This baked canned sweet potato casserole has all the old fashioned flavor with minimal effort. It’s an easy Thanksgiving recipe that can be made quickly on the holiday, or it can be prepped 1-2 days in advance as a make-ahead side dish.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Canned Yams
This easy canned sweet potato casserole will be one of the first dishes to disappear from your Thanksgiving table. It is seriously SO good!
The creamy sweet potato base is mixed with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs to bind it all together. I also love mixing chopped pecans throughout the sweet potatoes because it adds a delicious crunch.
The topping is just absolutely perfect. It’s a combination of mini marshmallows and chopped pecans that are broiled just until they’re golden brown.
Canned Sweet Potatoes or Yams: This recipe is so quick and easy because it uses canned sweet potatoes! Seriously, it saves so much time. Just be sure to drain them first. If it’s canned in syrup and you don’t like your sweet potato casserole to be overly sweet, you may want to give it a quick rinse, too.
Butter: The fat in butter makes the sweet potato taste rich and creamy.
Brown Sugar: The molasses in brown sugar pairs perfectly with the flavor of sweet potatoes. You could use half dark brown sugar and half light brown sugar if you really love the molasses flavor.
Vanilla: Vanilla enhances the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. I prefer the flavor of pure vanilla extract. Since this dish will be baked, artificial vanilla extract will also work (artificial vanilla works best in recipes that are heated after adding the vanilla).
Salt: A bit of salt balances out the sweetness and acts as a flavor enhancer.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg: These warming aromatic spices go a long way in bringing out the fall flavor of this dish. Feel free to add them to taste (or omit them if either one of them isn’t something you normally like).
Eggs: Eggs add richness to the flavor and act as the binder to hold the casserole together. It makes a big difference in the texture. It brings the sweet potatoes from a mashed sweet potato consistency to a casserole consistency.
Pecans: Pecans are a naturally sweeter nut, so they pair incredibly well with dishes that have a sweeter profile. They also add a really delicious crunch that balances out the smooth texture of the sweet potatoes. You could substitute the pecans with walnuts if you prefer.
Marshmallows: I’ve always loved marshmallows on my sweet potato casserole. There’s just something so nostalgic about it.
How To Make Canned Sweet Potato Casserole
Start by draining the canned yams, preheating the oven, and greasing a casserole dish. Add the drained sweet potatoes to a bowl, then use an electric hand mixer (or a potato masher) to mash the sweet potatoes until they’re mostly smooth. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Add the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Mix everything together, then taste and adjust the salt and cinnamon based on your preference.
As soon as the sweet potato mixture is cool enough that it won’t cook the eggs, add the eggs to the bowl. Mix with the electric hand mixer until they’re well incorporated and no egg streaks remain. Add some of the chopped pecans to the bowl.
Use a silicone spatula to fold the pecans into the sweet potatoes. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Use a silicone spatula to smooth out the sweet potato mixture, then bake it in the preheated oven until the sweet potatoes are set.
Sprinkle the mini marshmallows and the remaining chopped pecans on top.
Bake the casserole until the marshmallows are starting to puff. Then turn the oven to broil and broil until the marshmallows are golden brown. Keep a very close eye on it while the casserole is broiling. It will take less than a minute and the marshmallows go from perfectly golden brown to burnt incredibly quickly. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
Toppings For Sweet Potato Casserole
My favorite topping is a combination of mini marshmallows and chopped pecans. You could also use just mini marshmallows, a brown sugar streusel topping with all-purpose flour, or a cinnamon sugar pecan topping.
Can Canned Sweet Potatoes Be Used Instead Of Fresh?
Yes! The canned sweet potatoes are what makes this recipe so easy. You don’t have to spend time peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes, nor do you have to spend time boiling or baking them. It really speeds this dish up!
Are Canned Sweet Potatoes Already Cooked?
Yes, canned sweet potatoes are already cooked. That’s what makes them such a great timesaver in sweet potato casserole.
Are Canned Yams The Same As Canned Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, you can use canned yams and canned sweet potatoes interchangeably in this recipe. Both Bruce’s Yams and Princella Sweet Potatoes will work perfectly in this dish.
Can You Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead Of Time?
Yes! This can be made 1-2 days before baking. Just make the sweet potato souffle filling, smooth it out into a baking dish, and store that covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Once it’s finished baking, proceed with the marshmallow topping instructions in the recipe card.
Keep In Touch
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- 1 (40 ounce) can sweet potatoes or yams (drained)*
- 1/3 cup butter (melted, 75 grams)
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans (divided)
- 5 ounces mini marshmallows (3 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 350F (176C). Lightly grease a 13x9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the drained sweet potatoes. Use a handheld electric mixer on low speed to mash the sweet potatoes until they’re mostly smooth (you can use a potato masher if you don’t have an electric mixer).
- Add the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Mix on low until everything is incorporated. Taste and adjust the cinnamon and salt to your taste preference.
- The sweet potato mixture should be cool enough at this point that it won’t cook the eggs. If it’s not cool enough, allow it to rest for a few minutes before adding the eggs. Add in the eggs and mix on low until they are fully incorporated (there should be no visible egg streaks remaining).
- Add 3/4 cup of the chopped pecans. Use a silicone spatula to fold it into the sweet potato mixture.
- Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Use the silicone spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Bake uncovered in the preheated oven until the center is set (35-40 minutes). Remove the casserole from the oven, and turn the temperature up to 400F (204C).
- Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly across the top (be careful not to touch the casserole dish - it is very hot). Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans on top of the marshmallows.
- Place the uncovered casserole dish back into the oven. Bake until the marshmallows start to swell (about 3 minutes). Once you see the marshmallows begin to swell, turn the oven to broil. This will take LESS THAN A MINUTE, so stay close and watch the marshmallows. As soon as they turn golden brown, remove the casserole dish from the oven.
- Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving. You can also serve this at room temperature - both ways are equally delicious.
*If you can’t find canned sweet potatoes, this is the equivalent of 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled, chopped, and boiled.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 397Total Fat: 18.9gCarbohydrates: 54.2gFiber: 5.7gSugar: 25.8gProtein: 5.5g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
If you’re looking for the best quick and easy sweet potato casserole, try making this simple Southern homemade canned sweet potato casserole. It’s the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!