How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie

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How to make southern sweet potato pie from Grandma's recipe box. Simple and easy, old-fashioned, family favorite Thanksgiving dessert from scratch.

This delicious southern sweet potato pie recipe is one I'm sharing from my grandmother's recipe box (though I've tweaked it just a bit). The recipe card actually has my Aunt Jennie's name written at the top, along with a date from 1980.

slice of southern sweet potato pie with whipped cream topping and fork on ivory colored plate

As a little girl, we would often visit family in Texas, including my Great Aunt Jennie. Aunt Jennie was one of a kind, and it was always fun going to see her.

While I've never been a huge fan of sweet potatoes, I do love me some good old-fashioned sweet potato pie… And apple crumb pie and classic pecan pie and caramel custard pie, yum!

Add a dollop of whipped cream on top, and you've got a very yummy holiday dessert.

This southern style sweet potato pie is super easy to make, and it doesn't require a ton of ingredients. But unless you're using canned sweet potato, be sure to cook your sweet potatoes beforehand and have them ready to go.

old-fashioned sweet potato pie in baking dish on dark gray countertop

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my baking tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card with a longer how to video.

DOES SWEET POTATO PIE TASTE LIKE PUMPKIN PIE?

Sweet potato pie is basically a sweet potato custard pie. So, yes, it's a lot like your classic pumpkin pie, only it's made with sweet potatoes.

It has the same look, a similar taste (personally, I think it's better than pumpkin pie), and a very similar texture.

INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

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

KITCHEN TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer with Mixing Bowl

Glass Measuring Cup – for measuring out liquids.

Pie Plate 

Pie Shield or Aluminum Foil – to keep the edges of your crust from burning.

Baking Tester – Check whether your pie (or cake) is done.

Wire Rack – for cooling the pie.

Pie Server

Coffee Maker with Coffee – Some of my favorite memories are dessert with my grandmother. She always loved a hot cup of coffee with her pie.

slice of sweet potato pie recipe on white plate with full pie and glass of milk

HOW TO PREP FRESH SWEET POTATOES FOR PIE

You can either boil, pressure cook, or bake the sweet potatoes.

If you decide to boil or pressure cook the sweet potatoes, you'll need to wash and peel them before you cook them. If you decide to bake them, you can bake them in the skins, and then remove the skins after they've cooled.

Then just purée the sweet potatoes in a blender or with an immersion blender to get them ready for pie. You'll want a smooth, creamy texture to your sweet potato purée.

To make the whole process easier, I usually just pressure cook the sweet potatoes in my Instant Pot (set to about 8 minutes with a natural release), then mash them up, right in the pot, with my immersion blender.

HOW TO MAKE SOUTHERN SWEET POTATO PIE

Before you get started, just make sure you've got your mashed sweet potatoes and an unbaked pie crust ready to go. Let's talk about the crust and the filling…

MAKING THE PIE CRUST:

If you prefer a traditional roll-out crust, this pie crust is the way to go. If you want to keep it easy, try  making this easy no-roll pie crust.

MAKING SWEET POTATO PIE FILLING:

  1. Using a mixer, mix together the sweet potato purée, eggs, flour, sugar, softened butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract.
  2. Add in the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whipping the mixture until it's blended well. You may need to scrape the sides of your mixing bowl and mix again.
how to make southern sweet potato pie by mixing up the filling in Pioneer Woman jadeite mixing bowl

Then just pour the batter into your prepared, unbaked pie shell.

pouring sweet potato pie filling into unbaked pie shell

Bake according to the instructions in the recipe card below. Then allow the pie to cool on a wire rack.

Once your pie has cooled, I recommend chilling it overnight in the refrigerator before slicing into it. This is one pie that just gets better and better the next day and the day after that.

Once it's chilled, you can slice it, add a dollop of whipped cream, and you're all set to enjoy every bite, along with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Nothing like coffee to bring all the flavors full circle!

slice of southern style sweet potato pie on white plate with dollop of whipped cream, fork, and bottle of milk

CAN I USE CANNED SWEET POTATO TO MAKE THIS PIE?

Yes, you can use canned sweet potato, which is certainly easier to do.

Though I still prefer to use fresh sweet potatoes for the flavor. They just require a little more prep work.

IS SOUTHERN STYLE SWEET POTATO PIE GLUTEN-FREE?

You can absolutely make it gluten-free by substituting a good cup for cup gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. And then also make the pie crust with gluten-free flour.

Also, be sure to check labels on any of the above ingredients, just to be safe, especially the spices you use.

HOW TO TELL WHEN SWEET POTATO PIE IS DONE

You can use a toothpick, table knife, or cake tester to see if your pie is done, but being that this is more of a sweet potato custard pie, you may still see a bit of residue on your tester. So this may not be an accurate way of telling whether or not it's done.

When you go to take it out of the oven, your pie should still be a little bit jiggly. If it's more than just a little jiggly, it needs more time in the oven.

It's a delicate balance between under-baking and over-baking when it comes to custard pie. On one hand, you don't want it to be uncooked in the middle; on the other hand, you don't want it to crack and be too dry.

The pie will continue to cook even when you take it out of the oven. As it cools, it will firm up; placing it in the fridge after cooling will help even more.

slice of sweet potato custard pie with whipped cream on white plate with fork

If you’re looking for more holiday recipes, you’ll find a whole slew of them on my lists of the Thanksgiving Recipes and the Christmas Recipes.

CAN YOU FREEZE SWEET POTATO PIE?

Yes, you can freeze sweet potato pie. Just make sure it's covered well so it doesn't get freezer burn.

You may also want to make it in a pie dish you don't plan to use again before you take the pie out of the freezer; or use a disposable aluminum pie plate.

The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to freeze pumpkin pie with all sorts of helpful tips that would work just as well for sweet potato pie.

GET THE PRINTABLE SWEET POTATO PIE RECIPE

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest! If you make the recipe, be sure to share that you tried it on Pinterest. I love when readers share feedback!

how to make southern sweet potato pie recipe

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Yield: 8 servings

How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie

How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie

How to make southern sweet potato pie from Grandma's recipe box. Simple and easy, old-fashioned, family favorite Thanksgiving dessert from scratch.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes

Instructions

  1. Using a mixer, mix together the sweet potato purée, eggs, flour, sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. 
  2. Add in the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whipping the mixture until it’s blended well. 
  3. You may need to scrape the sides of your mixing bowl and mix again.
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared and unbaked pie crust.
  5. Bake the pie at 350° for about an hour, or until it’s firm.*
  6. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Once your pie has cooled, I recommend chilling it overnight in the refrigerator before slicing into it. This is one pie that just gets better and better the next day and the day after that.
  8. Once it’s chilled, you can slice it, add a dollop of whipped cream, and you’re all set to enjoy every bite, along with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Nothing like coffee to bring all the flavors full circle!

Notes

*You can use canned sweet potato if you want. Though I still prefer to use fresh sweet potatoes for the flavor. They just require a little more prep work. You can either boil, pressure cook, or bake the sweet potatoes. To make the whole process easier, I usually just pressure cook the sweet potatoes in my Instant Pot (set to about 8 minutes with a natural release), then mash them up, right in the pot, with my immersion blender.

**You can make this pie gluten-free by substituting a good cup for cup gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. And then also make the pie crust with gluten-free flour. Also, be sure to check labels on any of the above ingredients, just to be safe, especially the spices you use.

5. When you go to take it out of the oven, your pie should still be a little bit jiggly. If it’s more than just a little jiggly, it needs more time in the oven. It’s a delicate balance between under-baking and over-baking when it comes to custard pie. On one hand, you don’t want it to be uncooked in the middle; on the other hand, you don’t want it to crack and be too dry. The pie will continue to cook even when you take it out of the oven. As it cools, it will firm up; and placing it in the fridge after cooling will help even more.

Can you freeze sweet potato pie? Yes, you can freeze sweet potato pie. Just make sure it’s covered well so it doesn’t get freezer burn.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 84mg Sodium: 507mg Carbohydrates: 49g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 32g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g

35 thoughts on “How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie”

  1. We never actually had sweet potato pie growing up in West Texas, but my dad would always talk about HIS great-aunt’s sweet potato pies growing up! Seems like such a fun legacy :)

    Reply
    • Do you mean real yams, or are you using sweet potato/yam interchangeably? Most yams in the US are only sold in select markets or Latin grocers. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen yams in the stores, but then I’m from the south where we must have our sweet potatoes!

      Reply
      • It should be a large can (not the small cans) of evaporated milk. That’s what’s called for in pumpkin pies, so I would think the same amount of milk is right. That’s 12 oz.

        Reply
  2. Okay I am not a dumb blonde, but I accidentally left out the evaporated milk!!!!! Do you think it is ruined?? My wonderful sweet potato pie is still cooking. (And I was trying so hard to impress my husband.

    Reply
    • Vanessa, oh no! I’m not sure how it will turn out…. that tends to add a bit more flavor and creaminess. You’ll just have to see; let me know how it turns out!:)

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Good Evening Mel, As I live in England, I am fascinated by this sweet potato pie, because I use sweet potato in savoury dishes, but never in sweet dishes.
    I will have to try your recipe, as it is really interesting. I just have to remember I am making a sweet dessert.
    Thank you to your Great Aunt Jennie for this recipe.
    Best Wishes
    Daphne

    Reply
    • Hello, Daphne, I’m so happy you stopped by. Yes, sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving staple, especially in the South. Even our sweet potato casseroles are sweeter in nature. That may or may not be a good thing. :) I hope you enjoy the recipe. Thank you!

      Reply
  4. Woke up early to make this pie. My brain was still sleeping and I accidentally halved the butter 1/4c vs 1/2c. It still turned out great. I used Chinese 5 Spice in addition to the cinnamon and nutmeg, and it worked really well. I think I’ll make this again for Xmas.

    Reply

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