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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel

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Take your sweet potato casserole up a notch by replacing the traditional marshmallow topping with a crunchy pecan streusel.

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 sweet potatoes with a crunchy brown sugar-pecan streusel — it absolutely makes the dish. Like most Thanksgiving sweet potato sides, it’s almost sweet enough to be 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

Heads up: most 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.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until soft and tender, 20 to 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, and stir to combine.

how to make sweet potato casserole

Place 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

Take your sweet potato casserole up a notch by replacing the traditional marshmallow topping with a crunchy pecan streusel.

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
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ 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

  • The recipe is easy to make and the leftovers store well. The spices are perfect, but I found it to be too sweet as a side dish. Next time I will cut the brown sugar in both the topping and the potatoes.

    • — SUSAN on December 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit! Everyone devoured it. My dear mom loved it so much I’m Making some more to take out to her tmrw for a surprise. I mixed up quantities: used 13 roasted SP; scooped out, mashed and then followed rest of recipe. It was like a “Veggessert”….a veggie side and dessert all in one. YUM. Thank you!

    • — Lucy Kuhn on November 30, 2022
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  • This is the absolute best sweet potato dish I’ve ever made. My family is still raving about it days later!

    • — Sherrie on November 28, 2022
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  • This dish turned out perfectly. The actual sweet potato mixture was a little sweet, for me, with the combination of the streussel. However, my empty serving dish tells me that I am the only one that felt that way. I may cut the added brown sugar out of the recipe next time, but very good nonetheless.

    • — Lexi Finkle on November 24, 2022
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  • Delicious and timely. At 7 a.m. Thanksgiving mornin, with 10 coming for dinner, I realized I totally forgot about sweet potatoes. I frantically pulled up my email and Jenn came to the rescue with an easy to make recipe. Everyone, even the picky-eater grandkids LOVED it. Thank you!

    • — Lisa Marinik on November 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • I was given task to bring a sweet potato casserole…I tried a couple of recipes and liked this one the best…The spices and the pecan strussel made the difference
      Received many compliments.

      • — Caroline Stevens on November 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • I had to triple the recipe to accommodate a large quantity of people for Thanksgiving. Should I bake at 350 still but add more time?

    • — Melanie Johnson on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Melanie, Yes bake at 350 and bake it a bit longer.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • I doubled the recipe so I could make two casseroles-one with the streusel and the other with a marshmallow topping for my daughter. For the 2nd one when do I put the marshmallows on? Before I bake or after and then broil? Thx

    • — Suzanne on November 23, 2022
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    • Hi Suzanne, I’d bake it for 20 minutes, top it with marshmallows, and then finish baking another 20 minutes. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
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  • Thanks for replying to my question about adding a bottom layer! Any advice or direction you can give? Would a graham cracker or pecan (like your pumpkin torte) bottom layer taste best? Would I use the same quantity of ingredients that would work for a pie crust?
    Thanks again!!

    • — Lena on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • You could go with either the graham cracker or pecan crust, but I may go the graham cracker route as you’ll have pecans topping the casserole. Keep in mind that this will make this dish taste even more like a dessert. And, yes, I’d use the same quantities that you would for a pie crust. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • I always make this recipe for the holidays. These are the most flavorful sweet potatoes I’ve ever made. I never boil my sweet potatoes, I bake them at 425 for about 50 minutes on a parchment paper lined sheet, then I scoop out the insides. When I first made them I boiled the potatoes but found that baking them they taste the same and so much easier.

    • — Olga on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Like everybody else, I love this casserole just the way it is! But I have some kids that don’t like nuts. Could I do everything as written except just put a perimeter of nuts around the edge and leave the center plain?

    • — Tai on November 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn-

    Is it possible to make this with a marshmallow top along with the streusel if I have a kid who loves the marshmallow?

    • — Suzanne on November 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Suzanne, I think it would be too much with both the streusel and the marshmallow; I suppose you could cover half in the streusel and half with marshmallows.

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    Could I use half the sugar in this recipe?
    Thanks!

    • — Doreen on November 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep that’s fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Roast the sweet potatoes! The flavor is better.
    I have a nearly identical recipe. It’s a big favorite. The one thing I do differently — I roast the sweet potatoes. Let them cool a little. Then peel with a paring knife (the peels almost fall off). Then I mash and mix everything in my standing mixer. It’s easy! You can make ahead, so don’t worry about the the roasting taking up time and space in your oven on the big day. I also used only about half as much brown sugar. It’s still plenty sweet and good.

    • — Sarah E. on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Question: Am allergic to nuts, what can I substitute? Would pumpkin or sunflower seeds give it the crunch, or should I just leave it out?

    • — Toby Epstein on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Toby, You can use sunflower seeds if you’d like but it’s perfectly fine to omit them or replace them with oats. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Could this be prepared in a crockpot?

    • — Joan on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Joan, I don’t think this is a great option for a crockpot — the topping wouldn’t crisp up at all (and that’s the best part).

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I love sweet potatoes/ yams, however like them more plain. I love love all your recipes! This seems like it would be really sweet? Thoughts?

    • — Calley on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Calley, So glad you like the recipes! Yes, this is definitely sweet so if you prefer something more plain, you could try this recipe (which has a hint of sweetness due to the maple syrup but is definitely not as sweet as the casserole).

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thanks, that sounds like a good option!

        • — Calley on November 17, 2022
        • Reply
  • I’ve made something very similar to this for years. One year, I decided to change it up a bit and mix some of the streusel in with the sweet potatoes. 100% wanted me to do that in the future. So much better than the marshmallow dish!

    • — Valerie on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • My sister used to make this recipe, the only difference is she would add a splash of OJ.
    To appease the marshmallow crowd she would do half the pan w/marshmallow and the other half w/the pecans. Made for a weird looking casserole, but by the end of the meal it was all gone. It would bum me out because there would be no leftovers. It is delicious. It is really good w/ham or pork chop dinners.

    • — Ruby on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made this every year since I discovered your site and my family LOVES it! I prep it a couple days in advance per your directions and it is consistently delicious.

    • — Marty Malina on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • What to use for gluten free?

    • — Denise on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, you can use gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. This is such a great recipe. Everyone just loves it! It’ll be my 3rd Thanksgiving making it. I usually make it a day or two ahead but this year I’m thinking of making it this weekend and freezing it to free up some of my time. Doe it taste as good? Was thinking of the same for your stuffing. Thanks in advance.

    • — Lori on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes, it still tastes good! See the bottom of the recipe for specific freezer-friendly instructions.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2022
      • Reply
      • Amazing. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for your awesome recipes!!!

        • — Lori on November 15, 2022
        • Reply
        • Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! 💗

          • — Jenn on November 16, 2022
          • Reply
  • Loving this and definitely want to try it this year! But, my daughter has a nut allergy. What adjustments should I make for the topping? Does it just become a regular crumb topping? Many thanks!!!

    • — pilar on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Pilar, Glad you like it! You can just omit the nuts or use oats in place of them.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2022
      • Reply
      • Woohoo! Thanks!

        • — Pilar on November 15, 2022
        • Reply
      • OMG! Big hit. Loved it. I followed some of the comments and roasted the potatoes (the oven was on all day anyway!) and reduced the sugar just a smidge. Went with the oats rather than nuts, of course. Delicious. Paired very nicely with your sausage/herb stuffing. Thank you!!

        • — Pilar on November 28, 2022
        • Reply
  • I have made this casserole for 3 years now because it’s that good and always requested. It reheats well and you don’t need marshmallows because it’s sweet enough. Very tasty!

    • — Cherie on November 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m really excited to try this recipe! Is it possible to add a base layer to this for added texture, almost like a thin graham cracker crust?

    • — Lena on November 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • An immersion blender works quite nicely to eliminate strings and chunks in the sweet potatoes!

    • — Tia on January 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I will be making this for Xmas dinner. I have a guest that has requested “marshmallows & pecans in their sweet potato casserole. Can I add Marshmallows ? Or would this change the flavor of the casserole in your recipe?

    • — Annie on December 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Annie, I don’t recommend adding marshmallows to this recipe – sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 25, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen. Thinking of making this for Christmas. Could I substitute butternut squash for the sweet potatoes in this recipe?

    • — Karen Hoveland on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that would work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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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