Classic Sweet Potato Pie

Roasted sweet potatoes make this pie sweeter and more flavorful than canned pumpkin could ever dream of being.

Sweet Potato Pie
Photo:

Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

Active Time:
40 mins
Cool Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
5 hrs 50 mins
Servings:
8 slices

If your family is torn between pumpkin pie and pecan pie, bake something everyone can agree on: Sweet Potato Pie.

This pie gains its sweetness from roasted sweet potatoes, accented with a light dose of fall spices to make this an instant Thanksgiving favorite. This from-scratch pie takes a little bit of effort, but we have a feeling that even Grandma will be coming back for a second slice. 

Sweet Potato Pie Ingredients

Pie Crust: This homemade pie dough comes together in your food processor, making it one of the easiest pie crust recipes we've tested to date. The crust is buttery and flaky, and thanks to the blind baking, it stays crisp even once the filling is added. This recipe also works with store-bought pie crust if you can’t be bothered to make your own, but we’re of the belief that homemade pie crust is always worth it.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes take the place of pumpkin in this classic Thanksgiving pie. Roasting the sweet potatoes concentrates their flavor and sweetness without adding any unwanted moisture into the pie (which can happen if you boil your potatoes). The potatoes are then pureed with butter and brown sugar for some richness and added sweetness. 

Heavy Cream and Eggs: The sweet potato custard filling is set with cream and eggs, which make the pie filling smooth and silky.

Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are the spice trio that lend this pie its warm, autumnal flavor. It’s just lightly spiced so that the sweet potato flavor can shine through.

Homemade Pie Dough Tips

Since you're making homemade dough, there are a few tricks to keep in mind so it's flaky and buttery.

Keep it cold

Whenever you’re handling homemade pie dough, you want to keep it as cold as possible, which will prevent the butter from melting. Take care to use cold ingredients, and be sure to let the dough chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge; this time will allow the dough to fully hydrate, making it easier to roll out later.

Don’t overwork it

You’ll want to pulse the ingredients until it just starts to come together; it will still be dry and crumbly, but will further hydrate in the fridge. Overworking the dough will lead to gummy, tough pastry.

Blind bake the crust

Blind baking, or par-baking the pie crust on its own before adding the filling, helps you achieve the coveted crispy bottom and flaky, golden pastry. You can use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust, preventing it from bubbling up.

Break out the food processor

We use this gadget twice in this recipe: first to make the pie crust, then to blend the sweet potatoes. It helps us achieve a super-flaky pie shell and a smooth, silky filling. If you prefer your pie to have more texture, you can use an electric hand mixer (or a potato masher, then a whisk) to mix the filling.

Can I Make Sweet Potato Pie Ahead of Time?

To prep ahead and save time, you can make the pie dough and roast the sweet potatoes up to 2 days in advance.

How To Serve Sweet Potato Pie

Enjoy this pie as a sweet end to your holiday meal. Top with whipped cream and freshly shaved nutmeg; enjoy with a big mug of coffee or warm cider.

Editorial contributions by Zoe Denenberg.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 10 Tbsp. (5 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. ice water, as needed

Filling

  • 2 large (14 oz. each) sweet potatoes, scrubbed

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • Sweetened whipped cream

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. Prepare the Crust: Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined, about 3 pulses. Add butter, and pulse until butter pieces are pea-sized, about 8 pulses.

    flour in food processor

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Drizzle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough starts to clump together, about 4 pulses. The dough should still look a little dry and crumbly - take care to not overmix or add too much water. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface, and dump dough mixture in center of plastic.

    flour for crust on plastic wrap

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Use edges of the plastic to bring dough together into a rough disk shape. Wrap and flatten into a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. 

    pie crust

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Unwrap chilled dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 12-inch (about 1/4-inch-thick) round.

    pie crust and rolling pin

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Carefully transfer dough to a 9-inch pie plate, easing it into the corners and trimming overhang to 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under itself, and crimp edges decoratively, as desired. Chill 20 minutes.

    pie dough

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  3. Line chilled Crust with parchment paper; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake in preheated oven until edges are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

    beans in pie crust

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Remove parchment and beans; return to oven. Continue baking until dry to the touch, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

    pie crust

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  4. Prepare the Filling: Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork, and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

    sweet potatoes on baking pan

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Roast in preheated oven until sweet potatoes are very soft and offer no resistance when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

    roasted sweet potatoes

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  5. Peel sweet potatoes with your hands (the skin should be loose and peel off easily) and break them up into large chunks, discarding the skins.

    roasted sweet potatoes

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  6. Place sweet potato chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pureed and smooth, about 45 seconds.

    pureed sweet potato

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Add sugar and butter; process until combined, about 30 seconds. Add eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ginger. Process until very smooth, about 45 seconds. Stop to scrape down bottom and sides. Process until mixture is fully combined, about 5 seconds.

    sweet potato pie filling

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  7. Pour the Filling mixture into cooled Crust, using a spatula to smooth top.

    unbaked sweet potato pie

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Bake in preheated oven until Filling is set around the edges but still wobbly in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Cut pie into slices, and serve with sweetened whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

    sweet potato pie

    Rob Culpepper; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Assistant Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

Additional reporting by
Zoe Denenberg
Zoe Denenberg

As a professional baker, Zoe Denenberg has spent the past two years traveling across the country—from Alabama to Hawai'i—working in farm-focused pastry kitchens. She has written about food, travel, and culture for Southern Living since 2019. See more of Zoe's work at https://zoedenenberg.wixsite.com/portfolio and follow her on Instagram.

Related Articles