Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

 Creamy candied pecan sweet potato casserole is easy to make and will leave your guests wanting more and begging for the recipe. 

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
Growing up I had… interesting ideas about food. In some ways, I was very diverse. I’d try just about anything once and I ate my fair share of strange things as the result of not-so-friendly dares from my big brothers. Apparently eating raw whole jalapeños is good for you, “it builds character”. (<—Big fat eye roll)  But in other ways, I was so stubborn about some foods, particularly food flavor combinations. For instance chocolate and fruit did not happen.  To tell you the truth, I still can’t quite get on board with chocolate covered strawberries. I love the chocolate. I love the strawberry.  But when I eat them together, I just can’t shake the feeling that the chocolate is being tainted.

Hey now don’t judge, we’ve all got quirks. Some of us more so than others…. ahem. (who me??)

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

 

I’m still working on the chocolate fruit-thing, I give it a taste every six months or so to see where we stand. Not much progress yet but at least I’m trying. One flavor combination I couldn’t stand when I was younger, but adore now, is the sweet n’ salty thing. I used to hate anything sweet with my dinner. Sweetness was for dessert. Saltiness was for dinner. I hated jello. And in Utah, hating jello is basically unheard of. Oh the numerous church parties, wedding receptions, funerals, and holiday get togethers I had to endure as a jello-hater. (shudder)

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

But the thing that changed my mind about sweet and salty flavors was popcorn. One time I was sitting there, engrossed in The Princess Bride with three of my sisters, when suddenly a Charleston Chew Mini ended up in my handful of buttery theatre-style popcorn. In my mouth it went, popcorn, butter, salt, chocolate, sugar and all. . .

And she lived happily ever after as a sweet & salty flavor-lover. The End.

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

 

Sweet potato casserole is one of those sweet and salty foods you just have to love. As a kid, I always picked around it at Thanksgiving, preferring to focus on my glazed ham and buttery rolls, but now I’m a big fan of sweet potato casserole. My mother never made it with nuts but when I made this version, I just had to go with the pecans. They are crunchy and caramelized to perfection. And you don’t have to candy them beforehand, you just stir the pecans together with some flour, brown sugar, and butter, and then toss them into the oven right on top of the sweet potatoes. Pretty nifty right? Let them get all roasty before adding the marshmallows and then five minutes later, BAM – perfect candied pecan sweet potato casserole ready to be served.

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

4.8 from 4 reviews
Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy sweet potato casserole with a crunchy candied pecan topping and toasted marshmallows.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12-14
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ½ cup milk or heavy cream
topping
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (such as Diamond of California)
  • 3-4 cups mini marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Potatoes can be boiled, drained, and then mashed OR cooked in a slow cooker. If using slow cooker, add sweet potatoes and water to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain slow cooker.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Mash cooked sweet potatoes. Add eggs, vanilla, ½ cup melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and milk (or heavy cream) and mix until smooth. (I like my potatoes to have a bit of texture so I don't whip them for too long).
  3. Spread potato mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a bowl combine brown sugar, flour, ⅓ cup melted butter, and pecans and mix well (with a spoon, not a mixer). Sprinkle mixture over potatoes (it's okay if potatoes aren't completely covered). Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until pecans are caramelized.
  4. Spread marshmallows evenly over pecan mixture. Return to oven for another 5 minutes or until marshmallows are puffy and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Notes
*Fun flavor tip: After dropping pecan mixture over potatoes, sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the pecan layer - this will enhance that salty-sweet flavor combination!

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Comments

Ahhhh those perfect toasted marshmallows, that creamy filling! Yum.

Cannot wait to try this! So I’m wondering if I could chop the pecans and still use the same? My kids can handle bits, not whole pecans…they are weird! My mother made the best candied sweet potato casserole but she passed when I was 14 and you just never think to get those recipes.

I love, love, love sweet potatoes and I LOVE that these are slow cooker too! They look fantastic.. I must make them soon!

This looks crazy good Tiffany!! I adore the salty sweet combo! i meean, pancakes with maple syrup, bacon and an egg UGH TO DIE FOR!

Mmm I love sweet potato casserole, and one’s with pecans are my absolute favorite!! This looks super delicious.

I’m SO quirky when it comes to food. I HATE it when things mix on my plate. My mom actually gave me one of those kiddie divider plates for Christmas 2 years ago, and… I actually use it every time I visit them. No joke. I need to buy a whole set of 12 for me to keep at our apartment. But I digress. I love love love sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving! Especially because as a kid, they still counted as a “side dish” even with the marshmallows, so I felt like I got two desserts by the time I finished my pumpkin pie. Love the candied pecan twist — I’m definitely making my family try that this year! Pinned!

I noticed on the crockpot picture, the sweet potato mixture has brown sugar but was not listed on the ingredients or recipe. It was only added on the pecan mixture. Should I also add brown sugar with the sweet potatoes?

    Yes! I’ve updated that typo in the recipe, it’s one cup of brown sugar! 🙂

    I’m a little confused on this absolutely amazing sounding recipe. As commented earlier the brown sugar, eggs & other ingredients look like they go in the crockpot at the start of crockpot cooking. I know you stated their is an updated recipe but I can’t seem to find it on this site. Anxious to make this recipe for Thanksgiving. Help!!! I’m confused…lol

      Hi Judy, in the picture where the other ingredients are in the crockpot, the potatoes are already fully cooked. 🙂

      Thanks for clarifying that Tiffany. So looking forward to over-indulging on these sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. Have a great Holiday.

Do u think cooking the sweet potatoes & mixing eggs, butter, etc could be done ahead of time? If so, how much in advance? I have a large group this year & would like to make as much ahead of time as I can. Let me know your thoughts?

Can I use canned yams instead of fresh sweet potatoes?

    Also wondering about canned sweet potatoes, how much does the 5 pounds cook down to?

    Thanks!!

      Hi Debbie! I’ve only made this casserole with fresh sweet potatoes so unfortunately I’m not very helpful with the canned ones!

This looks like heaven!

I need a smaller version of this. Would halfing the ingredients work?

Just wondering if most crocks were oven safe? Would it be possible to take the crock out of the heater when the potatoes were done, put the toppings on, then let them toast in the oven, and return the crock to the heater to stay warm?

    Hi Rachel! I’ve never tried putting the crockpot insert into the oven, I’d be a bit nervous to try it. But Another option is to skip the marshmallow topping and just sprinkle the pecan mixture right over the mashed sweet potatoes in the crockpot. I’d let that cook another hour or so before serving. 🙂

Can you use canned yams instead?

    Hi Michelle! It won’t taste exactly the same but if you wanted to use canned yams, you could just skip the pre-cooking part and just mash the yams with the other ingredients, then put it in a casserole dish and follow the rest of the recipe as written. 🙂

So making this for my guests! Pinned!! Thank you 🙂

Made this yesterday and it was simply amazing!! My husband said it was the best tasting sweet potato casserole he had ever had!!

Can this be prepped the night before and refrigerated? I want to bake this the morning of to ensure it’s still freshly baked and delicious.

    I think you could prep it the night before up to the point of baking. I’d try making the casserole, putting it in a baking dish with the pecan topping, and then cover and chill that overnight. Then bake the next day and follow the rest of the instructions including adding the marshmallows. 🙂

      Thinking of using this for a Thanksgiving desert but I wont be able to serve it for at least 3 hours after it is baked because of traveling. Any thoughts on reheating? Or the quality of it reheated?

I noticed that the picture shows all ingredients (minus those for the topping) in the slow cooker but the instructions say to only put the sweet potatoes and water in the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours, then mix everything else in before baking. Can all ingredients be cooked in the slow cooker, then add toppings and bake?

Do eggs needs to be mixed(scrambled) before adding to crockpot or just crack and add?

Also can i use skin milk or does it need to be whole milk (or heavy cream?

    Sorry skim milk

    Nope, you don’t need to mix them first, just crack and add to the pot! 🙂

    You can use skim milk too.

Would you recommend adding cinnamon and/or nutmeg and, if so, how much?

    Hi Erin! Cinnamon and nutmeg would both be delicious, I’d try 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1//4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 🙂

Would using heavy cream make the mix more rich VS. the milk?

    Yes it would make it more rich!

This looks amazing! Do you know if there’s any way to bake some of it in advance and then finish the next day? If you have any tips, that would be great:)

    Hi Amy, I think if you cooked the potatoes the day before then you could put the potatoes in a casserole dish, top with the nut mixture, then cover and chill overnight. When ready to cook, put the casserole in the oven with tin foil over it (to keep it from drying out). That would be my best suggestion!

      Did you use pure vanilla or vanilla extract ?

        Pure vanilla extract!

Do you think you could use almonds instead of pecans? my mom isn’t a huge fan of pecans so I was thinking half pecans and half almonds. Thanks! It looks delicious!

    How does your mom feel about walnuts…?

      She doesn’t like walnuts either. Maybe I’ll do half with nuts half without

        I am concerned about a nut allergy with one of the kids who will be at Thanksgiving and he likes to eat all of the sides. Can I make this without any nuts and if so how would I alter the topping?

          Hi Julie, I would just skip the nuts and just use the topping without it. It won’t be exactly the same but you’ll still get a lot of the flavors in the original version. OR you could divide the casserole between two smaller dishes and put the original nut-topping on one and just do marshmallows on the other one. 🙂

is it possible to make this dish the night before or early morning? I need it by 6:30pm on Thursday night? Thanks!

This is just like my mom’s, but we also put apples into it and it’s amazing. All the year round sweet potato haters eat it up.

Love this recipe! It’s very similar to what we make every Thanksgiving. Here in SE Louisiana, but we call it Sweet Potato Crunch (because of the pecans – without the nuts its Sweet Potato Casserole).

I’ve never used eggs in mine and we do add cinnamon. I’m going to try to cook it completely in the crockpot this year and brown the top with a small torch. 🙂

Hi, I was wondering if you knew about how many cups of sweet potatoes you use because I forgot to weight them at the store so I don’t know how many pounds there are!

I have one more question do you think it would be okay if this evening I mix all the ingredients together, put them in the casserole dish with the pecans on top, covered it and then baked it on thanksgiving?

    Yes I think that would work as long as the potatoes have already been cooked and mashed!:)

About how many small sweet potatoes? I bought a decent sized sack/bag at the grocery store but it seems a bit runny (pre-baking).

    It’s hard to say since I can’t see how small or big the potatoes are but if they’re about 3-4 inches long, I’d say one per person. 🙂

This looks so good! I featured this in a round-up post on my own blog today. I hope that’s OK!

I didn’t see where you added the water in the instructions. Made it without tastes great just wanted to make sure I didn’t need to add the water before I bake? 🙂

Can I half the recipe and it be just as good?? Is this a dumb question … Newbie!

    Yep you should be able to half it just fine! 🙂

Is it ok to do the pecans without flour? I have gluten-free guests. Thanks!

    I haven’t tried it without the four, but I think it will still be delicious! 🙂

I’m prepping the casserole and pecan mixture tonight, but I can’t stop eating the casserole part, that heavy whipping cream just makes it so creamy, and I love e chunkiness off the potatoes, I can’t wait to try it all together tomorrow.

Rave reviews today! I prepped 2 nights before & it turned out perfectly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have never made a sweet potato casserole in my life and I am now in my 50’s but this recipe is the best tasting and the easiest to put together I have ever made. Absolutely delicious. A must recipe to make a part of your traditional Thanksgiving Holiday. Thank you for making it available for others to enjoy.

This was sooooo delicious, by far it was my favorite part about cooking my very first solo Thanksgiving. My boyfriend was missing home and he said they tasted just like his mom’s recipe growing up. Thank you so much for sharing this amazingly wonderful recipe! (I also made your slow cooker mashed potatoes, and they were amazing as well).

This was the best sweet potato casserole ever!!!! I’ve made others and I’ve tasted a few I thought were good, but this is hands down the best recipe! It was the star side dish of the night and one that we will talk about and make each year! Thank you.

This was a hit! LOVE’d by all! Thank you for the divine recipe…will definitely be checking out more of your goodies!!

Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!

Made these sweet potatoes yesterday for Thanksgiving and they were a hit! SO good!! Thanks for the recipe.

Everybody loved this recipe! It was a hit! Thank uou

I don’t usually make the sweet potato casserole for our family Thanksgicing, but I made this for our family Thanksgiving for the first time and it was a HUGE hit. My sister’s international friends loved it the most. It’s now a family favorite and I will be making it in the future too.

Wow!! You’ve made me drool!!! And all my tastebuds are standing on tiptoe!!!!

Hi there I just wanted to let you know my mum had made this recipe version of sweet potato casserole it was yummy both hot and cold any time !! The only thing I am wondering is if you can tell me do I make the potatoes before the topping or vice versa I’m confused and does heavy cream does better then low fat milk sorry for bothering you
– jodie

    You make the potatoes first. Both milks will do fine, heavy cream will yield richer potatoes.

What a delicious dish!!! Made two small changes to the recipe (evaporated milk and glazed pecans) because that’s what I had on hand; also sprinkled a bit of kosher salt on top as the “fun flavor tip” suggested. I took this to a church dinner, and it was a big hit — received several compliments and folks went back for seconds. I was hoping to have some left over, but no such luck. LOL One woman said it had a “unique” flavor, and that was good description — familiar and yet slightly different.

I’m not a great cook, so thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    Mmmm – evaporated milk would be great I bet! 🙂

Awesome recipe!!!! I just tweaked it a bit to make the sweet potatoes chunked. Hubby doesn’t like mashed sweet potatoes so I had to compromise. Lol. This has always been a favorite of mine and I lost the recipe years ago. Glad to have a new one.

    My mother makes hers chunked and I love it!!

Made this for Christmas; it was amazing!!!

I do agree with you about the chocolate and fruit but you gotta try…… dried mango dipped in chocolate……delicious.

    I’m pretty firm on my no fruit+chocolate policy BUT…. I am a HUGE huge mango fan so I might just have to give that a try!!!

Hi!! I made this last year for family thanksgiving and it was such a hit I was asked to make it again as there was not a bite of leftovers last year. This year I need to make this recipe for about 50 people. How many does this recipe serve?? Thanks!!

    Hi Zoe! Isn’t this casserole delish?? I love it and I’m so glad you do too! As for serving a large group – It totally depends on how much each person takes as a serving and whether or not they go back for seconds – but that being said, I think this recipe comfortably feeds 10-12 if each person takes 1-2 medium/large scoops. 🙂

This was the best sweet potato casserole we’ve ever had! So good. I made a half batch for just my family of four and we still have leftovers to go with the rest of the slow cooker glazed ham. My two year old called it candy potatoes. Thanks for the great recipe!

Do you think it would fair well if I made the sweet potato mixture the day before and let it get to room temp before baking? We travel early for thanksgiving but I’d like to make ahead as much as possible.

    Hi Jen, I think you definitely could do that. I would just make the sweet potato mixture and spread it in your casserole dish and top it with the pecan mixture. Then cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Let it come to room temperature just before you’re ready to bake it!

Hi!! I’m a beginner with all things cooking related 😀…This is going to be the first time I bring a dish to my family Thanksgiving!! It looks amazing. Do you peel the sweet potatoes before they go into the slow cooker?? :-/

    Hi Norell! yes, you do peel them first. sweet potato skins tend to get hard when they’re cooked, unlike regular red, brown, or russet potatoes.

Thank you for the best sweet potato casserole recipe! This was my favorite from last night’s dinner. I used marshmallow fluff instead of regular marshmallows and it was perfect!

Going to make this for a large, 50+, group. Was wondering if you think the topping would loose it’s crunch if I kept it warm in one of those counter top roasting ovens?

What was the cup of water for?

I have to tell you that my family and I enjoyed this Sweet Potato Casserole so much. Even my husband, who likes very few veggies, liked it. It is the absolute best I have ever eaten and I just wanted to tell you “Thank You” for sharing. I made it for the first time this Thanksgiving and I’m definitely making it again for Christmas!

    Hi Kristi! I am SO happy to hear that this recipe is a winner for you – especially if your veggie-picky husband is on board!!! I love this recipe and I’m so glad you do to – thanks for taking a minute to let me know how much you like it, your comment made my day! 🙂

Can you use white sweet potatoes? If so, any revisions to the recipe?

    I think white sweet potatoes would work just fine 🙂

This looks amazing! I’m going to make this for a potluck this week at work. Do you use salted or unsalted butter? Also if I prepare this and bake it before work with all the toppings, do you think it will be ok already cooked with all the toppings , then put back in the fridge and reheat a few hours later?

    I use unsalted.

Can you use yams instead of sweet potatoes?

Could I make this ahead of time and cook tomorrow

Wonderful dish! New famply favorite for Thanksgiving! Thank you!

It’s my third time making this today (two last thanksgiving) and it was specifically requested by my family!! Thank you xoxo

Maybe cook at a higher temperature because the pecans didn’t caramelise that well for a while but I think they might have a little bit after the marshmallows. However the potatoes where delicious and the topping tasted like my grandmothers Louisiana pralines.

I’m getting ready to pop this into the oven now. I accidentally added two eggs so we’ll see how it turns out. My d-in-law doesn’t eat pork so I made fresh marshmallow’s. Looks delish!! Oh…I didn’t have enough cream so I substituted egg nog. ‘My bad!!

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I love this recipe, I don’t bake or cook but this was easy enough and my family love it. Well actually just my bro in-law and father in-law, rest don’t like sweet potatoes so I ended up eating 3 lbs of it! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

What were the measurements for adding nutmeg and cinnamon

I bet using an electric pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot, would cut those 4 hours of cooking the potatoes down to under an hour. Do you think that would that be a good alternative? Also, does it matter if I use salted butter or unsalted butter?

    I suggest salted butter, and I think instant pot is a great alternative!!

I first made this for last years Thanksgiving and it was a huuuge hit! It is SO good.

Just wondering why it calls for 1 cup of water in the ingredients list?

I’ve made this several times for holiday crowds and it’s always a major hit. I’ve always prepped it a couple days in advance since we do so much cooking the day of. The few tweaks I’ve made are adding some fresh orange zest and the tiniest pinch of cayenne pepper. Not enough to make it spicy at all (all the kiddos still eat it), just enough to add some “warmth” and it really elevated all of the other flavors.

    I love that idea of adding a bit of cayenne pepper! I think everything needs a little kick!

I’ve made this recipe a few times and always receive rave reviews. I do cook my sweet potatoes in the oven (poke hols, wrap in aluminum foil and bake 350 degrees until soft) but I doubt it makes any difference to the finished product. Thank you for this recipe!

could i make the topping using gluten free flour? i have someone coming to thanksgiving who has a gluten allergy but i really want to make this recipe.

This looks amazing. the toasted marshmallows- omg!Going to try this very soon! Your photographs are beautiful!