Rich, silky, and oh so smooth Sweet Potato Pie is made flavorful with a beautiful bouquet of warm spices. This Southern classic dessert is a true fall staple and should certainly be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving spread. Tried and true, this timeless pie always hits the spot!
Sweet Potato Pie
There are a few pie recipes that were around before any of us were born and will live on long after we’re gone. That’s the beauty of generational recipes like this one – they’re the real definition of the phrase “tried and true.” As much as I love new and exciting dessert recipes, there’s something so comforting about enjoying a classic slice of perfectly baked sweet potato pie!
There’s always been a debate between sweet potato and Pumpkin Pie. While they do have their similarities, they’re certainly not quite the same… And to be honest, I don’t know if I could pick my favorite between the two! If it’s up to me, I’ll have a slice of both, please. Both fall favorite pies are similar in color and even a bit similar in flavor, but sweet potato pie is decidedly lighter and not as dense as pumpkin pie.
I know that it’s much easier to swing by the grocery store and buy a pie from the bakery rather than make a homemade one. However, I can guarantee that none of those pies in their plastic containers will be as fresh, flavorful, or satisfying as this homemade sweet potato pie recipe! It’s got the most incredible light, yet silky smooth consistency, while being spiced with the most mouthwatering medley of cinnamon, nutmeg, and more.
Ingredients For Sweet Potato Pie
For the pie filling, you’ll need:
- Sweet Potatoes – Use fresh sweet potatoes, never canned.
- Brown Sugar – All out? That’s okay! Just combine one tbsp of molasses with one cup of white granulated sugar.
- Eggs – I like to use free range organic eggs.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – For the creamiest consistency, don’t substitute this with anything else.
- Butter – Unsalted only! Salted butter will add way too much sodium.
- Molasses – This adds flavor and helps with the consistency.
- Bourbon – My not-so-secret ingredient. Don’t worry, it’s not too noticeable once the pie is baked. It just helps to create a more in-depth flavor profile.
- Vanilla – Use real pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
- Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and just a tiny pinch of salt will create the best warm, cozy spiced flavor ever.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Sugar – Granulated, not powdered.
What Kind of Potatoes to Use
First things first – always use fresh sweet potatoes, not canned!
There are two ways to cook sweet potatoes for the pie – one is faster, and one is more delicious. If you want to use the faster way, you can boil peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, but I highly recommend baking them! You can bake them ahead of time too and store them in the refrigerator for a day or two, then prepare the pie when ready.
Making Sweet Potato Pie
How To Bake Sweet Potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes and pat them dry. Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork, on top and bottom.
Wrap each sweet potato tightly in some aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Baked sweet potatoes need to be completely fork tender.
How To Pre-Bake Pie Crust:
Grease the pie dish so the crust doesn’t stick to it.
If you’re using homemade crust, follow the instructions for your recipe. For refrigerated dough, you’ll want to roll the crust to about 12 inches in diameter. This ensures that there is enough crust to fold over the top or crimp the edges.
Refrigerate the crust while sweet potatoes bake.
When sweet potatoes are done, bake the pie crust. Fit a sheet of parchment paper into the baking dish, and gently press it all over the bottom and sides of the crust. Then, spread an even layer of pie weights or dried beans across the inside surface.
Pre-Bake the crust at 400°F for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and carefully lift by the four edges of the parchment paper to take out the beans.
How to Make Sweet Potato Pie
Time for the pie itself! Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
Make sure sweet potatoes have cooled enough for you to peel them, peel them and place in a mixing bowl. Mash thoroughly with a potato masher and add the remaining ingredients for the filling and whisk until smooth.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust.
Place the pie onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. Allow it to cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
For the whipped cream, you’ll need to pour the cold heavy cream into a cold mixing bowl. Starting at low speed, start whisking, gradually raise to speed to high.
Slowly pour cinnamon and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks appear (don’t walk away far). Keep refrigerated, in an air-tight container, until ready to use.
Tips for the Best Sweet Potato Pie
- Use homemade or pre-made pie crust. I am all about the filling, so I usually get pre-made pie crust and then roll it out into the pie baking dish. You can always opt for homemade though!
- Pre-bake (or blind bake) the pie crust first. This will give you crispy, flaky, baked through crust.
- Use fresh sweet potatoes, never canned.
- Bake the sweet potatoes! This will give you naturally sweeter potatoes with silkier texture. Boiled sweet potatoes loose a lot of natural sweetness and take on more water.
- Use heavy whipping cream, not evaporated milk. Evaporated milk was widely used during and after World War II due to heavy cream shortages. You will get much better results with heavy whipping cream!
- Don’t over bake the pie! The pie should be still slightly jiggly in the middle when you pull it out and set it on the counter while cooling. If you over bake it, it will crack from the heat.
Storing and Freezing
Store the pie in the refrigerator and make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap. You can also get a pie storage container, those are really nifty if you make pies often!
If you plan to freeze the pie after baking, make it in a pie aluminum baking pan. The bake time will be altered slightly (by just a few minutes less). Bake the pie and make sure to cool it completely. Wrap cooled pie airtight first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. You can even place it into a large zip-top freezer bag for more protection. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes:
Chocolate Pecan Pie – a twist on the classic pecan pie but loaded with chocolate flavors and a hint of bourbon.
Easy Apple Cake – wonderfully soft, moist, and topped with scrumptious caramelized apples and a touch of flaky sea salt.
Apple Pie Mini Cheesecakes – every bite of these individual cheesecakes features creamy filling, sweet apple pie topping, and a drizzle of caramel.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake – it has the same wonderful flavors of sweet potato casserole but made into a velvety, sweet dessert.
Sweet Potato Pie
- 1 sheet of pie crust or homemade pie crust or a deep dish pastry shell
Sweet Potato Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes 2-3 sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- pinch salt
Cinnamon Whipped Cream (optional):
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
Prepare the Crust:
- Grease the pie dish and place the pie crust over it. Gently fit the crust into the pie dish and crimp the edges as you wish.
- Refrigerate the pie crust while sweet potatoes are baking. (Or for an hour if you baked sweet potatoes ahead of time.)
To Bake Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork a couple of times and wrap each one tightly with aluminum foil.
- Place wrapped potatoes into a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes until completely tender. Exact time will depend on the thickness of sweet potatoes.
- Take them out of the oven and let them cool until you can handle them.
Prebake the crust:
- Keep the oven at 400° to prebake the pie crust.
- Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator and line it with a sheet of parchment paper (or aluminum foil). You can cut off the long edges of the parchment paper (if using foil, make sure to gently cover and fold over the edges.)
- Spread pie baking weights or a pound bag of dried beans over the parchment paper in the pie dish. Gently press to fit the beans or weights evenly throughout. (This will prevent the pie crust from raising and puffing up. Yes it is important!)
- Bake pie crust for 15 minutes and take it out. Let it cool until you can handle it and then bring up all four corners of the parchment paper and gently lift it with the beans (or weights) out of the pie crust.
Prepare sweet potato Pie:
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
- Take the skin off the potatoes and place the peeled sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl.
- In a bowl, use a potato masher to mash sweet potatoes until completely smooth.
- Add in remaining ingredients and use a hand-held blender to blend the filling until smooth.
- Pour the pie filling into the prepared pie crust and place the pie dish into the baking sheet.
- To keep the pie crust from getting too dark, you can cut 3-4 strips of aluminum foil that are about 2-3 inches wide and gently wrap them around the edge of the pie dish, covering the crust.ORHalf way though the baking, cover the pie dish loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Bake sweet potato pie for 45-50 minutes, until the edges are done but it's still slightly higgle in the center.
- Take out and let it cool completely on a wire rack! Once cooled, refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
For Whipped Cream:
- Add the cold heavy whipping cream into the cold mixing bowl. Starting at low speed, start whisking, gradually raise to speed to high.
- Slowly pour in cinnamon and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks appear (don't walk away far).
- Keep air-tights in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Don't make more than a day ahead.)