Sweet Potato Pie: the perfect Thanksgiving pie recipe from the American South

Total time: 2H
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
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By Cookist

Wondering what dessert to bake for Thanksgiving this year? Try sweet potato pie! This traditional pie recipe comes from the American South and is a staple for many families when Thanksgiving rolls around. It's similar to pumpkin pie, super easy to make, and doesn't call for many ingredients. All you need are a few sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

It's a phenomenal pie to make ahead of time if you're looking to cut down on your time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, and there's no denying that this pie's sweet flavor and light texture are hard to turn down. Serve sweet potato pie warmed or at room temperature – whichever you choose, don't forget the ice cream!

Sweet Potato Pie Origins

Sweet potato pie dates back to the early colonial period of the United States. It's thought that the sweet potato was used by West African slaves as a substitute for yams. Originally, sweet potato pie was considered a savory dish, but over time, it evolved into a dessert.


Essential Tips for Making the Best Sweet Potato Pie

Baking the sweet potatoes is a must for this recipe. You can bake the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance.

Homemade or store-bought pie crusts work for sweet potato pie.

Use room-temperature ingredients to make your sweet potato pie.

For a sweeter, more decadent pie, swap the whole milk for evaporated milk.

For a richer vanilla flavor, use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract.

Add baking spices like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, or nutmeg for a spiced sweet potato pie.

Sweet potato pie can be made up to three days ahead of time. Store in the fridge until you're ready to serve it.

Serve your sweet potato pie warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of chocolate.

Sweet Potato Pie Topping Ideas 

Whipped marshmallow cream is the classic topping for sweet potato pie, but there are plenty of other delicious ways you can decorate your dessert.

You can add a dash of ginger to the whipped cream to spice things up. Another tasty option is to make a meringue and lightly toast it.

Candied pecans are wonderful as a sweet potato pie topping, as is a brown sugar streusel. Both are sensational for adding an irresistible bit of crunch to every bite.

How to Store and Freeze Sweet Potato Pie

Cooled sweet potato pie can be covered and kept in the fridge. Enjoy within three days. It also freezes well. Frozen sweet potato pie lasts up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and heat before serving.

medium sweet potatoes
Salted butter
1/2 cup
Granulated sugar
1 cup
pure vanilla extract
2 tsp
large eggs, beaten
Whole Milk
1/2 cup
9-inch pie crust
Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp
Ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp

How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Preheat your oven to 400F.

To bake the sweet potatoes, wash them well, then prick them all over with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a tray.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. Take them out and leave them until cool to touch. Lower the oven temperature to 350F.

Remove and discard the sweet potato skin. Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and slightly mash them.

Add butter and mix well.

Add the sugar.

Pour in milk.

Add in the vanilla.

Add in beaten eggs, ground nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well.

Transfer the filling to the pie crust.

Spread the filling evenly.

Bake for 1 hour, then remove the pie from the oven to cool slightly before serving.

Top with whipping cream if desired, then slice and serve. Enjoy!

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