Ancho Chile Sweet Potato Pie

published Nov 24, 2019
Ancho Chile Sweet Potato Pie

This classic sweet potato pie gets a little heat and smoke thanks to the ancho chile. It's the perfect pie for your Thanksgiving table.

Serves8 to 10

Makes1 deep-dish pie

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling: Stephanie Yeh

This recipe is a part of our Ever-Evolving Southern Thanksgiving package. See all the recipes here.

Kim Pineda, Lubbock, Texas

My family history is what brought me to Mexican American cuisine, but it’s been a long process. The families of both of my parents came from Mexico, but my parents had a contentious relationship. My mom never let my dad cook for us. He was a cook in the Navy and ended up being a chef de cuisine, so he was used to having a crew clean up after him and she already had her hands full looking after us kids. When they split up, my mom closed off everything Mexican, including the cuisine. I see cooking as my way of reclaiming the Mexican culture that was hidden from me for so long. Once my wife and I were married in 2002, we started to celebrate Dia de los Muertos and my obsession with cooking New Mexican and Tex-Mex food began. 

It was around this time that I saw a spread in some cooking magazine about a Southwestern-style Thanksgiving. It got me thinking about spices and chiles and how I could implement these different things into a traditional meal. So now I do a guajillo and tamarind glaze for the turkey, for example, and green beans with cotija cheese. 

It might seem weird, but in our home it feels like Thanksgiving is sort of an extension of Dia de los Muertos. Most years, we would have a big potluck and each of our guests would bring a dish inspired by a departed ancestor. I always made enchiladas, which is something my mom used to make for big holidays. Since holding these gatherings, two people who participated have now joined the ofrenda.

This is a time of year when I’m thinking a lot about food and culture and family. I really enjoy cooking the Thanksgiving meal. We always have pie at our Thanksgiving table. Sometimes I put hatch chiles in an apple pie. In this part of Texas, this is around the time of year when you can find roasted hatch chiles everywhere. It’s really something special. I guess my theme is a different kind of Thanksgiving, one where the food is an extension of my culture. This ancho chile sweet potato pie is a good example of that.

Ancho Chile Sweet Potato Pie

This classic sweet potato pie gets a little heat and smoke thanks to the ancho chile. It's the perfect pie for your Thanksgiving table.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Makes 1 deep-dish pie

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


For the crust:

  • 1 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    cold unsalted butter or refined coconut oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    ice water

  • 1 teaspoon

    apple cider vinegar

For the filling:

  • 1

    medium dried ancho chile

  • 2 cups

    baked and mashed sweet potatoes (from about 2 medium sweet potatoes)

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    evaporated milk

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon

    all-purpose flour

  • 3

    large eggs


  1. Make the crust: Whisk 1 1/3 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Cut 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter or coconut oil into 1/2-inch pieces, then scatter the pieces over the flour. Cut it in with a pastry cutter (not your hands) until the fat is no larger than split peas.

  2. Drizzle with the ice water and vinegar, and work it in with a fork. Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough from the center out into a 12-inch round. Carefully roll the dough up and around the rolling pin, then unroll it onto a deep-dish pie plate. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

  4. Make the filling: Stem and seed 1 dried ancho chile. Coarsely grind in a spice grinder and set aside.

  5. Place 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer or whisk and large bowl.) Blend or whisk on medium speed until combined.

  6. Add 3 large eggs and beat until smooth. Beat in the ancho chile until just combined. Transfer the filling into the pie crust and spread into an even layer.

  7. Bake until the pie is set, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pie crust can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.

Storage: Leftovers can be loosely covered and refrigerated up to 4 days.

Contributed by Kim Pineda, Lubbock, TX.