Sweet Potato Soufflé


The rules of holiday menus state you must make this classic Southern side.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins

There are only a few side dishes that will determine whether or not a Thanksgiving meal is a success—sweet potato soufflé is on that list.

On a plate piled with all sorts of casseroles, salads, and meat, it's almost law to include something sweet that's still hardy enough to make it on the non-dessert menu. And don't be fooled by the Thanksgiving commentary; sweet potato soufflé is just as appropriate to make (and eat!) in April as it is in November.

Sweet Potato Souffle
Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

How to Make Sweet Potato Souffle

To make this classic dish, bake the sweet potatoes until the flesh is very tender. Then, peel and mash in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the sweet potato flesh is smooth.

Beat butter into the potatoes along with brown sugar, eggs, and cinnamon. Mix in a significant amount of vanilla extract to give the soufflé a remarkable sweetness.

Cover the soufflé base with a buttery brown sugar-pecan topping that will bake into a solid layer on top.

Be sure to get a proper spoonful for a rich bite of smooth sweet potato and crunchy pecan bits that tastes spot on.

What's the Difference Between a Casserole and a Souffle?

If we're being honest, this isn't a true souffle—not in the way of this Pumpkin Soufflé at least. A true soufflé has egg whites added to the vegetable or starch so that it's rises up light and fluffy. It often peaks over the lip of its baking dish, a crowning achievement for many home cooks.

This recipe for Sweet Potato Souffle does not have egg whites alone, so it doesn't technically qualify as a true souffle. It's also not going to puff up the way a true soufflé will. No, in the gray area of recipes, a sweet potato casserole is different from a sweet potato souffle in that the texture of the souffle is often lighter and silkier than a sweet potato casserole. But beyond that, it's really just semantics. Some might call this a casserole, others a souffle. Either way, we call it delicious.

Can You Substitute Canned Sweet Potatoes for Fresh?

Yes, when it comes to casseroles (and, this case, a sweet potato souffle), you can use canned or frozen sweet potatoes instead of fresh. Since the potatoes are mashed before other ingredients are added, this is an easy swap.

roasted sweet potatoes
Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

However, it should be noted that you may lose something in the flavor. Roasting sweet potatoes in the oven makes them sweeter and lends caramel-like notes from the natural sugars cooking. Don't add more sugar to make up for it—that could make the souffle runny. Just know it's a flavor trade-off you'll be making if you do this.



  • 4 large or 5 medium sweet potatoes (about 6 cups mashed flesh)

  • ½ cup butter, softened

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • cup light brown sugar

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

  • 5 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash and thoroughly dry outside of sweet potatoes. Wrap in aluminum foil, and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours; remove and allow to cool until you can easily remove the skins, about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a glass 9- x- 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer or with an electric hand mixer, beat sweet potatoes on medium-high until they become smooth, about 2 minutes. Add butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; mix until fully combined. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt; beat on medium high until the mixture is fully homogenous. Pour into prepared baking dish.

  3. In a bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. Add pecans and toss to coat. Add melted butter and stir until butter is evenly absorbed. Scatter across the surface of the soufflé. Bake until the center of the soufflé is set and does not jiggle when tapped, 45 to 55 minutes.

    Sweet Potato Soufflé
    Micah Leal
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