There is no complete Thanksgiving menu without a sweet potato casserole. This dessert-like side dish is popular for a reason: made with roasted sweet potatoes, flavored with warm fall spices and sprinkled with a brown sugar streusel marshmallow topping. It’s a great make ahead dish that everyone will enjoy.
If you want to elevate this dish you have to not use the canned sweet potatoes. The flavor is all in roasting the sweet potatoes. The roasting amplifies their flavor from the caramelized natural sugar that is in sweet potatoes. Many sweet potato casserole recipes will call for eggs that make the casserole rich and binds it together. I have also made it with eggs but didn’t find a big difference, except no eggs results in a lighter version.
I have also added allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you don’t have these you can add 1/2-1 tsp. of pumpkin pie or apple pie spice blend. Without these fall warm spices the casserole is bland.
The past few years I have been adding some orange zest and have been loving the flavor. Orange is a very fall essence and I think it pairs very well with the rest of the flavors. But it’s not essential, you can leave out.
Instead of the sugar you can add some sweetened condensed milk. Keep in mind it’s very sweet. You want the natural flavors of the sweet potatoes to come thru rather it being overly sweet.
TOPPING- You can certainly top the casserole with just mini marshmallows than bake. I made a streusel topping with is usually a combination of sugar, flour and butter. I have added pecans, because they add a crunch that compliments the creamy mashed sweet potatoes. You can leave out the pecans if you like. We like a mix of the streusel and marshmallows.
It’s a great make ahead dish, there are few steps you can take. Roast the potatoes a day before and keep refrigerated. You can also completely prepare and assemble the dish that just bake before serving. But usually if you are making this for Thanksgiving there is no space in the oven. So I would recommend just baking it the morning of or night before. This way you will only have to heat it thru before serving.
Keep in mind this is a side dish. This recipe can serve anywhere from 6-8. You can double the recipe.
- 3 lb. sweet potatoes (4-5 large sweet potatoes)
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- ⅛ tsp. all spice
- ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 orange
- TOPPING: ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ chopped pecans
- ¼ cup or 4 tbsp. melted butter
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (more or less to your liking)
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Place the potatoes in the center middle rack and roast for about 45 min-1 hr. This time can vary, potatoes just have to be fork tender. Once cooled enough to handle, peel the potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Roughly mash with a fork.
- Add sugar, butter, spices, vanilla, salt and orange zest. Mix well and continue to mash with a fork or a hand-held mixer for a smoother texture. Spread evenly in a medium size casserole dish.
- TOPPING- make the streusel/marshmallow topping by mixing all the ingredients together. It will be a crumble. Spread evenly on the potatoes. You can layer the streusel topping with the marshmallows. Add more or less of marshmallows as you like.
- BAKE- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, this will heat the potatoes thru. May take longer if the casserole was refrigerated. Than take of the foil and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes. Again this time can vary depending on your oven temp. The streusel will brown and the marshmallows will melt and brown. If you want the marshmallows more blistered and brown give it few more minutes, keeping a close eye.
- Serve the casserole warm.