The smell of baked sweet potatoes is enough to evoke some serious family memories for me. Why? Glad you asked! Even though my family moved to Florida when I was young we continued to visit West Virginia every year. We’d drive up (18+ hours!) every November so the guys could go deer hunting and we could spend Thanksgiving with family. One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is sweet potato casserole. I know we’re still two months away from Thanksgiving but don’t fault me for being inspired early. Plus, I’ve just been seriously craving sweet potatoes and cooking them makes your whole house smell amazing.
When it comes to sweet potato casserole there are two main ways to top them – marshmallows or pecan crumble. Sure, there are some people that combine the two into a marshmallow pecan topping but that’s just silly. I mean…pick a side! Sweet potato casserole is not the time for you to demand you can have your cake and eat it too. Anyway, I prefer a pecan crumble on top when I’m serving it as a side and marshmallow on top when I’m serving it as a dessert. This recipe calls for the pecan crumble since, if you ask me, it’s better that way.
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If you’re going to go with a marshmallow topping you can ignore this little paragraph. If you’re going with a crumble top then pay close attention. Don’t substitute the pecans with another type of nut. Ok, so technically you can but anyone that knows sweet potato casserole knows that you shouldn’t. Sweet potatoes and pecans are the best combination. Trust me on this.
Now that the issue of nuts is settled, let me also say that this recipe says to bake your sweet potatoes before using them in this sweet potato casserole. If you insist on doing it, yes you can use canned sweet potatoes or boiled sweet potatoes. Again, I don’t recommend it but it is possible. Besides, I understand that sometimes you’re pressed for time and canned sweet potatoes are the way to go. If you do use canned or boiled sweet potatoes you’ll need to make a few adjustments. Canned sweet potatoes tend to make this dish soggier so you should reduce the amount of evaporated milk. Boiled sweet potatoes don’t release the same natural sugar and flavor you get from baking the sweet potatoes so you should add about 1/4 cup of sugar and another 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
So, even though the holidays are officially a few months away I won’t tell if you start whipping this up now. Besides, I’ve always heard you should never serve a dish at a party or a holiday until you’ve perfected it. If anyone questions why you’re making sweet potato casserole before summer officially ends just tell them you’re practicing so it’s perfect for the Thanksgiving table. 😉
To make this sweet potato casserole with pecans you’ll need:
I’m assuming you have the kitchen basics like a measuring cup and mixing bowls. 😉
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 large sweet potatoes (or 4 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup pecans, broken into bits
- Preheat oven to 325-degrees
- Wash sweet potatoes and pierce the skin multiple times to prepare for baking.
- Bake sweet potatoes at 325-degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until tender
- Remove from oven and let rest until cool to the touch. Peel and mash the sweet potatoes.
- Adjust the oven temperature to 350-degrees and grease a 8 x 8 baking dish.
- Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, melted butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir until blended. Transfer to the baking dish.
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until blended. Mixture should appear thick and a little crumbly. Add pecans and stir until well-blended. Add the crumble mixture to the top of the casserole. The crumble does not spread due to the consistency so add it over the casserole in an even layer.
- Bake until the crumble is a warm golden brown, approximately 35 - 40 minutes. Serve warm.
- Alternatively, you can raise the temperature on the oven to 375-degrees and bake for 1-hour.
- After the sweet potatoes are cool, slice them in half and gently squeeze the potato (with the peel attached) from the end. The potato filling should slide out of the peel easily.
- Use a rolling pin to crush pecans into smaller pieces.
- If you are using canned sweet potatoes, reduce the evaporated milk to 1/3 cup.
Give them a try and tag me in your pics on IG @honeyandpineco or use #honeyandpineco.