Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

oval ceramic dish of sweet potatoes topped with pecans and a spoon scooping a serving

5 from 6 reviews

This super delicious sweet potato casserole with pecan topping is perfect for Thanksgiving. Mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with maple syrup and spices are baked in the oven with pecans that make the best crunchy topping!


Units Scale
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Steam the sweet potatoes in a steamer basket on the stovetop or in an instant pot using the instructions listed below.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are steaming, preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 1-2 quart baking or casserole dish with butter or baking spray. 
  4. Place the steamed sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the half and half and maple syrup and mash them to the desired consistency. 
  5. Add the ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt and stir to combine everything together.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the pecans, brown sugar, and butter to make the topping.
  7. Place the mashed sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish and crumble the pecan topping evenly over the top.
  8. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are heated through and topping is browned and bubbling.


This recipe yields approximately 4 cups of sweet potatoes or approximately 4-6 servings.

  • Use pure maple syrup for a more intense maple flavor that isn't overly sweet. 
  • Cut the potatoes into similar sized pieces that are approximately one inch in size to help them to steam quickly and evenly.
  • The sweet potatoes can be mashed to the desired consistency. For more texture, mash the sweet potatoes roughly. For a smoother consistency, use a potato ricer or an immersion blender to throughly blend them.
  • Make sure the butter is softened so that is thoroughly combines with the brown sugar and pecans. 

Steam Sweet Potatoes in an Instant Pot

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into one inch cubes.
  2. Place them in the inner pot with 1 cup of water.
  3. Place the lid on and lock it into position, making sure the release valve is set to the "sealing" position.
  4. Using the manual setting, set to high pressure for 10 minutes. Once it comes to pressure, it will seal and begin the cooking time.
  5. Once the cook time is complete, carefully flip the release valve to the "venting" position to quickly release the pressure.

Steam Sweet Potatoes on the Stovetop using a Steamer Basket

  1. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into one inch cubes.
  2. Add about one inch of water to a large pot and place a steamer basket inside.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes in the steamer basket, cover it with a lid and place on the stovetop on medium high heat.
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Dairy Free/Vegan - Substitute the half and half for unsweetened non dairy milk and the butter for a dairy free or plant based butter substitute.
  • No Nuts - The nuts can be omitted from the topping to make a simple brown sugar topping for the sweet potatoes.
  • Marshmallows - Mix 1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows in with the brown sugar, butter and pecans for a sweeter topping.
  • Canned Yams - Canned yams may be used for this sweet potato casserole, but should be thoroughly rinsed and drained before use to prevent the dish from being too sweet. Approximately 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes is needed for this recipe which will be about one 40 ounce can.

Make Ahead Instructions

The sweet potatoes may be steamed, cooled and stored in an airtight container up to 24 hours before mashing them for use in this dish.

The casserole may also be put together up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored unbaked, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before cooking time to allow it time to come to room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and bake as directed.

Unbaked sweet potato casserole can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw the casserole completely in the refrigerator before baking. Once thawed, remove the dish from refrigerator 30-60 minutes before cooking time to allow it time to come to room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and bake as directed.

Storage Suggestions

This sweet potato casserole will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Leftovers can be reheated in microwave or the oven until warmed through.



Keywords: mashed sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole with pecan topping, sweet potato casserole no eggs