Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Topping

Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping that will give you life. A Thanksgiving recipe classic!

Sweet potato casserole! ♡ And let me tell you, friends: this crunchy brown sugar topping will give you life.

You didn’t think I would, but oh yes, in fact, I did.

I am tossing you a Thanksgiving recipe today. THANKSGIVING! And I want you to catch it and love it, okay? It is a deep, rich, sweet potato casserole from scratch with a crunchy brown sugar topping, and it’s comforting and cozy and it’s coming for you right now – ready?

I see two options for you right now. You can fall into a state of shock and awe that it is already borderline time for Thanksgiving (admittedly, this would be my default since usually I don’t even think about Thanksgiving until three days before – WHO AM I RIGHT NOW), OR you can realize the true fact that something this good doesn’t need to just be reserved for Thanksgiving and you can go right on ahead with your best kitchen self and make this happen even BEFORE the clock strikes dinnertime on Thanksgiving Day.

Those are the two options. You can choose.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping with a wooden spoon
Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping in a bowl with a fork

The Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish (Or, Dessert?)

You guys, the strange thing about this sweet potato casserole is that it is very much a dessert, but never once in my Thanksgiving career have I experienced this being served as anything other than a completely luscious side dish to accompany the mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, green bean casserole, and soft white dinner rolls. The flavor just works. It’s that one little pre-dessert side that you might even like more than your real dessert.

This is a recipe that my mom has been making for years, and she got it from one of her friends who has been making it for years before that, and there is a reason is has become a mainstay at Thanksgiving.

First, let’s talk toppings. 👇🏼

Topping For Sweet Potato Casserole

I like to Easy Button my life whenever possible, so I just toss all the topping ingredients in my food processor and give it a go-round till it makes that crumbly, streusel-like topping that we know and love.

We’re talking just four easy ingredients:

  • Pecans
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar

Now, we know some love the sweet fluffy topping of marshmallows, but the texture of this sweet, nutty, crumbly topping just CANNOT BE BEAT. The crunchy topping perfect balances the fluffiness of the mashed sweet potatoes, and just… wow. Trust us, we’ll make a convert of you.

Brown Sugar Topping for Sweet Potato Casserole in a food processor
Brown Sugar Topping for Sweet Potato Casserole in a food processor

Okay, we’ve got the topping.

Now the base.

Ingredients In The Sweet Potato Casserole Base

The sweet potato mixture is as easy as mixing up a muffin batter.

All you need to do is mix all this together:

  • Sweet potatoes (CANNED, which I know seems so retro and perfect and that’s because it is – I’ve made this with non-canned sweet potatoes, and the weight of baked or boiled sweet potatoes is just too heavy, trust me on this one)
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla

That’s it! Now let’s get this in the oven and on the table.

Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping
Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping in a dish with a spoon

How To Make This Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

We’ve got our topping, we’ve got our base, and now it’s time to bring it all together.

It’s this easy:

  1. Mix and pour your sweet potato mixture into a pan.
  2. Top it with your beloved crumble.
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes to get that topping nice and crispy.

And then? The moment of Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole truth.

Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping in a wooden spoon


The soft and sweet bottom layer + the crunchy and nutty top layer work their magic together to make the best sweet potato casserole that you could ever want for your Thanksgiving side-dish domination.

I can’t wait for you to love this one.

Sweet Potato Casserole with a crunchy brown sugar topping in a dish with a wooden spoon

Frequently Asked Questions: Sweet Potato Casserole

Can I use fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned sweet potatoes?

Yes! We actually enjoy the texture of the canned sweet potatoes here, but fresh would work as well. Would recommend that you bake them instead of boil if you go the fresh route as to not add more moisture.

Why are there eggs in this?

The eggs in the sweet potato casserole are what binds it all together without making the base too heavy. Without them, the casserole wouldn’t be quite as fluffy and scoopable!

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

We couldn’t have explained it better than The Spruce Eats. In this recipe, we’re technically using orange sweet potatoes.

Can I prep this ahead of time?

Yep, that should work just fine! Prep it all as listed, and you can refrigerate for 1-2 days before baking. If you want to make it even better, you could also wait to sprinkle on the topping until it’s time to bake.

How can I make this a vegan sweet potato casserole?

To make this vegan, you can sub the butter for vegan butter, the milk for your favorite plant-based unsweetened/unflavored milk, and omit the eggs.

How can I make this sweet potato casserole gluten-free?

Sub in a gluten-free flour (like almond flour) for the all-purpose flour in the topping.

How long can this sweet potato casserole sit out?

Like most foods being served, this should not sit out for more than 2 hours according to the USDA. After that it should either head to the fridge or be tossed!

How should I store and reheat leftovers?

Store in the fridge in a covered container (either the dish it was baked in or a new container). It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, but best sooner than later! To reheat, you can cover it and pop it in the oven again, uncovering it for the last few minutes to crisp it up, or you can hit the easy button and just reheat in the microwave. It won’t be quite as crispy but still delicious!


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Sweet Potato Casserole from scratch with a crunchy brown sugar topping that will give you life. A Thanksgiving recipe classic!

For the sweet potatoes

For the topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the sweet potatoes and add the melted butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, beaten eggs, and a pinch of salt. Stir until incorporated. Pour into a shallow baking dish or a cast iron skillet.

  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecan pieces in a small bowl, using your fingers to create moist crumbs. Sprinkle generously over the casserole. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. Let stand for the mixture to cool and solidify a little bit before serving.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sweet potato casserole, sweet potato recipe, sweet potatoes and brown sugar, brown sugar casserole, thanksgiving casserole

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