Classic sweet potato casserole with layers of creamy spice-infused potatoes, topped with crunchy pecans, rice crisps, and toasted mini marshmallows. This recipe is oven roasted to naturally enhance the sweetness during cooking. So dig in because this side dish will disappear fast!
Sweet potato casserole always gains attention during the holiday season. There’s something about that bright orange mash with crunchy nut topping that makes you reserve a dedicated spot on your plate for a big spoonful. If you have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love the candied version with a blanket of toasted marshmallows on top. One bite delivers velvety potatoes, extreme crunch, and a sticky s’mores texture.
Just like with my baked sweet potato recipe, the dry heat and extended cooking time in the oven allow the starches in the tuber to gradually convert to sugar, bumping up the sweetness profile. The caramel notes and enhanced flavor from this method are important because its the foundation of the casserole.
The casserole ingredients
- Sweet potatoes: Similar size and shape for even cooking
- Heavy cream
- Sweet seasonings: Vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Topping: Chopped pecans, rice crispy cereal, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, salt
- Mini marshmallows (optional): Sprinkled on top, baked and browned right before serving
How to make sweet potato casserole
- Place the foiled wrapped sweet potatoes in a cold oven.
- Roast at 375ºF (191ºC) until a knife inserted in the center of the flesh gives no resistance.
- Puree the cooked potatoes, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a food processor or blender until smooth. Alternately, a potato masher can be used to make mashed sweet potatoes with a slightly chunky texture.
- Combine the pecans, rice cereal, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl.
- Spread an even layer of the sweet potato mixture in a baking dish, then evenly sprinkle the pecan topping.
- Bake at 350°F (177ºC) until the topping sets and becomes golden brown.
Candied marshmallow topping
You might find that the spiced nuts and cereal crust topping is sweet enough, but toasted marshmallows will certainly wow the crowd. Use the small mini marshmallow size so it doesn’t overwhelm the dish. The goal is to create a roasted smores-like melted layer on top. It tastes the best straight from the oven!
The plethora of sweet spices and vanilla gives the sweet potatoes the familiar pumpkin spice flavor. Baking the pecan topping creates a crunchy crust and this side pairs well with slices of turkey breast and green beans. Your inner kid will be squealing for the marshmallow topping, so go ahead and enjoy, calories don’t count during the holidays!
More fall-inspired recipes
Making sweet potato casserole ahead of time
The sweet potatoes can be baked and mashed up to 3 days before, but add the nuts and bake the day of serving. Because there is crispy cereal in the mixture, it’s best to bake it fresh, otherwise, humidity from the refrigerator can make it soggy. If adding marshmallows, I recommend baking it right before serving so it’s warm and gooey, with a crispy browned surface.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (100 g) pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup rice crispy cereal
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cups (133 g) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups (115 g) mini marshmallows
- Wash and dry sweet potatoes and then individually wrap them in foil. Place them on a sheet pan and transfer to the center position of the oven.
- Heat oven to 375ºF (191ºC). Bake for 1 hour then flip. Continue to bake until the potatoes can be easily pierced in the center with a knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool the potatoes slightly, and then peel and transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree on high speed for 1 minute, until fairly smooth.
- Add heavy cream, vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg to the food processor.
- On low speed, process the sweet potato mixture until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer the whipped potatoes into a casserole dish (9-by-9-inch or similar area) and spread out evenly.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (177ºC).
- Combine chopped pecans, rice cereal, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, salt, brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir to combine.
- Evenly spread the topping over the sweet potatoes.
- Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and bubbling.
- Remove the casserole from the oven. Evenly sprinkle marshmallows on top and bake until the surface is lightly browned and slightly melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
- MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Substitute heavy cream for canned coconut milk. Substitute butter for coconut oil.