Sweet potatoes are fall staple and, in my mind, a Thanksgiving necessity. This Sweet Potato Casserole is the perfect addition to the holiday table or the dinner table any night of the week. The perfect Butter Pecan Topping adds a beautiful crunch to silky, smooth, and slightly spicy Sweet Potato mash. You can be a holiday hero with this easy make ahead casserole.
How to Make Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole
Perfect Casserole start with Perfectly Cooked Sweet Potatoes
The perfect Sweet Potato Casserole start with perfectly cooked sweet potatoes. It is as simple as boiling the potatoes properly. That sounds easy, but there are some rules when it comes to boiled potatoes. First is wash and peel potatoes thoroughly. Remove all the dirt and skin. Then use a small paring knife to remove any eyes or bruised flesh. Bruised potato will not mash up into a nice soft, fluffy mash. The bruised potato flesh will often stay hard and leave little chunks in otherwise good potatoes.
Next cube the sweet potatoes into 1 ½ inch chunks. Slightly larger pieces of potatoes are ideal for boiling. Really small cubes cook up too quickly and absorb too much water leaving you with a wall paper paste type consistency.
Place the cleaned and cubed sweet potatoes in a pot that gives them a little space, and fill the pot will cool water. The cool water from the tap is just right. Then bring the potatoes to boil on the stove and let them cook until they are fork tender. This ensures that your potatoes cook evenly. If you add the potatoes directly to a boiling pot of water, the outsides will cook first turning to mush as the insides cook.
Finally, drain the sweet potatoes. You can turn them out into a colander or simply place a lid over the top of the pot and turn it out over the stove. Return the sweet potatoes to the hot pot. The heat left in the pot will cause the remaining water to evaporate. Now you are ready to mash.
What makes Sweet Potato Casserole fluffy?
The first step to getting a fluffy Sweet Potato Casserole is perfectly cooked potatoes, but the next thing adding just the right ingredients. A little butter, a touch of heavy creamy, vanilla, and an egg will give this casserole just the right texture. You can throw the butter right in the pot with the potatoes. In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the egg and add cream and vanilla extract to the egg and mix together. Add the egg and cream mixture to the sweet potatoes. Mixing the cream and egg together will make sure you don’t end up with scrambled egg pieces in your casserole.
Add your spices. I put salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a touch of cayenne pepper in my casserole. I think the salt and spice add balance to the dish since the sweet potatoes and pecan topping are so sweet.
Butter Pecan Topping gives your Casserole the perfect Crunch.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans to the butter and use a fork to mix together. This should give you a crumbly topping for your sweet potato casserole.
Save this Make-Ahead Casserole for another Day or Bake Right Away
If you want to save this casserole for another day, just cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To serve remove from the refrigerator about an hour ahead of cooking to take the chill off. Then place in a preheated 375° oven for 45 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160°.
If you are baking your casserole right away, place in a preheated 375° oven for 20 minutes.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”-William Arthur Ward
Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Topping
- 3 Sweet Potatoes
- 3/4 Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper optional
- 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Chopped Pecans
- Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Remove all skin and use a paring knife to remove any eyes or bruised flesh. Cube into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a pot. Make sure the pot is big enough to hold the potato with some extra room. Add cool water to the pot and cover the potatoes completely.
- Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender. Fork tender means you can push a fork easily through the center of the potato chunks and break them apart easily.
- Drain potatoes into a colander and return to the pot. Add 1/4 cup of butter to the pot and let the hot sweet potatoes soften it. Save the remaining butter for the pecan topping.
- In a small bowl beat 1 egg. Add 1/4 cup of heavy cream and 1 tsp vanilla to the egg and mix together. Add the mixture to the pot. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper to the pot to season.
- Using a hand mixer or potato masher mash the cooked sweet potatoes. Make sure to smash away all the lumps and stir all the ingredients in evenly. If you are using a hand mixer, be careful not to over mix.
- Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to an oven safe casserole dish. Preheat oven to 375°
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining 1/2 Cup of butter. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 Cup chopped pecans to the butter and mix together with a fork. Spread the Butter Pecan Topping over the top of the mashed sweet potatoes evenly.
- Place in a preheated 375° oven for approximately 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.