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This classic sweet potato casserole is topped with mini marshmallows and made with only 6 ingredients. It’s creamy, delicious and the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.
Sweet potato casserole has always been my favorite dish! My mom made it at least three times a year growing up and I was always a huge fan. Her version has a brown sugar pecan topping, but Isaac grew up with traditional sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows on top.
Without fail, every year Isaac requests the classic version so I finally decided to give it a go and… whoa, it turned out to be so delicious! I am honestly kind of surprised at how much I liked this version. Usually I’m all about the crunch of the pecan topping. That said, the marshmallows actually get a little crisp with this version so maybe that’s why I’m a fan.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How to Make
- Recipe Tips
- How to Cook Sweet Potatoes
- Substitutions & Variations
- What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole
- How to Make Ahead of Time
- How to Store Leftovers
- Sweet Potato Casserole FAQ’s
- More Holiday Sides:
- More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try:
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make: With just 6 simple ingredients, this recipe is straightforward and hassle-free, perfect for beginners or those looking for a quick and easy holiday side dish.
- Delicious: The combo of creamy sweet potatoes with a gooey marshmallow topping = chef’s kiss!
- Crowd-pleaser: This is a classic holiday side dish that is loved by both adults and kids!
- Make in advance: You can prepare this recipe up to 3 days in advance.
- sweet potatoes – the star ingredient, providing natural sweetness and a creamy texture. When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for firm, unwrinkled skins with deep orange flesh.
- coconut sugar – the perfect sweetener adding a rich depth of flavor to the sweet potatoes. You can also use brown sugar here.
- unsalted butter – helps to keep this casserole moist while binding the sweet potato filling together.
- sea salt – just a pinch to enhance the flavors.
- vanilla extract – the perfect flavor enhancer. Be sure to use pure vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla for the best results.
- mini marshmallows – adds sweetness and a delicious gooey topping. Miniature marshmallows work best for this recipe, but you can use large marshmallows if that’s all you have on hand. You’ll just want cut them into smaller pieces before using.
How to Make
This classic sweet potato casserole recipe is so dang easy to make. Here’s how:
- Cook sweet potatoes – Use any of the methods listed below to cook your sweet potatoes prior to mashing with a fork or potato masher. Measure out 6 cups of mashed sweet potato.
- Combine – Place the mashed sweet potatoes in a medium bowl. Add sugar, softened butter, salt and vanilla. Stir to combine or use a stand mixer to mix well.
- Bake – Transfer the sweet potato mixture into a 9 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Use a spoon to spread mixture evenly. Top with marshmallows and bake at 375ºF for 20-25 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.
- Use fresh sweet potatoes: Use fresh sweet potatoes rather than canned ones for the best flavor.
- Browning the marshmallows: If you want to brown your marshmallows more you can broil for a few minutes at the end of baking. Just keep a close eye on the dish to prevent the marshmallows from burning!
- Double the recipe: To serve a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13 baking dish.
- Serve hot: Sweet potato casserole is best served hot, so if you’re making this ahead of time I recommend reheating it in the oven before serving.
How to Cook Sweet Potatoes
- Bake – Pierce the sweet potato 4-6 times with a fork. Place potato on a baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for about 45-65 minutes.
- Boil – Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Place in a large pot and add water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, uncovered until tender. It should take about 15 minutes depending on the size.
- Microwave – Pierce the sweet potatoes 3-4 times with a fork. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for five minutes, flipping halfway through. If your potatoes aren’t tender after 5 minutes, microwave for 30 second increments until softened. I personally don’t recommend this method because microwaved sweet potatoes don’t taste great, in my opinion.
- Instant Pot – Add one cup of water to the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top and then the sweet potatoes on the trivet. Cook for 18 minutes on high pressure (for medium-sized potatoes), let naturally steam naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release any remaining pressure.
Substitutions & Variations
- Coconut sugar: You can use brown sugar instead of coconut sugar.
- Butter: You can use vegan butter or coconut oil if needed.
- Vegan: Since this recipe doesn’t have any eggs, milk or heavy cream you can easily make it vegan by using vegan butter and vegan marshmallows like these Dandies mini marshmallows.
- Add pecans: If you’re like me and love pecans, you can sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans on top of the sweet potato mixture with the marshmallows.
- Add maple syrup: For some maple flavor swap 1-2 Tablespoons of the coconut sugar with maple syrup.
- Add cinnamon: For some spice and added warmth sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top of the casserole.
- Add bourbon: Add 2-3 Tablespoons of bourbon to the sweet potato mixture for a unique depth of flavor.
- Pecan streusel topping: If you want to skip the marshmallows all together and make a pecan crumble topping I suggest following the recipe for my healthy sweet potato casserole instead.
What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole is a classic holiday side dish for Thanksgiving. Here are some serving suggestions for what to pair with this casserole:
- Main entree: lentil loaf or turkey
- Other Thanksgiving side dishes: green bean casserole, mashed cauliflower, vegan cornbread, butternut squash quinoa stuffing, wild rice stuffing or cranberry sauce
- Salads: roasted butternut squash salad or kale and brussels sprout salad
- Roasted vegetables: maple roasted kabocha squash, roasted carrots or roasted root vegetables
- Dessert: healthy apple crisp, pecan pie brownies, vegan chocolate pie or vegan pumpkin pie
How to Make Ahead of Time
You can certainly prep this sweet potato casserole ahead of time to make things easier for holiday meals!
- One option is to cook your sweet potatoes in advance. Once cooked, let cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days before making the casserole.
- Another option is to prep the recipe according to the instructions through step two, cover the casserole dish with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. On the day of serving, bring the dish out and let it come to room temp (about 10-15 minutes), top with marshmallows and bake in a 375°F oven for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are warm and marshmallows are golden brown.
How to Store Leftovers
If you find yourself with leftovers, this casserole stores well in the refrigerator. Simply cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the fridge for 3-4 days. I don’t recommend freezing this casserole as it’ll likely change the texture and consistency of it. To reheat, simply place the baking dish back into the oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Note! The marshmallows will slowly melt into the sweet potatoes as they sit in the fridge. The dish will still taste delicious and you can always add more marshmallows on top before reheating.
Sweet Potato Casserole FAQ’s
When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for firm, unwrinkled skins. Sweet potatoes come in all different colors – creamy white, deep orange and purple. I usually buy Beauregard, Jewel or Garnet sweet potatoes just because those varieties are typically available at my local grocery stores. That said, Beauregard sweet potatoes tend to be stringier so when given the option I go for Jewel or Garnet.
Store you sweet potatoes in your pantry or on the counter top at room temperature. They’ll last about a week before they start to go bad (which usually means getting wrinkly and soft).
No! Many grocery stores use the terms “yam” and “sweet potato” interchangeably, but the two are actually quite different. Real yams have rough brown skin, starchy white flesh and a long, cylinder shape. Sweet potatoes usually have smooth, thin orange skin with orange, white or purple flesh. They’re shorter and wider than yams and have a much sweeter taste.
Even if you buy a “yam” at the grocery store you’re more than likely actually buying a sweet potato as yams aren’t widely available at grocery stores throughout the U.S.
Yes! This is a great recipe to double if serving a larger crowd. Just bake in a 9×13 baking dish and cook as directed. It might need a few extra minutes to bake.
While I don’t recommend it flavor wise, you can use canned sweet potatoes in a pinch. Just make sure to drain them well before mashing otherwise the casserole could turn out watery.
It’s not recommended as it could change the texture and consistency of the casserole.
I didn’t have any issues with my marshmallows burning, but if you notice yours are getting too brown you can easily cover the casserole with aluminum foil towards the end of the baking time.
More Holiday Sides:
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Wild Rice Stuffing
- Sourdough Stuffing
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Pecan Pie
- Thanksgiving Salad
More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try:
- Perfect Baked Sweet Potato
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pie
- Sweet Potato Muffins
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole (with pecan topping)
- Dessert Baked Sweet Potato
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies
Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
- Heat oven to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork several times. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Roast 1 hour or until tender. Let cool and remove skin from the sweet potatoes and discard.
- Place flesh into large bowl, mash with a fork or potato masher and measure 6 cups. Save any extra for another use. Reduce oven temperature to 375° F.
- Add sugar, softened butter, salt and vanilla to the sweet potatoes. Stir to combine. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer for this if you'd like.
- Transfer sweet potato mixture to a 9 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Use a spoon to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Top with marshmallows.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until marshmallows are golden. Serve warm.
- You can also boil the sweet potatoes if you prefer. To do so, peel and cube sweet potatoes. Place in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 15 minutes, depending on size. Drain potatoes, mash and measure 6 cups for the recipe.
- If you’re like me and love pecans, you can sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans on top of the sweet potato mixture with the marshmallows.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.