Crowd-Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole
Filed Under: Fall | Savory | Side Dish | Thanksgiving

Crowd-Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole

November 7th, 2023
5 from 23 votes
5 from 23 votes

This crowd-pleasing sweet potato casserole has both a pecan topping and a marshmallow topping for the best of both worlds!

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 1 hour 25 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: I love the slight hint of maple and nutmeg in the filling and of course either topping just makes you feel like you’re eating dessert for dinner in the best possible way.
Texture: The filling is rich, soft, and creamy without being too whipped, and of course, the texture of the topping depends on which spoonful you go for – crunchy pecan topping or gooey marshmallow.
Ease: Very easy, even when using fresh sweet potatoes.
Appearance: So fun!! This really shines on any Thanksgiving table.
Pros: You get the best of both worlds and the filling recipe is quite scrumptious.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Absolutely, every holiday season!

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My favorite Thanksgiving side dish has been sweet potato casserole for as long as I can remember.

That’s probably because the casserole is basically dessert disguised as dinner. That’s something I can ALWAYS get on board with. I’m particularly fond of that buttery brown sugar pecan topping. However, I know many people and families prefer the marshmallow topping.

the Crowd-Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole in a white ceramic baking dish, being served onto plates.

That’s why this is such a crowd-pleasing recipe. You can offer your Thanksgiving guests BOTH, so everyone is happy! You can even put the best of both worlds on your own plate if you can’t decide.

This recipe is actually an adaption of one of the first holiday recipes I ever posted on the blog way back in 2009. Many years later and I think I’ve only further perfected this recipe! Using fresh sweet potatoes makes a big difference.

this Crowd-Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole with a slice removed, showing the pretty, vibrant orange sweet potatoes inside.

The casserole I grew up eating relied on canned yam puree, which does cut the oven time down, but it also cuts the flavor. Use fresh sweet potatoes, but check out my make-ahead tips below, to help expedite the process on Turkey Day. 

We’re relying on maple syrup to add sweetness and a nice depth of flavor in this dish. Since the topping is so sugary, you really don’t miss the sugar and it makes this casserole slightly more acceptable to eat as a part of dinner.

the unbaked dish being assembled in a casserole dish.

I hope this Crowd-Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole is on your Thanksgiving table this year!

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Do I Have to Use Fresh Sweet Potatoes?

Yes – I know it’s a bit of extra work, but I promise, it’s so worth it! If timing is an issue for you, bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time, scoop out the inner flesh, and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the potato casserole.

What Type of Maple Syrup Should I Use?

Be sure to use real maple syrup, not maple-flavored syrup meant for pancakes. I know some real maple syrups can get pricey, so check out Trader Joe’s maple syrup – it’s good quality for a reasonable price.

What Type of Milk for Sweet Potato Casserole?

I always prefer to use whole milk, but 2% should work okay – it may just make your sweet potato casserole a little less rich and creamy. I haven’t tried any dairy-free milks here, but just note that may alter the flavor and texture.

What Type of Pan Should I Use for Sweet Potato Casserole?

  • This recipe was designed for a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  • I recommend a ceramic pan like this one, for the prettiest table presentation.
  • Feel free to use a glass or even a disposable pan, as long as they’re similarly sized.
  • Be cautious of the pan’s material if you’re planning to make ahead, as not all pans can go from freezer to oven, or even fridge to oven.

Can You Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of Time?

Yes! Once the casserole is assembled but just before baking, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Add toppings just before baking. If baking straight from the fridge, add a few minutes to the baking time. If you need to prep further in advance, check out my freezing instructions just below.

How to Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole:

Assemble the Sweet Potato Casserole in a heat-safe and freezer-safe pan but don’t add the toppings yet. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap. Cover with tin foil, label, and date. Freeze for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to bake, remove plastic and foil, add the toppings, and bake for about 45 minutes from frozen.

If using a glass pan, allow to defrost overnight in the fridge before adding the toppings and baking, adding a few minutes to the bake time if baking straight from the fridge.

How to Leftover Store Sweet Potato Casserole:

Store any Sweet Potato Casserole leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

overhead shot of the whole baked Sweet Potato Casserole, showing the attractive and distinct rows of mini marshmallows and pecan streusel.

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

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5 from 23 votes

How to make
Crowd Pleasing Sweet Potato Casserole

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
This crowd-pleasing sweet potato casserole has both a pecan topping and a marshmallow topping for the best of both worlds!


For the casserole:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the toppings:

  • 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (44 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) pecans (or more, depending on preference), chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a foil or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until they are tender on the inside, about 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then slice open and scoop the flesh into a large bowl, discarding the skins. Mash with a potato masher, being careful not to over-mash. Add the milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and stir until just combined.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and butter, cutting the butter into the flour with the back of a fork. Add the brown sugar and pecans and stir until combined.

  3. Spread the potato mixture into a 13 by 9-inch or similarly sized baking dish. Sprinkle the pecan mixture in diagonal rows over the sweet potatoes, leaving a 1 1/2-inch gap between rows. Bake at 350°F until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and gently place the marshmallows between the rows of the pecan mixture. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the marshmallows are just golden brown. Serve.

Recipe Video

Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : American
Keyword : side dish, sweet potato, thanksgiving, thanksgiving side dish

This post was originally published in 2009 and has been updated with recipe improvements, additional tips, and updated photos. Photos by Patty Kraikittikun-Phuong.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Anna — November 19, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    This is my go to recipe for the holidays! My whole family loves it! The combo of the marshmallows and pecans is a winner!! Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  2. #
    Elise — November 15, 2023 at 7:24 pm

    Hi, if you plan to make a day ahead and refrigerator before baking. Should you store the topping in the fridge as well thank you!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Hi Elise! Sure, you can make the topping ahead and store it inside a separate airtight container – but just keep the streusel topping refrigerated; the marshmallow portion will be better outside the fridge, to prevent the marshmallows from drying out. I hope that helps! Happy baking 🙂

  3. #
    Andrea — November 15, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    I made this last year for Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit! Even my picky son loved it. I’m definitely making it again this year. The maple syrup and the 2 different toppings are incredible. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  4. #
    Oliver Royal — November 11, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    wow Tessa Arias! That sweet potato casserole looks absolutely delicious! I love the combination of sweet potatoes, marshmallows, and pecans. I’m sure it will be a hit at my next Thanksgiving dinner.

  5. #
    Laura — November 9, 2023 at 6:54 am

    I love this recipe! If I’m making it the same day as an event but then have to travel with it there, would you recommend cooking it fully but not adding the marshmallows and then sticking it in the oven right before serving and adding the marshmallows then?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 9, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Laura! So glad to hear that you enjoy this recipe! Check out Tessa’s make-ahead instructions in the pink tip box, right above the recipe 🙂

  6. #
    Dawn — November 27, 2022 at 11:13 am

    I used this recipe for Thanksgiving with only one small tweak. Instead of nutmeg, I used a tablespoon of baking spice. It well so well received that I had to make a second batch for leftover night! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. #
    Sarah — November 22, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Hi does it matter what type of milk I use? Whole, 1% , etc. thanks!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 22, 2022 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Sarah! We always recommend whole milk for best results, but 2% should work if that’s all you have. Let us know what you think once you have given this casserole a try!

  8. #
    Jessica — November 19, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    My go to thanksgiving side.

  9. #
    Kelley — November 17, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Definitely a crowd pleaser!! I made first 2 years ago, now this is the requested dish for the holidays! so good!!

  10. #
    Eric — November 15, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Been making this recipe for probably 8 years. It’s amazing!! After the first year it was just expected for me to bring this dish. Everyone really enjoys it.

  11. #
    Bridgette — November 8, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    Could the Pecans be omitted? We have some family members with a nut allergy?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 9, 2022 at 9:10 am

      Hi Bridgette! We haven’t tried simply omitting the pecans, and the streusel topping might be a little bland without the pecans, but it should still be tasty – or just omit the streusel part entirely and simply use more mini marshmallows! Let us know what you think if you give this casserole a try 🙂

  12. #
    Josiah Coley — November 8, 2022 at 10:05 am

    If I were to multiply your recipe to accommodate between 50 to 60 people, how I figure out how much ingredients I would need?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 8, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Josiah! This casserole feeds 10-12 as written. To feed 50-60, you would therefore need to multiply everything by 5 to 6 – but I doubt you could find a pan large enough to accommodate that much. I would recommend making the recipe as written 5 or 6 individual times, in 9×13-inch pan, or three double batches if you’re able to find a deep half sheet pan (something like this might work). I hope that helps. Happy baking!

  13. #
    Pam — November 5, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Can you make this early? The day before and then how long do you cook – do you cover?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 8, 2022 at 10:39 am

      Hi Pam! Yes, you can make this in advance. Details are in the pink tip box, above the recipe. Let us know what you think of this recipe once you have given it a try! 🙂

      • #
        Amanda — November 13, 2023 at 12:36 pm

        can I use canned sweet potatoes? how much would I use? perhaps 4 cups?

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 13, 2023 at 3:28 pm

          Hi Amanda! We haven’t tried that and don’t really recommend it. Check out the pink tip box (above the recipe) for some tips on making this ahead, to help save time on Turkey Day!

  14. #
    Amanda — December 19, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve made this for 6 years now. BEST recipe in my opinion! Everyone I’ve ever made it for loves it too. The topping combo is the best part.

    • #
      Emily — December 20, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      So happy to hear how much you love this recipe, thanks for the comment!

  15. #
    Jennifer — December 3, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Best version of this ever and so cute on the table! Would make just for me, myself and my fork.

    • #
      Emily — December 7, 2021 at 9:35 am

      haha YES!! So glad you loved this recipe 🙂

  16. #
    Paige — November 26, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Will it make a taste difference if you peel and boil the potatoes on the stovetop instead of baking them in the oven?

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Nope! We just found that baking them in the oven is easier 🙂

  17. #
    Brittany — November 24, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Hi! Could I pre make the casserole and finish it off with the toppings tomorrow for Thanksgiving?

    • #
      Emily — November 24, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Hi Brittany! Yes, that should work fine 🙂 Enjoy!

  18. #
    Kay — November 22, 2021 at 2:45 am

    Absolutely love!

  19. #
    Rhonda — November 20, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Do you think almond flour would work just as well as a substitute for the white flour?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      We haven’t tried that, Rhonda, so I can’t say for sure how it’d turn out! Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try 🙂

  20. #
    Gwen — March 9, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Family favorite!

    • #
      Tessa — March 10, 2021 at 12:12 pm


  21. #
    Ellie — December 6, 2020 at 1:18 am

    I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! It’s so easy to make and is the perfect amount of sweetness without being too sweet. I’ll definitely be making this again soon!

    • #
      Tessa — December 7, 2020 at 10:36 am

      Thrilled this recipe was a hit!

  22. #
    Susan — November 29, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Everyone raved over this dish and said it was their favorite side of the meal!

  23. #
    Melissa — November 5, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year and it was a huge hit! Everyone is looking forward to me making it again this year.

  24. #
    Corina — April 21, 2020 at 7:10 am

    I’ve made this recipe a few times and everyone loves it! thank you thank you so much.

  25. #
    Gayle — April 19, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Made this recipe last Christmas for 2 separate family dinners! Looked and tasted amazing! Doubled the recipe and the prep work and baking was a little longer but it was well worth the effort! The maple syrup is a great addition to the flavour of it! I give it 5 stars and a real keeper!

  26. #
    Berta — December 4, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Love it how can I get the recipe to stay in my computer

  27. #
    Brandon — December 1, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    It was a crowd pleaser for sure!!

  28. #
    Tomi — November 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Been looking through a ton of recipes, and I liked that this was the only one without any complaints.
    My question is; when you say maple syrup, you mean the realVdeal straight-from-the-tree kind right? The only kind I have is pancake syrup, would that still work?

    • #
      Tessa — November 28, 2019 at 11:16 am

      I would only use real maple syrup!

      • #
        Dianne — December 18, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        What’s the difference between real maple syrup & pancake syrup? I want to make this on Saturday so not sure what to buy for syrup.

        • #
          Tara — October 11, 2021 at 6:33 am

          Pancake syrup is usually flavoured corn syrup …maple syrup is real concentrated sap from the maple tree. In Canada the food law states if it doesn’t have real maple in it …it cannot be called maple syrup.

  29. #
    Bobb — November 27, 2019 at 7:42 am

    We have an hour and a half drive so we leave pretty early. Have you made the day before and reheated? I thought I could make the casserole the night before? Then add the toppings in the morning, and put in oven. We can keep warm for the ride.

    • #
      Tessa — November 27, 2019 at 9:55 am

      Yes, that should work fine 🙂

    • #
      kelly — November 27, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. Can I put this together tonight and bake it tomorrow? I’ve never made a sweet potato casserole before so I’m not sure of the rules. LOL

  30. #
    Michelle Sands — October 31, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Can you use evaporated milk with this recipe

  31. #
    Sue — November 22, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I added orange zest and it was delicious! Everyone loved it!!

  32. #
    Sabrina — November 16, 2018 at 7:58 am

    very nice dish, especially since I love sweet potatoes and always appreciate a new recipe, thank you!

  33. #
    ngarmpis custy — November 9, 2018 at 10:27 am

    it looks very delicious, will try to make it

  34. #
    Kevin in Fla — December 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Made it for Turkey day. GREAT Making it for wife’s Christmas party.
    Grandkids loved it.

  35. #
    Greg — November 4, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Can this dish be made ahead and refrigerated, then cooked for the meal? Seems like it, Maybe not put the pecan mixture on until ready to put in oven? Trying to plan my Thanksgiving meal prep. Thanks.

  36. #
    Tahnee — December 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I made this recipe for Christmas dinner and it was a HUGE hit! 2 of the people didn’t like sweet potato and another didn’t like sweets and they all loved it and got seconds. Everybody alao raved about how pretty the dish was. I will be saving this recipe to make again. Only changes I made to the recipe was add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the sweet potato mash and omit the flour in the pecan mixture.

  37. #
    Danika — November 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Made this for today and everyone LOVED it. It was perfect since I couldn’t decide on which toppings to use. I didn’t have maple syrup so I added a little brown sugar. And the parchment paper for roasting saved on washing dishes time. Thank you for our new go to recipe

  38. #
    Samantha — November 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I split the recipe in half and made it for my boyfriend and I to accompany a maple glazed pork tenderloin I made this past weekend. This was AMAZING! I have a feeling this is going to be an oft-made side dish from now on. The maple syrup really makes this dish and adds a great subtle flavor to the sweet potatoes.

  39. #
    Gaby — November 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    So clever to make everyone happy with one casserole! Plus it looks so wonderful!

  40. #
    Nichole @ Green Cuisine Queen — November 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Everything about this sounds so good, I love the pecans on top. A great topping is the key to Sweet Potato Casserole! This makes me so excited for Thanksgiving!

  41. #
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — November 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Love that you used maple syrup as the sweetener! I bet it adds another great layer of flavor!

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