This sweet potato casserole has a delicious sweet and creamy filling that is perfect with the buttery pecan topping. So classic and so good!

It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving meal without this casserole! My version of this iconic dish balances the flavors in the sweet filling and also offers just the right amount of golden, buttery topping.

Scoop taken out of sweet potato casserole in white baking dish.

Sweet Potato Filling

The base of this casserole starts with cooked sweet potatoes (stovetop and Instant Pot method included in the recipe).

After the potatoes are drained and get a light mash, add:

  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • milk or evaporated milk
  • melted butter
  • vanilla
  • salt

Mix it all up until thick and creamy.

Prepare the Topping

The buttery pecan topping for this sweet potato casserole recipe is so good! And while I’m currently calling it “topping,” if we’re really being honest with ourselves, I think we can all recognize it for what it is: STREUSEL.

You know. The stuff that usually goes on dessert. No one around here seems to complain that a couple days a year we get to eat dessert disguised as a potato dish.

Spread the sweet potato filling in a 9X13-inch dish, top with the tasty streusel topping, and bake until piping hot.

Pecan Topping vs Marshmallow Topping

I grew up eating a variation of this casserole topped with marshmallows that were broiled until golden. Well “eating” is a broad generalization here. I did NOT enjoy sweet potato casserole growing up.

But my mom loved it and made it every year for Thanksgiving. The toasty marshmallows always made me think I’d like it (I mean, hey, I was a kid after all, and in the face of marhsmallows, who would say no??) until I would try it and realize that nope, once again a sweet potato s’mores with the texture of pumpkin pie was most definitely not my thing.

Fast forward to now. In my more mature fifth decade on this earth, I’ve learned a lot about myself, including how I do and do not like my sweet potato casserole.

Serving spoon with scoop of sweet potato casserole and pecan topping.

The Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole

Turns out, I like it just like this.

The sweet potato filling is creamy and sweet with enough salt to make the flavors pop and enough texture to minimize the pumpkin pie vibes. The topping not only adds buttery sweetness, but the toasty pecans give the crunch that my soul longs for with this classic casserole.

My other favorite sweet potato casserole is this ultra-simple version with a tasty hint of orange and cayenne in the filling and a broiled brown sugar topping.

I’d love to know where you stand on sweet potato casserole? Love it? Hate it? Tolerate it?

Several of my kids list sweet potato casserole as their favorite thing at the Thanksgiving spread, so it’s a for sure on our menu. If you’re looking for a really classic but also leveled-up version, this recipe is for you!

Fork scooping bite of sweet potato casserole with pecan topping.

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Serving spoon with sweet potato casserole and pecan topping.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Buttery Pecan Topping

4.97 stars (30 ratings)


Sweet Potato Filling:

  • 3 medium (or 4 to 5 small) sweet potatoes, about 2 1/2 pounds (see note)
  • cup 2%, whole, or evaporated milk
  • ⅓ to ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Buttery Pecan Topping:

  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  • For the potatoes, peel and cube the sweet potatoes. You should have about 6 cups or 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of cubed potatoes. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  • Lightly mash the sweet potatoes. Add the milk, brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and salt, and mix until evenly combined.
  • Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  • For the topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour and salt. Add the butter and mix until evenly combined. Add the pecans and toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the filling is hot throughout and the topping is golden. Serve immediately or cover with foil and keep warm for up to an hour before serving.


Sweet Potatoes: the potatoes can also be cooked in the Instant Pot with 1  cup water. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Quick release the pressure (if liquid bubbles from the valve, close the valve, wait a few minutes and try again). Drain and use in the recipe.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 260mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 18g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe