The holiday season isn’t complete without Grandma’s Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie on the table! This homemade sweet potato pie is super simple, just like my grandma used to make hers! Wonderful warm spices are combined with fresh sweet potatoes and sweetened with brown sugar. This pie is the real deal, straight from grandma’s kitchen!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:
- Sweet Potatoes: Look for sweet potatoes that are even in size, if possible so they bake evenly.
- Heavy Cream: This adds a complete richness to the pie and was my grandma’s “secret ingredient.” You can use whole milk or evaporated milk, too.
- Frozen pie shell or pie crust: I like using pre-formed frozen pie shells (these or the Marie’ Callendar’s brand are my faves). You can also use just a regular refrigerated pie crust like these. A homemade pie crust works, too of course!
HOW TO MAKE GRANDMA’S OLD-FASHIONED SWEET POTATO PIE: STEP-BY-STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Prep: Boil or bake sweet potatoes until fork tender. Note: Baking them really makes the sweetness shine and was how my grandma would always make hers!
Step 1: Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and place them into a large mixing bowl. Add softened butter. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, mix well.
Step 2: Add vanilla extract, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment) mix until well incorporated.
Step 3: Add eggs and heavy cream and mix until smooth and creamy.
Step 4: Pour the mixture into your unbaked pie crust and smooth out the top.
Step 5: Bake for 45-50 minutes (or longer), or until lightly golden brown around the edges and *almost* set through the middle. It’s OK if it’s a LITTLE jiggly in the center. The pie will continue to bake as it cools. The internal temperature of the pie should be 170°F.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Bake your potatoes for maximum sweetness: While most people boil cubed sweet potatoes, my grandma would always bake hers whole. Baking allows the potatoes to reach a higher temperature which maximizes their sweetness.
- Mix well! You should aim to get the sweet potato pie filling mixture as combined as possible, without lumps. Some people use a food processor to get everything super smooth, but my grandma wouldn’t approve of that 🙂 She was more of a rustic gal. A hand mixer works great!
- Cool sweet potatoes: Be sure to allow the cooked sweet potatoes to cool for at least 20 minutes to ensure that the eggs do not scramble from the heat of the potatoes while mixing. Even better, cool to room temperature before adding the other ingredients, if possible.
Don’t stress about butter being salted on unsalted! I used salted butter for EVERYTHING and I have yet to have anything come out “too salty” because of the butter! I am #teamsalted ALL THE WAY! It tastes SO much better in my opinion!
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge covered tightly with plastic wrap or foil for up to 4 days. You can also store individual slices in an airtight container in the fridge. Note: Because sweet potato pie contains both milk and eggs, it needs to be refrigerated after being at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Sugar: I love the combo of both white and brown sugar, but in pinch, you can use one or the other. Light brown or dark brown sugar both work.
- Heavy Cream: Whole milk or evaporated milk works great, too.
- Pie Crust: My grandma would always make a homemade pie crust (with lots of Crisco!), but feel free to use a store-bought pie crust or pie shell.
- Canned Sweet Potatoes: I have not tested grandma’s recipe with canned sweet potatoes. If you decide to use them, just make sure they are PLAIN with no sugar or spices added!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You’ll know your pie is done when it’s lightly golden brown around the edges and *almost* set through the middle. You can test it with a knife inserted into the center of the pie — it should come clean but a little moist. It’s OK if the pie is a LITTLE jiggly in the center. The pie will continue to bake as it cools.
There are two reasons a sweet potato pie will crack. One reason is overbaking. It’s very important to turn off the oven when the pie is set on the sides and still SLIGHTLY jiggly in the center. The pie will continue to cook even after the oven is turned off.
The second reason a sweet potato pie might crack is sudden changes in temperature. For instance, taking the pie directly from the hot oven and placing it on the cooler kitchen counter. In order to combat this, when the pie is done, simply turn the oven off, and crack the oven door. Keep the pie in the oven for another 10-15 minutes and allow it to gradually cool.
Also, never put a hot or even warm pie in the fridge. This may also cause cracking.
Yes, you can and it will lead to the top of your pie cracking a bit. However, just because your pie cracks a little and doesn’t look super pretty right out of the oven, the flavor will not be affected if you overbake your pie a bit!
Cracks can be covered with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, so don’t stress!
Although my grandma would consider this sacrilegious, you can add a tablespoon of all-purpose flour or cornstarch to your sweet potato pie filling to give it a firmer texture if that is your preference.
Yes, after two hours. According to this FDA Food Storage Chart, sweet potato pie can safely sit out for two hours unrefrigerated (on the kitchen counter).
Additionally, the FDA states, “Bakery items containing custard, meat or vegetables, and frostings made of cream cheese, whipped cream or eggs must be kept refrigerated.” ( Source: FDA Food Storage Guidelines Chart)
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Grandma’s Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
- 1 frozen unbaked 9-inch pie shell or pie crust, thawed, at room temperature or homemade pie crust
- 1-1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brown sugar light or dark brown sugar both work
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream evaporated milk or whole milk will also work
- Prep + Cook Sweet Potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil. Place wrapped sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender (exact time will depend on the size of your potatoes ). Unwrap the potatoes and let them cool completely (See Note 1)Decrease oven temperature to 350°F.
- Prepare Pie Crust: Make sure your pie crust is thawed completely if using a frozen crust. If you are using a homemade pie crust, press the crust into a 9-inch pie pan. Use a fork to poke holes into the bottom of the crust.
- Combine & Mix: Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and place into a large mixing bowl. Add softened butter. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, mix well.
- Add: Add vanilla extract, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment) mix until well incorporated. Add eggs and heavy cream and mix until smooth and creamy.
- Pour: Pour the sweet potato filling into your unbaked pie shell and smooth it out the top.
- Bake: Bake for 45-50 minutes (or longer), or until lightly golden brown around the edges and *almost* set through the middle. It's OK if it's a LITTLE jiggly in the center. The pie will continue to bake as it cools (See Note 2). Internal temperature of the pie shoud be 170°F.
- Cool: Turn the oven off and crack open the oven door, but do not remove the pie. Let the pie cool, gradually for about 10 minutes before removing it from the oven. Cooling the pie SLOWLY will help avoid cracks in the top of your pie. After about 10 minutes, remove pie from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack (or on the counter) for about 2 hours.
- Serve: Slice and serve with cinnamon whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!