Don’t let the demure looks or unassuming name of this old-fashioned Sweet Potato Pie fool you. This pie is deeply spiced, silky smooth, and topped off with a homemade marshmallow whipped cream. If that idea alone doesn’t speak to your soul, then the toasted coconut flakes scattered over the top will.

Old fashioned sweet potato pie recipe on a plate topped with whipped marshmallow cream

It might be one of the great losses of our time that pumpkin pie is the one who stole the Thanksgiving spotlight. Where traditional, back-of-the-can pumpkin pie can be rather meh—its spice level is weak, and its texture always seems a little too (what’s the word I want?) damp—sweet potato pie is exquisite.

I’m going to go ahead and put this out there: sweet potato pie is declaratively more interesting, delicious, and food-coma worthy than pumpkin pie.

A sweet potato pie tastes like wonderful warm spices, cozy notes of vanilla, and, of course, sweet potatoes. Its texture is firm and luscious, and its flavor confidently autumn.

Unlike a canned sweet potato pie, this homemade version takes advantage of the natural sweetness and smooth texture of fresh sweet potatoes. It’s the dessert your friends will still be talking about long after the festivities have ended.

A slice of sweet potato pie on a plate with whipped cream and toasted coconut shavings

History of Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

As far back as the 16th century, sweet potatoes were being shipped from South America (where they originated) to Western Europe and Africa. In Europe, sweet potatoes became increasingly popular, and locals created a dish known as “sweet potato tarts.” When colonists came to America, they continued to make this dish.

Over time, the sweet potato tart garnered the most fans in the American South (just like this Buttermilk Pie) because they were easier to grow than pumpkins (pumpkin pie became the preferred pie of the American North).

As stoves became more attainable to households around the nation, and processed ingredients like sugar became more accessible, the idea of making formal desserts (like pie) quickly spread, leading to the sweet potato pie that we know today.

So, while pumpkin pie may be the one that’s often considered traditional for Thanksgiving (or at least it is in my family), my theory that sweet potato pie deserves serious consideration for the T-Day spotlight does have some historical backing.

The best old fashioned sweet potato pie recipe in pie dish with whipped topping and coconut flakes

How to Make Sweet Potato Pie from Scratch

I first baked southern sweet potato pie for a Friendsgiving years ago, when Ben was in law school. A few of his classmates still bring it up when they see me. It was a spin on one called “grandma old fashioned sweet potato pie recipe” that I clipped from a Mississippi magazine, and I’ve been fine-tuning it sense.

Today’s version is a combination of that original recipe, one from Joy cookbook’s, and what I garnered from experimentation.

The Ingredients

  • Pie Crust. A buttery, flaky, and perfectly golden pie crust is an essential part of a delicious pie. Do yourself an enormous service: Bake the crust ahead and pop it into your freezer ASAP. Making homemade pie feels like far less trouble when the crust is ready to go. I always make my Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust, which turns out great every single time, even if you don’t have much pie crust experience.
  • Sweet Potatoes. Give this pie undeniable autumn flavor right from the start. Their natural sweetness is well suited to desserts, and they make the pie filling rich and velvety. While it is a dessert, sweet potato pie isn’t unhealthy (as far as pies go). The sweet potatoes add oodles of fiber and vitamins.
  • Spices. This pie is marvelously spiced and anything but bland, but it won’t punch you in the face with too much cinnamon or nutmeg (a good thing). In fact, this sweet potato pie is made without nutmeg entirely! Instead, I used cinnamon, allspice, and ginger— for the perfect sweet potato spice trifecta.
  • Evaporated Milk. For an extra creamy texture, this recipe includes evaporated milk. Note: While many sweet potato pie recipes call for condensed milk, the two are not the same. If you turn this into a condensed milk sweet potato pie recipe instead, it will not turn out; condensed milk is much thicker and sweeter. Double-check the can (it will be clearly labeled).
    • I have not tried making this as a vegan sweet potato pie, but you could experiment with coconut milk or check out my Vegan Pumpkin Pie.
  • Bourbon. Anytime I have the option to add bourbon to a holiday recipe, I go for it (reference: Glazed Sweet Potatoes with whiskey pecans). Bourbon’s smooth, buttery flavor is meant to be with sweet potato pie. If you prefer to make your pie without bourbon, simply use extra vanilla extract.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract. Use the real deal for the best ever old fashioned sweet potato pie.

The Directions

  1. Roll out the pie crust, and transfer it to a pie dish. Trim, fold, and crimp the edges. Cover and refrigerate. The pie crust can hang out in your refrigerator for a full day and in the freezer for months.
  2. Scrub and peel the sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes being chopped with a knife on a cutting board
  1. Dice them into big chunks, and simmer them in water until they are tender.
boiled sweet potatoes in a pot
  1. Measure out two cups of sweet potatoes.
Ingredients for sweet potato pie in a pot
  1. Add the ingredients for the filling.
Sweet potatoes being pureed with an immersion blender
  1. Cook on low, and continue to mash the potatoes. This toasts the spices and makes them all the more flavorful. Puree the filling.
Wet ingredients for sweet potato pie in a glass mixing bowl
  1. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour this mixture over the sweet potato mixture. Stir until smooth and combined.
a unbaked sweet potato pie beside a blue stripe kitchen towel
  1. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat and bake at 325 degrees F for about 50 minutes.
Coconut in a skillet
  1. Toast the coconut.
Whipped cream in a bowl
  1. Make the marshmallow whipped cream.
A freshly baked sweet potato pie with coconut flakes and marshmallow whipped cream in a bowl
  1. Serve at room temperature with all the fixin’s. ENJOY!

How to Know When Sweet Potato Pie is Done

  • When your pie is finished, it should wiggle slightly in the center (a little like Jell-o). If it swooshes or moves like a wave, your pie needs more time.
  • If the crust begins to brown more quickly than you would like, shield it with a pie crust shield, then keep on baking until the pie’s center is set.
  • I find sweet potato pie rarely cracks (unlike pumpkin). And if it does? That’s what the whipped cream is for!
A slice of the BEST old fashioned sweet potato pie served on a plate with a fork and a dollop of cream

Marshmallow Whipped Cream – The Ultimate Topping

Since I can’t let well enough alone, I topped off the pie with a fluffy cloud of marshmallow whipped cream. It’s creamy, puffy, not-too-sweet, and puts marshmallows where they belong: on dessert.

Fans of the marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole: I don’t get it. Those who agree with me, check out this best-ever Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole that’s beloved by readers. You can top it with marshmallows if you must; just don’t tell me.

Homemade Marshmallow Whipped Cream in a bowl with a spoon

Homemade whipped cream was my favorite food as a baby (my grammy used to feed it to me to stop my fussing), and I never lost my adoration for it. For this pie, instead of lightly sweetening the cream with sugar, I used a dollop of another of my childhood standbys: marshmallow fluff.

The marshmallow flavor here is subtle—the star of this recipe is truly the sweet potato itself—but it is an absolute delight and truly tastes wonderful with the pie.

Last, since I’m a bit of a texture freak, I couldn’t resist adding a little crunch. Toasted coconut flakes put this pie squarely over the top.

Old fashioned sweet potato pie without nutmeg served with whipped marshmallow cream

How to Store and Freeze

  • To Store. Gently cover your pie, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature prior to serving.
  • To Freeze. Bake your pie as directed in a disposable aluminum pie pan (leaving your pie dish available for other recipes). Tightly wrap your cooked and cooled pie in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store in a freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months.
    • Let the pie thaw for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Old fashioned sweet potato pie without nutmeg served on a plate

More Thanksgiving Desserts (Other Than Pumpkin Pie!)

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

Final note: not sure if you were wondering (but I hope that you were): yes, yes this pie is fantastic leftover at breakfast…if you have any leftovers!

A slice of sweet potato pie on a white plate

Sweet Potato Pie

5 from 10 votes
This old fashioned sweet potato pie has a silky smooth filling made with brown sugar and evaporated milk. Try with marshmallow whipped cream!

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 2 hrs

Servings: 10 slices; 1 (9-inch) pie

Ingredients
  

For the Filling:

  • 1 9-inch pie crust Store-bought or your favorite recipe (try my Whole Wheat Pie Crust)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (about 1/2 stick)
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% evaporated milk, divided (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or 2 additional teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes optional, for serving

For the Whipped Marshmallow Cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme (also called marshmallow fluff) (about half a 7-ounce jar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Prepare and roll out the pie crust. Transfer it to a standard 9-inch pie dish. Trim the edges and fold under themselves before crimping with your fingers or a fork. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  • To prepare the filling, scrub and peel the sweet potatoes. Then, dice into large, 3-inch chunks.
  • Place chunks in a large pot and cover with cool water. Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer until the potatoes are tender and pierce easily with a thin knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes into a colander, transfer back into the pot, and mash. Measure out 2 cups, which is the amount that you need for the pie, and reserve any extra for another recipe.
  • To the same pot, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt, butter, and 5 ounces (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) of the evaporated milk. Place the pot on the stove and cook on low, for about 5 minutes, mashing the potatoes further as they cook.
  • To make the silkiest possible pie, use an immersion blender to puree until totally smooth; you may also transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Once the mixture is smooth and smells very fragrant, remove from the heat and let cool in the pot.
  • While the sweet potato mixture cools, whisk together the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) evaporated milk, granulated sugar, eggs, bourbon, and vanilla extract, in a separate bowl, until totally smooth. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture and stir until evenly and smoothly combined.
  • Remove the crust from the refrigerator, pour the prepared filling into the pie crust, and then gently place the pie dish on a baking sheet. Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and continue baking until cooked through; about 50 minutes. Check the pie periodically. If the crust is browning more quickly than you would like, shield it, then continue baking as directed. When the pie is ready, remove, and let cool completely.*
  • Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Once the pan is heated, add the coconut in an even layer. Continually stir and fold over the coconut in the pan so that it cooks evenly and is a light, toasty brown; 6 to 8 minutes. Watch the pan attentively to prevent burning, then remove coconut immediately to a plate once ready. Let cool.
  • Finally, prepare the marshmallow cream topping. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.** Begin beating on low speed, then slowly increase the speed to high, beating just until soft peaks form. Add the marshmallow creme and vanilla. Beat on high, scraping down the sides of the mixer a few times, until a loose whipped cream forms. The cream should be harder than soft peaks but not as stiff as hard peaks.
  • Serve the pie at room temperature, with the marshmallow whipped cream dolloped generously on top, and sprinkled with toasted coconut.

Notes

  • *To test a sweet potato pie for doneness, lightly wiggle the baking sheet. If the center of the pie has a pronounced, wavy jiggle, it needs additional time in the oven. If the center of the pie has a lighter, more structured jiggle, it’s done. Remove from the oven, place the pie dish on a wire rack, and let cool.
  • **When whipping cream, put your mixing bowl and beaters in your freezer or refrigerator first; the colder they are, the fluffier the cream.
  • TO STORE: Gently cover your pie and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature prior to serving.
  • TO FREEZE: Bake your pie as directed in a disposable aluminum pie pan (leaving your pie dish available for other recipes). Tightly wrap your cooked and cooled pie in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store in a freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Let the pie thaw for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10) without coconut or whipped toppingCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 67mgPotassium: 296mgFiber: 3gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 9864IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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