Sweet Potato Pie

A slice of sweet potato pie on a metal platter with a knife resting beside it.

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.

Sweet Potato Pie

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 10
4.3/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook cookbook

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

Ingredients


Directions

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.

Add the cream, eggs, and molasses or sorghum to the sweet potatoes and whisk until completely incorporated.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, cardamom, cloves, mace, ginger, and salt. Add the sweet potato mixture and stir until smooth.

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.)

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.

Print RecipeBuy the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

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!

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!

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Comments

  1. Been looking to try a sweet potato pie for a very long time and decided this was the one to test drive. Worked exactly as written, with the extra filling (quite a lot extra!) baked in two ramekins alongside the main event. The hand mashed filling held its shape nicely when cut and had a distinct sweet potato taste on the first day. It’s refreshing to have the cinnamon and nutmeg sit this one out, letting the molasses and other spices take lead roles. Worth pointing out that the note the pie is best the day made is correct, as the spices continue to bloom as it sits and begins to blur its identity with the more common pumpkin pie.

    Stray thoughts:
    -I am a sucker for molasses and cardamom and will likely increase both on my next bake.
    -While not noted in step 1, I HIGHLY advise baking your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, rather than right on the rack. Having thought they were firmly mummified in foil, I baked them right on the rack and found they leaked boiling liquid around the 50 minute mark. Thankfully, I was already planning to clean the oven before Thanksgiving anyway, but just something to consider for those of you who make your own sweet potato puree.

  2. The third time was the charm with this pie. The filling was a dream from the gitgo (even though I bought purple sweet potatoes by mistake, and thus produced a pie that….I called it my Homage to Prince). Anyway, the problem was the crust: Twice I made it following the recipe to a T, and twice the dough was so sticky that the parchment paper ripped up half the bottom crust when I tried to remove it. I have tried to figure out what I did wrong, and cannot. No, it wasn’t particularly humid. Yes, I weighed all my ingredients, in grams. I’m stumped.

    At any rate, the third time I added some more flour into the mix — I’m afraid I eyeballed it, rather than measuring — and then added the melted butter by the ladlefull, stopping when the dough seemed to me to be still soft enough to press into the pan and yet much drier and more like Pie Dough than the earlier versions had been. I pressed it into the pan (doubling the recipe to account for my deep-dish pan), baked it as per the instructions, and HOT DAMN it came out perfect — crisp, golden, delicious. When I pulled away the sides of my pan, the crenelations showed like a dream, and the pie held together perfectly. And with the filling, it was just great.

    Because of my deep pan, the filling — when it cooled — sank down to below the level of the top of the pan. I sprinkled on a border of almond slivers that I had caramelized with some nubbins of candied ginger, and I have to say, that was a great idea. It gave the pie another layer of texture, and the bits of ginger offered tiny little explosions of heat. Plus it pulled the focus away from the PURPLENESS of the filling, which was desirable. Anyway, great sweet potato pie, Ill make it again.

    1. We’re chuckling with (not at!) you over the purpleness of the pie filling, Maggie. That sounds exactly like something that would happen to us! Love that you trusted your instincts with the crust when you remade the recipe. And we’re completely borrowing the candied ginger and almond crunch notion. BRILLIANT! Appreciate you taking the time to share your tricks with us and our readers. Wishing you and yours all the magic of the season…

  3. 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!

    1. 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…

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!!

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