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This homemade sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is a crowd-pleaser that captures the essence of the holiday season. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy, and it’s a delightful addition to any Thanksgiving menu. 

I’ve been making this classic sweet potato casserole recipe my entire life, and I’m so excited to share this traditional Thanksgiving side dish with you. Once you take a bite of the delicious casserole with its toasty marshmallow topping, you will agree it is the best sweet potato casserole recipe out there.

sweet potato casserole on plate for thanksgiving.
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Reminiscent of my other sweet potato recipes including mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, or my twice baked sweet potatoes, our Thanksgiving table isn’t complete without this recipe. It is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, and is a favorite along with green bean casserole, Southern cornbread dressing, and homemade cranberry sauce.

Why You Should Make THIS Recipe

You might get overwhelmed if you start searching for a sweet potato casserole recipe. There are a ton of versions out there to choose from. 

I will tell you that I make this easy sweet potato casserole every single year and people always rave about it. My kids don’t even like sweet potatoes, but this is something they actually fight over!

Irresistible Flavor and Texture

The combination of fresh sweet potatoes, brown sugar, pineapple, crunchy pecans, and mini marshmallows creates a delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors.

Enjoy the contrast of creamy sweet potatoes, crunchy pecans, and gooey marshmallows in every bite.

The golden-brown marshmallow topping adds visual appeal to your holiday table.

Nostalgic Holiday Classic

It’s a staple at Thanksgiving dinner, making it a beloved tradition for many. I usually make it for Christmas dinner too!

It evokes warm memories of home-cooked meals and holiday gatherings.

It’s a side dish that pleases both sweet and savory palates, making it a hit with everyone.

Easy Preparation and Make Ahead

Anyone can follow these simple steps in this easy recipe. It uses common ingredients make it accessible for cooks of all levels.

Prep this casserole dish in advance and pop it in the oven on Thanksgiving day. This will allow you to focus on other dishes or spend more time with guests.

Kid-Friendly with a Surprising Twist

Kids love the marshmallow topping, making it a family favorite.

The addition of crushed pineapple adds a unique and tasty dimension to the dish.

scoop of homemade sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows.

Ingredients Needed

The ingredients used in this recipe are fresh sweet potatoes, canned crushed pineapple, brown sugar, raw pecan pieces, butter, and miniature marshmallows.

ingredients needed to make sweet potato casserole with marshmallows.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Cook the Sweet Potatoes

Peel and chop about two pounds of whole sweet potatoes.

In a large stockpot, cover the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. 

Cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the softened sweet potatoes and add them to a 9×9 inch baking dish.

Mix the Casserole Ingredients

Mash the sweet potatoes using a fork or potato masher. You can use a hand mixer, but they should be soft enough to mash by hand.

Add the crushed pineapple, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and pumpkin pie spice. 

Stir this mixture to combine and dot with small pieces of butter. 

Mix the butter into the sweet potato mixture. Spread it evenly in the pan. 

Cover with marshmallows and press them into the sweet potato mixture. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Bake

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the casserole until heated through, about 30 minutes if it’s at room temperature or 45 minutes if it was prepared ahead of time and was refrigerated.

Broil

Once the sweet potato casserole is fully heated through, remove the foil, change the oven to broil, and remove as soon as the marshmallows turn golden brown. Be careful – this happens quickly. Serve hot.

sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows.

Substitutions and Variations

This recipe has been tested dozens of times and I recommend you make it as written, but if you need or want to make a change, here are some suggestions.

Dietary Restrictions

  • Vegan or Dairy-Free: To make this sweet potato casserole dairy-free or vegan, substitute the butter with vegan margarine or coconut oil, and use vegan marshmallows.
  • Nut Allergies: Omit pecans or replace them with chopped sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or a nut-free granola for a delightful crunch without nuts.
  • Healthier Twist: For a healthier casserole, use sweet potatoes without added sugar and swap out brown sugar for a natural sweetener like maple syrup. Consider omitting marshmallows entirely if you need a less sweet option.

Substitution Ideas

  • Different Root Vegetables: Experiment with a blend of sweet potatoes and other root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or butternut squash for a diverse flavor profile.
  • Spice Variations: Customize the spice mix by adding a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice to create your unique flavor.
  • Streusel Topping: If you’re a fan of streusel, you can make a topping by combining rolled oats, brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the casserole before baking for an added layer of texture and flavor.
  • Fresh Sweet Potatoes vs. Canned: While fresh sweet potatoes are recommended, you can use canned sweet potatoes if you’re short on time or fresh sweet potatoes are not available. Just be sure to drain them well and adjust the cooking time accordingly. If you use sweetened canned yams in syrup, you will want to omit the brown sugar from the recipe.
  • Fruit Variations: If you’re not a fan of pineapple, consider using alternatives like apples, raisins, or cranberries for a different fruity twist.
  • Size Variations: Adjust the size of your casserole dish to accommodate larger or smaller gatherings. You may need to adjust cooking times slightly.

Remember that these ingredient additions and substitutions allow you to tailor the sweet potato casserole to your dietary needs and personal taste preferences. 

Feel free to get creative and make it your own while still enjoying the comfort and warmth this classic dish brings to your table.

casserole dish of sweet potato casserole with scoop removed.

FAQs

Can I make this sweet potato casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare it in advance, cover it with foil, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. At least an hour before dinner, follow the baking directions. For Thanksgiving, I always prepare this recipe the day before.

How long should I broil the marshmallows for that perfect golden brown?

Keep a close eye, and it usually takes just a few minutes, so be cautious.

Can I use regular-sized  or large marshmallows instead of miniature ones?

Yes, but miniature marshmallows distribute more evenly.

Does fresh pineapple work?

Yes, I’ve made this recipe many times with fresh pineapple. Just measure out about a half cup of juicy diced fresh pineapple.

Does it reheat well, or does it lose its texture?

It reheats nicely without sacrificing texture or flavor, however you won’t have fluffy marshmallows. What we like to do is reheat the casserole, add a handful of marshmallows to the top of the casserole, and then broil it.

bite of sweet potato casserole.

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Krissy’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Prep20 minutes
Cook40 minutes
Total1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Krissy’s Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my favorite traditional Thanksgiving side dishes because we’ve been making this recipe my entire life.

Video

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes 4 medium sized, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces canned crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
  • 10 ounces miniature marshmallows
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Instructions 

  • Cook sweet potatoes: In a large stockpot, cover sweet potatoes with cool water. Bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.
    boiled or steamed sweet potatoes in pot
  • Mix casserole ingredients: Mash sweet potatoes in 9×9 inch baking dish. Mix in crushed pineapple, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and pumpkin pie spice. Dot with small pieces of butter and stir. Spread mixture evenly in pan. Cover with marshmallows (that is, whatever's left after your kids steal some) and press into sweet potato mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
    mashed sweet potatoes with crushed pineapple, pecans, and brown sugar.
  • Bake: When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350°F. Cook until heated through, 30-45 minutes (depending on whether the casserole had been stored in the refrigerator).
  • Broil: Once the sweet potato casserole is fully heated through, remove the foil, change the oven to broil, and remove as soon as the marshmallows turn golden brown. Be careful – this happens quickly. Serve hot.
    sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows.

Notes

Make ahead directions: This sweet potato casserole can easily be made ahead by preparing all the way up until the point where it is covered in foil. Instead of baking immediately, store in the refrigerator over night. Place in the oven to cook when ready. To reduce cooking time, allow casserole to come to room temperature before placing it in the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 93mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 16190IU, Vitamin C: 5.4mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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