This easy sweet potato pie uses fresh sweet potatoes, a short list of ingredients, and our favorite foolproof pie crust. It’s fantastic, especially when topped with homemade whipped cream. Your family and friends will thank you for making this incredible pie.
How to Make the Best Sweet Potato Pie
Adam and I love this sweet potato pie recipe, and now, after telling you all about it, we both want to make it again. We learned how to make it best from our friend Richard. He grew up in the South and so I knew he was the right person to talk to about it.
I love this traditional Southern pie topped with our not-so-traditional sour cream whipped cream (phenomenal) and a dusting of chopped pecans. As much as I love pumpkin pie, this year for Thanksgiving, we’re bringing sweet potato pie, and I think you should, too.
Having grown up eating pie made with pumpkin, I’m so happy that we’ve finally been introduced to this holiday-worthy pie made with sweet potatoes. We do a few things to make sure our sweet potato pie is flavorful, creamy in the middle, and perfect for entertaining. Here are a few reasons why I think this is the best recipe for sweet potato pie:
- Steaming is a foolproof cooking method for perfectly cooked, soft, and silky sweet potatoes.
- Brown sugar and the perfect blend of spices guarantee the pie is flavorful.
- A night in the fridge does wonders for this pie, making this the perfect make-ahead dessert!
- Whipped cream made with a bit of sour cream perfectly balances the sweet spice of the pie and makes a showstopper on your holiday table.
Sweet Potato vs. Pumpkin Pie
If you’ve never had a slice of sweet potato pie, think of it as similar to pumpkin pie but with a lighter, fluffy filling. Pumpkin is milder than sweet potatoes, so you’ll likely see pies made with pumpkin with a few more spices thrown in. Southern sweet potato pie doesn’t typically call for as many spices (if any). In our recipe we do call for cinnamon, ginger, and grated or ground nutmeg, but only call for 1/4 teaspoon each.
Making Our Sweet Potato Pie Filling
For the base, take a look at this all-butter flaky pie crust. It’s the homemade crust that we recommend for all of our pies on Inspired Taste.
For the easy filling, we’ll start with fresh sweet potatoes — sometimes sold as yams. It doesn’t matter if the label says sweet potato or yam as long as you buy medium-to-large potatoes with orange flesh (sometimes called Jewel or Garnet).
We steam our potatoes for this pie and keep them whole for the best texture. This way, they don’t become waterlogged but stay moist inside and don’t caramelize down too much. Baking is an option, too — many recipes recommend it. I still prefer steaming, but I have provided baking tips in the recipe below. We do not recommend boiling the potatoes for this recipe.
The sweet potatoes steam for 40 to 50 minutes, then need to cool completely. You could do this in advance and then wrap them up and store them in the fridge.
Making the Filling
We mix the cooled sweet potato flesh with simple ingredients like butter, eggs, brown sugar, spices, and milk. We use cream in our pumpkin pie but prefer milk in this sweet potato pie. To keep things easy, I use a handheld electric mixer, but you can do this in a stand mixer if you’d like.
Here’s the pie filling going into our crust — it’s raw, not blind-baked. See how the filling looks a little grainy, almost curdled? That’s totally normal.
Baking the Pie
Our sweet potato pie bakes in a 350° F oven for around 50 minutes. Depending on your oven, you might need a bit longer.
Then it needs to cool to room temperature, and if you have the time, chill in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling helps with that shiny top and the smooth, creamy filling.
Whipped Cream Topping — Optional, but SO Good
I’ve fallen hard for this sour cream spiked whipped cream. We beat cream until soft peaks, add some sour cream, and then continue to beat until stiff peaks form. The sour cream does two things:
- Sour cream adds a tangy, acidic note to the whipped cream, which balances the sweet filling of our pie nicely.
- Sour cream helps stabilize our whipped cream, which means it’s more pipable and holds its shape longer than traditional whipped cream.
I use a star piping tip to add little cream dots to the chilled pie — this looks beautiful and helps hide cracks between the filling and pie crust (a common problem with sweet potato and pumpkin pie).
How Long Can I Make This Pie Ahead of Time
Sweet potato pie will last in your refrigerator for up to three days. While the whipped topping should also last this long, add the topping up to 24 hours before serving for the best results.
Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Pie?
While we have yet to try freezing this particular pie, sweet potato pie should freeze nicely. We recommend doing so once the pie has cooled completely, wrap it well with foil, place it into a freezer-safe bag, and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Preventing Sinking and Cracks
A common problem with custard-type pies (like sweet potato and pumpkin) is that the filling will rise, fall, and then crack (especially around the edges). To prevent sinking and cracks in your pie, do your best to avoid overbaking the pie. Sweet potato pie is done when the filling is no longer wet, and a toothpick inserted about 2 inches from the crust comes out clean. It might still be jiggly and will look risen.
As the pie cools, the middle will sink a bit. Do your best to cool the pie to room temperature slowly — one way to do this is to leave the pie in your oven turned off with the door open.
For more homemade pies, see our favorite apple pie and this beautiful blueberry pie.
Easy Sweet Potato Pie
We love this easy sweet potato pie recipe! It’s flavorful, creamy inside, and topped with a lovely whipped cream. We keep this more traditional by holding back on the spices. You’ll love how the sweet potato flavor comes through.
We prefer to steam our sweet potatoes for this pie. Steaming is easy and is a little easier when it comes to making sure the entire potato is cooked through, but not caramelized. If you’d prefer to bake them, we’ve included tips below.
1 (9-inch) pie, 8 servings
You Will Need
Sweet Potato Pie
Chilled pie dough for one single-crust 9-inch pie; use half batch of this pie crust recipe
2 large sweet potatoes or yams (orange flesh), 1 ½ pounds
8 tablespoons (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt; omit if using salted butter
Sour Cream Whipped Cream
1 ½ cups (355 ml) chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or more to taste
6 tablespoons (90 grams) sour cream
- Cook Sweet Potatoes
1Fill a large pot with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Insert a steamer basket inside the pot. Place the sweet potatoes into the steamer basket, lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cover the pot with a lid.
2Steam until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 35 to 45 minutes. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool completely.
3Make-ahead: Wrap and store steamed sweet potatoes for up to 2 days in the fridge.
- Roll Out Crust
1Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate (pie dish).
2Roll out the dough to be two inches larger than your pie dish (I use an 8-inch or 9-inch pie dish). Gently press the dough down into the dish to line the bottom and sides. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the dish edge.
3Fold the edges of the dough underneath itself, creating a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Crimp edges. (We do this in our pie crust recipe video). Refrigerate until you are ready to bake the pie.
- Make Pie Filling
1When cooled, remove the skin from sweet potatoes. You will need 20 ounces — 2 generous cups — of sweet potato flesh for the pie. Save unused sweet potato for another dish.
2Place sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat them on medium-high speed for one minute. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
3Mix on a low speed until blended, then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for two minutes. The mixture may look grainy, but this is okay.
- Bake Pie
1Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
2Place pie dish with crust onto a baking sheet. Scoop batter into the prepared pie shell and smooth out the top. Bake until the filling is set and a toothpick or thin knife plunged it into the pie, about 2 inches from the edge, comes out mostly clean. Rotate once or twice during baking. The pie will bake 55 to 60 minutes.
3Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight. As it cools, the middle of the pie will fall slightly. Do your best to cool the pie to room temperature slowly — one way to do this is to leave the pie in your oven turned off with the door open.
- Whipped Cream Topping
1Pour the chilled cream into a large mixing bowl along with the powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer, begin beating the cream at a low speed. As the cream starts to foam and bubble, gradually increase the speed to medium-high.
2Continue beating the cream at medium-high speed until soft peaks form — this occurs when the beaters are lifted, and the cream peaks gently flop over.
3Once soft peaks have formed, add the sour cream to the mixing bowl. Continue beating the cream on medium-high speed until it thickens and the peaks stand tall and firm when the beaters are lifted. Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the pie. If there are any cracks between the crust and filling, use the whipped cream to cover them.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- To bake sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie, scrub, pierce, and bake them at 400°F (205°C) for 45-50 minutes until tender.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We did not include the whipped cream topping.
Nutrition Per Serving
1 slice, 8 total