My favorite Thanksgiving side dish has been sweet potato casserole ever since I can remember. That’s probably because the casserole is basically dessert disguised as dinner. That’s something I can ALWAYS get on board with. I’m particularly fond of that buttery brown sugar pecan topping. However, I know many people and families prefer the marshmallow topping.
That’s why this is such a crowd pleasing recipe. You can offer your Thanksgiving guests BOTH so everyone is happy! You can even put the best of both worlds on your own plate if you can’t decide.
This recipe is actually an adaption of one of the first holiday recipes I ever posted on the blog way back in 2009. Many years later and I think I’ve only further perfected this recipe! Using fresh sweet potatoes makes a big difference.
The casserole I grew up eating relied on canned yam puree which does cut the oven time down, but it also cuts the flavor. Bake your potatoes ahead of time and refrigerate the flesh until you’re reading to make the casserole.
I also don’t use any processed sugar inside my filling, instead I rely on maple syrup to add sweetness and a nice depth of flavor. Since the topping is so sugary, you really don’t miss the sugar and it makes this casserole slightly more acceptable to eat as a part of dinner.
What’s you favorite part of Thanksgiving? The side dishes? Dessert? Turkey?
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes:
Photos by Patty Kraikittikun-Phuong.
For the casserole:
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the toppings:
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (44 grams) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) pecans, chopped (or more, depending on preference)
- 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a foil or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until they are tender on the inside, about 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Let the potatoes cool slightly then slice open and scoop the flesh into a large bowl, discarding the skins. Mash with a potato masher, being careful not to over-mash. Add the milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and stir until just combined.
In a small bowl combine the flour and butter, cutting the butter into the flour with the back of a fork. Add the brown sugar and pecans and stir until combined.
Spread the potato mixture into a 13 by 9-inch or similarly sized baking dish. Sprinkle the pecan mixture in diagonal rows over the sweet potatoes, leaving a 1 1/2-inch gap between rows. Bake at 350°F oven until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and gently place the marshmallows between the rows of the pecan mixture. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the marshmallows are just golden brown. Serve.