Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Pecan Crumble

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble. This side dish is full of flavor and texture, while coming together quick and seamlessly!

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

Greetings from St. Louis! A new week and new city on this crazy amazing once-in-a-lifetime book tour adventure. I actually visit St. Louis quite a bit because my sister and brother-in-law live here. Not sure if you remember their wedding earlier this year? I love visiting because life isn’t as fast paced as the east coast. Coming here always reminds me to sloooooow the heck down.

So yesterday was my first St. Louis book signing. About 65 readers came to see me and, judging by the amount of samples quickly snatched up, I can easily say St. Louis has a major candy addiction too. Meeting so many of you makes all this chaotic travel worth it, so thank you to everyone who has come out to meet me so far. Speaking of… I have another signing in St. Louis tonight at Left Bank Books from 7-9pm. Would love to meet more of you!

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

As promised, I have a couple Thanksgiving side dish recipes for you this week. Because we all know that side dishes steal the show on the Thanksgiving table every year. No offense, turkey, I could easily do without you if my plate is piled high with sweet potato casserole, from-scratch green bean casserole, and stuffing (coming soon!). Besides. We already have dessert covered: three apple pies, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie*. So, side dishes it is!

*Please tell me you’re making one of those pies?!

Sweet potato casserole is my pride and joy. It’s a dish I bring to the table each year and I’m sorry, there are no marshmallows here. Is anyone else anti-marshmallow in the sweet potato casserole scene? I don’t like them in my sweet potato casserole business. I much prefer a crunchy, toasty, praline-esque pecan topping. A little texture on top of that creamy dreamy brown-sugared vanilla sweet potato mash.

So how to make it? Oh my gosh, this is the easiest Thanksgiving side dish and that’s why I’m sharing it today. It has so much flavor, too. It’s a simple mash of boiled sweet potatoes, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, cream, vanilla, and salt. All of the ingredients in the mash serve a unique purpose. Melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla for flavor. Eggs and cream for rich creaminess, salt to bring out all the flavors. Want the richest tasting sweet potato mash? Use heavy cream. It’s a dish you might make only once or twice per year, so why not make it the BEST it can possibly be? That’s my thinking anyway.

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

I like to leave a few chunks in the mashed sweet potatoes for a little texture. You can mash ’em completely smooth if that’s your preference though.

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

Once the sweet potato mash is prepared, smooth it into an oven safe dish or skillet. The topping takes about 5 seconds to make and uses some of the same ingredients as the sweet potato mash. It’s a streusel-type topping made from butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon (of course!!), and Diamond of California pecans.

Crunchy sweet pecan crumble > marshmallows.

Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato mash, like so:

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

Then, bake. That’s all! The best part? You can prep this Thanksgiving side dish ahead of time, which we all know is a total lifesaver leading up to Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you read my make ahead instructions in the recipe.

The sweet potatoes are buttery, creamy, brown-sugared, vanilla scented, and completely luscious. The pecan topping is all sorts of cinnamon-y, toasty, crunchy, and fabulous. Because it’s a little sweet, I like to serve the sweet potato casserole with a sprinkle of sea salt and some savory fresh thyme or rosemary. What a perfect balance of texture and flavor!

Vanilla buttery sweet potato mash underneath a crunchy, cinnamon, and brown sugar pecan crumble! What an easy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. See you tonight, St. Louis! 


Simple Sweet Potato Casserole with a Crunchy Pecan Crumble

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Creamy, comforting, and simple sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan crumble on top. Texture and flavors are spot on!


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled (about 3 large)
  • 1/3 cup (72g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (72g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups (250g) shelled pecans
  • optional: fresh rosemary or thyme, and sea salt for garnish


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot or dutch oven and cover them completely with water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the water and allow the sweet potatoes to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×13 baking pan (or a similar size casserole dish, or a 12-inch deep oven-safe skillet). Set aside.
  3. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the potatoes until relatively smooth– I like to leave some chunks for texture. For your reference, you will have about 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. Add the butter, brown sugar, beaten, eggs, cream, vanilla, and salt. Spoon/pour the mixture into prepared pan.
  4. For the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted butter and pecans until the mixture is totally combined. Spoon evenly over potatoes.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with a little fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve warm.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: This is a great make ahead recipe! Here’s how to get started 1-2 days before– prepare potatoes through step 3, then prepare the topping. Cover each separately and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Then, assemble and bake. Assembled, unbaked casserole can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and continue with step 5. Baked casserole can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and bake at 350°F (177°C) until warmed through.

Keywords: sweet potato casserole,

More Thanksgiving inspiration:

I’ve been getting rave reviews about my creamy butternut squash mac & cheese recently. I love it too; just made it last week again.


My very favorite cornbread recipe!

My Favorite Cornbread Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-2


    1. Pecans always scream “lovely Southern Holiday to me” so it’s wonderful to incorporate them into dishes. Isn’t it fantastic to be the one who brings the best side dish to Thanksgiving….the one that gets gobbled up before the 2nd meal comes along and you even tripled the batch? I love that sensation!!!! 

  1. I’m all about those side dishes too Sally! Being a vegetarian and a celiac, the side dishes are always where the magic lies in holiday meals for me 🙂 I can’t wait to make this one to bring along as my Christmas offering this year and add a little SBA sparkle to our traditional Danish Christmas Eve celebrations! Have fun in St Louis!

  2. Sally – I love seeing all of your pictures from your tour on IG. It looks like you’re really enjoying yourself. I’m sure you’ll need some rest and relaxation in the upcoming weeks. There’s no better way of doing this than diving into some Thanksgiving dishes. YUM!

  3. I do love the idea of a crunch over top of my sweet potatoes! After all, my favorite part of regular mashed potatoes is the crust on top. This salty-sweet creamy-crunchy dish looks divine.

  4. This is the most PERFECT Thanksgiving side dish. I love the crunchy texture that all the pecans give this dish. Makes for something a little more! It looks so good I might need to make it prior to Thanksgiving just to make sure that I get to shovel my face with it first!

  5. YES. This will definitely be front and center on our thanksgiving table! I looooove the use of sweet pecans in place of marshmallows! So gorgeous. Glad you’re having a wonderful time in your travels. How fun that you get to hang with your sister for a bit!!!

  6. Do you have any recommendations for a cinnamon substitute? (Or would it be best to just not include it?) I’m allergic to cinnamon, but I love sweet potato casseroles/pies/etc….sadly they usually have cinnamon.

  7. This looks scrumptious! I love mashed sweet potatoes, and to add that topping….yummy! You are not alone, I too am anti-marshmallow on my sweet potatoes. 🙂

    I will make this after Thanksgiving on a leftover night because, I admit, I am totally stuck on my sweet potatoes, cut into chunks, and put in an electric fry pan with 2 sticks of butter and lots of brown sugar to make a thickened syrupy glaze, cooking them till done. Goodness, that combination is delectable!
    Have fun on your tour!

  8. Amazing, as usual Sally! Our Friendsgiving is this Saturday and I’m all about make-ahead dishes. I’m going to forgo my normal marshmallow-laden dish and try this one out. Thanks so much for the detailed make-ahead instructions, much appreciated <3 

  9. this. THIS! You are pulling at my heart strings! I will take one of these “To-Go” please! 🙂 I love sweet potatoes but my dad doesn’t like them. Maybe I’ll make myself a baby dish for Thanksgiving. Mmm… with cranberry sauce. I cannot wait.

  10. Oh my word this looks amazing! I am totally with you on the sides (and dessert) > turkey. And I could also do without the marshmallows on sweet potato casserole… My aunt typically brings that dish but maybe I can convince her to make this version instead 😉

  11. I’m Canadian, so my thanksgiving has already past, but this dish looks too good to only save for thanksgiving! Maybe I’ll make it as a side along side roasted chicken sometime this season 🙂 

  12. My Mom always did the marshmallow topped sweet potatoes and I would shove the topping to the side. My mother in law has made this recipe for many years and it was love at first bite for me!! This stuff is even good cold, if you’re lucky enough to have any left for the fridge!

  13. You state you use Rosemary, however the picture shows a thyme sprig.  Which one?  Looks yummy and I want to make it for Thanksgiving dinner!  Thank you!

  14. The sweet potato casserole looks really tasty but I love the pot/pan/dish that it is in!! Anyone knows where it is from/brand?

  15. I just made this today for our Thanksgiving dinner for lunch at work.  It taste so good! The pecans on top were perfect with the sweet potatoes.  I like it so much better than marshmallows.  Thanks Sally!

  16. I’ve been making a casserole like this for many years–no marshmallow topping for our family! I usually roast the sweet potatoes for a deeper, sweeter flavor and sometimes put a bit of shredded coconut in the topping. It’s always sooo good!

  17. Had this today for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. Not only does it look great, but it tastes great too!! Did the make ahead steps and it worked like a charm. Thanks Sally, it seems like you are always “with us” at the table. Today`s dish was referred to as Sally`s casserole.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally