Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
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Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish? This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping is always one of the first to disappear! Cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes with crunchy pecans and brown sugar are a winning combo.

Why You’ll Love This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

  • A holiday staple. Every year, sweet potato casserole with pecans shows up at Thanksgiving, and every year, you better believe it’s a race to get a serving before the whole thing is gone! Nothing beats a simple casserole of creamy mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and cinnamon, topped with crunchy pecans in a streusel-like mixture of flour, brown sugar, and butter. Yum!
  • Easy to make in advance. To make things even easier, you can prepare this sweet potato pecan casserole a day in advance, so you have less to do when you’re trying to prepare a holiday meal.
  • Tastes like Ruth Chris. If you’ve ever had the Ruth Chris sweet potato casserole, you’ll love this recipe. It tastes just like the classic steakhouse side dish!

If you want more ideas for using sweet potatoes this holiday season, be sure to take a glance at this Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows, these Instant Pot Mashed Maple Sweet Potatoes, and my easy Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows.

From top left: Chopped pecans, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, flour, butter, salt.

What You’ll Need

Sweet potato casserole with pecan topping may taste indulgent, but it’s actually made with only a little bit of sugar – and everything in it is from scratch. See the recipe card below for measurements.

For the Casserole

  • Sweet Potatoes: Peel them, and cut them into chunks.
  • Salt: Some for the cooking water, and some for the actual casserole.
  • Butter: While I often use unsalted butter for baking, in this recipe I like to use salted. If you use unsalted, you might want to add just a pinch of additional salt.
  • Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar, or for a more molasses-y taste, use half light and half dark brown sugar.
  • Cinnamon

For the Pecan Topping

  • Pecans: Finely chopped. You can do this by hand, or put them in a food processor. If you don’t want to use pecans, feel free to swap them for walnuts.
  • All-Purpose Flour: To bring the topping together and give it some body.
  • Brown Sugar: Again, light brown is my preference, but you could use dark brown, as well.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  • Butter: Make sure to melt your butter to use in the topping.
Close-up shot of a baked sweet potato casserole, to show the texture of the topping.

Do You Put Eggs in Sweet Potato Casserole?

Some recipes for sweet potato casserole call for eggs, but this one does not. Eggs can be great in sweet potato casserole, adding some richness and structure to the mixture, but I find that this simple recipe doesn’t need eggs in order to have a great flavor and perfect texture – and it’s also helpful for those with allergies!

A serving spoon digging into a pecan-topped casserole.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

So just how do you make sweet potato pecan casserole? It’s actually really easy, even if you’re not using canned sweet potatoes. Here’s the scoop.

  • Prepare the sweet potatoes. Cook the sweet potatoes until fork tender. Drain, return to pot, and mash until smooth. Add in the butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the baking dish in a smooth layer
  • Make the pecan topping. Stir together the topping ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.
  • Bake. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes then enjoy.
Baked sweet potato casserole.

Tips & Variations

There’s a lot to love about this Ruth Chris sweet potato casserole recipe, especially when you count all of the variations and twists you can do with it! Here are a few helpful notes on the recipe.

  • Add Oats: Sometimes I also like to add 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats to the topping mixture. If you do this, add 3 extra tablespoons of melted butter to help wet the oats.
  • Sweet Potato Prep: If you prefer not to boil your sweet potatoes, an even easier way is to bake them and remove the skins, and mash. It takes a little longer, but it’s less time standing at the stove.
  • For a Fluffy Texture: If you want to make your sweet potatoes fluffier like a sweet potato soufflé, add an egg and whip the sweet potato mixture with a hand mixer to get lots of air into the sweet potatoes. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
  • For a Creamy Taste: For a creamier sweet potato casserole, swap out the brown sugar in the mashed sweet potatoes for sweetened condensed milk.
A casserole with a portion scooped out, and a serving spoon resting in the dish.

Festive Serving Suggestions

A dish like this works perfectly as part of a Christmas or Thanksgiving feast, so serve it up with all of your family’s favorites. Some of ours include…

  • Stuffing: This easy tutorial for making The Best Homemade Stuffing will have everyone’s mouth watering, long before the meal is ready. Consider yourself warned!
  • Sausage Balls: No one can resist classic Bisquick Sausage Balls – their biscuit-like texture with sausage and cheddar is just too good.
  • Roast Turkey: A big roast turkey just makes the perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, right? And it doesn’t have to be difficult – this post shows exactly How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey.
  • Ham: Of course a big gorgeous ham also goes great with sweet potatoes. Try my favorite easy recipe for Crockpot Ham! Or save some time and make an Air Fryer Ham!
A sweet potato casserole with a serving scooped out and placed on a small plate.

Make Ahead Instructions

Can you make this sweet potato casserole with pecan topping ahead? Absolutely! Prep the sweet potato casserole all the way until the last step, but instead of baking it, wrap it with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate it for up to 48 hours. 

When you’re ready to bake, remove the casserole from the fridge for an hour so that it can come to room temperature. Then bake according to the recipe directions.

A serving of homemade casserole with sweet potatoes and pecans, placed on a white plate with fluted edges.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat. When it comes to reheating, use the oven if at all possible so that the topping is crisped up. If that’s not on the cards, this sweet potato casserole with pecan topping can be reheated in the microwave as well.

Can I Freeze Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole?

Yes, sweet potato casserole with pecan topping can be successfully frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure you wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil – or just pack it into an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

More Holiday Favorites

An overhead shot of a sweet potato casserole in a cast-iron baking dish, topped with chopped pecan topping.
4.7 from 10 votes
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Yield: 12 Servings

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish! Cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes with a crunchy pecan topping are a holiday favorite.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

For the Casserole

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 2” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the Pecan Topping

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13” baking dish. Set aside.
  • Add sweet potatoes and salt to a large pot and add water till sweet potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Drain sweet potatoes and return to pot. Mash sweet potatoes until smooth, then add in butter, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mash again until well combined.
  • Transfer the mashed potatoes to the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top into an even layer. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, stir together the pecans, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and melted butter until well combined. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes in an even layer.
  • Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until topping is lightly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes after baking to set up, then serve warm!

Notes

Tips and Variations:
  • You can use walnuts in place of the pecans if you prefer.
  • Sometimes I also like to add 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats to the topping mixture. If you do this, add 3 extra tablespoons of melted butter to help wet the oats.
  • If you prefer not to boil your sweet potatoes, an even easier way is to bake them and remove the skins and mash. It takes a little longer, but is less time standing at the stove.
  • Can I make this ahead? Absolutely! Prep the sweet potato casserole all the way until the last step – baking it. Instead, wrap it with saran wrap or foil and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours. When ready to bake, remove casserole from the fridge an hour before you want to put it in the oven and let it warm up to room temperature. Then bake according to recipe directions.
  • If you want to make your sweet potatoes fluffier like a sweet potato soufflé, add an egg and whip the sweet potato mixture with a hand mixer to get lots of air into the sweet potatoes. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
  • For a creamier sweet potato casserole, swap out the brown sugar in the mashed sweet potatoes for sweetened condensed milk.
Storage:
  • Fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in fridge.
  • Reheat: I like to reheat this casserole in the oven, whenever possible, for best results. But it can be reheated in the microwave as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 334mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 19g

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3 Responses
    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      I don’t recommend canned sweet potatoes because they are normally already sweetened or seasoned. You want plain mashed sweet potatoes. Hope this helps!

Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.