Classic Sweet Potato Casserole

4.55

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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.

Sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish with a portion missing in the corner where a metal spoon is.

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.
Ingredients measured out to make Classic Sweet Potato Casserole: marshmallows, butter, sea salt, coconut or brown sugar, sweet potatoes and vanilla.

Ingredients Needed

  • 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.
Four photos showing the steps to make Classic Sweet Potato Casserole: mixing together mashed sweet potato, butter, sugar, vanilla, adding to a dish, topping with marshmallows and baking.

How to Make

This classic sweet potato casserole recipe is so dang easy to make. Here’s how:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Recipe Tips

  • 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.
A sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish.

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.
A serving of sweet potato casserole in a small bowl with a metal spoon.

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:

Sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish with a metal spoon removing some of the casserole.

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 in a square baking dish with a portion missing in the corner where a metal spoon is.

Sweet Potato Casserole FAQ’s

How do I choose the best sweet potatoes?

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).

Are yams the same as sweet potatoes?

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.

Can I double this recipe?

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.

Can I use canned sweet potatoes for this recipe?

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.

Can I freeze this sweet potato casserole?

It’s not recommended as it could change the texture and consistency of the casserole.

How to I prevent the marshmallows from burning on top?

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:

More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try:

Check out all of my sweet potato recipes and the full collection of Thanksgiving recipes here on EBF.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.55 from 11 votes

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole

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.
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients  

  • 6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, about 4 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Instructions 

  • 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.
    Four large sweet potatoes on a baking tray.
  • 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.
    A fork is used to mash sweet potatoes in a large bowl.
  • 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.
    Mashed sweet potato sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla in a large glass bowl.
  • 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.
    Sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish, topped with mini marshmallows.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until marshmallows are golden. Serve warm.
    Sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish.

Notes

  • 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

Serving: 1 | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 159mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g

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

Additional Info

Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet potato casserole
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating




11 Comments

    1. Ah yay! So happy to hear this recipe was a hit over Thanksgiving, Brigitte! Thanks so much for making it and coming back to leave a review. It means so much to me!

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for Thanksgiving and everyone absolutely loved it, especially me. Sweet potato casserole is always a highlight for me and I’m happy I found your page and tried this one out!

    1. Yay!! This makes me so happy to hear. So thrilled this sweet potato casserole was a success, Lindsay. Thanks so much for the review!

  2. 5 stars
    We added pecans instead of marshmallows and a touch of baking powder to make the potatoes fluffy and it was deeeelicious! Thanks!

    1. Ah yay! So happy to hear this sweet potato casserole was a success, Misty! Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out. I really appreciate the feedback!

  3. 5 stars
    Soooo yummy! Made this today along with the healthy sweet potato casserole to decide which to make for thanksgiving. The kids LOVED this one! Perfect balance of sweet and savory and pretty easy to put together. Highly recommend this one!

  4. I am making your Classic Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving along with your quinoa stuffing (will let you know!). I have made your Crunchy Asian Chopped Salad and Blueberry Corn Chicken Salad from your salad download and my family is raving!

    1. Ahh yay, I love hearing that! Definitely let me know how the sweet potato casserole + stuffing turns out. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This was surprising easy and very tasty dish to make. Made it for the family as I had bought too many sweet potatoes last week and needed to use them. IT turned out perfect.

    1. So glad this dish was a hit, Anita! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I appreciate it. 🙂