Your new favorite holiday pie might just be this Southern Sweet Potato Pie. If you’ve never tried a sweet potato pie then you’ve been missing out. Add it to your Thanksgiving dinner or holiday table!
This pie is full of creamy sweet potato, glorious brown butter, a light blend of spices then topped with a toasted meringue. It will be a major hit at the holidays!
Southern Sweet Potato Pie is somewhat similar to pumpkin pie but you may like it even more. Or you can just be like me then you can’t decide so you just make both! This is the best sweet potato pie recipe and it belongs on your table Thanksgiving day.
If you’re looking for a pumpkin pie recipe I’ve got you covered with my Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie!
If you’re looking for a holiday dessert that isn’t a pie then my Chewy Molasses Blondies, Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars, Apple Pie Stuffed Cheesecake or Pecan Upside Down Cake would be perfect! These are holiday staples for us.
Cozy fall desserts are one of my favorite things!
More Thanksgiving recipes to try
- Homemade Au Gratin Potatoes
- Glazed Shallots
- Old Fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is butter that has been melted then simmered until you start to get a whole bunch of little brown specks falling to the bottom of your pan. You’re then left with a deliciously fragrant smell that is a bit nutty and oh so delicious.
I could literally probably put brown butter on or in anything and love it! It’s just one of those things that’s like liquid gold. It pairs especially well with sweet potatoes so it makes this pie extra special.
If you’re a fan of brown butter and sweet potatoes then my Sweet Potato Pudding recipe is right up your alley! Wow your guests with these delicious sweet potato recipes.
How to make brown butter
Brown butter is made by melting then simmering butter in a sauce pot until a golden to amber color is reached. Generally a good rule of thumb is that once the butter stops bubbling and making noises it’s ready.
At that point you can see all of the little brown bits that have fallen to the bottom of the pan. The smell will be delicious. It must be removed from the heat immediately so you don’t end up with burnt butter.
How long will Sweet Potato Pie keep?
After baking and cooling this Southern Sweet Potato Pie it will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can store the pie at room temperature for 2 days before adding the meringue to it.
I prefer to eat my sweet potato pie at room temperature. When I store it in the fridge then I let it sit out on the counter for an hour or so before eating it.
Can you freeze sweet potato pie?
Absolutely! Sweet potato pie actually freezes very well. I would suggest not adding the meringue to it before freezing.
Wrap the pie tightly in several layers of plastic wrap then place it in an airtight container before freezing. If you have a 2 gallon zip lock bag then put the pie in that after it’s been wrapped in the plastic. The Southern Sweet Potato Pie will keep for up to 3 months.
If the meringue is already on the pie and you decide to freeze it that still works but chances are the meringue may not hold up well when defrosting. If that’s the case you can easily just scrape it off the top and enjoy the pie by itself or with some whipped cream added to the top!
Ingredients for Southern Sweet Potato Pie
This southern sweet potato pie is made with simple ingredients that include warm spices, sweet potatoes and a few other kitchen staples.
- Sweet Potatoes – The star of the show, these fresh sweet potatoes are roasted for a deeper sweet potato flavor.
- Heavy Cream – Used to make this pie smooth and creamy.
- Brown Sugar – IMO you can’t have sweet potatoes without brown sugar.
- Brown Butter – Brown butter is a delicious addition to any recipe and the flavor goes so well with this Southern Sweet Potato Pie.
- Eggs – The eggs will help give the pie some structure and hold up.
- Vanilla Extract – I love pure vanilla extract as a base for almost all of my baked goods.
- Kosher Salt – Salt really brings out the sweetness and spices in this pie.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon is great for a warm cozy spice.
- Allspice – Allspice is another one of those warm spices that helps give that holiday flavor.
- Cloves – Cloves are one of my all time favorite holiday spices and a little goes a long way.
- Nutmeg – Nutmeg gives a little bump of holiday flavor.
- Cream of Tartar – This helps stabilize the egg whites and give high peaks in the meringue.
- Granulated Sugar – Used to make a syrup for the meringue.
- Water – The other ingredient in the sugar syrup for the meringue.
Tips for the best Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Use a pre-baked pie shell to save time. You can also use store-bought pie crust and bake it yourself.
- Blend the sweet potatoes well in the food processor to eliminate the strings and end up with a smooth and creamy pie.
- Do not overbake the pie. You will end up with large cracks all over it.
- If you end up with cracks on your sweet potato pie it’s not the end of the world, you can just cover it up with the meringue.
- If you don’t like meringue or don’t want to attempt making it then you can top the pie with homemade whipped cream of cool whip.
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie is delicious as is without any topping too if you’d prefer to eat it just like that.
- Use room temperature egg whites for the meringue.
- Separate your own egg whites, do not use store bought egg whites.
- Make sure the bowl you whip your meringue in is clean and dry.
- Do not get any yolk mixed in with your egg whites.
- Cream of tartar is very helpful for making meringue so I would suggest using it. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store in the spice aisle.
- Making meringue is easier than you think! Give it a shot! However if you don’t feel like giving it a try you can always make your own whipped cream. There’s a recipe for whipped cream in my Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie or you can use cool whip.
How to make Southern Sweet Potato Pie
Make the crust first. It needs to refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour but up to 3 days for a buttery crust. Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the crust is chilling bake the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet for about 1 hour or until you see a brown syrupy liquid start to ooze out of the sides.
Let the sweet potatoes cool. While they’re cooling, brown your butter in a sauce pot then set aside to cool slightly.
Once potatoes have cooled scoop them out into the food processor. You can use an electric mixer and mixing bowl if you don’t have a food processor. Blend them on low until they become creamy and you don’t see anymore strings.
When you’re ready to roll out the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll out the crust, lay it in your pie dish then crimp the edges. You can use your fingers or a fork to do this. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the bottom of the pie, add pie weights then bake the crust for 25 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven, remove the pie weights then set the crust aside. Mix together all of the sweet potato filling ingredients then pour the sweet potato pie filling into the pie crust. Bake for about 1 hour until the middle is only slightly wobbly when you shake it. Let the pie cool.
Making the Meringue
While the pie is cooling beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form.
While the egg whites are beating heat the sugar and water in a small sauce pot until it reaches 250°F. With the stand mixer on low slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg whites until fully mixed.
Turn the mixer back up to medium – high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Cover the pie with the meringue and use a blow torch to toast the outside of the meringue. Enjoy your Southern Sweet Potato Pie on any of your special occasions.
Meringue is not part of a classic southern sweet potato pie but it’s great for the holiday season!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can, but I don’t recommend it. I like to use fresh sweet potatoes and roast them on my own to get that nice caramelization. It adds so much flavor.
Using a food processor to blend the sweet potatoes helps get rid of the stringiness found in a sweet potato. You also want to make sure you bake them long enough so they’re super soft and caramelized.
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Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- food processor
- stand mixer
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cubed and chilled
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup ice water plus up to 7 tbsp more
- 1 egg for egg washing the crust
Sweet Potato Filling
- 4 lbs sweet potatoes roasted
- 4 tbsp brown butter
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
Making the Crust
- In a food processor combine the flour and salt. Pulse 5 times
- Add the cubed COLD butter then pulse until you get a coarse meal texture. About 5-7 1 second pulses
- Add the butter and flour mixture to a bowl then add the cider vinegar and ¼ cup of ice water. Mix well with a fork
- Continue adding ice water 1 tbsp at a time mixing well in between each addition just until the dough starts to come together. It will look a bit shaggy, you don't want it too wet
- Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days
Making the Sweet Potato Filling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Roast the sweet potatoes for 1 – 1.25 hours or until a brown thick liquid starts to ooze out of the sides and the potatoes feel soft. Set them aside to cool
- While the potatoes are roasting make the brown butter
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low – medium heat. The butter will start spattering. Give it a couple stirs. Once the butter becomes quiet it's ready to remove from the heat
- Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle scoop the inside out into a food processor. Blend on low until smooth
- Add the sweet potato mix to a bowl. Mix in the remaining filling ingredients and whisk together until combined
Blind Baking the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- While the sweet potatoes are cooling you can roll out the crust, fit it to the pan and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork
- Place a sheet of parchment paper across the bottom of the dough then add pie weights and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside
Filling and Baking the Pie
- Pour the sweet potato filling into the blind baked pie crust then bake 1 hour
- The pie is ready when the center is just slightly wobbly. Let pie cool before adding meringue and serving
Making the Meringue
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat on medium speed until it forms soft peaks
- While the egg whites are beating pour the sugar and water into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil without stirring. Once the mixture reaches 250°F (about 5 minutes) remove it from the heat
- With the mixer on low speed slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl until fully combined
- Turn the mixer up to medium and beat until stiff peaks form
- Spoon the meringue over the top of the pie in whatever kind of design you'd like then toast the meringue using a kitchen torch