Sweet Potato Casserole
Easy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! Just like grandmom made. Buttery & just sweet enough, with a hint of cinnamon & toasted marshmallows.
It’s the week before Thanksgiving and I couldn’t be happier to be bringing you this easy sweet potato casserole recipe!
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows has been a part of our Thanksgiving meal for years. My kids’ great-grandmother would always bring it to our family dinners. It was her signature dish!
Over the last few years I’ve been doing my best to provide you with all the best Thanksgiving recipes. I’ve shared my traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, my make-ahead mashed potatoes, and a foolproof method for how to make gravy.
And now (finally!) I can add sweet potato casserole to the list!
Sadly, I’m no longer able to get the recipe from Grandmom Marge. But I think I’ve done a good job of reverse-engineering it on my own!
It got the seal of approval from my kids and their dad!
It’s soft and comforting, buttery and just sweet enough, with a hint of cinnamon and a toasty marshmallow topping. It’s the perfect sweet & seasonal side dish to your holiday meal!
WHAT IS SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE?
This recipe is basically just mashed sweet potatoes, with some key add-ins to take it to an absolutely irresistible level!
Honestly, I never really liked sweet potatoes all that much until I tried them this way. Now I just can’t get enough!
On the bottom, there’s a generous layer of buttery mashed sweet potatoes, enhanced with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and folded together with crushed pineapple. Then, it’s blanketed with sweet, vanilla-y marshmallows and toasted in the oven until smoky and caramelized.
All the flavors meld together in the most delicious way!
The dish is on the sweeter side, but somehow it complements all the other savory Thanksgiving flavors and balances everything out.
You’ve gotta try it!
HOW TO MAKE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
This easy recipe comes together in just a few minutes, can be made ahead, and it transports beautifully.
Start by peeling your sweet potatoes and cutting them into chunks.
Place them in a big pot of cold, salted water.
Cover the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat.
Allow the sweet potatoes to simmer in the salted water until they’re fork-tender.
Then drain them and put them in a large bowl, along with unsalted butter.
Mash the sweet potatoes and butter together until you have a smooth puree. I like to use a potato masher for this step, but if you don’t have one you could also use an electric mixer or even just a big fork.
Next come the add-ins. These bring the most incredible flavors to your sweet potato souffle!
Pop in a can of drained, crushed pineapple, a little bit of brown sugar (I like light brown sugar, but dark will work just fine), some cinnamon, and salt.
Fold these add-ins in until well-combined, then transfer the mixture to your baking dish.
Grandmom Marge always made this in a round souffle dish with fluted sides. It became iconic in our minds!
You can use any kind of dish you like, as long as it’s oven-safe and has at least a 2-quart capacity.
Smooth out the top and layer on the mini-marshmallows.
Then it can go into the oven!
Everything is basically already cooked, so you only need to get it heated through and get the marshmallow topping nice and toasty.
CAN THIS BE MADE WITH CANNED YAMS?
I do have an inkling that Grandmom actually used canned yams when she made this.
But you know, I like to make things from whole, unprocessed ingredients as much as I can. It allows me to have more control over the seasoning and sugar content.
The thing about canned yams is they’re usually packed in a sugar syrup and I think that makes things a lot sweeter than they need to be. Sweet potatoes are already so naturally sweet!
I think a better option would be to use the canned sweet potato puree. It’s just pure sweet potato, with no added sugar or anything like that. This would be a great shortcut, if you’re on a time crunch and don’t want to peel, cut, and boil them yourself.
That said, I’m sure you could use drained canned yams too if you really want to. Just cut out the additional brown sugar, and keep in mind that the final result may be quite a bit sweeter.
IS THIS GOOD FOR YOU?
While I do think that this recipe is probably healthier, since it’s made from real sweet potatoes and wholesome ingredients, it is definitely on the sweeter side, and that marshmallow topping can’t have much nutrition in it, lol!
I’ve included a full nutritional workup in the recipe card below, so you can see for yourself.
And if you’re wondering about dietary restrictions, I can tell you this:
- It is naturally gluten-free, as long as you are sure to use gluten-free marshmallows.
- It’s a vegetarian dish.
- You can make it dairy-free and vegan by swapping in your favorite plant-based butter product.
- It’s nut-free and egg-free.
And if that sugary marshmallow topping is just more than you can bear, you can always swap it out for this buttery crumb topping instead: Basic Streusel Recipe. I’m sure it’s much lower in sugar and I think it would taste fantastic, especially if you add chopped pecans!
CAN IT BE MADE AHEAD?
This is definitely a great make-ahead dish and you can bring it with you if you’re celebrating the holiday at someone else’s home.
Here’s what I’d recommend:
- Make the sweet potato mash up to 3 days ahead of time, put it in the baking dish (covered), and keep it in the fridge.
- Top it with the marshmallows when you arrive at your destination, then put it in the oven about 30 minutes before the meal is served.
- Heat it most of the way through at home, then bring it over, top it with the marshmallows, and quickly run it under the broiler to toast up the topping. Or this is a great excuse to break out the brulee torch!
HOW TO SERVE
This is a family style dish that feeds a crowd, so it should be served family-style, along with the roast turkey and all the other trimmings.
Place it on the buffet with a big serving spoon, and let your guests serve themselves. Or, pass it around the table if you’re doing a sit-down meal.
It really doesn’t need any further adornment.
But if you’d really like to gild the lily, you can hit the top of it with a sprinkling of toasted pecans (these cinnamon pecans would be nice!) or a light dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg.
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY RECIPES:
- Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- How to Make Gravy
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Pumpkin Pie
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Sweet Potato Casserole
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2 to 3-inch chunks.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the sweet potatoes.
- Allow the sweet potatoes to simmer until they are fork-tender.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and mash them until smooth, along with the butter.
- Fold in the pineapple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish, then top with mini-marshmallows.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until heated through and toasty on top (approx. 20 to 30 minutes).