The best sweet potato casserole I ever had! If you’re a fan of this iconic Thanksgiving recipe, you must give this version a try! I make my casserole with lightly sweetened sweet potatoes and a crunchy brown sugar, butter and pecan topping that turns crunchy after baking! The finishing touch is the homemade marshmallow topping! This meringue is so light and fluffy and perfectly complements the sweet potatoes! Make sure to add this amazing Thanksgiving dish to your family dinner!
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Ingredients for Sweet Potato Casserole
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Sweet Potatoes: large, orange sweet potatoes work best for this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: the potatoes are sweetened with brown sugar and topped with a brown sugar topping.
- Butter: both salted and unsalted butter will work great for this recipe.
- Pecans: used for the brown butter topping
- Eggs: eggs are added into the mashed sweet potatoes to make the mixture more rich and creamy.
- Egg Whites: for making the homemade meringue topping!
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Preparing the Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Making a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving is as easy as pie! You can even make the casserole ahead of time, then add the meringue right before serving.
- To make this delicious dish, I start with the sweet potatoes. I use about 4 pounds of potatoes, or 3 to 4 extra large potatoes. The sweet potatoes need to be peeled and chopped into large chunks. Cut the potatoes into even sized pieces for even cooking. I recommend keeping the potatoes submerged in water as you’re working to prevent browning.
- Cook the prepared sweet potatoes in a large pot of water until they’re extra soft. Drain the potatoes and then place into a large mixing bowl.
- Using a mixer, mash the sweet potatoes, combining them with the brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, eggs and egg yolks. I use just ¼ cup of brown sugar for my recipe so the sweet potato filling won’t be too sweet. Feel free to add an additional ¼ cup for a sweeter recipe.
Making the Brown Sugar Pecan Topping
I love every part of this sweet potato casserole recipe but especially the crunchy brown sugar, butter and pecan layer! This layer is made with a butter and flour crumble, then brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and diced pecans are added. As this layer bakes in the oven, the butter melts and caramelizes the brown sugar, creating a crunchy and tasty layer!
To create the butter and flour crumble, I use a pastry cutter. You can also use two large forks to get the job done. Just cube the cold butter into small cubes, then cut into the flour until large crumbles form.
How to Make Homemade Meringue Topping
While most sweet potato casseroles call for store-bought marshmallows, I wanted to make this Thanksgiving recipe with a homemade marshmallow meringue instead! This incredible meringue is so fluffy, smooth and glossy! Plus, it’s easy to make! Here are a few tips for making the best marshmallow meringue topping:
- Make sure your mixing bowl is extra clean! I recommend washing the bowl and whisk attachment with white vinegar to remove any residual grease. Any amount of oil can cause the egg whites to remain flat.
- Cook the sugar syrup using a candy thermometer. I highly recommend getting one since you’ll always find a use for it, even for deep frying! The syrup needs to reach 240F to properly set the meringue.
- Once the syrup reaches temperature, immediately pour it into the egg whites in a slow and steady stream, with the mixer running on medium speed. Do not allow the syrup to cool!
- The finished meringue is safe and has no raw egg whites!! The hot sugar syrup cooks the egg whites to a safe temperature.
How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole
Once you have the sweet potatoes and the pecan topping done, it’s time to assemble this Thanksgiving dish!
- First, I spray the inside of a casserole with baking spray, then spoon in the sweet potatoes in an even layer.
- Next, I spoon on the pecan topping in an even layer all over the layer of sweet potatoes.
- Bake the casserole in a preheated oven at 375F for about 25 to 27 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- While the casserole is baking, it’s the perfect time to make the meringue! Once the sweet potato casserole is done baking, just add the prepared meringue on top.
- To torch the meringue, I like to use my kitchen torch. You can also place the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes to add some color to the meringue.
- Enjoy the casserole warm with the rest of your Thanksgiving sides and main dishes!
Enjoyed this delicious Thanksgiving recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Garlic Butter Turkey – the JUICIEST and most delicious turkey recipe ever, with hundreds of raving reviews on YouTube!
- Creamy Butter Mashed Potatoes – these creamy and delicious mashed potatoes made with chicken broth are a must for the holidays!
- Sweet Potato Thyme & Butter Puree – this delicious potato puree is made with fresh thyme and loads of butter!
- Orange Cranberry Sauce – my homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest is a must for any Thanksgiving table!
- Maple Pecan Pie – the best pecan pie ever, made with maple syrup instead of corn syrup! So delicious and buttery!
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Supplies & Tools for the Recipe
Need some supplies or tools? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Large Casserole Dish: a good casserole tray is a must for every kitchen and it’s so versatile!
- Pastry Cutter: use this tool for making short crust, pie crust and crumbles.
- Kitchen Torch: use this handy kitchen torch for torching the marshmallow meringue! I love this fancy kitchen tool!
- Candy Thermometer: I use this thermometer in the kitchen all the time! For candy making, desserts and even deep frying!
The Best Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe (video)
- 4 lbs sweet potatoes, about 3 to 4 large potatoes
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Brown Sugar Topping:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter, ice cold
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup diced pecans
For Marshmallow Meringue:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Making the Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- Peel the potatoes, then cut them into large chunks. Place into a pot filled with water and bring to boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes for about 20 to 25 minutes (timing depends on the size), until the potatoes are very soft. Drain the water and place the potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
- To the potatoes, add the softened butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using a mixer or a potato masher, puree the potatoes until they’re smooth. Next, add in the eggs and egg yolks and mix again for another minute. Transfer the sweet potato puree into the casserole and level off the top.
Brown Sugar Pecan Topping:
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the brown sugar and pecan topping. Place the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cube the cold butter and add it to the flour, then use a pastry blender or 2 large forks to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
- Next, add in the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using your fingers, blend the brown sugar into the butter and flour. Last, stir in the pecans. Spread this topping evenly over the sweet potato layer.
- Bake the sweet potato casserole at 375F/190C for 25 to 27 minutes, until the topping is caramelized and golden brown.
- While the casserole is baking, prepare the marshmallow meringue topping. Into a very clean mixing bowl, add the egg whites and whisk on high speed for a minute until soft peaks form. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and water but do not stir! Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook the syrup over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the syrup reaches 240F/115C. Do not stir the syrup as it cooks!
- Immediately after the syrup as reached temperature, turn the mixer on to medium speed and pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Add in the lemon juice, then turn the mixer up to high speed and continue whisking for 7 to 9 minutes. The meringue should form stiff peaks and be glossy and fluffy.
- Once the casserole is done baking, add the prepared meringue on top. Using a kitchen torch, torch the meringue to caramelize it. Alternatively, place the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes. Enjoy the casserole warm.