Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel

Tested & Perfected Recipes

In this down-home sweet potato casserole, a crunchy pecan streusel replaces the traditional marshmallow topping.

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 casserole is always a big hit. It’s an old southern specialty that graces almost every holiday table.

Instead of the traditional marshmallow topping, I cover the mashed sweet potatoes with a crunchy brown sugar-pecan streusel. It makes the dish! Like most sweet potato sides, this one goes with dinner but you might be inclined to eat it for dessert. It’s “that dish,” the one everyone reaches their fork into long after the meal is done.

What you’ll need to make sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel

how to make sweet potato casserole

I’ve noticed that many grocery stores use the names “sweet potato” and “yam” interchangeably. This can be confusing since yams aren’t sweet potatoes at all, but rather thick white tubers with dark brown skin. Chances are you won’t find real yams at the supermarket, so if you see “yams,” you’re probably looking at sweet potatoes.

How to make sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel

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

how to make sweet potato casseroleIn the meantime, make the topping: Melt the butter in a medium bowl the microwave. (Alternatively, melt the butter in a small pan or over low heat and transfer to a medium bowl.)

how to make sweet potato casserole

Add the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.

how to make sweet potato casserole Mix until well combined. It should look a little clumpy.

how to make sweet potato casserole Add the chopped nuts.

how to make sweet potato casserole

Stir to combine and set aside.

how to make sweet potato casserolePlace the cooked and drained sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

how to make sweet potato casseroleMash with a potato masher or large fork until very smooth.

how to make sweet potato casseroleAdd the melted butter, salt, and brown sugar and nutmeg.

how to make sweet potato casseroleMix well, then add the eggs.

how to make sweet potato casserole Stir to combine. It’s okay if it is not completely smooth.

how to make sweet potato casseroleTransfer the sweet potato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and spread evenly.

how to make sweet potato casseroleSprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture.

how to make sweet potato casserole Bake for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until the topping is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

If you’d like to break up the preparation of this dish a bit, feel free to make and refrigerate the streusel a few days ahead. Or, if you really want to get a head start, assemble and refrigerate the whole casserole up to two days ahead of time. Bake right before serving for best results.

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel

In this down-home sweet potato casserole, a crunchy pecan streusel replaces the traditional marshmallow topping.

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Sweet Potato Mixture

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Topping

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (no need to salt). Add the sweet potatoes and cook until soft and very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. (Alternatively, melt it in a small pan over low heat and transfer to a medium bowl.) Add the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and mix until well combined. It should look a little clumpy. Stir in the chopped nuts and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mash the cooked and drained sweet potatoes with a potato masher or large fork until very smooth. Add the melted butter, salt, sugar, and nutmeg and mix well. Mix in the eggs. It's okay if there are some lumps. Set aside.
  5. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture and bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before serving.
  6. Make-Ahead Instructions: You can assemble and refrigerate the casserole up to 2 days ahead of time.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: You can freeze the unbaked sweet potato portion of the recipe, tightly covered, for up to 3 months. Before baking, defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then proceed with the recipe instructions.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 489
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 70 g
  • Sugar: 35 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 348 mg
  • Cholesterol: 77 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • This was a perfect Thanksgiving showstopper for the second year in a row!!! This year, I made it without adding sugar to the sweet potato and it was still perfectly delicious (of course I kept it in the yummy streusel topping). Easy to make and simply delicious!

    • — Megara on November 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • One word – AMAZING! Perfect balance of crunchy topping and smooth sweet potato. This recipe was not overly spiced and has much less butter than other sweet potato casseroles I’ve tried. This is THE new family holiday staple. I’ll be making this again for Christmas and for family New Years celebration. A houseful of Southerners said this was better than sweet potato pie! Pure fall perfection!

    • — S on November 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Once Upon a Chef is my go-to recipe site. I have never been disappointed. Made this recipe for Thanksgiving in vegan form and it turned out great! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

    • — Thelma on November 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved this! It was a hit at Thanksgiving dinner!

    • — Ashley on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Amazing dish! Followed directions exactly and added 1 tsp of vanilla.

    Everyone loved it!
    Thank you Jenn!
    Edie

    • — Edie on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice — the first time exactly as written, and the second time substituting chopped walnuts for the pecans. It’s excellent both ways but I think I might like it with walnuts even more than pecans. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Daniel Jay on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi! I doubled the recipe but forgot to double the eggs until after I assembled. I scraped most of the crumble off but some had to be mixed in when I stirred in the rest of the eggs. Think I should add more crumble? Or don’t overthink it? Thanks!!!

    • — Brenna d on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Brenna, I vote for not overthinking it – it will still be delicious with a bit of the topping mixed in!

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I didn’t realize that I should just assemble this and then bake it the day of Thanksgiving. I’ve prepared and baked the whole thing and it’s 2 days before Thanksgiving! Should I refrigerate or freeze it today? Thanks!

    • — Judy on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, I would just refrigerate it.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn! Is there anything I can do at this point to make it taste better since I made the mistake of baking it too soon?

        • — Judy on November 23, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Judy, Honestly I wouldn’t worry about it one bit – it will still be delicious and the topping will crisp up when you reheat it.

          • — Jenn on November 24, 2021
          • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Love your blog and book and am hinting 😉 for your new book for Christmas. I want to try your sweet potato pecan casserole but my daughters are vegan. Can I use a plant based butter? Can you suggest a substitution for the eggs?

    • — Cynthia Caldron on November 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Cynthia, so glad you liked the blog and I hope that your hint has been taken and that you received the book for Christmas! 🙂 Yes, I think it’s fine to use a plant-based butter here and that you can just omit the eggs. The casserole won’t be quite as light and fluffy, but it will still be delicious. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • Is there a way to make this GF an omit the flour? Is there a good substitute I can use instead? Thanks!

    • — Deek on November 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Deek, you can replace the flour with gluten-free flour. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2021
      • Reply
  • For someone with a nut allergy (almonds are okay), what would you suggest as a suitable substitute in the topping? Would slivered almonds work or is there a better alternative?

    • — Erin on October 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Erin, I do think you could get away with almonds here. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this for the first time this Thanksgiving, and my husband BEGGED me to make it again for Christmas and again for his birthday! The topping is wonderful, but the mashed sweet potatoes themselves also have such a nice flavor. This is a must-make from now on for our holidays!

    • — Nadine on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Since finding this recipe we have made it repeatedly because my family loves it! It’s gone in no time!! Thanks for sharing it!

    • — Kim Young on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hey Jen! Would this recipe still be yummy without the nuts? (Allergic to them). Thanks!

      • — Melissa on November 8, 2021
      • Reply
      • Sure, Melissa. You can just omit the nuts here or use oats in place of them. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on November 8, 2021
        • Reply
  • This is among my favorites of Jenn’s recipes! I make it every holiday (even in the spring!) because it is such a crowd pleaser. I have even frozen it and used it well after making it and it is remarkably good out of the freezer – which says a lot about the quality of the recipe, since I have never been encountered another recipe with streusel that freezes well. Thank you for another phenomenal dish that everyone loves!

    • — Laura on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious. Family members who typically don’t eat sweet potato casserole tasted and liked it after hearing others rave over how good it is. This is a keeper.

    • — Pat on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Typically, like others, we only have sweet potato casserole during the holidays. This is one of those recipes that breaks that tradition. My family loved it so much that we make throughout the year, usually accompanied by a pork roast. It is simple and satisfying.

    • — Jordan Cassagne on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is such a hit at the holidays, whether its xmas, thanksgiving, passover, or any other holiday it is sure to be a hit and one of the fastest dishes devoured. The topping makes it so yummy.
    If you need a new idea for sweet potatoes, try this.

    • — Neil on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas, my kids loved it.

    • — Mariken Rattigan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve already bought a big can of Bruce’s Sweet Potatoes (Yams). I am sure I can just make your topping and put it on top, but should I add anything to the canned sweet potatoes, too? Thank you! Karen

    • — Karen on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, I’d recommend adding the other ingredients (the butter, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and egg). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply

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