This is the BEST Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe! Made with tender, creamy sweet potatoes, a buttery streusel topping and toasted sticky-sweet marshmallows, this classic side dish stands out at any holiday or weeknight dinner table! If you love this dish, you will love my Garlic Butter Sweet Potato Fries, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe.
As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of all things sweet. Even when it comes to everyday meals, I always seem to need to incorporate a touch of sugar. I love to douse filets of salmon in maple syrup and toss brown sugar into vats of beef stew. To me, the balance between sweet and savory is essential.
If it isn’t reasonable to add sugar to the main course, I find a way to incorporate it into the side dish. Sweet Potato Casserole is an almost dessert-like dish that feeds into my sugar addiction in the best way possible. You may think this simple and traditional casserole is only meant to be served at a holiday table but, you deserve a weeknight indulgence.
Take a risk tonight, treat yourself and let’s get our casserole on, shall we?
WHAT IS A SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE?
A Sweet Potato Casserole is one of the most quintessential Southern side dishes. At almost any Southern holiday dinner table you can find a pyrex dish full of hot, potatoey goodness. It all starts with a layer of smooth mashed sweet potatoes that have been loaded with warm spices. The second layer is composed of brown sugar, oats, butter and more spices to create the most satisfyingly crisp crumble. Marshmallows act as the final touch to make each bite smoky, sweet and beyond indulgent.
If your mouth isn’t watering yet, I promise it will be once you take that first glorious bite. This casserole is a must have in your Southern recipe tool belt!
What is the History?
I can’t be the only one who has looked at a strangely delicious dish and thought “who in the world invented this?”. Every recipe has started somewhere and, more often than not, the history behind it is fascinating.
Candied sweet potatoes have been enjoyed in the Americas for over two hundred years! But, the first recipe for a Sweet Potato Casserole that included marshmallows was published in 1917. A company known as Angelus Marshmallows, also the the original maker of Cracker Jacks, was the first to print a casserole recipe that featured marshmallows. The recipe was used as a marketing ploy to sell more of their product.
Though their marshmallows are no longer on the market, their iconic recipe has taken on a life of its own (rightfully so).
HOW TO MAKE A SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Casseroles are notoriously easy to make; they consist of various layered components to make for one easy, delicious dish. Whether made as a side dish or as the main event, casseroles are always a big hit in my home. Sweet Potatoes are the star of this casserole but its counterparts are equally as important and delicious.
Cinnamon & Nutmeg
These two spices are sweet potatoes’ best friend; both are aromatic and woody. Their addition helps to create warmth while also balancing out sweetness.
Brown sugar has a deep, caramel-like flavor due to the added molasses. Rather than add an excess amount of sweetness, brown sugar creates depth. I absolutely love how the sugar interacts with the spices to create warmth and an almost toffee-like taste.
Old Fashioned Oats
When tossed with flour, sugar and butter, then baked, oats create the perfect crunch. Crisp oats make for a stunning textural element that offsets the soft, creaminess of the potatoes.
This casserole is quite sweet so it’s important to incorporate savory elements that create balance. Salted butter adds a liveliness to the casserole and aids in enhancing flavor. Let’s not forget about that buttery finish on your tongue after each bite.
Marshmallows are sticky, sweet and tastiest when slightly toasted. If you love a good S’more then I promise you’ll love this casserole.
Be sure to layer your Sweet Potato Casserole to your specific preferences. The ratio of sweet potato, crumble and marshmallow is yours to play with. No matter how it comes together, it’s bound to be tasty!
MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME
Looking to save a little time? Whip up your sweet potato mixture up to three days in advance and store it in your refrigerator. Be sure to leave the marshmallows off until you’re ready to bake. Let the casserole dish sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before topping and baking.
ADDITIONAL SWEET POTATO RECIPES
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you need more sweet potatoes in your life. They’re sweet, starchy and so incredibly versatile.
Here are a few of Grandbaby Cakes’ BEST sweet potato recipes:
Sweet Potato Casserole
For Sweet Potatoes
- 3 1/2-4 lbs sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup salted butter
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
For the Crumble Topping
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 6 tbsp light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon can go up to 1/4 tsp
- Dash of nutmeg
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- Marshmallows for topping
For the Potatoes
- Fill a large pot with sweet potatoes and water about an inch higher than potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Completely drain potatoes and place back into the pot.
- Using a hand mixer (or ah and masher), blend potatoes until mostly smooth. Next add butter, sugar, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix until well combined and potatoes are smooth.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13" casserole dish.
- Spoon mashed potatoes into dish and smooth with a spatula.
For the Crumble Topping
- Whisk together flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add melted butter to dry ingredients and mix with a fork to create crumbs.
- Add marshmallows to top of mashed sweet potatoes then sprinkle with crumble topping.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crumble is crisp and marshmallows are golden brown. You can also broil marshmallows a bit if you want them to have a more torched look.