A Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe That Will Have Your Guests Asking for More
My sweet potato casserole long ago became a standard for our Christmas and Thanksgiving meals. There would be a mutiny if I ever decided not to make it. Actually, at Thanksgiving, I made two of these and froze one to have at Christmas dinner.
This year, we will be sharing our Christmas Day meal with our dear friends, as neither of us has family coming for the holidays. As more families are blended and scattered, and as travel becomes more difficult due to weather conditions and expenses, more and more people have gatherings that include friends who have no one coming, or nowhere to go for the most important holiday of the year.
This treasured recipe has been in my family for many years. My mother used to add crushed pineapple when she made it, but I never have. Over the years, I have tweaked it to make it a bit healthier. This dish has always been well-received, and get I request for the recipe, as well as for 2nd helpings. I really do believe it is the best sweet potato casserole ever. As usual, with the tiny but healthy changes I’ve made, no one can tell the difference.
This lens is actually two recipes in one, as I have given the recipe for the pecan topping farther down the page. You can always use the age-old melted marshmallows, but this crunchy topping is so-o-o-o much better. After tasting it one time only, I never again made it with a marshmallow topping.
This recipe is for a crowd but can be halved for fewer people, or even quartered for 2 to 6 people. Whenever I make it for just my husband and me, I halve or quarter the ingredients, then bake it in 2 or 3 small casserole dishes, as shown in a photo near the end of this lens. We can have one for dinner, and freeze the other(s).
After cooking the original version, I noticed puddles of butter on top– ugh. I also noticed that when most folks commented on how delicious this is, they also commented that it was like a dessert. One or two even refused my intended desserts claiming they had already had dessert by eating the sweet potato casserole. I wanted them to help eat up my pecan pie, or my red velvet cake, so I decided I had to do something about that sweet potato casserole.
I later realized that the puddles of butter floating on top were coming from the topping, and not from the potato mixture. Still, I have reduced the amount of butter and sugar in both the potato mixture and the topping. I also omitted the Sherry, an ingredient in the original recipe, not because I am a teetotaler, but because alcohol contains only empty calories — no nutrients.
My guests still rave over it, but they also still say it’s almost like a dessert. What can I say?
These Can Be Made Ahead of Time
The potatoes can be cooked ahead of time, then refrigerated until ready to add other ingredients. Please note, however, if the potatoes are cold, the butter will not dissolve completely. Instead, it will break up into tiny pieces. So, if your potatoes are cold you may want to cream, or even melt, the softened butter before adding the potatoes. After baking the casserole, the potatoes will still be very soft until cooled a bit, but should not be soupy.
Prep Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 – 60 minutes
Serves: 20 – 25
- 6 large boiled sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter (softened)
- 3 eggs (beaten) or Eggbeaters
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- nutmeg to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces, then boil until soft.
- Combine cooked potatoes, butter, and sugar using an electric mixer.
- Mix until well blended.
- Add skim milk, orange juice, and salt.
- Mix on medium-high until well blended.
- Adjust seasonings to taste. (We like lots of nutmegs.)
- Add beaten eggs. Mix well.
- Add topping (Recipe is below.)
- Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes, or until set.
Boil the Potatoes
Cut the potatoes into small pieces for faster cooking. I use the slicer blade on my food processor. It turns a lengthy chore into a 5-minute process and produces thin slices which will cook faster. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low-to-medium heat, especially if you are very busy preparing other foods, as well. They should be done in about 20 to 30 minutes. When a fork or knife will slide easily into them, they are done.
About Those Eggs
I rarely taste things with raw eggs for obvious reasons. One precaution I always take with eggs is to wash them well in warm soapy water before cracking them open. This should remove any fecal matter and other bacteria that could be on the outside of the eggshell.
Always take care to break each egg into a separate dish from the other ingredients, in case there is blood in one egg, or in case one egg is otherwise bad. If several eggs are broken into a bowl and one is bad, then all are contaminated. For this reason, what I do when working with multiple eggs, is to break one egg into a measuring cup or small mixing bowl. The next egg, I break into a separate small bowl, as shown in the photo. If that egg is okay, I then pour it in with the first egg. I continue doing this until all the eggs have been opened, checked, then added to the others. Only then do I beat them, and add them to the other ingredients.
One More Thing About Mixtures ContainingRaw Eggs
I have changed the recipe to add the eggs AFTER adjusting the seasonings. It is risky to taste or eat foods containing raw eggs. Do so at your own discretion, and at your own risk.
Sweet Potato Vine Has Lovely Blossoms
This is the blossom of the sweet potato vine. Isn’t it pretty? I’m working on a new article about vegetable blossoms that are edible. I don’t know whether this is one or not, but I’m going to find out.
I grew my own sweet potatoes a few years ago. I no longer have the space for that, and I miss having my own that I know have not been sprayed with pesticides.
Pecan Topping for Sweet Potato Casserole – This also makes a good topping for Pecan Encrusted Fish
Some people use a pecan and brown sugar mixture for topping. Others use marshmallows. I prefer the pecan topping myself, and I recommend cutting the amount of butter by about 1/3.
This topping can also be used on pecan-encrusted fish, particularly grouper, tilapia, or halibut. We tried it on grouper — it was heavenly. Below is my topping recipe:
Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 20 – 25
- 3/4 stick unsalted softened butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Add brown sugar and flour.
- Stir until well blended.
- Add pecans. Mix well.
- Pour over sweet potato mixture, and spread to cover the entire casserole.
- Bake according to casserole directions above.
For many recipes, broken pieces of pecans are fine. But for this type of dish, the pecans should be finely chopped, as in this photo.
Be sure to allow the butter to melt completely before adding the brown sugar and flour. The one time I didn’t, the mixture was smooth and creamy, but too thick to spread well. If yours is too thick, you can add a little bit of water to thin it.
After the melted butter, brown sugar, and flour are completely blended, add the pecans, and stir well. Then just spread it over the potatoes, and bake.