This Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole belongs on your Thanksgiving table this year! It’s made with the best crunchy pecan topping and is well-spiced with classic fall flavors. Plus, there's a make-ahead and freezer option!
📋 About the Recipe
- Just 10 ingredients! Making a flavorful dish doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. Make both the mashed sweet potatoes and homemade crunch topping from scratch with just 10 simple ingredients (many of which are likely in your pantry right now!).
- Easy to feed a crowd. This sweet potato crunch casserole feeds up to 12. Any servings that aren’t eaten can be stored and reheated for up to 5 days.
- A holiday staple. Sweet potato casserole is a very popular dish on American tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can’t go wrong serving this sweet potato crunch casserole with your favorite Dutch Oven Turkey, Challah Rolls, and more of your favorite sides!
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Sweet potatoes - For the best, smooth and creamy casserole, take the extra step to peel the potatoes! It makes a world of a difference.
- Brown sugar - Light brown sugar is used in both the sweet potato layer and the crunch topping. It’s natural notes of caramel and vanilla are the perfect pair for sweet potatoes.
- Pecans - A classic on top of sweet potato casserole and where the “crunch” comes from. Raw or roasted pecans will work well here.
- All purpose flour - Similar to my crumb muffins, flour is combined with butter and sugar to create a simple crumb topping.
- Butter - Used in both the sweet potato layer and the crumb topping. For the topping, make sure the butter is very, very cold. This will allow the butter to be cut into the topping and create the perfect crumb.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Sweet potato substitution: Try butternut squash or a mixture of sweet potato and butternut squash. Butternut squash is slightly less sweet, so you may need to adjust the brown sugar called for to taste.
- Light brown sugar substitution: If you’d like a richer, bolder flavored casserole, use dark brown sugar.
- Butter substitution: I always recommend unsalted butter in both cooking and baking, but if you have salted butter, it will still work! Just omit the additional kosher salt and only add additional salt if preferred.
- Nut free option: Substitute the pecans with rolled oats, or simply omit them completely. Doing so would eliminate the “crunch,” but will still be incredibly delicious and flavorful.
- Pumpkin spice substitute: Instead of the ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground allspice, use ¾ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- Preheat and prep. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Boil sweet potatoes. Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot. Cover with water, then set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain and mash the potatoes. Drain the potatoes, then add them back to the pot along with brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, and pepper. Mash until the potatoes are smooth and evenly combined.
- Make the crunch topping. To a medium-sized bowl, add the butter, flour, brown sugar, ½ cup of the chopped pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or cold hands, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles a pea-sized crumb.
- Spoon into a casserole dish. Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even, flat layer using the back of a spoon.
- Top with the crunch topping. From edge to edge, sprinkle the pecan crunch topping over the sweet potatoes with an additional ¼ cup of chopped pecans. Work quickly to prevent the butter in the crunch topping from melting!
- Bake. Bake the sweet potato crunch casserole for 14 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the potatoes are warmed through.
- Serve! Serve immediately while warm and toasted with desired sides.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Store leftover sweet potato crunch casserole tightly covered in the baking dish or a separate airtight container for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Sweet potato casserole freezes well, but it freezes best without the crunch topping. If you are planning to freeze, I’d recommend freezing before baking. For best results, freeze in a freezer safe pan covered with 1 layer of plastic wrap then a tight layer of foil.
To reheat: Sweet potato casserole can be reheated in the microwave or the oven. To reheat in the oven, tightly cover the casserole with foil and bake at 325 degrees F and bake for about 15 minutes or until warmed through. The topping won’t be as crunchy, but it will still be flavorful and moist!
Sweet potatoes and yams are often confused and used interchangeably, but they are not the same root vegetable. Yams have a dark brown rough skin with a white flesh. Yams are not nearly as common in grocery stores. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are very popular and easy to find in almost every grocery store. They have a reddish-orange skin with the classic orange flesh.
If desired, the sweet potato mixture can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance. Simply follow steps 1 through 3, then spread the sweet potato mixture in the desired baking dish. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Once ready to bake, allow the casserole to come to room temperature before baking with the crumb topping. For best results, hold off on prepping the crunch topping until the day of.
Yes! If you are allergic to nuts or simply prefer your sweet potato casserole without them, replace the pecans with old-fashioned rolled oats instead.
No, you do not want your sweet potato casserole to be runny. To prevent this, make sure to thoroughly drain the sweet potatoes before mashing with the sugar and butter. This will prevent your sweet potatoes from containing excess water.
💭 One More Tip
Nuts can burn quickly! You want to cook the casserole enough to warm the sweet potatoes through and make the topping golden brown, but watch carefully for burning! If needed, tent your casserole with a piece of foil to prevent over browning.
🍴 Related Recipes
Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole
For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (½ a stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg*
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger*
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice*
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Pecan Crunch Topping
- 6 tablespoons (¾ of a stick) unsalted butter, cold
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup chopped pecan halves, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray. (An 8x11-inch baking dish would work too.)
- Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot. Pour water over sweet potatoes until potatoes are fully covered. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes. Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, and pepper to the pot with the potatoes. Mash into the potatoes until smooth, evenly combined, and the butter is fully melted.
- Make the crunch topping: Add butter, flour, brown sugar, ½ cup chopped pecans, cinnamon, and salt to a medium-sized bowl. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or cold hands, cut the butter into the ingredients until it resembles a pea-size crumb.
- Spoon mashed sweet potatoes into the prepared baking dish. Use the back of the spoon to spread the sweet potatoes out into a flat, even layer.
- Top potatoes from edge to edge with the pecan crunch topping. Sprinkle the top with an additional ¼ cup of chopped pecans. Work quickly so the butter in the crunch topping doesn’t melt on top of the warm potatoes.
- Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the potatoes are warmed through.
- *You can also use ¾ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of the ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground allspice.
- Make sure to watch the casserole carefully as it bakes. You do not want the pecans or crunch topping to burn.
- If making this casserole in an 8x11-inch baking dish, the casserole will simply be a little thicker than in a 9x13-inch dish.
- If allergic to nuts, just omit the pecans and add old fashioned rolled oats instead.
Want more recipes like this delivered right to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe above and never miss a thing!