretty sweet and plentiful. Don’t wait for the holidays it is great with roasted chicken or grilled turkey all year long.

  • Marci

    This is a wonderful recipe! My entire family loves it!

  • Jennifer

    I made this for Thanksgiving last year, and it was a huge hit. I don’t like marshmellows, so it is the perfect sweet potato recipe for me. I got huge raves from everyone at the table… this will be on my menu for years now!

  • Adrian

    I also made this for Thanksgiving and got rave reviews, especially since none of us are fans of marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. This is the perfect combination, smooth, sweet, crunchy sweet potato deliciousness. Can’t wait to have it again.

  • Becca L

    This is the way my mom has always made it, and in my opinion it’s the ONLY way to go….nothing better than the yummy, crisp topping with the smooth, creamy sweet potatoes. Don’t wait till Thanksgiving to make this!

  • Lauren K.

    I’d love to make this for thanksgiving but my daughter is allergic to tree nuts :(
    What can you suggest that I substitute for the
    1 cup of pecans? Something other than nuts


    • Jenn

      Hi Lauren, you can just leave them out. Hope you enjoy!

      • karlayoung

        will be doing this one for x-mas day.thanksgiving,christmas time i love this so much.got a bag full of sweet taters waitin on me to make this

  • Ruth Ann

    Yum!!!! Oh my this was good!

  • This recipe looks wonderful, but I’m wondering if I can make it ahead of time? If so, what stages of the recipe can be done the day before, and what needs to be done right before cooking?


    • Jenn

      Hi Sandy, You can make the whole thing ahead of time and just reheat it until crisp on top before serving. Please come back and let me know how it comes out. Thanks!

  • Jessica

    Made this for our Thanksgiving feast. I didn’t change a thing. It was wonderful, and now will be my go to recipe for sweet potatoes.

  • Pegyg

    Have made this type of dish for years. I use i large can of crushed pineapple with its own juice. Use half in sweet potatoes and half dotted over top instead of so much sugar & butter. I prefer to bake my sweet potatoes after running in microwave for 6+ minutes I then coat with olive oil spray and bake at 375 on foil until the potatoes start to ooze (20 min.). This makes them sweeter; learned this trick from a restaurant that serves sweet potatoes every night. My family is split on pecan topping vs marshmallows so I put half with pecan topping and bake then add the mini marshmallows on the other half and run under broiler so all are happy.

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