Give thanks for this great sweet potato casserole.
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 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
Debate: Are Marshmallows on Top of Sweet Potatoes Hot or Not
There are two types of people: Those on board with toasted marshmallow on top, and those who think marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes are 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.
Recipe Notes: Sweet Potato Casserole With Toasted Marshmallow
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.
The Techniques. 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 ingredients. Sweet potatoes do 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, and you’re all set!
Why to Use Marshmallow Fluff and Not Marshmallows
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.
Did you make this Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole recipe? What did you think?
Mashed Candied Sweet Potato Casserole With 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. 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 some peaks and valleys, and don't worry about getting the entire surface.
- Place the casserole under the broiler and let brown on top. Keep your eye on it. This should not take any longer than 30 seconds to one minute. Serve hot.