Sweet Potato Casserole ♥ Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, traditional sweet potato casserole, updated with vanilla and ginger, just a few mini marshmallows plus a pecan-panko topping. Delish!
So what if you take the traditional sweet potato casserole then proudly update it, keeping the essentials, honoring the tradition, but somehow transforming it into something contemporary, very now. That's my Sweet Potato Casserole. It's less sweet and has hints of vanilla and ginger. It uses just a few mini marshmallows and intersperses them with a crispy pecan-panko topping. Delish!

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for Make-Ahead Thanksgiving and Autumn Fall Gatherings. Vegetarian.

Some Holidays, You Don't Mess With Tradition

But still, call me surprised to feature a recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. Because until now, nope-nope-nope, I was having nothing-nothing-nothing to do with sweet-sweet-sweet sweet potato casseroles.

Here's How My Sweet Potato Casserole Is Different.

Good sweet potato flavor really comes through.
The texture is soft and pillowy.
This recipe isn't as sweet as many other recipes. The sweetness is there but not over the top.
The best part is the topping mixture, a few mini marshmallows interspersed with crispy bread crumbs spiced with ginger and toasted pecans. It also looks so pretty, which many sweet potato casseroles don't. This is a winner!

Honestly? I wouldn't hesitate to serve it for dessert though I'd put on my marketing hat and call it "sweet potato pudding". If marshmallows are traditional at Thanksgiving, so be it, I'm not messing with tradition!

That said, sweet potatoes don't demand marshmallows! For a sweet potato casserole that's entirely savory, check out the, um, yeah, Savory Sweet Potato Casserole. So good!

"This was the BEST sweet potato casserole I've ever made and eaten! It was a huge hit for Thanksgiving - people ate seconds of this instead of dessert!" ~ Laura

Just updated. First published way back in 2007!


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish portions for a large meal with many other choices

Water to cover
2-1/4 pounds (1000g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces roughly the same size
3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (don't skip this!)
2 large eggs
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream)

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup panko (what is panko?) or crisp bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

A handful of mini marshmallows (then throw away the rest so you're not tempted to eat the little pillows!)

SWEET POTATOES Place water and potatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft and fully cooked. Drain in a colander.

Set the oven to 375F/190C.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, brown sugar, salt and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. (Be sure to work out the little nuggets of brown sugar, they'll burn.) Add the eggs and beat til smooth. Add the half & half and beat til smooth. Transfer to a well-greased two-quart baking dish.

TOPPING Mix the topping ingredients.

BAKE Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the casserole, leaving room for the topping to be sprinkled in between. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until golden brown. Dig in!

THE DAY BEFORE Cook the sweet potatoes and mix the casserole and the topping but keep separate.
DAY OF Return to room temperature. Top with marshmallows and topping and bake until steamy hot in the center, 45 - 60 minutes.
LEFTOVER REPORT This warms up beautifully and may in fact taste better on Day Two and Three.

EXTRA LARGE SWEET POTATOES My grocery only had super-sized sweet potatoes the first time I made this. When peeling and cubing, I could tell they were woody, and while I don't know for sure, I do attribute this to size and would recommend sweet potatoes no bigger than 3/4 pound.
STEAMING vs BOILING The inspiring recipe called for boiling the potatoes. The first time I made this casserole, I thought boiling the potatoes would add too much liquid to the casserole so I steamed them; afterward I wondered if steaming them didn't add enough liquid. The next time I made the casserole, I boiled the sweet potatoes and recommend this as the right treatment.
SWEETNESS & RICHNESS I think that this recipe is good enough to play with, reducing the sweetness and richness and letting the sweet potatoes really come through. Next time, I will drop back to just 1/4 cup of brown sugar and use whole milk rather than half & half. I'd also drop the vanilla back to just a teaspoon.

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Still Hungry?

More Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Recipes

~ Fresh Candied Yams ~
~ Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise ~
~ Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ Mashed Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~

~ My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes ~
~ My Very Best Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ~
~ Mashed Sweet Potatoes ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

SEASONAL EATING: Mid November Across the Years

Creamed Turnips Curried Rice “Vegged Up” Chayote Squash East African Pea Soup Gratin of Greens Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Gravy Smothered Cabbage Autumn Sunchoke Salad Fresh Candied Yams Twice-Baked Potatoes Leek & Root Vegetable Gratin Sweet Potato Casserole Cauliflower Cream Creamy Brussels Sprouts Gratin Cauliflower Mac n Cheese Thanksgiving Succotash Mashed Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar (< this week's favorite!) Savory Sweet Potato Casserole Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry & Orange Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes Thanksgiving Turkey Vegetable Platter Pumpkin Granola Roasted Green Beans with Rosemary & Walnuts

Move aside, turkeys. (No, not you, dear readers! Thanksgiving turkeys!) Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So it's new Thanksgiving recipes all November long for a fabulous collection of My Very Best Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes. Whether it's last year's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy this year, move over turkeys, it's vegetables' time.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015 (repub) & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I feel stupid but what is panko?

  2. You know I do not cook enough with sweet potatoes - to break that rule I actually went out and bought a few today and now you post a lovely recipe idea. Sounds really good!

  3. Thanks for all of your recipes- keep them coming!:-) One thing to note w/ marshmellows- most of them aren't vegetarian as they contain gelatin. For those strict vegetarians, this is an ingredient to avoid. There are vegan marshmellows available (no animal bi-product) but they are a little hard to find and I've only seen the large size marshmellows- never the minis.

    Thanks again- looking forward to trying more of your recipes in the coming months.

  4. Megan ~ Oh dear, don't feel stupid. Panko is one of those ingredients that once you find it, you'll make sure it's always in your pantry. It's bread crumbs, Japanese bread crumbs, that are rougher and crisper but still of consistent size, different than what we can make ourselves with good bread and a food processor.

    Meeta ~ Good for you, m'dear!

    Hi Anonymous ~ Thanks so much for the insight for the vegetarians and vegans who follow A Veggie Venture. Just to be clear (again, so many people wonder), A Veggie Venture is 100% vegetables but is not either vegetarian or vegan, even though naturally, many if not most recipes are indeed that. PS You're so welcome, your note means a lot to me, thank you.

  5. Call me dumb but I never realised what a Northern Hemisphere "holiday food" sweet potatoes were! Please to know though as I love them. I have to admit being suspicious of the idea of marshmallows anywhere near my vegetables... but if you say it's ok...! :)

  6. I reread your sweet potato casserole recipe, and noticed that it calls for 2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
    and will serve 16 people. Is that correct?

  7. Good question, Barbara ~ For "supper" portions, I nearly always allow 1/4 pound of vegetables per serving. But for these rich casseroles, especially if there are going to be lots of other dishes on the table, I cut that in half, assuming that people will take small spoonfuls of many dishes rather than a big spoonful of one.

    Hope this helps --

  8. I'm in charge of the sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving and am making this awesome recipe. My question is: Can I omit the pecans in the topping or can you suggest a subsitute for them?

  9. Suzanne ~ Congratulations, you're planning way ahead! The pecans are optional, for sure, though they do provide a nice crunch that's a good texture contrast.

  10. This was the BEST sweet potato casserole I've ever made and eaten! It was a huge hit for Thanksgiving - people ate seconds of this instead of dessert! My boyfriend said I could make this anytime, and he will be having it again tomorrow for dinner! THANKS!!

  11. Try switching out the brown sugar and replace it with molasses (in moderation). It gives you a hint of sweet, but isn't over powering...

  12. Walter ~ So nice to hear from you! Thanks for the tip, that’s a great suggestion. I’m gonna give it a whirl for Thanksgiving!

  13. Like many things, the idea of using molasses instead of brown sugar I borrowed from another recipe. For years when I made baked beans I used brown sugar until I came across a recipe in a Tabasco cookbook of classic American recipes that used molasses instead of brown sugar. The difference was amazing and I have tried it with other dishes. When I read the sweet potato casserole recipe and your comment about it being too sweet, it just made sense to me to suggest it. I generally shy away from sweet potato casseroles at Thanksgiving dinners because I find the sweetness just too sweet as a side dish...now with sweet potato pie it is a whole different matter!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna