Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Around the holidays there are a few special dishes that we don't have during other times of the year. One of those recipes is this homemade sweet potato casserole. We love the subtle mixture of the sweetness and spice. I know it's Thanksgiving or Christmas when this is placed on the table.

Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

For years I didn't make this recipe. My husband doesn't like sweet potatoes and I didn't want the temptation of eating the whole dish myself. I was happily surprised when my oldest daughter (now 10) loved sweet potatoes as a baby, so when she was 5 I gave her a taste of this recipe. She loved it! Now I have someone to share the dish with. It's been on our Thanksgiving table each year since. The trick is getting a nice balance between the flavors. Some sweet potato casseroles are way too sweet, but this one turns out just perfect.

Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

ingredients for sweet potato casserole

3 sweet potatoes (labeled yams in many grocery stores)
1 1/2 T butter (softened to room temp)
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
non-stick cooking spray

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Microwave Safe Dish
Baking Dish

Make Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

I was confused as to the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. The ones you see at a grocery store labeled sweet potatoes are actually white in color and the ones labeled as yams are the orange that you generally expect. After doing a few searches, I found out that both are actually sweet potatoes. The whiter ones will stay a bit firm after cooking and the ones that have orange flesh will be softer. There are indeed actual yams, but they are sold in international markets and have bark like skin instead of the softer skin that is found on sweet potatoes (and what are labeled as yams). For this recipe, you will need to buy "yams" from your local grocery store.


1. Wash the sweet potatoes, prick them with a fork a few times, then place them in a microwave safe dish. Add a small amount of water to the dish, then cover with plastic wrap.

2. Cook in 5 minute increments. Check after each 5 minutes. I cooked mine for 20 minutes, but depending on the size it may take a shorter amount of time.

3. When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, let them cool for a few minutes then remove the skins. They will naturally peel through the outer skin and the first layer of flesh. That first layer stays fibrous if you keep it in the casserole and it won't taste very good.

Cut up cooked sweet potatoes

4. Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks, then add them to your mixing bowl.

ingredients for casserole in a mixing bowl

5. Add the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the yams. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.

6. Spray the dish you will be cooking your casserole in. We use an oval dish that holds 1 liter (4 1/4 c).

Sweet potato mixture in casserole dish

7. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes - until warm through. Remove the aluminum foil.

sweet potato with marshmallows

8. Add marshmallows to the top. You can use the mini marshmallows or large ones cut in half. Cook for 4 minutes. Turn the oven to broil on low and cook for 4 or 5 minutes - until the marshmallows are golden on top.

toasted marshmallows on sweet potato casserole

The house will smell wonderful because of the toasted marshmallows. My youngest came into the kitchen and almost tried some of this. She has never tried it because she doesn't like certain textures. My oldest and I were in the process of tasting to make sure it was good.

My oldest said, "This is the best sweet potato casserole you have ever made...and that is saying a lot because I have loved all the other times too." That does a moms heart good to hear.

dished up homemade holiday sweet potato casserole

This post is part of Happy Holidays Good Eats and Treats hosted by Play Dough & Popsicles. I've joined with some other bloggers to bring you tasty holiday recipes. Click here to visit the other holiday recipes.

happy holidays good eats and treats holiday recipes

What is your favorite holiday recipe? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


  1. I love sweet potatoes so this sounds perfect!!

    1. Thanks Sarah! It's not too ultra sweet also. The perfect blend of flavors.

  2. I'm the only one who likes sweet potatoes in my family, but I may try it again with the kids...I am holding out hope for the youngest two :) I always use canned yams, but I am going to try your recipe the next time I make it.

    1. We used to use the canned yams, but since they are in the sweetened syrup it is usually too sweet for us. I think I would eliminate the brown sugar if I made them with the canned. I do like the texture of the canned because they are so soft.


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