Sweet Potato Pie

I cannot imagine a holiday without this traditional Southern pie on the table. I use almost every spice in the cabinet to add depth and warmth to the silky filling. Serve it with a big dollop of whipped cream, with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg on top. Comfort baked into a pie.–Cheryl Day and Griffith Day

LC Quintessential Quibble Note

Sugar and spice and everything nice—that’s what you’ll find in a slice of this sweet potato pie. And when we say “nice,” we don’t mean it in a goody-goody sorta way. We mean it in a go-wobbly-in-the-knees, may-I-have-a-third-slice sorta way. The only quibble we can imagine having with this eminently easy recipe? It makes quite an ample amount of magnificently spiced sweet potato filling. Enough, we’ve found, to fill a really, really deep pie plate. What’s that? You lack a monstrous pie plate? Then you have a decision to make. Do you fill your standard pie plate to the brim and then slurp up the rest of the filling with a spoon? Do you cringe as you pour the rest of the fantabulous filling down the drain? Do you measure out every last drop of the excess into ramekins and bake them into custards? Do you instead divvy the filling between two standard 8-inch pie plates and beget twice the pie—albeit each with a slightly skimpy amount of custard? Or do you just grab your 10-inch cast-iron skillet and pretend it’s a pie plate and call it a day? Let us know what you decide.

Special Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or 10-inch pie plate

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds orange or garnet sweet potatoes (1 to 2 potatoes) or 2 cups canned sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses or sorghum
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 recipe Shortcut Pie Crust (made with brown sugar and prebaked in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate)
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Directions

  • 1. If using whole sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and bake them until fork tender, 60 to 70 minutes, depending on the size. Let cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C). Unwrap the sweet potatoes and slip the skins from the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a fork, handheld potato masher, immersion blender, food processor, or potato ricer until smooth.
    If using canned sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Place the canned sweet potatoes in a bowl.
  • 2. Add the cream, eggs, and molasses or sorghum to the sweet potatoes and whisk until completely incorporated.
  • 3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, cardamom, cloves, mace, ginger, and salt. Add the sweet potato mixture and stir until smooth.
  • 4. Pour the filling into the prebaked pie crust. (If not using a deep-dish pie plate, you may have some leftover filling, which you can pour into buttered ramekins and bake as custards, if desired.)
  • 5. Bake the pie for 60 to 70 minutes, until the filling is firm around the edges but still jiggles slightly in the center when you gently shake the pie plate. The filling will continue to firm up as it cools. You may need to loosely cover the pie with foil after 50 minutes to prevent it from overbrowning. Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving. The pie is best served the same day, but can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days. If desired, heap the whipped cream on top and sprinkle with nutmeg.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice says:

    [Alexander Cowan] I heart sweet potato pie in a serious way. It reminds me of falling leaves, warm blankets, and the scent of cinnamon coming out of mom’s kitchen. This recipe didn’t disappoint, as it turned out pretty dang good if I say so myself. There were a few tweaks made as I worked through the recipe. I used whole sweet potatoes and followed the instructions but had to lengthen the cooking time to 70 minutes instead of 40 to 60 minutes to make sure they were fork tender. Also, a potato ricer worked killer instead of mashing with a fork so my taters were smooth and creamy! So no matter how awesome the filling is, if your crust isn’t up to snuff then why bother, right? Don’t worry here, as the Shortcut Piecrust is all that and a box of chocolates. It has a deep rich buttery flavor akin to some of the best shortbread cookies out there. Plus no rolling pin involved! Hooray! I had to use a 10-inch pie plate, as that is all I had, so the crust was slightly thinner than I would’ve liked but still held up as I sliced each piece. Can’t wait to eat another slice!

  2. Testers Choice says:

    [Kristen Kennedy] This recipe puts my Southern neighbor’s amazing sweet potato pie to shame. It’s easy, it’s gorgeous, and it’s delicious. I used a food processor to make sure I had a very smooth filling. I modified it to make 2 pies—I had a hard time pressing the crust up the entirety of the pie plate sides and the filling would’ve come up higher than the crust. So I made another crust and split the batter, reducing the cooking time to 25 minutes. Now I’ve a pie to bring home tomorrow and a pie for my neighbors!

  3. Testers Choice says:

    [Steve Taylor] Great pie! Great crust! I used canned sweet potatoes (unsweetened, no syrup), 2 cups after mashing. That part of the recipe was a little confusing, as it called for 2 cups of purée or 2 cups of chunks (which would be less after puréeing/mashing). The consistency of the pie was great with the amount I used, though if you want it more custardy, you could use less than 2 cups of mash/purée. I ended up with almost 2 full custard cups of leftover filling after the piecrust was filled to the brim.

    The piecrust is delicious and holds together well. I used light brown sugar: chiseled off a dry lump in my pantry. There were quite a few little lumps of sugar left in the crust, but I believe that just added to the rustic appeal. The final crust (and filling) held together well when cut and served. Though more dense than a traditional piecrust, it’s not at all dense.

  4. Testers Choice says:

    [Sita Krishnaswamy] My favorite root vegetable in a pie? Simply divine. I loved everything about it. With such humble ingredients it certainly makes for a dazzling dessert. The pie crust was a cinch to make and so was the filling. I used a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. I patted the crust onto the bottom of the pan and the sides, and blind baked it. Once the filling was in, I baked it for a total of 70 minutes and for the last 20 minutes I tented the pie to prevent the edges from burning. I baked it 15 minutes more than what the recipe suggested, as I felt the center wasn’t cooking enough due to the volume of the custard.

    Perhaps 2 small pie plates may be better. However, the cooled pie was simply delicious and I could get the hint of cardamom with every bite. This is a keeper for sure.

  5. Testers Choice says:

    [Amy Iacopi] Wow! I thought this was an excellent pie. The spices were wonderful and you could really taste the molasses. It was my first sweet potato pie (well, I used 1 sweet potato and 1 yam since that’s what I had) and I’d definitely make it again. I also didn’t have ground mace so I substituted nutmeg instead. One slight change I’d make next time is that it’s very sweet and could use a bit less sugar. I’m guessing 1/4 cup of granulated and 1/4 of brown sugar would suffice.

  6. Testers Choice says:

    [Steve Dunn] This was the first sweet potato pie I’ve ever made, but it certainly won’t be my last. Long a fan and maker of pumpkin and squash pies each autumn, I’d somehow not gotten around to trying my hand at a sweet potato version. In many ways they’re similar, and I’m sure that pumpkin could be substituted in this recipe with great results. Unless you’re really pressed for time, do start from raw sweet potatoes and don’t go the canned route; as with pumpkin, the results will be superior. I did find that cooking my potatoes took almost 50% longer than the time stated in the recipe, so keep that in mind.

    I found the spice mix for the filling to be quite special, resulting in a pie with a depth of flavor not normally associated with a pumpkin pie. The molasses, cardamom, and mace are the stars of the show in this beauty. As for the press-in crust, I suspect that I’ll never roll out a single piecrust again. Super easy to form and remarkably tender, this buttery wonder is the real deal. Anyone anxious about making a piecrust from scratch needs to try this method immediately—so much better than store-bought crusts, and just about as easy. Make this for your Thanksgiving table and revel in the oohs and ahhs.

  7. Testers Choice says:

    [Carol Mattox] I like to use pumpkin for fall baking, but sweet potatoes are a nice alternative. This recipe is for a pie similar to an ordinary pumpkin pie. The spices are different though, and the flavor and texture are different, and delicious.

    I used whole sweet potatoes. When I initially measured them, I filled a glass 2-cup pitcher to the top (above the 2-cup mark), then I mashed them with a fork, and just out of curiosity, put them back into the pitcher. At that point the measure was exactly 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. This was combined with the other ingredients. After filling the pie crust, there were almost 2 cups of filling left over. The pie required about 55 minutes to bake. The flavor is distinctly sweet potato and the spices are balanced. The choice of brown sugar shortbread for the crust is a good one, though I’d suggest a thinner version.

  8. Testers Choice says:

    [Chiyo U.] Where’s the cinnamon, you ask? Don’t fret—you won’t be disappointed with the blend of spices this pie calls for! (“Delicious,” said all of my tasters who love the traditional sweet potato pie.) And you can make the pie fast, thanks to the shortcut crust. The buttery crust holds the creamy and seductively aromatic filling well, and is just tender enough for clean slicing. I’ll definitely make this pie again.

  9. Testers Choice says:

    [Jackie B.-P.] This is a really good recipe for sweet potato pie. Before we had even finished it, my five-year-old said, “Mama, will you make sweet potato pie again?” I love the addition of cardamom to the traditional spices; it’s a nice touch. I have to confess that I actually baked the sweet potatoes in the microwave and then scooped out the insides to measure 2 cups. Also, instead of mashing them with a fork, I used my immersion blender to purée the sweet potato with the wet ingredients. This made the filling incredibly smooth and silky. I was slightly disappointed that the crust wasn’t as pretty as a traditional crust would be. I’ll be sure to cover it for at least half of the baking time next time I make it so it doesn’t brown too much.

  10. Testers Choice says:

    [Helen Doberstein] What a nice little pie. This is very close in taste to the classic pumpkin pie that is so traditional at holiday time. It’d make a great substitute if pumpkin isn’t available. I liked the addition of the molasses and the mace, 2 underappreciated ingredients. I did as instructed and measured 2 cups of the baked sweet potato chunks and then mashed them. I then had just over a cup and a half of the mashed potatoes. I found mashing with a fork just doesn’t make for a smooth mix. I think next time I’d use the food processor or a food mill to make the mash smoother. I’ll use this recipe again.

  11. Testers Choice says:

    [Adrienne Lee] This is an involved recipe. However, the flavor was really good.

  12. Tiffany Curry says:

    I used this recipe to make a pie for my friend who is in love with sweet potato pie, and it was my first time ever baking one. It was one of the best pies I have ever tasted! He enjoyed the pie so much that he ate over half of it in one setting! I was nervous about the mace and cardamom, because I have never used those spices, but oh my goodness…the spice variety made the pie a winner. I used a 10 inch pan and I was glad I did, because this recipe makes a lot of filling. The crust was fantastic and super easy to make!

  13. sue says:

    Can you freeze this pie

  14. Natalie says:

    Hello! I was wondering how much sugar can I cut down without affecting the end results (apart from the sweetness) ? I’m not much of a sweet tooth and I find sweet potatoes to be plenty sweet on their own! Like what tester Amy suggested, would 1/4 cup of each sugar be alright? Oh and I’ll be using Japanese sweet potatoes, definitely hoping they’ll work! Thanks so much and sorry for the trouble!

    • Copis says:

      Hi Natalie, I would try 1/4 cup of each sugar. Like you, I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet pies. Let us know how it works out for you! Also, if you want something more “pumpkiny” in the future, definitely try the pumpkin meringue pie that was just posted. It’s a really interesting, more delicate, take on a classic pumpkin pie. I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks! You really can’t go wrong on this site!

      • Beth Price says:

        Thanks Amy!

      • Natalie says:

        Hi! Thank you guys! And I’ll most definitely try the Pumpkin Meringue Pie, it sounds delicious! I love this site, too, glad I’ve just finished my exams so be sure I’ll spends loads of time trying out the recipes here!!

  15. Yvonne says:

    I made the Sweet Potato Pie for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. This is the first time I ever made ANY pie. The shortcut pie crust was super easy to make…my first crust. Some comments I received: “This is the best pie I ever ate;” “The flavors are wonderful, they go together perfectly!” I am already getting requests to make it again for Christmas. The cardamom is a bit expensive but I got it because I wanted to make the recipe exactly as listed. And I’m so glad I did because I like it very much, and am learning how to incorporate it into other recipes. So far I have made the orange-olive cake and the sweet potato pie from your website, and they both turned out perfectly! Now if I need a recipe for something, I check your website first. Thank you so much for posting these recipes.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Yvonne, you’re welcome, but really, we want to say thanks to you for taking the time to write us that note. We’re over the moon that you had such a swell experience with your first pie! We test all our recipes in home kitchens prior to approving them for the site, which means you and other readers will have just the experience that you did. As for that cardamom, try mixing a little in with some granulated sugar and sprinkling it on sliced strawberries or peaches come summer…wow!

  16. Yvonne says:

    I made the Sweet Potato Pie again for Christmas, and was very disappointed. The first time I used red sweet potatoes. This time I used white sweet potatoes and I couldn’t get them smooth even with my immersion blender. The filling was “tough” and not at all like the first pie. I wonder if the first time I was actually using yams? Some people say yams and sweet potatoes are the same. I don’t know, but I will try it again soon. And I will definitely try to cardamom on peaches this summer; I even put some in my oatmeal now. Delicious!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Yvonne, white sweet potatoes are very different in taste as well as texture from the more common red or garnet or orange or whatever you wish to call them sweet potatoes. I’m pretty certain that’s the problem right there. White sweet potatoes are lovely in savory recipes, not so much sweet recipes. Next time you try the pie, please give it a twirl with the orange-hued tubers and let us know how it goes…

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