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Grandma will be so proud when you bring this classic Thanksgiving side dish recipe to the table. My easy Sweet Potato Casserole is just sweet enough and requires just 5 minutes of bake time.

Sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish.

Are you tired of playing oven Jenga on Thanksgiving? My easy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe begs for very minimal precious oven real estate on the big day, yet still delivers maximum fall favor and silky texture. Simply pop the casserole dish in the oven as you carve the turkey, and in a mere 5 minutes, it’s ready to scoop and savor.

With just a handful of ingredients required, this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is deceptively easy. It tastes just like the Thanksgiving side dish my mom and grandma swear by, but it will be our little secret that I integrated a few shortcuts. Sweet!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for sweet potato casserole.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Sweet potatoes: Any color will do, although I prefer classic orange for Sweet Potato Casserole. Seek out varieties like Beauregard, Covington, Garnet, and Jewel, all of which are orange-fleshed and widely-available at supermarkets across America.
  • Brown sugar: Just 1 tablespoon is enough to lend a hint of candied sweet potato flavor, which I find totally irresistible.
  • Marshmallows: A full small bag of mini marshmallows should be enough to coat the top of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. For alternative topping ideas, see “Recipe FAQ.”

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt. Add cold water to cover sweet potatoes by 1 inch.
Cubed sweet potatoes in a silver pot with water.
  1. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
A potato cube getting poked with a knife over a colander of sweet potato cubes.
  1. Wipe pot dry. Return sweet potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency. Using a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until just incorporated.
Mashed sweet potatoes in a silver pot.
  1. Stir in hot milk and brown sugar until combined. Season to taste with salt (I like ¼ teaspoon salt). Spread in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
Sweet potato casserole in a white pan before being topped with marshmallows.
  1. Spread marshmallows evenly over the sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish before being baked.
  1. Bake until the marshmallows are lightly browned and puffy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Sweet Potato Casserole recipe makes 12 1-cup side dish-sized servings. In the mood for leftovers or feeding a large crowd for the holidays? Simply double the ingredients and bake two separate 9-inch by 13-inch baking dishes.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: The Sweet Potato Casserole filling can be made up to 3 days in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before adding the marshmallows and baking according to the recipe directions.
Sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

Chances are, the items you see labeled as “yams” in the grocery store produce section are nearly always sweet potatoes. True yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, and feature a rough, dark brown skin that’s reminiscent of tree bark. Botanically, they’re a stem tuber (since they grow below ground) and are a member of the lily family.

Sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory family and are classified as root tubers since they’re a vine crop. Sweet potatoes have smooth red-tinted skin, softer flesh (once cooked), and a naturally sweet flavor. The flesh is either orange, white, or purple, depending on the exact variety.

If I don’t have or don’t want to use mini marshmallows, what else could I try for the topping?

I love your creativity! Consider large marshmallows, a think layer of Marshmallow creme (also known as Marshmallow Fluff), or Homemade Meringue. All should toast up beautifully under the oven’s high heat.

Why does the butter need to be melted and the milk need to be hot?

This not only makes the prep time shorter, since you’re keeping the overall mixture temperature warm as you combine the wet ingredients with the cooked potatoes, but it will also ensure the casserole filling comes together smoothly. The result is a texture that’s creamy and less clump-prone; and oven-ready in a flash.

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Sweet potato casserole in a baking dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Grandma will be so proud when you bring this classic Thanksgiving side dish recipe to the table. My easy Sweet Potato Casserole is just sweet enough and requires just 5 minutes of bake time.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 12 servings (1 cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 321

Ingredients 

  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • ½ cup butter melted (1 stick)
  • 1 cup milk hot
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows

Instructions 

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt. Add cold water to cover sweet potatoes by 1 inch.
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
  • Wipe pot dry. Return sweet potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency. Using a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until just incorporated.
  • Stir in hot milk and brown sugar until combined. Season to taste with salt (I like ¼ teaspoon salt). Spread in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
  • Spread marshmallows evenly over the sweet potatoes. Bake until the marshmallows are lightly browned and puffy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Sweet potatoes: Any color will do, although I prefer classic orange for Sweet Potato Casserole. Seek out varieties like Beauregard, Covington, Garnet, and Jewel, all of which are orange-fleshed and widely-available at supermarkets across America.
  2. Brown sugar: Just 1 tablespoon is enough to lend a hint of candied sweet potato flavor, which I find totally irresistible.
  3. Marshmallows: A full small bag of mini marshmallows should be enough to coat the top of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. For alternative topping ideas, see “Recipe FAQ.”

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 192mgPotassium: 672mgFiber: 6gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 27082IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

    1. Hi Melissa, this can be made up to three days in advance. After spooning the sweet potato mixture into the casserole dish (step 3), cool and cover with foil. Store in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 450-degree oven until heated through, top with marshmallows (step 4) and bake until the marshmallows have browned. I hope you enjoy this! – Meggan

  1. Hi, Meggan, this recipe is wonderful!!! Have you ever added Bourbon to this recipe? I had it one time in New Orleans, and it was delicious!!! I just don’t know how much to add. Thank you.5 stars

    1. Hi Dana, I haven’t, sounds delicious! I would say to add it in small amounts in step 3 after incorporating the cream cheese into the sweet potatoes and taste after they are thickened. (We can always add more!) – Meggan

  2. Wow. You are bringing back a flood of childhood memories with your series of “traditional to the max” thanksgiving recipes.

    Great job!5 stars