The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

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I have to share this recipe, it’s the best sweet potato casserole ever! It’s my friend Lisa’s recipe. I grew up with yam or sweet potato casseroles with marshmallows on top. Not one person in my family ate them. I quit making my mom’s recipe.

I thought to myself, on Thanksgiving, yams or sweet potatoes are a must. We hadn’t had them on the Thanksgiving holiday for years until I got this recipe. It’s so good and it doesn’t have marshmallows. I used to eat all the marshmallows on the top, did you do that?

This sweet potato casserole has apples and sweet potatoes/yams covered with a sweet sauce, it’s not too sweet, it’s just right. In fact, it’s perfect. In case you missed this post, How To Bake A Sweet Potato

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Table of Contents

Items You May Need In The Kitchen:

Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams: The star of this sweet potato casserole! Sweet potatoes are starchy, root vegetables that are high in many vitamins/minerals, and fiber. Yams are more cylindrical than sweet potatoes with dark thick skin. A yam is a tuber and a sweet potato is a root.
  • Baking Apples: For best results, use apples that are nice and firm that will hold up well while baking. Recommended apples: Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gala, Honey Gold, or Jonathan.
  • Brown Sugar: A mixture of granulated white sugar and molasses. It’s added for flavor and to help maintain moisture. It caramelizes as it bakes, creating a robust rich flavor that makes this casserole truly incredible!
  • Salt: Used to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and to offset the flavor of the sugar.
  • Unsalted Butter: Due to the fat content, butter helps to produce a softer sweet potato and enriches the flavor. It browns the sweet potato casserole while cooking. Due to the added salt in this recipe, you don’t need to use butter that contains added salt.
  • Cornstarch: A thickening agent. When combined with a liquid it creates a slurry that thickens the sweet potato casserole sauce.
  • Lemon Juice: Used to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients; gives the boost of lemon zest flavor we all love! It helps to lock in the moisture in the sweet potato casserole and adds a little tartness.
  • Nutmeg: A warm spice that adds a little sweet and nutty flavor to the recipe.
  • Cinnamon: Adds a little spice and warmth to the sweet potato casserole.

Instructions – The Best Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Step One: Gather Ingredients

Gather all of the ingredients that you will need to make the sweet potato casserole.

Ingredients for Casserole

Step Two: Wash Sweet Potatoes – Cut Off Ends

Thoroughly scrub and wash the sweet potatoes/yams. Try to remove as much dirt from the skin as possible. Once washed, cut off the ends to expose the inner flesh of the sweet potatoes/yams.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Place foil on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Place the sweet potatoes/yams on the foiled and greased cookie sheet. The cooking time will depend on what size of sweet potatoes/yams you purchase. These were rather large sweet potatoes, it took 1-1/2 hours to bake them.

Ready To Bake

Step Four: Remove Baked Sweet Potatoes/Yams – Allow to Cool

Remove the baked sweet potatoes/yams from the oven and allow them to cool.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Step Five: Peel Sweet Potatoes/Yams – Slice

After the sweet potatoes/yams have had a chance to cool, it is time to peel and slice them to your desired thickness.

Peel the Sweet Potatoes

Step Six: Peel, Slice, and Core the Apples

Next, thoroughly wash the apples. Using an apple peeler or other tool, peel, slice, and core the apples. Slice down the center of the peeled and cored apple to create apple slices that will be ready to be placed in the casserole dish.

Peel and Core Apples

Step Seven: Grease Baking Dish – Layer the Sweet Potatoes/Yams and Apples

Grease a 9×13 inch pan and layer the sweet potato/yams and apples.

Layer the Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Step Eight: In a Saucepan – Combine Water, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Cornstarch – Stir Constantly

It is time to prepare the sauce that will be poured over the layered sweet potatoes/yams and apples in the greased 9×13 in pan.

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In a medium to large pot or saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch, stirring constantly.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Step Nine: Add Butter – Stir Constantly – Add Lemon Juice

Add one cube (1/2 cup) of butter. Continue stirring constantly. Cook until it starts to thicken. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Add the Butter

Step Ten: Continually Stir Until Mixed Thoroughly

Stir the brown sugar mixture constantly to keep it from burning. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.

Add the Lemon Juice

Step Eleven: Pour Sauce Over Sweet Potatoes/Yams and Apples

Next, pour the sweet potato sauce over the sweet potatoes/yams and apples. Try to make sure each piece is covered with the sauce.

Add The Sauce to the Casserole

Step Twelve: Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Nutmeg (I forgot to add it earlier)

Then sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. It is already starting to smell so good! Is your mouth watering yet?

Add The Cinnamon

Step Thirteen: Cover with Foil – Bake in the oven at (350°F) = (176°C) – 30 Mins

Finally, cover the sweet potato/yam mixture with foil and bake in the oven at (350°F) = (176°C) for 30 minutes.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Finished Product

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole
5 from 1 vote
The Best Sweet Potato Casserole
Lisa’s Apple Yams aka Sweet Potato Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes or yams (peeled and cooked until tender. Slice the sweet potatoes/yams the thickness you desire)
  • 3-4 cooking apples (cored, peeled, and sliced)
Sweet Potato Casserole Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Nutmeg and Cinnamon to taste
Instructions
Sweet Potato Casserole
  1. Gather all of your ingredients.

  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut the ends off.

  3. Place foil on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Place the sweet potatoes/yams on the foiled and greased cookie sheet. The cooking time will depend on what size of sweet potatoes/yams you purchase. I used rather large sweet potatoes, it took 1-1/2 hours to bake them.

  4. Remove the baked sweet potatoes/yams from the oven and allow to cool.

  5. After the sweet potatoes/yams have had a chance to cool, it is time to peel and slice them to your desired thickness.

  6. Next, throughly wash the apples. Using an apple peeler or other tool – peel, slice, and core the apples. Slice down the center of the peeled and cored apple to create apple slices that will be ready to be place in the casserole dish.

  7. Grease a 9×13 inch pan and layer the sweet potato/yams and apples.

    **It is time to make the sweet potato sauce! See below for instructions.**

  8. Once the sauce has been poured over the sweet potatoes/yams and apples, it is time to bake.

    Cover the sweet potato/yam mixture with foil and bake in the oven at (350°F) = (176°C) for 30 minutes. No marshmallows on this one. This recipe is fabulous! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole Sauce
  1. It is time to prepare the sauce that will be pored over the layered sweet potatoes/yams and apples in the greased 9×13 in pan.

    In a medium to large pot, combine the water, brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch, stirring constantly.

  2. Add one cube (1/2 cup) of butter. Continue stirring constantly. Cook until it starts to thicken. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.

  3. Stir the brown sugar mixture constantly to keep from burning. Stir until the mixture is throughly mixed.

  4. Pour the sweet potato sauce over the sweet potatoes/yams and apples. Try to make sure each piece is covered with the sauce.

  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg (I forgot to add these earlier).

How do I store the sweet potato casserole leftovers?

I store them in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze the sweet potato casserole leftovers?

Yes, you can. Be sure and let the leftovers cool to room temperature and then store them in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the freezer.

Can I mash the sweet potatoes before baking the sweet potato casserole?

You sure can, that’s what my mother used to do. Just follow the instructions in the recipe card, instead of slicing them, mash the sweet potatoes while they are warm with a potato masher. Plan on the final product to have a different texture, but that’s fine. I love mashed sweet potatoes!

Can I use some canned yams or sweet potatoes in this sweet potato casserole recipe?

Of course, they work great. It’s one less thing you have to boil or steam. Just drain the liquid from the cans. As with mashed sweet potatoes, the texture of the casserole will be somewhat different.

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What temperature should a sweet potato be cooked to?

I typically just use a fork to see f they are tender. But if you want a precise indicator, insert an instant thermometer into the thickest part of the potato. The temp should register (210°F) = (98°C) when cooked through.

Can I add a pecan crumble topping, streusel topping, or marshmallows to this sweet potato casserole?

I really love the recipe for this sweet potato casserole as is! If you are interested in adding a pecan crumble topping, I highly recommend making it as follows:

  • In a large microwave-safe bowl or in a medium saucepan on the stove, melt 1/4 cup of unsalted butter.
  • Add 2/3 cups of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt or kosher salt, and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.
  • Once the mixture has combined and has a crumbly texture, add 1 cup of chopped pecans.
  • Spread the mixture over the casserole before baking.

If you are interested in topping it with marshmallows, I recommend using mini marshmallows. Spread the mini marshmallows evenly over the sweet potato mixture before baking. If you’d like to have 1/2 of the casserole covered with the marshmallows, I suggest adding the marshmallows for the last 15 minutes of the baking time to 1/2 of the casserole, uncovered.

Can this sweet potato casserole recipe be prepared ahead of time?

Yes! You can prepare this sweet potato casserole 1-2 days in advance. Store in the fridge covered with foil until time to heat and serve.

What pairs well with sweet potato casserole?

Do you love the taste of baked sweet potatoes? Check out these other delicious recipes and find additional information!

Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Over the years I’ve published various recipes given to me in which either sweet potatoes or yams are specified as the key ingredient. It seems like each time I published one of those recipe posts I’d have someone point out I was in error to use one or the other, or they’d say it didn’t matter since they were the same vegetable. Well, today I did some research, and so here goes:

Yes, the two are very similar in size, shape, and even taste. You need to know that the US Department of Agriculture requires sellers to properly label them as one or the other.

Sweet potatoes actually have their origin in Central and South America. Over the years they have gained ground on farms in Southern US states and in particular, California. On the other hand, yams aren’t grown on a commercial basis in the U.S., so they tend to be harder to find in your local store. They are native to Africa and Asia but can be found in South America and the Caribbean.

Tubers or Tuber Roots?

It’s interesting to note that sweet potatoes are from the same family as morning glory and are referred to as tubers, which are plants that have tuber roots underground and vines above ground. Sweet potatoes are considered dicots.

You’ll find yams growing like lilies and certain ornamental grass varieties, so rather than a vine, they come from a true flowering plant. As such, yams are called monocots.

When it comes to using them in a recipe or preparing them individually for a meal, you’ll find those sweet potatoes are easier to peel and have the texture that you typically find in regular potatoes.

Both are sweet, but some people feel that yams have a sweeter taste. Yams have tough and scaly skin, making them a little harder to peel. From a nutrition standpoint, yams are full of potassium while sweet potatoes are known for their vitamin A content.

So there you have it, now you’re prepared to answer that trivia question the next time you’re at a neighborhood party.

My Thanksgiving Tip

I have done this for years, laminate your recipes and grab some cookie sheets. Place all of the measured ingredients on each cookie sheet so those who are helping with the meal can make the recipe with ease.

Organize Your Recipes

Final Word

Please let me know if you decide to make this delicious sweet potato casserole. It’s the perfect casserole for a Thanksgiving feast, Christmas dinner, or Easter brunch! I love how the flavors of the sweet potatoes/yams, apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg combine to make the most scrumptious sweet potato casserole recipe you have ever made!

The way in which the brown sugar caramelizes as the casserole bakes creates a rich and robust flavor that makes everyone want to go back for more. You will definitely want to take a few copies of this recipe to share when you meet with friends and family! This is one recipe that people will ask for and you will want to share! May God Bless this World, Linda!

6 thoughts on “The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

  • November 22, 2022 at 9:41 am
    Permalink

    5 stars
    That looks so good! I already have my menu planned but will make this another time. It looks like a dessert to me. Yum!

    Reply
    • November 22, 2022 at 11:25 am
      Permalink

      Hi Paula, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! You know I think it tastes like a dessert! Of course, you would have to like sweet potatoes! LOL! I love it! Linda

      Reply
  • November 22, 2022 at 3:06 pm
    Permalink

    W O W!!! This sounds like it would be as delishious as ‘apple sausage’ stuffing I used to make for Thanksgiving. I’ve saved it and just happen to have a couple of sweet potatoes on hand, no apples though. It just might be a good change of taste. Lol

    Reply
    • November 22, 2022 at 4:34 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Pamela, it’s so good, I think you will love it!! Apple sausage stuffing sounds good as well! It’s so fun to hear the different ideas for Thanksgiving sides! I love it! Linda

      Reply
  • November 24, 2022 at 8:44 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Linda, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Lisa’s Apple Yams aka Sweet Potato Casserole, recipe. I made it today (Thanksgiving morning, 2022). We were driving to the family gathering 45 miles away. I arranged the cooled, baked yams & apples in my small roaster oven. I brought the measured ingredients for sauce, and cooked it at destination. Then into the roaster oven. The recipe is a WINNER! I got so many compliments, from family member that have never liked sweet potatoes or yams…. Until now! Thanks again. And Thank you for all you do. (I’ve been making the detergent for 3 or 4 years now. I appreciate your recipes and clever ideas)

    Reply
    • November 25, 2022 at 6:23 am
      Permalink

      Hi Laura, oh my gosh, I love hearing this! It’s so fun to hear when family members love the recipe! I keep eating the leftovers I love it so much! I’m glad you use the detergent recipe it saves me so much money!! It’s wonderful that families were able to get together for Thanksgiving this year!! Thank you for your kind words! Linda

      Reply

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