My grandma's Southern Classic Sweet Potato Casserole with pecans has been a family favorite for over 70 years! This recipe has stood the test of time and has been a staple at every single Thanksgiving celebration my entire life. The pecan topping is crisp and sweet while the sweet potato filling is smooth and creamy!
This Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet Pecan Topping recipe has been in my family for my entire life. The sweet potato casserole recipe came from my Great Grandma Merritt, my grandma's mother. While she was living in Georgia she needed a tasty recipe to take to her husband's dinner party. Her neighbor at the time shared this southern casserole recipe with her and it was a hit!
Ever since then this sweet potato casserole with pecans recipe has been made every single Thanksgiving with little deviation. My Great Grandma passed away many years ago, but a piece of her lives on through this dish. My great grandma taught it to her daughter, who then taught her daughter who then taught me. I love that I get to carry on the tradition and share it with my family.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Sugar
- Crushed Pineapple
- Vanilla Extract
- A basic large pot
- A 13x9 baking dish
- A bowl (any bowl is cool)
Some nice extras to have:
- A potato peeler (you can use a knife)
- A potato masher (you can use a fork)
- A strainer (you can use a spoon to just scoop the potatoes out of the boiling water)
How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole
Preparing & Cooking the Sweet Potatoes
- First, you will want to peel and chop you sweet potatoes. Try and remove all of the skin you possibly can, this recipe is best with a smooth texture and the peels ruin that.
- Once you have peeled all your potatoes slice them into 4-6 large chunks each. The chunks do not need to be perfect, just make sure they are sliced so they will cook faster.
- Once they are sliced add your potatoes to a large pot of boiling water and cook covered until super done. I say super down because they should be extremely soft. I'm talking to the point where you barely touch them with a fork and it slides through. Once soft, drain the water from the cooked sweet potatoes.
Assembling the Casserole
- Now you will need to combine your classic sweet potato casserole ingredients. You can combine everything in a large bowl, or just toss everything into the baking dish to save you some clean-up. Let's face it, it is Thanksgiving and the dirty dishes are insane. Whichever you choose, combine everything together and mash and stir using fork or potato masher. You want the consistency to look smooth and velvety.
- Smooth out the sweet potato mixture until you have an even layer throughout the baking dish.
Preparing the Pecan Topping
- Next, you will need to make the sweet pecan topping for the sweet potato casserole. To do this combine crushed pecans, melted butter, brown sugar and flour in a bowl and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Place on top of the sweet potato mixture in an even layer and you are done! This pecan topping is my family's favorite part! So don't skimp on it! Yes it is a bunch of sugar and butter but, that is what makes it wonderful!
- Now the southern sweet potato casserole is ready to go into the oven! You will then bake the sweet potato casserole for about 20 minutes until you can see the sides bubbling.
Pro Tips from Grammy
My grandma has been making this southern sweet potato casserole with pecans since she was a little girl with her mom. Although my grandma has passed the casserole recipe down to my mom and I, we never can make the southern sweet potato casserole as perfect as my grandma does. She has that special touch that we will never have.
Overcook to Sweet Potatoes: First, my grandma really cooks her sweet potatoes. The first time I tried to make this southern sweet potato casserole recipe I was boiling the potatoes. I made a comment to my grandma that I thought they were done and for her to tell me the next step. She came over and put the lid back on and said, "No, those aren't soft enough yet."
Since then I always make sure that my sweet potatoes are super soft. This makes the potatoes smooth, creamy and perfect. My grandma also likes to combine the cooked sweet potatoes and other ingredients while the potatoes are still hot. This makes the butter melt and the texture even creamier. If you wait until the potatoes have cooled the mix will not combine as smoothly.
Don't Skimp on the Pecan Topping: Second, my grandma does not skimp on the sweet pecan topping. The pecan topping is my family's favorite part of this southern sweet potato casserole recipe. It fact my mom will steal pecan topping from other pieces and plop it on her own! It is super sweet, buttery and crunchy and the perfect compliment to the creamy sweet potato filling. My grandma uses extra topping on her sweet potatoes every year. So when you make this recipe don't skip on the topping, it is delicious. Also, do not add marshmallows. It is weird and we do not do that here.
YES! Another bonus to this classic sweet potato casserole dish is that you can make it ahead of time! Thanksgiving can be stressful and crazy. One main reason for this is the shuffle of different dishes in and out of the oven and the endless amount of dishes. Making this southern sweet potato casserole ahead of time saves you time and stress on the big day.
If you make it ahead of time cook the potatoes, mix the filling and add everything to your baking dish. Next, make your pecan topping and store it in a separate container. On Thanksgiving just add the pecan topping over top of the sweet potato filling in the baking dish and pop the southern sweet potato casserole in the oven for about 20 minuets and you are done! My grandma makes this southern sweet potato casserole the night before every year and they turn out perfect.
Store leftover sweet potato casserole in the fridge covered for up to 4 days. Make sure the sweet potato casserole is completely cool before storing it.
To re-heat the sweet potato casserole, place desired amount in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until heated through. Alternatively, you can place the entire southern sweet potato casserole with pecans in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
More Holiday Recipes
This Southern Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is extra special to me because it came from my Great Grandma Merritt. It is very special in my family and every year we talk about her when we celebrate Thanksgiving and eat her sweet potato casserole. When I told my grandma I was planning to share this recipe she was so excited. We chatted about her mom, how she got the sweet potato casserole recipe, the first time they had it and some small additions that have been made.
After we chatted she decided to go and look through some of her old recipes. When she was going through them she found her mom's original recipe in the mix. My grandma had no idea she still had this and may have never found it. I like that I can always have the original Sweet Potato Casserole recipe, and look back at it when I feel sentimental.
From my family to yours I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy this Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans.
Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- 6 Large Sweet Potatoes
- 1 8 Oz Crushed Pineapple
- 2 Eggs
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- ⅓ Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Chopped Pecans
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- ⅔ Cups All Purpose Flour
- 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter Melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven in preheating, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Remove skin then chop sweet potatoes into large chunks and add to pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer until sweet potatoes are very soft and cooked through. About 15 minutes.
- Drain cooked sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash and stir together until smooth. Add to a 13x9 baking dish and prepare pecan topping.
- Sprinkle Pecan Topping over the sweet potato mix. Place in oven on the center rack and cook for 20 minutes. Serve Warm and Enjoy!
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Make sure the pecans are thoroughly coated with the brown sugar. Place on top of prepared sweet potato mix.
Thanks for Sharing!