Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving staple on many tables, but for whatever reason my family never served it. I always wondered what it would taste like, I figured some sort of cross between that always-famous marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole and a pumpkin pie. This year I decided to put the curiosity to rest and give it a test run here a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. I am so glad that I did. I was able to strip the mystique away and came away totally loving this new-to-me recipe. It’s definitely more of a pumpkin pie feel than the sweet potato/marshmallow casserole, but with a slightly different flavor. A little more depth and a little more hearty than pumpkin, and absolutely worthy of a spot on the Thanksgiving dessert table.

I love the little layer of brown sugar nestled on the bottom of this pie – it’s the perfect bridge between the crust and the smooth sweet potato filling. The filling is smooth and creamy, spiked with nutmeg, bourbon and molasses. A perfect combination of flavors, and a great way to cap off Thanksgiving dinner. I love offering this along with the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies – variety is the spice of life!

P.S. I got a little distracted and forgot to cover my pie crust halfway through baking, it got a little dark. Oops! Remember to keep an eye on yours πŸ™‚

One year ago: How to Make Perfect Pie Crust
Two years ago: Fallen Chocolate Cakes

Sweet Potato Pie

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes


For the Pie Dough:
1ΒΌ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Β½ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
4 - 5 tablespoons ice water

For the Sweet Potato Filling:
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
Β½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
ΒΌ cup packed dark brown sugar


1. In food processor bowl fitted with steel blade, pulse flour, salt, and sugar to combine. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to evenly distribute water into flour mixture until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of hand; add up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if necessary. Turn dough onto clean, dry work surface; gather and gently press together into cohesive ball, then flatten into rough 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

3. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk about 1/8 inch thick. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch pie plate; unfold dough.

4. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough carefully into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Trim edge to Β½ inch beyond pan lip. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edges are about ΒΌ inch beyond pan lip; flute dough. Refrigerate pie shell for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes. (This two-step process helps to reduce shrinkage of the crust during baking.)

5. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Press doubled 18-inch square of heavy-duty foil inside shell and fold back edges of foil to shield fluted edge; evenly distribute about 2 cups metal or ceramic pie weights over foil. Bake, leaving foil and weights in place until dough dries and lightens in color, 17 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering sides of foil and pulling up and out. Bake until light golden brown, about 9 minutes longer. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

6. Prick sweet potatoes several times with fork and place on double layer of paper towels in microwave (see illustrations below). Cook at full power for 5 minutes; turn each potato over and continue to cook at full power until tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes longer. Cool 10 minutes. Halve each potato crosswise; insert small spoon between skin and flesh, and scoop flesh into medium bowl; discard skin. (If potatoes are too hot to handle comfortably, fold double layer of paper towels into quarters and use to hold potato half). Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes; you should have about 2 cups. While potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash with fork or wooden spoon; small lumps of potato should remain.

7. Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl; stir in bourbon, molasses, and vanilla, then whisk in milk. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine.

8. Heat partially baked pie shell in oven until warm, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle bottom of pie shell evenly with brown sugar. Pour sweet potato mixture into pie shell over brown sugar layer. Bake until filling is set around edges but center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 45 minutes. (Check about halfway through - if the crust is browning too much, cover with foil.) Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, and serve.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


45 Responses to “Sweet Potato Pie”

  1. CouponClippingCook on November 10, 2011 at 2:02 am

    So glad you discussed the difference in taste between a pumpkin pie and this sweet potato pie…I was curious about that. This pie looks so delicious and perfectly moist.


  2. Kate Koger on November 10, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Sweet potato/marshmallow casserole??? That sounds kinda kooky!! Sweet potato pie it is funny I was wondering only yesterday using sweet potato instead of pumpkin in baking with the pumpkin spices and how that would be…..on the same wave length! Spooky!!! πŸ˜‰


    • Kate Koger on November 10th, 2011 at 2:31 am

      ha! just did a search for it and found it! Doesn’t sound as kooky as I was thinking! πŸ˜‰


  3. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on November 10, 2011 at 6:17 am

    I never have sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving- usually keep my sweet potatoes for a side dish:-) However, my dad LOVES sweet potato pie so I’ll think about making this!


  4. Rodzilla on November 10, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Come to think of it, we never did sweet potato pie either. I’m guessing it has to do with the already dessert-like sweet potato variations like you mentioned. This looks great though, I may have to suggest it πŸ˜€


  5. Heather Taylor on November 10, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I haven’t ever made sweet potato pie. In fact, I never even tried one until a few weeks ago at Sam’s Club. It was decent but I’m quite sure I can make yours and it would taste a thousand times better!


  6. Katrina on November 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I’ve been meaning to try this kind of pie for a while. It sounds so yummy!


  7. katie @KatieDid on November 10, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I don’t know if I’d be able to tell in a blind taste test! And I just heard that canned pumpkin is almost always just a variety of squashes pureed together! My dreams have been crushed πŸ˜‰


  8. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! on November 10, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I’ve always wanted to make sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving but we’ve never had it in my family either… Maybe this will be the year! Great recipe, thanks πŸ™‚


  9. Carrie@ Bakeaholic Mama on November 10, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Sweet Potato Pie isn’t something we have much in the north east… everything is pumpkin. I’m thinking I might change it up this year and make this pie instead of our traditonal pumpkin!


  10. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen on November 10, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’ve never had a sweet potato pie either, maybe this is the year! I’m totally on a sweet potato kick. The bourbon doesn’t sound half bad either!


  11. Carolyn on November 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I have always wanted to try a sweet potato pie…I think I will make this instead of the planned pumpkin pie. Yumm – thanks for sharing!


  12. Living The Good Life on November 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

    This is kind of embarrassing to admit- but I’ve never had sweet potato pie before πŸ™ – – I just thought it would be far too savoury to have as a desert … but after reading this. I.WANT.SOME :$ lol


  13. Kimber on November 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Mmm … who doesn’t love a good sweet potato pie! And with Bourbon? I’m sold!


  14. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on November 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I’ve always wanted to try making this. My hubby and I love sweet potatoes!


  15. Alicia @ APinchofSweet on November 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    This week must be sweet potato pie week. I just posted my grandmother’s recipe for it on my blog. My grandmother was from Mississippi so Sweet Potato Pie was a must on our table. I’m glad more and more people are getting into it. Happy Thanksgiving!!


  16. sue on November 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I have always wanted to try this, sweeet potatoes are not as big up here in canada.


  17. Angela @ Mind Over Batter on November 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I bake sweet potato pies every Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite thing to bake during the holidays. I think it’s the way it make the house smell… I love the sprinkling of brown sugar on the pie shell – That must be heaven!


  18. krimpetgirl on November 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    your family never had sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving, mine never had pumpkin pie. thanks for this I’m always looking for new sweet potato pie recipes.


  19. Russell at Chasing Delicious on November 10, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Everybody I ask keep shelling me their favorite pie is sweet potato and for some reason I have never tried it. This recipe looks scrumptious. It looks like I definitely have an excuse to try it now.


  20. Ashley on November 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    We never had sweet potato pie growing up either, just pumpkin. I made it for the first time last year and it was amazing! I will def have to try this recipe as well. Looks delish!


  21. Sabrina on November 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    This looks absolutely gorgeous! Thanksgiving can’t get here sooner! I just wanted to let you know that I featured your Classic Stuffing on my blog today! Head on over if you get the chance! πŸ™‚


  22. Ann on November 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Fantastic! My family never served it, either. We have a neighbor who drops off sweet potato pies to ALL the neighbors on Thanksgiving. Isn’t that sweet?


  23. Amanda on November 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    This looks so delicious! If you love sweet potatoes, please try out my latest recipe for hazelnut sweet potato bannock pie! http://bit.ly/savourypie


  24. Tracy on November 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Massively drooling over here. I’ve only ever made pumpkin pie, but this looks like a gorgeous pie. Can’t wait to try it!


  25. Ally on November 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Mmm, mmm, mmm. Sweet potato anything = <3.


  26. Betty on November 13, 2011 at 12:30 am

    this looks and sounds amazing!


  27. Winnie on November 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    It looks soooooo delicious, that I have to try it
    Thanks for sharing!!:):)


  28. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) on November 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I was just telling my grandmother this weekend that sweet potato is my favorite food. SP pie always beat pumpkin in my book (shhh. don’t tell anyone I said that). This looks really wonderful.


  29. Fran@fransfavs.com on November 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

    It must be an Italian thing because my Sicilian mom never made anything with sweet potatoes until only recently. But it’s definitely sweet potato pie time! I’ve just posted my version which calls for lemon extract instead of the traditional pumpkin pie spices (with the exception of cinnamon). It is refreshingly light tasting, and the flavor of the sweet potatoes comes shining through. http://www.fransfavs.com/2011/11/sweet-potato-pie/#more-2228


  30. Brittni on November 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Its quite interesting that what we eat on Thanksgiving or other holidays are quite cultural. Many African-Americans, including myself grew up eating sweet potato pie at every holiday but never pumpkin pie.


  31. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on November 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Sweet potato pie is new to me, too… But, I’ve been wanting to give it a try. Sounds fabulous!


  32. Joi on November 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    The recipe is questionable. I have been making sweet potato pies for years and they’re always a hit. I don’t think there is enough sugar or butter in this recipe. The pie is not suppose to tart.


    • Michelle on November 18th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      I’m sure everyone has their own tastes, but I can tell you this definitely doesn’t have a tart flavor to it. The sweet potato flavor shines, but there is also over a cup of sugar (white and brown combined) in the recipe. I have found most recipes that come from Cook’s Illustrated are pretty foolproof and spot-on given all of the testing they do. I’m definitely happy with this sweet potato pie.


  33. Jessy B on November 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Hey Michelle, the pie looks awesome! I love sweet potato!
    Do you think I can make this pie with sweet potato puree? I have got bunch of sweet potato puree cans and it would be super if I can substitute. πŸ™‚


    • Michelle on November 23rd, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Jessy, Although I haven’t tried it, I don’t see why not. Enjoy!


  34. Nina Sweeney on November 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    So I just made this pie for Thanksgiving. I have never had, nor made sweet potato pie. After making this pie, I’ve found that I either don’t like sweet potato pie, or this isn’t the best recipe. It wasn’t nasty….I’d say it had a very peculiar taste.
    Generally, I love the recipes I find here. It’s just this one I won’t be trying again. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday πŸ™‚


  35. marla on March 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Love this recipe! Linking back to it in my next post πŸ™‚


  36. Carolyn on December 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I just made the most beautiful sweet potato pie & I used your crust recipe! Thank you for the wonderful recipe πŸ™‚


  37. Silvia on February 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    The filling did not set after 45 minutes plus 15 minutes iN the oven. Why? Is it still safe to eat? It tastes pretty good but it’s not set. πŸ™


    • Michelle on February 9th, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Hi Silvia, Was it set around the edges but just jiggled slightly in the center? If so, be sure you gave it the full 2 hours to cool, as it will continue to set during this time. If the center is clearly still liquid, then I would not eat it given the raw eggs.


  38. Maureen Teachman on November 15, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Hello I made a sweet potato pumpkin pie last year. I was almost positive I found the recipe on your site. Can’t seem to find it today. If you don’t have the combination recipe with both sweet potatoes and pumpkin, do you have one you could recommend. Thank you,

    Sorry to hear baby has his first cold They are so helpless at this age and not a whole lot Mom or Dad can do.


    • Michelle on November 17th, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Maureen, I have never made a sweet potato pumpkin pie – I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! And yes, so sad to have a sick baby! πŸ™


  39. Heidelind on November 25, 2015 at 6:35 am

    I made this for a potluck on Monday. I couldn’t stay very long, but when I came back to get my pie dish coworkers showered me with compliments. “You made this pie?” “You MADE it?” “You made the crust?” Even this one really mean guy complimented me on the pie:)


  40. Lisa on October 20, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Does CI recommend a specific bourbon? Or do you? Would whiskey (Jameson) work? Making this weekend!


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