The crowning touch of many Thanksgiving tables is a billowy, golden, sweet potato casserole. Adorned with sugared pecans, this casserole is so sweet that it is actually a dessert masquerading as a side dish. Tom Perini of the Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas, shared his family recipe for this seasonal classic. The Steakhouse has been feeding hungry guests for over 37 years. On Thanksgiving, Tom continues a tradition begun by his mother and shares a huge meal with friends and family, complete with turkey, corn pudding, and pound cake served on outdoor tables set with heirloom blue-spode china. The Southern Sweet Potatoes is a family favorite recipe, and one you will be sure to remember once you make it. Roasting the potatoes brings out their natural sweetness and, if you like make-ahead moments,  you can do this step the day before assembling the recipe. Bake this dish in a casserole dish or, for a more rustic look, use a cast-iron skillet.

Courtesy of Perini Ranch Steakhouse


Credit: Robbie Caponetto; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe Summary

2 hrs
20 mins


Sweet Potato Filling


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the Sweet Potato Filling: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 13- x 9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray, or lightly butter a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Using a fork, poke several sets of holes in each sweet potato. Arrange sweet potatoes in prepared baking dish. Bake until very tender when pierced with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool in baking dish until cool enough to handle, 15 to 20 minutes (do not turn the oven off).

  • Remove sweet potatoes from baking dish, and set dish aside. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop flesh into a large bowl. Discard skins.

  • Mash sweet potato flesh well using a potato masher. Add eggs, granulated sugar, milk, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture into baking dish.

  • Prepare the Topping: Stir together pecans, brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add melted butter, and stir until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over Sweet Potato Filling in baking dish.

  • Bake at 400ºF until Topping is browned and Sweet Potato Filling is hot and bubbly throughout, 35 to 45 minutes, covering with aluminum foil during final 10 minutes of bake time if needed to prevent overbrowning. Serve hot.