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This easy sweet potato casserole is our take on the holiday classic. It's creamy mashed sweet potatoes sweetened with maple syrup and topped with candied pecans. It's a simple recipe that everyone will love, and it's ready in just 55 minutes!
If you love holiday sweet potato recipes, try our pretty sweet potato casserole and our stuffed sweet potatoes with walnuts and pomegranate.
If you grew up with sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you know that no holiday dinner plate is complete without it.
This simple take on sweet potato casserole is lusciously creamy, perfectly crunchy, and some might say drool-worthy. With a generous amount of cream and butter, we can't exactly call it healthy, but it only contains whole food ingredients and we skip the brown sugar and marshmallows.
Instead of ultra-sweet marshmallows, we top this sweet potato casserole with crunchy candied pecans. They add the familiar sweetness to the dish, without being cloyingly sweet like marshmallows. But if skipping the marshmallows feels sacrilegious to you, go ahead and sprinkle some on top!
To make it, all we do is boil the yams until they're soft. Mash them with a fork along with the cream, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. When they're cool, stir in the egg, transfer it to a baking dish, sprinkle with candied pecans, and bake it until bubbly.
If you're hosting dinner this year, save yourself some time by preparing it in advance. It's one of those classic holiday side dishes that everyone enjoys and pairs perfectly with a festive feast!
It's also suitable for vegetarians and it's completely gluten-free.
Why you'll love it
- It's wonderfully easy to make
- It tastes rich and decadent – definitely not watery!
- It's suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free eaters
- You can make it up to 2 days ahead of time
Easy sweet potato casserole ingredients
You only need a few ingredients to make this easy sweet potato casserole recipe:
- Sweet potatoes – sometimes also referred to as yams.
- Cream and butter – make this casserole extra rich and decadent.
- Maple syrup – only pure maple syrup will do here.
- Vanilla extract + salt – so much flavor!
- Egg – the egg acts like a binder to bring this casserole more structure.
- Candied pecans – use store-bought or scroll down for how to make easy maple candied pecans. If using store-bought, check to make sure they are gluten-free if necessary.
How to make this easy sweet potato casserole
This sweet potato casserole is full of amazing holiday flavors, and it also happens to be easy to make. Here's how it comes together in a few simple steps:
- To start, boil the sweet potatoes until soft, drain them through a colander, then return them to the pot.
- Next, add the cream, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and mash the potatoes with a masher or a fork.
- When they're smooth, let them cool slightly, then stir in the egg. Make sure to let them cool enough that they won't cook the egg.
- Place the sweet potato mixture in a prepared baking dish, top with candied pecans, and bake until it's hot and bubbly at the edges.
How to make maple candied pecans
Making this candied pecan topping at home is really easy to do. Of course, you can use store-bought, but with a few simple ingredients, they're ready in no time.
All you need is 2 cups of pecans, ½ cup of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the pecans to a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread them evenly into one layer. Allow them to cool completely, and they're ready to use.
For extra sweetness, we sometimes toss the hot pecans in a little brown sugar before spreading them out to cool.
You will have ½ cup more candied pecans than you need for this recipe so save the extras for a salad or delicious snack!
I love marshmallows on my sweet potato casserole. Can I add some?
Of course! If you love them, sprinkle some on top.
Can I make it vegan?
While the butter and cream can be swapped for non-dairy alternatives, the egg gives the casserole structure. Without it, it will feel more like mashed sweet potatoes rather than a casserole.
Can I prepare it ahead of time?
Yes! To make this casserole ahead of time, prepare the sweet potatoes and assemble the casserole. You can store it, covered in your fridge, for up to two days. Make sure to add an extra 20 minutes to the baking time since the sweet potatoes will be cold.
To prevent your cold casserole dish from cracking in a hot oven, either place the casserole in your oven before you turn it on or let it sit out on your counter for at least a half hour before baking.
How long do leftovers keep?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
What to serve with the best sweet potato casserole recipe
There's something so comforting about sweet potato dishes. They're sweet, filling, and reminiscent of the holidays.
You certainly don't need to wait for special occasions to make it though. It's an easy side dish that can be enjoyed all winter long. Kids love it, too!
- 3 lb sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- ½ cup cream
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 teapoons salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ cup candied pecans
- Put the sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes through a colander then put them back into the pot.3 lb sweet potatoes
- Add the cream, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to the pot then mashed the sweet potatoes with a potato masher.½ cup cream, ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 2 teapoons salt
- Once the sweet potatoes are smooth, let them cool for a few minutes. Then, stir in the egg.1 large egg
- Transfer the sweet potatoes to a buttered casserole dish then top with the candied pecans. Bake the sweet potato casserole for 35-40 minutes, or until it is hot all the way through and bubbling at the edges.1 ½ cup candied pecans
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.