You may think, at first glance, that this is the same old sweet potato and marshmallow casserole you grew up eating each Thanksgiving. And you’d be partly right. It’s definitely inspired by that American classic. Yet there are critical differences that make it an undeniably grown-up offering. First, it doesn’t take up valuable oven space while you’re juggling 14 other things that need the oven on the busiest cooking day of the year. Second, it relies on actual sweet potatoes that were dug out of the dirt locally rather than mushy, tin-tasting canned sweet potatoes. Third, it’s quick and easy enough to throw together for a side on any given weeknight. If you really want to impress anyone, including yourself, you can fancy it up by making the marshmallow topping from scratch. But store-bought mini marshmallows do quite nicely. As with most adult things, that’s up to you.Angie Zoobkoff

A bowl of sweet potato puree with marshmallow, which is toasted with a torch, toasted buttered pecans around the edge

Sweet Potato Purée with Marshmallow

5 from 1 vote
Say hello to this sweet potato purée with marshmallow, your newest go-to side dish, and not just on special occasions. Mashed sweet potatoes are topped with homemade marshmallow topping (or store-bought mini-marshmallows) and slid beneath the broiler until bubbling and toasted. Buttered toasted pecans add crunch.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories680 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • Pastry bag fitted with a small fluted tip (optional); kitchen torch (optional)


For the marshmallow topping (OR substitute 7 ounces | 200 g mini marshmallows)

  • 5 sheets gold leaf gelatin or two (1/4-ounce | 7-g) gelatin packets
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup tepid water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the pecans

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups pecan pieces

For the sweet potato purée

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, unpeeled (about 4 small)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 20 grates fresh nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cinnamon


Make the marshmallow topping

  • Using your hands, break up the gelatin sheets into small pieces in a small bowl, or empty the gelatin packets into the bowl. Add the vanilla bean seeds and water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and then remove from the heat and pour it into a glass measuring cup.
  • Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy, 10 to 15 minutes. While continuing to beat, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture, beating until soft peaks form, about 10 minutes. Continue to beat until the marshmallow has a light, fluffy but sticky texture; be careful not to over mix or the mixture will separate. Transfer the marshmallow mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small fluted tip and set aside at room temperature. Do not refrigerate the marshmallow.

Toast the pecans

  • In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter foams, add the pecans and toss until toasted, about 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Make the sweet potato purée

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into equal-size pieces. When the water is boiling, gently drop in the sweet potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
  • Transfer the sweet potatoes to a food processor and add the brown sugar, butter, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture is smooth, stopping and scraping down the side of the food processor if needed. Transfer the sweet potato purée to a saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

To serve

  • If using a kitchen torch, transfer the purée to a warmed heatproof serving bowl or individual bowls. Scatter the mini marshmallows over the puree or pipe the marshmallow on top in a circular motion until the surface is nearly covered. Use the kitchen torch to lightly char the marshmallow. If using the broiler, transfer the purée to an ovenproof baking dish. Scatter the mini marshmallows over the puree or pipe the marshmallow on top in a circular motion until the surface is nearly covered. Slide the dish under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
  • Sprinkle with the pecans and serve immediately.
Collards and Carbonara Cookbook

Adapted From

Collards & Carbonara

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 680 kcalCarbohydrates: 97 gProtein: 7 gFat: 33 gSaturated Fat: 7 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 16 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 15 mgSodium: 1666 mgPotassium: 676 mgFiber: 9 gSugar: 68 gVitamin A: 21649 IUVitamin C: 4 mgCalcium: 89 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Andrew Ticer | Michael Hudman. Photo © 2013 Ed Anderson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This sweet potato purée with marshmallow makes a subtly sweet side dish good enough to grace any holiday table or weeknight meal. The resulting dish was delicately spiced and slightly sweet. It was certainly a big hit with the family. Since it was fast and easy I’m sure it will be making more frequent appearances for weeknight and holiday dinners.

The sweet potatoes were quickly peeled and boiled while I made the pecan topping. I had to stop the food processor several times to stir so I could get a smooth purée. As this was part of a weeknight meal, I chose to use mini marshmallows for the topping. The purée was put into a shallow baking dish and after topping with the marshmallows I broiled it for a few minutes to get it golden brown.

The only criticism is that the food processor makes the purée too smooth. We seem to prefer a more rustic sweet potato mash. I think next time we’ll mash it by hand and add in the rest of the ingredients before adding the marshmallow and pecans.

You may think this sweet potato purée with marshmallow is just the same-old sweet potato casserole and yes, you’d be partly right. But it is a grown-up version for sure. First, the sweet potatoes have only a tablespoon of added sugar and trust me, the sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own, so you won’t miss all the sugar usually called for. And the marshmallow topping isn’t any topping, but hand-crafted, hand-piped marshmallows! These make for such better flavor and are lighter and more elegant looking than what you can get from store-bought marshmallows.

When I made the marshmallows, I couldn’t find leaf gelatin, so I substituted 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin and followed the rest as instructed. There was more than enough marshmallow, even when I doubled the sweet potatoes, which I would recommend if you’re feeding a holiday crowd.

I also baked a smaller portion of the sweet potatoes in a smaller casserole without the marshmallow topping (though I wouldn’t dream of skipping the sprinkled pecans!) for those guests who wanted to avoid the extra sugar and I think it was nearly as popular.

If you’re disinclined to make the marshmallows from scratch, rest assured the sweet potatoes are perfect on their own and would probably do just fine with store-bought marshmallows. Either way, this dish could be ready in under 20 minutes.

Finally, as a last selling point, this recipe was easy to make ahead and finish at the end with the marshmallows. I heated the sweet potatoes nearly to temperature before piping on the topping and then finished it up under the broiler.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Ann, we haven’t tried storing this with the marshmallow topping on it, so we can’t say if it would hold up. I suspect that it would soften and sort of dissolve into and around the puree. If you’re hoping to make it in advance, I’d suggest making the puree ahead of time, then rewarming it and finishing the topping shortly before serving.