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Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole recipe

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Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a beloved dish that often graces the tables during holidays and family gatherings. This casserole combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with a buttery, crunchy pecan topping that provides the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, or simply looking for a comforting side dish, this recipe is sure to become a favorite.

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Ingredients

For the Sweet Potato Base:

  • 3 cups sweet potatoes (about 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the Topping:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter (about 5 1/3 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

1. Prepare the Sweet Potatoes

  1. Cook the Sweet Potatoes: Peel and cut sweet potatoes into chunks. Boil in a large pot of water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash until smooth.
  2. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Make the Sweet Potato Mixture

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, melted butter, beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Stir until well blended.
  2. Transfer to Baking Dish: Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.

3. Prepare the Topping

  1. Combine Topping Ingredients: In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, light brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans until well combined.
  2. Add Topping: Sprinkle the pecan mixture evenly over the sweet potato mixture in the baking dish.

4. Bake

  1. Bake the Casserole: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the sweet potato mixture is set.
  2. Cool Slightly: Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Cook’s Notes and Variations

Tips:

  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the sweet potato mixture and the topping separately the day before. Store them in the refrigerator and assemble just before baking.
  • Extra Flavor: Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or a pinch of nutmeg to the sweet potato mixture for a warm, spiced flavor.

Variations:

  1. Marshmallow Topping: For a classic twist, replace the pecan topping with mini marshmallows. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top during the last 10 minutes of baking until they are golden and melted.
  2. Healthy Option: Reduce the sugar in the sweet potato mixture and use maple syrup or honey instead. Use rolled oats instead of flour in the topping for added fiber.
  3. Nut-Free: If you have a nut allergy, substitute the pecans with crushed cornflakes or oats for a crunchy topping without nuts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use canned sweet potatoes?

A: Yes, you can use canned sweet potatoes. Make sure to drain them well and mash them before using. Canned sweet potatoes are often pre-sweetened, so you might want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

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Q: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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Q: Can I freeze the casserole?

A: Yes, you can freeze the casserole. Prepare the sweet potato mixture and the topping separately. Assemble the casserole in a freezer-safe dish and cover tightly. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

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Q: Can I make this dairy-free?

A: Yes, you can substitute the butter with a dairy-free alternative and use a non-dairy milk like almond milk or coconut milk.

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Q: What can I serve with this casserole?

A: This sweet potato casserole pairs well with roasted turkey, ham, or chicken. It’s also great alongside other holiday sides like green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and stuffing.

Conclusion

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a rich, indulgent dish that brings a touch of sweetness to any meal. The creamy sweet potato base, combined with the crunchy pecan topping, creates a delicious harmony of flavors and textures. This recipe is perfect for holiday gatherings, family dinners, or any occasion where you want to add a special touch to your table. Enjoy this delightful dish and create lasting memories with your loved ones. Happy cooking!

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