Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish. Made with sweetened condensed milk, canned yams, chopped pecans, and topped with toasted marshmallows it’s perfect for any holiday table.

If you’re looking for more Thanksgiving recipes, be sure to try our favorite Sautéed Green Beans , Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Wild Rice Stuffing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Easy Pumpkin Pie.

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spoonful of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows

You’ll Love Sweet Potato Casserole With Canned Yams

When it comes to Thanksgiving sides, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is always on our holiday table. It seems to be everyone’s favorite as we rarely have leftovers!

Below are reasons why you’ll love this easy sweet potato casserole.

  • Full of Fall Flavor: Thanksgiving staple sweet potatoes combined with sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, chopped pecans, and toasted marshmallows unite in a delicious Thanksgiving side dish.
  • Texture: You’ll find creamy mashed sweet potatoes under a crown of gooey toasted marshmallows for a combination that can almost rival any dessert.
  • Make-Ahead: It’s easy to make sweet potato casserole the day of or can be prepared in advance for an easy make-ahead holiday side dish.
  • Simple To Make: Using canned sweet potatoes saves you time and taste just as delicious as cooking fresh sweet potatoes. You will simply mix everything (but the marshmallows) in one bowl and pour it into a dish to bake. Doesn’t get much easier than that!
  • Not Just For Thanksgiving: Sweet potato casserole with canned yams makes a perfect dish to serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, it’s also simple enough to serve for Sunday supper and other special occasions.
  • It also makes your house smell amazing while baking!

sweet potato casserole in a baking dish and on plates

Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients 

The best sweet potato casserole starts with the best ingredients. You will need:

  • Canned yams – You will need 2 large cans of yams/sweet potatoes which can be found in the canned vegetable section of the grocery store.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – The sweetened condensed milk gives the sweet potato casserole its sweetness and creaminess.
  • An egg – this helps to bind and hold it all together.
  • Butter – If you use salted butter, omit the salt from this recipe. You don’t want it to be overly salty.
  • Pumpkin pie spice – wonderful flavors of the holiday season! You can make your own pumpkin pie spice.
  • Vanilla extract – I love to use homemade vanilla extract, but store-bought works just as well.  Be sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Salt – helps counter some of the sweetness.
  • Pecans – Chopped pecans add a nice crunch to this casserole. You can substitute walnuts for the pecans.
  • Marshmallows – Grab a bag of large or small marshmallows to add to the top of your sweet potatoes. These will get brown and toasted and they add a delicious flavor to the casserole.

canned sweet potatoes in a glass bowl with other ingredients to make sweet potato casserole

How to Make The Best Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallows

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 375° F. You will also want to grease your casserole dish with butter, olive oil, or baking spray.

STEP TWO: Grab a large mixing bowl and add your yams, sweetened condensed milk, egg, butter, and pumpkin pie spice. Mash everything together until smooth. You can use a potato masher or an electric mixer for this step.

STEP THREE: Fold in the pecans before pouring the sweet potato mixture into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until heated through and the casserole begins to bubble around the edges.

STEP FOUR: Carefully remove the casserole from the oven. Add marshmallows to the top of the casserole and then place them back in the oven. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are browned on the edges. Remove the finished sweet potato casserole from the oven and let it cool 15-20 minutes before serving. NOTE: the longer it cools, the more it will “set up”.

sweet potato casserole in a white serving dish being topped with marshmallows

Can I Use Fresh Sweet Potatoes?

Yes! You absolutely can use fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned yams for this casserole. You will want to skin and dice 2 to 2 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes before adding them to a pot of boiling water. Cook until they are fork-tender. Drain the water and add the cooked sweet potatoes to your mixing bowl. Increase your butter to 6 tablespoons and follow the rest of the directions.

Easy To Make Ahead

While this holiday classic is so simple to make, you can certainly prepare sweet potato casserole 1-2 days in advance. Simply assemble the whole casserole, except for the marshmallows the night before, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

Allow the casserole to come to room temperature for 30 minutes on the counter before baking.

sweet potato casserole with canned yams baked and topped with toasted marshmallows

Sweet Potato Casserole FAQs

Are canned yams and sweet potatoes the same thing?

Yes and no. Technically sweet potatoes and yams are not the same. Sweet potatoes have smooth orange skin and flesh and a sweet flavor. Yams have very rough brown skin, white flesh, with a neutral earthy flavor. In the US, yam is actually a “nickname” for sweet potatoes. Because of this, the US Department of Agriculture requires that the label “yam” include an additional label of “sweet potato”.  So if you see canned Yams in the US, you are buying canned sweet potatoes.

Does sweet potato casserole need eggs?

The egg in the sweet potato casserole helps bind everything together. You only need 1 egg but it makes a difference in the overall texture of this casserole.

What is the difference between sweet potato pie and casserole? 

Sweet potato pie is similar to pumpkin pie and is baked in a pie crust. Sweet potato casserole is made in a baking dish and topped with marshmallows. Although the texture is similar, the taste of both dishes is very different.

How do you know when sweet potato casserole is done?

Your sweet potato casserole is done when it is heated all the way through and the edges start to bubble. To be sure your casserole with eggs is cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer to check that it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. 

How long can sweet potato casserole sit out?

You can leave your sweet potato casserole out for 2 hours after cooking. Anything past 2 hours, you do need to put it in the refrigerator to keep it free of bacteria.

How do you store sweet potato casserole?

Place cooled leftover sweet potato casserole in the refrigerator covered in tin foil. The casserole will stay fresh for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven until heated through.  To Freeze: Store completely cooled sweet potato casserole in the freezer without marshmallows. Cover dish with plastic wrap, then wrap completely in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking and adding marshmallows.

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sweet potato casserole with canned yams and toasted marshmallows on top

spoonful of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows

Sweet Potato Casserole

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish. Made with sweetened condensed milk, canned yams, chopped pecans, and topped with toasted marshmallows it’s perfect for any holiday table.


  • 2 (40 ounce) cans Yams, drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag large marshmallows


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients except for the pecans and marshmallows. Mash until smooth (use a hand potato masher or electric mixer). Fold in pecans then add the potato mixture to the prepared dish.
  3. Place the dish in the center of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Remove hot dish from the oven and carefully top with marshmallows. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted (or broil for about 5 but watch VERY closely so they don't burn).


To prepare ahead of time: Simply grease your casserole dish and follow step 2. Then cover the dish in tin foil and place in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 1/2 hour. Then preheat the oven and continue with steps 3 and 4.

If you would like to use fresh sweet potatoes: peel and dice about 2-2.5 pounds of sweet potatoes and boil until fork-tender. Increase the butter to 6 tablespoons.

If you don't have pumpkin pie spice you can make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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sweet potato casserole with canned yams on a gold spoon