Give thanks for this great sweet potato casserole.
The perfect recipe for candied sweet potato casserole with marshmallows crisped to golden brown. Move over, turkey. This is the Thanksgiving side dish you’ve been waiting for.
Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallows
The way I see it, if you don’t have a sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving, you may as well not have turkey, either. To me, a good mashed sweet potato casserole — with marshmallow! — is a Thanksgiving dinner “must have,” along with cranberry sauce, turkey, and pie. Try this recipe, complete with earthy brown sugar and creamy butter, and you will agree.
You’ll also like: Green Chile Cornbread and Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pancakes
Why Are There Marshmallows on Sweet Potato Casserole?
There are two types of people: Those on board with toasted marshmallow on top of sweet potatoes, and those who think that it’s just wrong.
The debate has raged for decades, ever since marshmallows first appeared as a Thanksgiving side dish topping in 1917 as part of a marketing campaign by a candy company.
Prior to that, sweet potatoes — a vegetable native to the Americas and already well-known and popular — were served more simply. But marshmallows added a fun, sweet variation. And the use of marshmallows grew and grew.
Some love the added sweetness and gooey-crisp topping that makes this Thanksgiving side dish harken more to childhood s’mores than boring winter vegetables. That said, sweet potatoes can stand perfectly on their own with just a few ingredients.
Sweet Potato Casserole and Marshmallow: Recipe Notes
If you are not a marshmallow-on-top person, just leave them off of your mashed sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving. The dish will be perfectly delicious without it.
These sweet potatoes taste so good for two reasons: the techniques and the ingredients.
How to Make Mashed Sweet Potatoes
First, roast the sweet potatoes. Do not boil them. Roasting the sweet potatoes ensures that no excess water absorbs into the recipe, which would make them heavy and dull. Second, whip the mashed potatoes really well. This will get a lot of fluffiness into them and make them nice and light.
The Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallows Ingredients
Sweet potato casserole does not need a lot of bells and whistles. Here, a touch of fresh lemon juice and fresh ginger brightens the flavor, while brown sugar deepens the natural earthy sweetness. A pinch of salt for a savory counterpoint, some butter, and you’re all set to top with marshmallow!
PRO TIP: Why You Should Use Marshmallow Fluff and Not Marshmallows on Sweet Potato Casserole
Little marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes are good. Fresh marshmallow fluff is so much better, almost to the point of game-changing.
Why? Store-bought marshmallows are not only stale, they are covered in a starchy powdered coating so that they do not stick together in the bag. This lends a a dry, almost sandpaper texture and inhibits good caramelization.
Marshmallow fluff, on the other hand, has no extra dryness or starch. Just a tub full of fresh, fluffy marshmallow that caramelizes quickly and beautifully, and tastes extra soft and gooey.
The only thing to remember is that because of the high sugar content, marshmallow will caramelize under the broiler very, very quickly. So keep a close eye on it so it does not burn and gets exactly however dark you like it, from lightly toasted to really dark.
What’s the Difference Between Sweet Potato Pie and Sweet Potato Casserole?
Both sweet potato casserole and sweet potato pie recipes start by adding sugar, butter, and spices to cooked, mashed sweet potato. Both are then baked.
But there are a couple of differences between sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole.
- Sweet potato pie is baked in a pastry crust shell and served cold or at room temperature, plain or with a little whipped cream
- Sweet potato casserole is baked without a pie crust, served warm, and sometimes topped with sweet potatoes
Did you make this Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole recipe for Thanksgiving? What did you think?
Sweet Potato Casserole With Better Marshmallow Topping
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned (about 5 medium)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried powdered ginger
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups (1 x 7 1/2 ounce jar) marshmallow fluff
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a sheet pan, roast the sweet potatoes in foil until very soft when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour or more, depending on the potato size.
- When cool enough to handle, split and scrape the soft sweet potato from the skins and place them into a mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, ginger, and lemon juice and mash and stir until smooth, fluffy, and fully combined. Taste for seasoning and sweetness. If the potatoes have cooled, heat them in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot again.
- Heat the broiler and set the oven rack 3" or 4" from the broiler.
- Put the hot sweet potato in a shallow casserole and smooth over. Add the marshmallow fluff and use a knife or offset spatula to spread it. Make sure to leave leave a margin of sweet potato at the edge; there's no need to get the entire surface because the fluff will spread a little.
- Place the casserole under the broiler and let brown on top. Keep your eye on it; I'd check every 10 seconds or so. This should not take any longer than 30 seconds to one minute. Serve hot.