How To Make the Absolute Easiest 5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Casserole

updated Nov 15, 2022
How To Make the Absolute Easiest 5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Casserole

You know and love sweet potato casserole. Here's how to make it even easier.

Serves8 to 10

Prep25 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sweet potato casserole is one of the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes for a reason: It serves up the vegetable in a creamy, sweet, and decadent way, and as we pile it onto our plates, it makes us feel like a kid again. Unfortunately, it’s often overthought and over-complicated, riddled with too many unnecessary steps and ingredients (I’m guilty of it, too, although this classic, meringue-topped version is delish).

This year, we’re presenting you with the absolute easiest five-ingredient sweet potato casserole. In less than an hour (and with barely any dishes to wash), you’ll be rewarded with buttery mashed sweet potatoes piled under a layer of creamy, tender-crisp marshmallows.

What You Need for the Easiest Sweet Potato Casserole

Trust me: Sweet potato casserole needs only a handful of ingredients (the potatoes, a little sweetener, some warming spices, and marshmallows) to make it shine. So why make it more complicated than it needs to be? Here’s what you’ll need to make our sweet potato casserole:

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Boiled, not baked, sweet potatoes

There’s a time and place for baked sweet potatoes, but when ease (and speed) are paramount, boiling is the way to go. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, and after 25 minutes in boiling water, they’re tender enough to mash.

Pumpkin pie spice

Using a spice blend gives you the most flavor bang for your ingredient bucks. If you don’t already have pumpkin pie spice (and don’t feel like making your own), stick with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon for classic sweet potato casserole flavor.

Mini marshmallows

Minis make for a more even layer of marshmallow across the top of the casserole. Plus they melt, brown, and crisp perfectly in the time it takes the casserole to bake.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Substitute Canned Sweet Potatoes for an Even Quicker Casserole

In a really big rush? You can actually use canned sweet potatoes in place of peeling, chopping, and boiling your own. Opt for a 40-ounce can of sweet potatoes in light syrup, and drain them but don’t rinse — you’ll want some but not all of the syrup. Begin by microwaving the sweet potatoes on HIGH in a large bowl for 2 minutes, then, beginning with step 4, continue the recipe as written below, reducing the brown sugar to 1/4 cup. Viola! Near instant sweet potato casserole.

Yes, You Can Prep This Casserole Ahead of Time

You can whip up the sweet potato mixture and refrigerate it for up to three days in advance, but leave the marshmallows off until you’re ready to bake on Thanksgiving day. Let the casserole dish sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before topping and baking.

How To Make the Absolute Easiest 5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Casserole

You know and love sweet potato casserole. Here's how to make it even easier.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 3 pounds

    sweet potatoes (about 12 small or 6 large), peeled and cut into large pieces

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

  • 1 teaspoon

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    mini marshmallows


  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Peeler

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • 6-quart pot

  • Large mixing bowl

  • Potato masher

  • 9x9-inch baking dish


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  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large pot with at least 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Heat the oven to 375°F and butter a casserole dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9x9-inch square baking dish or other 2-quart casserole dish with butter; set aside.

  3. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until completely tender, about 25 minutes.

  4. Drain the sweet potatoes and mash. Drain the sweet potatoes, then transfer them to a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, butter, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Using a potato masher, mash to desired consistency, folding in the sugar and butter as you go.

  5. Top with mini marshmallows and bake. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle with the mini marshmallows. Bake until the top is golden-brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Canned sweet potatoes variation: Use 2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes in light syrup. Drain the sweet potatoes but don’t rinse — we want some but not all of the syrup. Microwave the sweet potatoes in a large bowl on HIGH for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through, then continue with the recipe beginning at step 4, using 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and 3/4 teapsoon kosher salt. Keep the same amount of marshmallows for topping.

Make ahead: The casserole can be prepared without the marshmallows, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before topping with the marshmallows and baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.