Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

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How to make the best southern sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans. Classic Thanksgiving side dish you can easily make ahead.

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, and nothing says Thanksgiving dinner quite like a delicious sweet potato casserole covered in a gooey marshmallow pecan topping.

I have never been a huge fan of sweet potatoes by themselves. But throw together a good, old-fashioned, southern sweet potato casserole, and I can eat it by the spoonful; it's so good!

spoonful of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows scooped from white baking dish

My grandma made sweet potato and marshmallow casserole every single Thanksgiving. I still remember waiting on the marshmallows to get just brown enough that dinner was finally ready to eat.

This side dish is really easy to make and doesn't take a lot of time to bake, maybe 25 to 30 minutes in all. You can make it the day of, or you can make it ahead of time.

Whether you're serving it as a side dish or on the dessert table, your crowd is definitely going to love it. Speaking of dessert, sweet potato pie is another crowd-pleasing favorite.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my cooking tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the sweet potato casserole recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

Keep in mind, all of the ingredient amounts you’ll need are in the printable recipe card below.

ingredients for sweet potato casserole on white countertop

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Cutting Board and Paring Knife (or Vegetable Peeler) and Chef's Knife

Large Stock Pot

Potato Masher or Hand Mixer

Large Mixing Bowl and Whisk

9×13 Baking Dish

HOW TO MAKE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE WITH MARSHMALLOWS

Making sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is a two-part process, involving both prepping the sweet potatoes and then layering the casserole.

HOW TO PREPARE THE SWEET POTATOES

  1. Peel and cut the washed sweet potatoes into cubes.
  2. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large stock pot, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil on the stove over medium heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork.
  3. When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the water, and add the potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or hand mixer, so they're ready to go into the casserole.
4 steps for how to prepare the sweet potatoes for homemade sweet potato casserole, including cubing sweet potatoes, adding them to large black stock pot and covering with water, placing cooked sweet potatoes in large green mixing bowl, and mashing sweet potatoes with potato masher

If you don't want to go through the process of boiling your sweet potatoes, you can go the easier route and just make pressure cooker sweet potatoes in your Instant Pot. Then peel them and mash them right in the pot with an immersion blender or hand mixer.

HOW TO MAKE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH

At this point, you can pre-heat your oven to 375°F, and lightly spray the sides and bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

  1. Add the softened butter, brown sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt to the sweet potatoes in the mixing bowl, and whisk until everything is well combined.
  2. Stir the chopped pecans into the sweet potato mixture.
  3. Evenly spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the top with marshmallows and the remaining pecans.
steps for how to make sweet potato casserole from scratch, including mixing ingredients in green mixing bowl, whisking pecans into sweet potato mixture, layering sweet potato mixture in white baking dish, and sprinkling mini marshmallows and chopped pecans on top of casserole

At this point, it's ready to bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden brown. Serve it immediately while warm, and store any leftovers in the fridge.

baked sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans in white casserole dish

CAN I MAKE IT IN ADVANCE?

Yes, sweet potato casserole is a great make-ahead recipe.

It's best to mix everything together, leaving the topping off until it is time to bake. You can then place the raw filling in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.

When you're ready to bake the casserole, place the pre-made filling in your baking dish and top with mini marshmallows and pecans. Bake it as normal, at 375°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.

spoon scooping southern sweet potato casserole out of white baking dish and onto small white plate

HOW TO STORE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

A baked sweet potato casserole is best stored in the refrigerator. It will typically keep for up to 4-5 days.

You can either keep it in your baking dish, covering the top with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can alternatively dish it out into an airtight container. Both ways work equally as well!

To reheat, cover your casserole with aluminum foil, and bake at 375°F for 5-10 minutes. It is now ready to serve!

CAN I FREEZE THIS CASSEROLE?

Yes, you can freeze this casserole, although it's best to freeze it before baking.

Simply spread both the filling and the topping in your pan, and cover it with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place it in the freezer, and it will keep for around 3 months.

You can also freeze just the filling in an airtight container, waiting until it's time to bake to spread it in your pan with the topping.

Be sure to let it warm up at room temperature for around 30 minutes before baking. Bake as the recipe directs, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.

serving of sweet potato and marshmallow casserole on gray plate with fork

WHAT GOES WELL WITH SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE?

Sweet potato casserole pairs well with just about anything, but here are some of my favorite recipes.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A YAM AND A SWEET POTATO?

This is a good question. Bon Appétit states, “At most grocery stores, absolutely nothing.”

Most yams that you see in the grocery store are, in fact, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. However, back in the 1930's, Louisiana market growers decided to name their orange-fleshed sweet potatoes “yams,” and the name has stuck even to this day.

Real yams are a different root vegetable altogether, more comparable to a white russet potato than a sweet potato. Real yams are not typically easy to find in the U.S.

CAN YOU USE CANNED YAMS FOR THIS RECIPE?

Real yams will definitely not work. They are far different from a sweet potato.

That being said, most canned yams that are available in American grocery stores are really orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Usually it will state on the can whether or not it is actually a sweet potato product.

If your canned yams are just sweet potatoes, they will make a fine 1:1 substitute for this recipe.

spoon in sweet potato casserole in white baking dish

VARIOUS WAYS TO MAKE SOUTHERN SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

When it comes to making sweet potato casserole, the sky is the limit. Toppings are a great place to start.

  • Instead of topping with marshmallows, try making a brown sugar and pecan streusel topping. This makes for a delicious casserole.
  • Try using a different nut. Pecans are not the only option; almonds and walnuts come to mind.
  • You can also change up the seasonings; sometimes a hint of pumpkin pie spice or just cinnamon goes a long way. Be creative!

HOW TO MAKE THIS CASSEROLE A LITTLE BIT HEALTHIER

Here are some ideas to make southern sweet potato casserole a little bit healthier.

  • If you are looking for a gluten-free casserole, this recipe pretty much fits the bill. Just be sure to check all of your ingredients to ensure that they really are gluten-free.
  • To make this recipe lactose-free, you can substitute just about any dairy-free milk, like almond milk or cashew milk, and you can use ghee in place of butter. These products can be found in most grocery stores and health food stores.
  • You can eliminate the marshmallow topping and simply use a pecan streusel topping.

MORE THANKSGIVING RECIPES:

GET THE PRINTABLE RECIPE

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double image of sweet potato casserole, including top image of spoonful of sweet potato casserole over white baking dish, and bottom image of serving of sweet potato casserole on gray plate with fork

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Yield: 8

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

How to make the best southern sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans. Classic Thanksgiving side dish you can easily make ahead.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Casserole:

Topping:

Instructions

  1. Peel and cut the washed sweet potatoes into cubes.
  2. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large stock pot, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil on the stove over medium heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork.*
  3. When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the water, and add the potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or hand mixer, so they're ready to go into the casserole.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F, and lightly spray the sides and bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  6. Add the softened butter, brown sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt to the sweet potatoes in the mixing bowl, and whisk until everything is well combined.
  7. Stir the chopped pecans into the sweet potato mixture.
  8. Evenly spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle the top with marshmallows and the remaining pecans.
  10. Bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.
  11. Serve it immediately while warm, and store any leftovers in the fridge.

Notes

*If you don't want to go through the process of boiling your sweet potatoes, you can go the easier route and just make Instant Pot sweet potatoes. Then peel them and mash them right in the pot with an immersion blender or hand mixer.

CAN I MAKE IT IN ADVANCE?

Yes, sweet potato casserole is a great make-ahead recipe.

It's best to mix everything together, leaving the topping off until it is time to bake. You can then place the raw filling in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.

When you're ready to bake the casserole, place the pre-made filling in your baking dish and top with mini marshmallows and pecans. Bake it as normal, at 375°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.

HOW TO STORE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

A baked sweet potato casserole is best stored in the refrigerator. It will typically keep for up to 4-5 days. You can either keep it in your baking dish, covering the top with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can alternatively dish it out into an airtight container. Both ways work equally as well!

To reheat, cover your casserole with aluminum foil, and bake at 375°F for 5-10 minutes. It is now ready to serve!

CAN I FREEZE THIS CASSEROLE?

Yes, you can freeze this casserole, although it's best to freeze it before baking. Simply spread both the filling and the topping in your pan, and cover it with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place it in the freezer, and it will keep for around 3 months.

You can also freeze just the filling in an airtight container, waiting until it's time to bake to spread it in your pan with the topping.

Be sure to let it warm up at room temperature for around 30 minutes before baking. Bake as the recipe directs, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.

CAN YOU USE CANNED YAMS FOR THIS RECIPE?

Real yams will definitely not work. They are far different from a sweet potato.

That being said, most canned yams that are available in American grocery stores are really orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Usually it will state on the can whether or not it is actually a sweet potato product.

If your canned yams are just sweet potatoes, they will make a fine 1:1 substitute for this recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 486Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 387mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 8gSugar: 40gProtein: 8g

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