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Classic Sweet Potato Pie

A creamy custard pie with roasted sweet potato filling and fall spices, this classic Southern sweet potato pie is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table and a nice alternative to traditional pumpkin pie.

Close up of slice of sweet potato pie with dollop of whipped cream on white plate.

Ever notice how not everyone likes the pie choices at Thanksgiving? Over the last few years, it’s become abundantly clear that pumpkin pie is not a favorite for all in my house.

But sweet potato pie they like, so sweet potato pie it is. This traditional pie of the South is now making a yearly appearance on our table for the preferred dessert pie. Along with this Dutch Caramel Apple Pie.

Full sweet potato pie with one piece cut out.

After purchasing a few not so good sweet potato pies, I decided to make my own. It’s really quite easy and homemade always tastes better to me. After scouring my cookbooks and the internet, I mostly relied on this sweet potato pie recipe from my Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  1. Baking the sweet potatoes for the filling adds depth of flavor as the potatoes caramelize as they roast and end up sweeter than if boiling the potatoes. It’s an easy extra step and worth the time.
  2. While similar to pumpkin pie, it’s a little milder and denser but not too sweet with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a bit of brown sugar and rum to balance it all out.
  3. Use a frozen pie shell to save time, no need to thaw or pre-bake. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for a shortcut like this. I’m all for crust from scratch, but this is just as good in my opinion with everything else I’ve got going on in my kitchen!

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients photo.

Here’s what you’ll need for this pie:

  • Sweet potatoes  that you’ll roast in the oven for the filling, scooping out the flesh and mashing for the filling.
  • Frozen pie shell  I like the deep dish one from Aldi’s.
  • Eggs, milk and heavy cream  for the custard filling.
  • Both granulated and brown sugars
  • A little cinnamon, nutmeg and salt  for the spices.
  • Rum  
  • Melted butter

HOW TO MAKE SWEET POTATO PIE

Three photo collage, baking and mashing sweet potatoes for pie filling

Step 1: Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven until very tender.

Step 2: Peel off skin, scoop out flesh into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork.

Three photo process collage, making filling and pouring into pie shell before baking.

Step 3: Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Pour into frozen pie shell.

Step 4: Bake about one hour until the filling is firm and set. Let cool completely.

Sweet potato pie cooling on rack after baking.

RECIPE NOTES AND TIPS

  • Definitely bake the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them. Roasted and caramelized makes a huge difference in flavor.
  • You can swap out the rum for bourbon, if you’d like. If you want to omit the rum, I would add a little vanilla extract, maybe 1 teaspoon.
  • No need to thaw the frozen pie shell, just fill it up frozen. If using a prepared refrigerated pie dough, just line the pie plate and pour in the filling. You do not need to par-bake the pie shell first.
  • Three pounds of sweet potatoes should yield two cups of mashed for the filling, about three large sweet potatoes.
  • Baking time might vary by oven, the pie should be firm and set but still a little jiggly in the center.
  • Let pie cool completely before slicing. Store covered in the refrigerator. It’s delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream!

Piece of pie on white plate with whole pie in background.

This old fashioned sweet potato pie is a Southern tradition that’s quite popular as an alternative to pumpkin pie for the holidays. Although my husband thinks it tastes like pumpkin pie, my kids disagree and think sweet potato is way better and I’m inclined to agree.

I think it’s perfect any time of year and is so easy to make it from scratch, I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s guaranteed to get rave reviews, I promise! xxo- Kelly🍴🐦

Front view of slice of sweet potato pie with whipped cream and fork.

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Close up of slice of sweet potato pie with dollop of whipped cream on white plate.

Sweet Potato Pie

A creamy custard pie with roasted sweet potato filling and fall spices, this classic Southern sweet potato pie is perfect for the holidays.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American, Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Roasting sweet potatoes: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 deep dish 9" frozen pie shell crust
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes about 3 large to yield 2 cups mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt I use Diamond Crystal
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400º
    Pierce sweet potatoes several times with fork, place on foil or parchment lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 1 to 1¼ hours.
    Remove from oven, cool slightly to handle and then remove skin and scoop flesh out to large bowl and mash. You should have 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Increase oven temp to 425º
    Add remaining ingredients to mashed sweet potatoes, using a hand mixer beat until smooth.
  • Pour filling carefully into frozen pie shell and place on a baking sheet. Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300º and bake another 50 to 60 minutes until the filling is firm and set but still a little jiggly in the center.
  • Remove to rack and let cool completely. Store covered in refrigerator and serve with whipped cream.

Recipe Notes

  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, the sweet potatoes will caramelize and bubble and drip their sugary syrup as they roast.
  • Use a frozen pie shell, no need to thaw or par-bake. I recommend baking the pie on a baking sheet so it's stable and you have a sturdy vessel to put it in and out of the oven.
  • You can omit the heavy cream and use all milk (1¼ cups) if you'd like. Be sure to use low-fat (2%) or whole milk, not skim.
  • You can swap out the rum for bourbon. If you omit it altogether, add a teaspoon of vanilla instead.
Keyword: sweet potato pie, southern sweet potato pie, classic sweet potato pie recipe
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