Homemade Sweet Potato Pie

This Sweet Potato Pie recipe is made with fresh sweet potatoes, subtly spiced, has a layer of brown sugar baked onto the crust, and gets a little kick from bourbon. All you need is a dollop of whipped cream and you have a perfectly wonderful, old-fashioned Thanksgiving dessert.

A slice of sweet potato pie on a plate in front of the rest of the pie.

What is your Thanksgiving pie traditions? Did your family have a strong alliance to pumpkin pie? Sweet potato pie? Pecan? Or maybe you’ve always made something with apple, or (gasp!) chocolate?

Growing up, there were always two pumpkin pies sitting on my aunt’s stove, ready to serve up after we had cleared the plates from Thanksgiving dinner. We were always a big group, but I don’t recall any other dessert, other than my grandma’s legendary walnut pillow cookies and the chestnuts that were always roasted towards the end of the evening.

Sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving staple on many tables, but I never tasted it until about seven years ago. I always wondered what it would taste like, and figured it would be a cross between that always-famous marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole and a pumpkin pie. From what I understand, sweet potato pie is a Southern tradition. If you’re in the know, please give me the details! Is there anything that makes it super authentic?

MY OTHER RECIPES

I was able to strip the mystique away and came away totally loving this 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.

An overhead shot of a sweet potato pie with whipped cream around the borders.

How to Make Sweet Potato Pie

This pie comes together much like any other custard-based pie (a fairly simple whisking of the ingredients), with the addition of cooking and mashing the sweet potatoes before making the custard. No canned, candied yams here!

Below is a run-down of the ingredients we’ll use for this sweet potato pie:

  • My favorite pie crust recipe.
  • Sweet potatoes (fresh!)
  • Butter (just a little)
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt (of course)
  • Bourbon (!)
  • Molasses (yum)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk
  • Dark brown sugar

Unbaked pie crust with crimped edges.

Now, let’s talk about the process…

First, prepare the pie crust as described below and partially bake it. You can easily start this process a couple of days ahead of time and keep the dough in the refrigerator. Feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe here, or even store-bought if you’re in a real pinch.

Next, we work on the filling! Cook the sweet potatoes, then mash them with the butter.

Mashed sweet potatoes in a glass bowl.

Once the butter is incorporated, you’ll whisk together all of the other filling ingredients (eggs, sugar, nutmeg, salt, bourbon, molasses, vanilla extract, and milk), then gradually whisk that mixture into the mashed sweet potatoes.

A beautiful orange custard is born!

All of the custard ingredients whisked together.

Sweet potato pie filling whisked together in a glass bowl.

Sprinkle dark brown sugar over the bottom of the pie crust, which gives you juuuuuuust the tiniest bit of pecan pie flavor (so good!), then pour the custard into the pie shell and bake!

Once it is cooled and ready to serve, you can offer it as-is, or with a dollop of whipped cream on top (I always, always top mine with whipped cream!). I’ve become very partial to the whipped cream recipe that is in my most recent tres leches cake recipe. It’s really nicely sweetened and pipes exceptionally well. It’s become my go-to for all of my fresh whipped cream needs.

Sweet potato pie with a slice removed.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Notes

  • I use and recommend this pie plate.
  • You can substitute your favorite pie crust recipe (or store-bought, if you must) for the one listed below.
  • While cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave is quick, you can also cook them in the oven if you prefer (400 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes).
  • You can decrease or omit the bourbon entirely.
  • I recommend the whipped cream recipe that is found in my tres leches cake recipe.

Storage, Make-Ahead & Freezing Tips

  • Be sure to allow the pie to cool to room temperature before serving so that it sets up correctly.
  • You can prepare this pie a day in advance and keep it out at room temperature. Once cooled completely, cover loosely with foil.
  • If making more than a day in advance (or if you have leftovers), cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • You can freeze the whole pie – allow to cool completely, then wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then serve cold, at room temperature, or place in a 300-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes to warm, if desired.
  • To freeze leftover slices, simply wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe ziploc bag or airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 month. Follow the thawing/serving/reheating instructions for a whole pie, above.

A slice of sweet potato pie shot straight ahead.

For a sweet potato dish that isn’t cloyingly sweet, is bursting with fresh flavor, warm spices and a little kick, this sweet potato pie is the answer to Thanksgiving prayers. Whether you serve it in place of or alongside a pumpkin pie, guests will love that traditional, old-fashioned flavor. The perfect end to a food-filled holiday!

If You Like This Sweet Potato Pie, Try These Recipes:

A slice of sweet potato pie with a forkful taken out.

One year ago: Cheesy Creamed Corn Casserole
Four years ago: Chocolate Chip-Pecan Pie Bars
Five years ago: Pumpkin-Gingerbread Trifle
Six years ago: Mrs. Waterman’s Stuffed Mushrooms

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Sweet Potato Pie

This Sweet Potato Pie recipe is subtly spiced, has a layer of brown sugar baked onto the crust, and gets a little kick from bourbon.

Ingredients:

For the Pie Crust

  • 1¼ cups (177 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ¼ cup (46 grams) chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vodka, cold
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For the Sweet Potato Filling

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Make the Pie Crust: Process ¾ cups of the flour, the sugar and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 days.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around the circumference, ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the plate bottom with other hand. Leave the overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Trim the overhanging dough to ½ inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself; the folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute the dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against the rim of pie plate. Refrigerate the dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with aluminum foil and fold back edges of foil to shield the fluted edge, and fill with pie weights (I use this weight) or dried beans, filling the whole way up to the rim of the pie plate. Bake, leaving foil and weights in place until dough dries and lightens in color, 17 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights, cover the edges of the pie crust with a ring of foil or pie crust shield, and bake until light golden brown, about 9 minutes longer. Remove pie plate from oven (keep the pie crust shield on), and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  7. Make the Sweet Potato Filling: Prick sweet potatoes several times with fork and microwave for 5 minutes; turn each potato over and continue to cook until tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes longer. Cool 10 minutes.
  8. Halve each potato, and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl (discard skin); you should have about 2 cups of cooked sweet potato. While the potatoes are still hot, add butter and mash with fork or wooden spoon; small lumps of potato should remain.
  9. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, nutmeg, and salt; stir in bourbon, molasses, and vanilla, then whisk in milk. Gradually add egg mixture to sweet potatoes, whisking gently to combine.
  10. 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. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then serve.

Recipe Notes:

  • I use and recommend this pie plate.
  • You can substitute your favorite pie crust recipe (or store-bought, if you must) for the one listed below.
  • While cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave is quick, you can also cook them in the oven if you prefer (400 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes).
  • You can decrease or omit the bourbon entirely.
  • I recommend the whipped cream recipe that is found in my tres leches cake recipe.
  • You can prepare this pie a day in advance and keep it out at room temperature. Once cooled completely, cover loosely with foil.
  • If making more than a day in advance (or if you have leftovers), cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • You can freeze the whole pie – allow to cool completely, then wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then serve cold, at room temperature, or place in a 300-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes to warm, if desired.
  • To freeze leftover slices, simply wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe ziploc bag or airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 month. Follow the thawing/serving/reheating instructions for a whole pie, above.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated)

All images and text ©Brown Eyed Baker, LLC.

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in November 2011; updated in November 2018 with new photos and extensive recipe tips.