Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Marshmallows

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Marshmallows is a Thanksgiving tradition and family favorite. Whether for a special occasion or just Sunday supper, it’s the perfect side dish for any meal.

close up with text overlay of sweet potato casserole


 

Why you’ll love this Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecans

Of all the sweet potato recipes on the site, this one has got to be my favorite- and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving Day.

  • Great for a holiday meal – You can’t plan your Thanksgiving menu without including sweet potato casserole, right?
  • Classic flavors – When you think of fall, winter and the holiday season, this casserole encompasses them all!
  • Easy to make – Follow the simple steps below for making the best sweet potato casserole you’ve ever had!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows Recipe

Although it seems more like a dessert, Sweet Potato Casserole is a side dish, balancing out the other savory flavors of turkey and stuffing on the Thanksgiving table.

Most variations are sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, however the original version of this recipe didn’t have any marshmallows. To me, that just seemed silly, so I added them to my own.

This recipe landed in my lap when I was still in college. My sister’s college roommate was unable to fly home for Thanksgiving, so we invited her to spend time at our home, which was driving distance from their college.

To make her feel more “at home,” my mother asked her to share her favorite dish from the holiday. Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans was what she sent!

In addition to adding the marshmallow layer, I also doubled the pecan topping. This is really what makes this Sweet Potato Casserole different from the rest.

corn flake topping on sweet potato casserole

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Marshmallows

You might have a lot of these simple ingredients already on hand!

  • Large sweet potatoes – I like using fresh sweet potatoes rather than frozen or canned. They taste so much better
  • Butter – I always prefer to use unsalted butter, however if you use salted, omit the additional salt from the recipe.
  • Eggs – Eggs act as a binding agent and help to hold everything in the sweet potato base together.
  • Evaporated milk – This is easy to find at any grocery store, but you can also make your own by scalding the milk and then allowing it to simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • Sugar – Just regular granulated white sugar is what we need for this easy sweet potato casserole recipe.
  • Cinnamon – Sweet potatoes and cinnamon go hand in hand. The cinnamon really helps to bring out the natural flavors of the sweet potatoes.
  • Salt – I always like using fine sea salt, but if you used salted butter for your sweet potato recipe, go ahead and just leave this out. You don’t want a salty casserole!
  • Unsalted butter – The pecans and corn flakes bring their own amount of salt, so make sure to use unsalted butter for the crunchy topping.
  • Light brown sugar – You can use dark brown sugar if that’s all you have, but it adds a little flavor and sweetness to the top of casserole.
  • Corn flakes cereal – I like to add corn flakes for a little added crunch on top of the casserole.
  • Pecans – I know some choose either marshmallows or pecans, but I like to add both. I love both the crunch and the sweetness that each of them bring.
  • Mini marshmallows – The marshmallow versus pecan topping is highly debated, so why not have both? It’s the best part of Thanksgiving dinner in my opinion.
browned edges of thanksgiving casserole

How to make a Sweet Potato Souffle

You can have this whole casserole on the holiday table in just oven an hour!

  1. Prepare sweet potatoes. Preheat your oven and bake the sweet potatoes until easily pierced with a fork. Remove and allow to cool until able to handle. Cold sweet potatoes will take longer to bake, so don’t allow to cool fully. You can also make sweet potatoes in the microwave.
  2. Scoop sweet potatoes. Cut sweet potatoes in half, scoop out sweet potato mixture and add to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. You could also use a large bowl with a potato masher or hand mixer.
  3. Prepare oven and baking dish. Raise the temperature of the oven and coat your casserole dish with cooking spray.
  4. Combine rest of ingredients. Add butter, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Place potato mixture into prepared baking dish and bake.
  1. Pecan topping. Meanwhile, prepare pecan topping. Cream together butter and sugar. Add pecans. 
  2. Marshmallow topping. Top sweet potatoes with marshmallows, return to oven until marshmallows start to melt. Remove from oven.
  1. Add pecan topping. Top marshmallow layer with creamed butter, sugar and pecans by using two forks and evenly placing over marshmallows. Return to oven.
  2. Top with corn flakes. Finish by topping this classic sweet potato casserole recipe with corn flakes, gently pushing them into the mixture. Allow to rest before serving. 

Sweet Potato Souffle Topping & Other Variations

While we like this easy recipe exactly as written, there are plenty of ways you can make this classic Thanksgiving side dish your own.

  • Toppings – There are a number of options for toppings. A pecan streusel, gooey marshmallows, crunchy pecans, brown sugar streusel or any combination of the three would be the perfect addition.
  • Sweet potatoes – You could use different root vegetables, canned sweet potatoes or even cooked whole sweet potatoes to make this classic side dish.
  • Flavor – Add a splash of maple syrup, vanilla extract, fresh orange juice or even a little bourbon to take the flavor up a notch.
spoon with sweet potatoes on it

Sweet Potato Souffle vs Casserole

Really the difference between most sweet potato casseroles and sweet potato souffle is negligible with the exception of the name. Use whichever you prefer.

Both are light, fluffy and topped with crunchies and something sweet. In this case it is corn flakes cereal, pecans, marshmallows and a generous helping of butter.

dug into casserole

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Lastly, let’s talk about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. A sweet potato is not a yam. Epicurious summed it up beautifully:

They’re two different plants. The sweet potato is in the morning glory family, while yams are related to palms and grasses.

And they grow in different parts of the world: yams in Africa, where they originated, and also Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Central America. Sweet potatoes in the United States, with North Carolina leading the way in production.

So at a typical supermarket, what you’re buying is an American-grown sweet potato. True yams are imported and a rare find outside of ethnic grocery stores.

Needless to say, we need sweet potatoes for this creamy sweet potato casserole.

fork digging into sweet potato casserole

Did You Know SweetPotato is One Word?

Did you know that sweetpotato is actually one word? Most people still use two, so we do as well, but in 1989 this nun (not an adjective) was officially changed to one word to help standout against it’s very commonly confused cousin the yam.

And as we know, sweet potatoes are not yams! You’ve likely never even had a yam in your lifetime because they aren’t grown in the US. So bring up this little bit of trivia at your table tonight.

Storing Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

Storage: You can store any leftovers of this best sweet potato casserole recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Sometimes casseroles even taste better the next day!

Freezing Sweet Potato Casserole:

It also freezes well. Check out my tips for how to freeze a casserole here!

spoon in sweet potato casserole

Sweet Potato Souffle with Marshmallows

Is it better to boil or bake sweet potatoes for casserole?

Whichever method you prefer works perfectly. I personally like to bake them.

Are canned yams and sweet potatoes the same?

Technically the yams you see in a can at American grocery stores are actually sweet potatoes.

Do sweet potatoes bake faster than potatoes?

Sweet potatoes generally bake faster than regular potatoes due to their lower starch content and higher sugar content. The natural sugars in sweet potatoes caramelize more quickly, resulting in a faster cooking time compared to regular potatoes.

How do I substitute canned sweet potatoes for fresh?

To substitute canned sweet potatoes for fresh in a recipe, drain and rinse the canned sweet potatoes, then use them in the same quantity as the fresh ones called for in your recipe. Keep in mind that canned sweet potatoes are already cooked, so they may have a softer texture and slightly sweeter flavor compared to fresh ones.

Should I peel sweet potatoes before boiling?

I feel that peeling them before boiling is easier than handling and peeling while hot. Skins are edible and contain nutrients, so if there are small pieces, that is fine.

Why put egg in sweet potato casserole?

Eggs serve several purposes. The first is that a binder., it improves texture and also adds a rich flavor.

collage of sweet potato souffle

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close up overhead with text overlay for pinterest
corn flake topping on sweet potato casserole

Sweet Potato Souffle (Marshmallow & Pecan Topping)

4.94 from 44 votes
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans is the ultimate sweet potato souffle recipe using fresh sweet potatoes, pecan topping and marshmallows.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

Sweet Potatoes:

Pecan Topping:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove and allow to cool until able to handle.
  • Cut sweet potatoes in half, scoop out potato flesh and add to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Add butter, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes @400 degrees. 
  • Place potato mixture into prepared 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove. 
  • Meanwhile, prepare pecan topping. Cream together butter and sugar. Add pecans.  
  • Top sweet potatoes with marshmallows, return to oven for 5 minutes or until marshmallows start to melt. Remove. 
  • Top marshmallow layer with creamed butter, sugar and pecans by using two forks and evenly placing over marshmallows.Finish by topping with Corn Flakes, gently pushing them into the mixture. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
  • Remove and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 573 kcal, Carbohydrates: 68 g, Protein: 7 g, Fat: 31 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Cholesterol: 100 mg, Sodium: 483 mg, Potassium: 715 mg, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 32 g, Vitamin A: 24990 IU, Vitamin C: 6.1 mg, Calcium: 130 mg, Iron: 3.6 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 573
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet potato casserole
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.94 from 44 votes (35 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This sweet potato casserole is decadent, cozy, and delicious! Fresh sweet potatoes make such a difference.
    Speaking of; a friend of mine works for NC Sweet Potatoes, and she is on a mission to educate people about the differences between sweet potatoes and true yams. It’s amazing how many varieties of sweet potatoes are grown just in the US!

  2. 5 stars
    I love pecans in my sweet potato casserole. This version looks amazing and I really like the cornflakes on top.

  3. 5 stars
    Would love to try this! Do you have any suggestions as to what we can substitute the pecans with? I have a little one who is allergic. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This looks so good! I can’t say that I’ve ever seen sweet potato casserole with corn flakes before. I can’t wait to make this.

  5. 5 stars
    Can you believe that I have never tried sweet potato casserole before?? I am so excited to make this tonight, thank you so much for the recipe 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I have everything in the house to make this and going to try it tonight and I cant wait it looks scrumptious! thanks

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is outstanding. The topping is something I could eat with a spoon all by itself!!