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Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

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Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic, comforting dish that graces many holiday tables across the South. This delightful casserole features a creamy, sweet potato base topped with a crunchy, buttery pecan streusel. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory, making it a favorite side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions.

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Ingredients

For the Sweet Potato Base:

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

For the Topping:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Preparing the Sweet Potato Base:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook Sweet Potatoes: Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Boil them in a large pot of water until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash the sweet potatoes until smooth.
  3. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup milk. Mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer to Baking Dish: Pour the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.

Preparing the Topping:

  1. Mix Topping Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup melted butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1 cup chopped pecans. Stir until the mixture forms a crumbly texture.
  2. Add Topping: Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the sweet potato base in the baking dish.

Baking the Casserole:

  1. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the sweet potato base is set.
  2. Cool Slightly: Allow the casserole to cool slightly before serving.

Cook’s Notes

  • Sweet Potatoes: For a smoother texture, you can use a food processor or hand mixer to mash the sweet potatoes.
  • Sweetness Level: Adjust the amount of sugar in the sweet potato base according to your taste preference. Some prefer a less sweet base to contrast more with the topping.
  • Make-Ahead Option: This casserole can be prepared a day in advance. Prepare the sweet potato base and topping separately, refrigerate overnight, and bake the next day.

Variations

  • Marshmallow Topping: Replace the pecan streusel topping with mini marshmallows for a classic twist. Simply sprinkle mini marshmallows over the sweet potato base and bake until golden and gooey.
  • Nut-Free Option: If you have nut allergies, replace the pecans with crushed cornflakes or oats mixed with the brown sugar and butter for a crunchy topping.
  • Spiced Version: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg to the sweet potato base for a warm, spiced flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Version

For the Sweet Potato Base:

  • Substitute: Use mashed cauliflower or pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes for a lower-carb option.
  • Sweetener: Replace the granulated sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or stevia.
  • Milk: Use unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk instead of regular milk.

For the Topping:

  • Flour: Use almond flour or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • Sweetener: Replace the brown sugar with a low-carb sweetener like monk fruit sweetener or Swerve brown sugar.
  • Nuts: The pecans are already low-carb friendly, but ensure you don’t add any high-carb substitutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use canned sweet potatoes?
    • Yes, you can use canned sweet potatoes. Just make sure to drain them well and mash them before mixing with the other ingredients.
  2. How do I store leftovers?
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
  3. Can I freeze sweet potato casserole?
    • Yes, you can freeze it. Wrap the casserole tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  4. What can I use instead of pecans?
    • If you don’t like pecans, you can use walnuts, almonds, or even a crunchy cereal like cornflakes.
  5. Can I make this dairy-free?
    • Yes, substitute the butter with a plant-based alternative and use non-dairy milk such as almond milk or coconut milk.

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a beloved dish that combines the comforting flavors of sweet potatoes with a deliciously crunchy pecan topping. Whether you’re preparing it for a holiday feast or a special family dinner, this casserole is sure to impress. With its rich flavors and versatile variations, it’s a recipe you’ll come back to time and again. Enjoy making and sharing this classic Southern dish with your loved ones. Happy cooking!

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