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This homemade sweet potato pie is perfectly sweetened with brown sugar and spiced with the flavors you love in fall. Top it with fresh whipped cream for a simple yet impressive dessert for your Thanksgiving spread.
It’s kind of crazy to think as I’m typing this that almost an entire year has passed since I began my year of pies. To think that 11 whole months have come and gone since I dedicated sharing a pie recipe with you every single month is totally bananas.
I’ve eaten more pie than I ever thought I would, discovered new flavor combinations, and can honestly say I’m 100% a pie fangirl now.
With this 11th month of the year also comes a special time for those of us who live in the USA: Thanksgiving. And with Thanksgiving comes all things pumpkin, cranberry, and sweet potato.
Just a bit ago, I shared with you my recipe for sweet potato crunch (my crunchy spin on the classic sweet potato casserole). And some time before that, I shared my recipe for adorable pumpkin spice cut-out sugar cookies.
I guess you could say it’s safe to say I’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving for a while now!
Today I’m sharing my recipe for homemade sweet potato pie. This Southern-inspired classic is always a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving spread, and is full of those signature fall flavors we know and love.
This sweet potato pie recipe is decadent, custard-like, and perfect for including with your holiday celebrations. But you don’t have to limit it to just the holiday season! You can enjoy this delicious pie anytime of year. Full permission granted!
Oh, and if you haven’t been following along, you have some catching up to do in the pie department. I kicked the year off with the unique banoffee pie, and soon followed it up with Butterfinger pie, coconut custard pie, fresh peach pie, and, most recently, shoofly pie.
Of course, I had so many others in between. Be sure to check out my pie archives to see what I’ve been up to (and of course, make this Southern sweet potato pie while you’re at it).
As far as pies go, the list of ingredients for this Southern sweet potato pie recipe is pretty short and simple. You’ll notice it’s very similar to the way we prepare a traditional pumpkin pie, but there are a couple key differences.
PUMPKIN PIE VS SWEET POTATO PIE: HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
Before I get to the specifics of this particular sweet potato pie recipe, I want to clear the air about pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie being the same thing. Many recipes for both pies call for a combination of pumpkin and sweet potatoes in each respective pie, since they have similar textures and flavors, but the ingredients and final textures differ quite a bit.
In general, a pumpkin pie is more of a custard-based pie. It’s thick, smooth, and creamy and has a slightly heavy mouthfeel. While it is sweetened, it’s typically not as sweet as old-fashioned sweet potato pie and in my opinion, it really lets the pumpkin flavor shine through without sweetening it too much.
Sweet potato pie, on the other hand, is much sweeter than pumpkin pie. It has an almost candied flavor, which allows the sweet potato to glow in its sweet, syrupy glory. The texture is light and the filling just melts in your mouth.
Which is better? You’ll have to make both and do a side-by-side comparison to decide for yourself. But personally, I think they can both come to the Thanksgiving dinner table and live in perfect pie harmony.
Ok, enough who-wore-it-better talk. Let’s talk about the ingredients for this sweet potato pie.
FLAKY PIE CRUST
Now, if you know me at all, you know I’m going to advocate for going the homemade route when it comes to pie crust. But you know what? You should also know I totally won’t judge you if you use a frozen crust.
Do you know why I won’t judge you? Because it’s your kitchen, your rules! If you want to take an easy shortcut, that’s no sweat off my back.
And while I totally think homemade is better, there’s a time and a place for good quality frozen crust, and that’s totally ok. Even if it’s for my super-awesome-totally-favorite sweet potato pie recipe. I promise, you do you, friend.
But if you want to make it from scratch, may I humbly suggest my homemade pie crust recipe? It’s buttery, it’s flaky, it’s a perfect balance of all the things. It’s also been tested and loved for 11 months of pies so far this year alone.
The best part though? It’s shockingly simple to make. I mean, all you need is some flour, a touch of sugar, some salt for balance, cold cubed butter, and some cold vegetable shortening. Bring it all together, add in some ice water and you’ve got the easiest, tastiest pie crust EVER.
Are you sold yet?
SWEET POTATO FILLING
Once you’ve decided on your direction for the pie crust, it’s time to talk about the good stuff: the sweet potato pie filling.
You know from my sweet potato crunch recipe how much I associate sweet potatoes with Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season, so you can understand how I feel about this sweet potato pie.
All of the best flavors of the season come together in a decadent, custard-like-yet-slightly-fluffy filling that has touches of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
This Southern-inspired sweet potato pie uses fresh sweet potatoes, butter (because why not?), brown sugar, heavy cream, eggs, and a touch of flour. Then of course some vanilla extract, the aforementioned wonderful warm spices, and a bit of salt to round everything out.
While the list seems sort of long, it really isn’t because most of the ingredients are basic spices we all keep on hand anyway. The core ingredients are really simple. I have become more and more convinced over my years of baking that simple, quality ingredients make for the best results.
WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
Just when you thought this sweet potato pie recipe couldn’t get any better, here I am telling you that we top it all off with a creamy dollop of whipped cream.
And while I totally want to encourage you to try my homemade whipped cream (seriously, it’s soooo easy to make), I also want to tempt you to try my seasonally appropriate recipe for pumpkin spice whipped cream to complement that sweet potato flavor.
Is it overkill? Absolutely not! You have whipped cream (which is already absolutely amazing), and then you add pumpkin spice into the mix? Well, be still my heart!
Both my standard whipped cream recipe and my pumpkin spice whipped cream call for just a handful of ingredients. Seriously: heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract is all you need for both recipes, plus a little pumpkin pie spice if you desire a seasonal twist.
You could get a can of store-bought whipped cream, but homemade is just as easy and tastes wayyyy better. Just trust me on this one.
HOW TO MAKE SWEET POTATO PIE
This classic recipe for sweet potato pie is really comprised of three elements: the pie crust, the sweet potato filling, and the whipped cream topping.
The benefit of this structure is that it is simple and easy to prepare. No working intricate lattice crusts (although I have a detailed tutorial if you’re interested) or complicated steps. It’s just a good, old-fashioned recipe that has stood the test of time.
So let’s get started!
PREPARE THE PIE PLATE
Before you start making the sweet potato filling, fit a 9″ pie plate with your pie crust.
Even if you go for frozen I recommend that you transfer it to a regular pie plate, since the foil plates are generally too shallow to hold all of the filling. In order to make it reach the edges of the plate, you may just need to roll it a bit thinner first and then drape and press it into the dish.
Then crimp the edges of your dough and place it in the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to fill it with the prepared sweet potato filling.
MAKE THE FILLING
While the pie dough chills in the refrigerator, it’s time to get started on the sweet potato part of the sweet potato pie. Cue the cheering!
Start off by peeling your sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes should give you 1 pound and about 2 cups once mashed) and cutting them into 1-2″ chunks.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add your chunks of sweet potato and boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pieces are fork-tender.
Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking, drain them and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. This will help any excess water evaporate, giving you the perfect consistency for sweet potato pie.
MASHING THE SWEET POTATOES
While you allow your cooked sweet potato cubes to cool, move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
Once the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit, go ahead and mash them. You could use the pot you boiled them in, or transfer them to a large bowl– totally up to you! You could even transfer them to the bowl of stand mixer since that does a mighty fine job of getting them nice and smooth.
Use an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer with the paddle or whisk attachment) to “mash” the cooked sweet potatoes until smooth.
Then add in the brown sugar, heavy cream, eggs, flour, vanilla, salt, and spices. Give everything a good mix until it’s well combined and smooth.
Press out any large lumps of brown sugar with the back of a spatula or your whisk. Small lumps are ok, as they will dissolve easily, but the larger ones should be broken up a bit.
POUR AND BAKE
Once the filling has been all mixed together, remove your pie crust from where it was chilling in the fridge. Pour the filling directly into the crust.
The filling is pretty thin, so you don’t even need to really spread it out. Just give the pie a little tap on the counter and it should sink into every nook and cranny necessary.
Then fit the edges of the pie crust with a pie shield (or a rim of foil). Trust me, as someone who has been baking pies all year, this tool is a game-changer! It allows the entire pie to bake evenly while protecting the vulnerable edges from burning or browning too quickly.
Just remember to remove it when there are 15-20 minutes remaining on the bake time.
Once you’ve got your pie edges all swaddled and secure, you’re ready to bake. Yay! In just a few minutes you’ll smell all those seasonal spices working their magic inside the oven.
Bake the pie for about 55-60 minutes, or until the center of the pie is just slightly jiggly. That means if you were to stick a toothpick into the center of the pie it would come out mostly clean, but with still a little bit of sweet potato on it.
That’s perfect because it will continue to set up outside of the oven.
With about 15-20 minutes remaining, remove that pie crust shield, and stick it back in the oven until mostly set. Once the pie is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve your pie at room temperature or chilled (your preference) and with a gorgeous dollop of homemade whipped cream (or pumpkin spice whipped cream). Adding the whipped cream takes an already spectacular pie to the next level. It’s just absolutely delicious!
If you’re serving this for a big dinner like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, you could even offer a choice of regular whipped cream or pumpkin spice whipped cream for that extra special touch.
I say this traditional sweet potato pie needs to make an appearance at all of your holiday meals for the rest of the year, to be honest. Those flavors, that creamy sweet potato pie that just warms your belly, any reason to make some whipped cream… I could keep going, but I have a feeling you’re convinced already, no?
Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator (covered tightly) for up to 5 days. I like to let it rest at room temperature a bit before serving, but it’s super delicious when chilled too.
Sweet potato pie freezes very well for up to 3 months. Just ensure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a large freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.
CAN I PREPARE THIS PIE AHEAD OF TIME?
Since sweet potato pie stores very well in either the refrigerator or freezer, you can easily make this in advance. I would recommend up to 2 days in advance if you’re going to be storing it in the fridge, and up to a month in advance, if you’re storing it in the freezer. This is for the absolute freshest, best taste, but it can be stored for a bit longer if needed.
Once you’re ready to serve, thaw the pie (if frozen), and slice and serve. Since I think both sweet potato and pumpkin pie taste better when served at room temperature, I would recommend that you allow it to rest at room temperature for a few hours. That being said, some people prefer a chilled pie, so serve it however you like it best!
I’m going to go ahead and assume that if you’re here checking out my delicious sweet potato pie recipe, you’re probably also looking for more holiday-inspired recipes. You can’t skip over my classic pumpkin pie recipe or this addictive sweet potato crunch.
Sweet Potato Pie
- ½ recipe homemade pie crust
- 1 pound sweet potatoes1
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 4 slices
- 1 cup (200g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (120mL) heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fit a 9" pie plate with the pie crust. Crimp the edges and allow to chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill it.
- As the pie dough chills, prepare the sweet potatoes by peeling them, then cut them into 1-2" chunks.
- Bring a large pot of water to boiling, add the cut sweet potatoes, then boil for 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potato chunks are fork-tender. Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Move an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Once the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit, you are going to mash them. You can use the large pot you boiled them in or transfer them to a large bowl. Mash cooked sweet potatoes with a handheld electric mixer until smooth. You can also use the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment.
- Add the brown sugar, heavy cream, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt, then mix again until everything is combined and smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
- Fit the pie crust with a pie shield or foil (remove when there are 15-20 minutes remaining on bake time) then bake the pie for 55-60 minutes or until the center of the pie is only slightly jiggly. If you stick a toothpick into the center of the pie, it should come out mostly clean. Remove the pie from the oven then place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve room temperature or chilled topped with homemade whipped cream or pumpkin spice whipped cream. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Pie freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
- Sweet potatoes: 1 pound of sweet potatoes is typically 2 medium sweet potatoes. After mashing, you will have about 2 cups to use for the pie filling.
- Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.