Make a classic Southern sweet potato pie from scratch with this easy to follow recipe. Sweet potato pie is a classic American holiday dessert recipe.
Darlings, the late fall/winter holidays are upon us, and this year, I’m so ready for it. We are choosing mindfulness this holiday season. Instead of stressing over every little detail, we want to be present. Think more hot chocolate movie nights and less rushing around buying “stuff” or trying to be everywhere. I want a holiday season with less adult cares and more magic, reminiscent of a simpler time. And I think that’s why I’ve been baking a lot of classic recipes recently, including this sweet potato pie from scratch.
If you’ve never heard of sweet potato pie before, you may not have lived in the Southeastern United States. This pie is one I’ve only come across in the South. It’s similar in texture and flavor profile to a pumpkin pie, but different. And obviously, uses sweet potatoes for the filling.
In fact, the filling can be kind of interesting because you can either puree it like I do here, or slice the potatoes. Both are traditional and up to personal preference. I started making it with pureed sweet potatoes because that’s what I saw in the store.
The Godfather has – to date – vetoed any attempt to try a sliced sweet potato pie. The idea of a dessert that reminds him of potatoes au gratin doesn’t sit well for some reason. But if you’d like to try one, here’s a sliced sweet potato pie recipe that looks good.
The second reason I make this with a smooth filling is that I usually bake this pie with LEFTOVER sweet potatoes. Yes, you read that correctly… this dessert is a recipe to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes. And it works beautifully as long as your mashed sweet potatoes are pretty simple. I don’t usually add more than a pinch of salt and a little butter, so leftovers work very well here. You can use refrigerated leftover mashed sweet potatoes, just warm them a little so you can stir in the filling ingredients. If you add things like cheese or lots of savory seasoning to your sweet potatoes though, I’d recommend making something like croquettes.
But if you do want to make a sweet potato pie AND a super savory sweet potato mash, here’s a trick. Boil or roast some extra potatoes, then separate what you’ll need for the pie before you add your seasoning. Since this pie is better a day or so after it’s baked anyway, you’ll save time. And while cooking is lovely and relaxing, it’s nice to take a few shortcuts.
How to get a smooth sweet potato pie filling
If you want a sweet potato pie that has a texture as smooth as a pumpkin pie, this is your section. If you don’t mind some “potato bits” from a more rustic mash, you can skip this. I’ve done both, and my family really does prefer a very smooth texture, so I’m sharing my tips.
How you cook the potatoes is really up to you. You can roast them, boil them, or microwave them. Both have pros and cons:
- Roasting provides great flavor, but you will need something like a food mill or potato ricer to get a smooth texture.
- Boiling is easy, and you can peel the potatoes before cooking. It’s also a little faster since you can cut the potatoes into cubes for a shorter cooking time.
- Microwaving is very fast, but you still have to wait to peel the potatoes until they are cool enough to handle.
Of the 3, I usually boil for pie. It’s faster than roasting, and I can get a good texture with just my potato masher and a little patience. By the time I add seasonings and bake the pie, no one really notices the difference between the roasting and the boiling. Do what works with whatever you are making and the time available in your kitchen.
As for the crust, I used a single crust from this flaky all butter pie crust recipe. Use your favorite homemade or store bought. The star of the show is the filling for sure.
Bake the pie a day in advance for the best flavor. I worry every time I make this that it’s bland if we cut a slice day 1, but then day 2, the pie is perfect! So if you are making this pie last minute, I’d increase the amount of spices a bit. Otherwise, as written will provide a delicious result. Not too spiced, but a classic sweet potato pie flavor perfect for topping with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I hope you enjoy this recipe darlings! May all your holiday baking this season be enjoyed making beautiful memories with your favorite people. <3
- 1 pie crust, homemade or store bought
- 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- If you haven't already, cook, skin, and mash your sweet potatoes. Use your preferred method. You want the mashed potatoes to be very smooth.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Roll out your pie crust and place in a 9 or 9.5-inch pie plate. Be sure to guide the crust into the corners, don't stretch the dough. Crimp the edges if desired. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, sugar, milk, and spices. Taste and adjust sugar and seasoning if desired. Stir in the eggs.
- Remove your pie crust from the refrigerator and fill with the potato mixture.
- Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes until the center of the filling is just set and the crust has browned.
- Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before cutting. The pie is best the day after it is baked. Cover cooled pie loosely and refrigerate. To reheat, place in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Serve slightly warmed or at room temperature.