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Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Recipe

Sweet potato pecan pie is a rich, decadent pie sweetened with brown sugar and brimming with warming spices. Made with a simple homemade crust, and topped with chopped pecans and a dollop of whipped cream, this pie recipe is one to keep handy all year round!

bourbon potato pie on a black plate

You’ll notice that this sweet potato and pecan pie has a similar texture to its equally delicious cousin the pumpkin pie. But imagine serving a pumpkin pie on any given weeknight? People might look at you funny!

This is a delicious alternative that will wow your guests any time of the year, without the strange looks 🙂 And what’s more is that, even though you might not be able to serve pumpkin pie all willy nilly, you can absolutely serve sweet potato pie on special occasions too! Therefore, this recipe is definitely one to hold on to.

Celebrating Pi Day

I love celebrating Pi day! I may not be a physicist or mathematician, but anytime there’s an excuse to bake a pie, I’m all in. So, much like the buttermilk pie and apple cherry pie, I’ve shared in the past, this sweet potato pie with a pecan topping is next on the list.

There’s no law that says you need to make a sweet pie on Pi day. So, if you’re looking for something savory to enjoy as a meal our Quiche Lorraine recipe is a good one.

This sweet potato pie recipe is one of the first recipes I ever clipped out of a Redbook magazine! It was titled “Burt Reynolds invites you to dinner.” Apparently, he was making his wife (at the time), Loni Anderson a special dinner. The article makes me laugh, but clearly, he made a darn good dessert!

I’ve made a few minor tweaks over the years, but it really is his recipe, or at least the one he used. As they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

I made it as an 8-year-old, so when I say it’s easy and foolproof, I’m speaking from authority! Something this delicious and simply made really needs to be kept exactly the way it is!

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie on a pie stand

What is Pi day?

Pi day was first celebrated in 1988. What Pi essentially is, is the circumference of any circle divided by its diameter will always equal 3.14. And because 3.14 is an irrational number (or so the mathematicians say), it has an infinite number of digits. Now, why people want to celebrate this? Who knows. Perhaps it’s because it’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday!

Either way, if you’re interested in learning more about it, check out Piday for ALL things Pi. Not Pie.

The bottom line here, we have a reason to eat pie. So, today I’m sharing a good one in honor of the occasion!  

Ingredients to make this Southern Sweet Potato Pie recipe

For the crust

  • All-purpose flour – Used as the base for the pie crust.
  • Granulated sugar – Divided.
  • Salt – Just a pinch to bring out the flavor.
  • Butter- because crusts need that for the best texture! (unsalted)
  • Vegetable shortening – I use Crisco.
  • Ice-cold water – Literally keep a bowl of water with ice in it! It’s what will help get you a nice flaky crust.

For the filling

  • Mashed sweet potato – Can use either canned or fresh.
  • Evaporated milk – Not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk. It is similar, however, it is NOT sweetened.
  • Light brown sugar – Packed tightly.
  • Large eggs – You’ll need 2 for this recipe, lightly beaten.
  • Light corn syrup – Has a lighter, more subtle flavor than its dark counterpart.
  • Butter – Melted.
  • Extracts – Both almond extract and vanilla extract.
  • Salt – Used to bring out the flavors of all of the other ingredients.
  • Spices – Ground ginger, Ground Cinnamon, Ground nutmeg.
  • Chopped pecans – Coarsely chopped.
close-up of sweet potato filling under pecans in a pie slice

Want to use a Store-bought Crust

This sweet tater pie can absolutely be made with a store bought crust. You will follow the directions as given to bling baking it with the beans in the bottom the same as you would have done with a homemade one!

What Sweet Potato works Best in Pies

When you are at the store you’ll want to pick a red or an orange-skinned sweet potato. They are moister and creamier in texture. Look for red Garnet or Jewel for names, but as long as they are red or orange-skinned you’re good.

Coincidentally, you can also use yams. Although they are not exactly the same (yams have more starch and are a bit drier), the odds are that the yams are really sweet potatoes anyway.

What Sweet Potatoes to not use for pies

Tan or purple skinned potatoes are drier and wont work as well in pies. They bake up more like baked potatoes. Names of these you may see are Sweet Hannah, Purple or Japanese potatoes. Save these potatoes for when you want to make sweet potato fries, they are much more suited for that!

Tips for making Sweet Potato and Pecans in a pie  

  • If you are using fresh sweet potatoes you’ll bake them in the oven to prepare them. Once they are done baking you’ll scoop out the centers then mash them. You can also make them in the air fryer or microwave them.
  • Canned sweet potatoes or canned yams will also work. You’ll want to drain any water and completely rinse off any syrup.
  • Whether you use canned or fresh you’ll need to mash the sweet potatoes before adding them to the recipe.
  • I use this exact potato ricer to make sure they are completely mashed to a smooth texture without lumps. There are ones that have varying thicknesses of ricing, but this has the perfect size to puree potatoes every time. I always misplace extra parts when they are small like that so it makes it easy for me. 
  • Chop the nuts into small bite-sized pieces. Pecan halves will work too, although chopped nuts are cheaper and you don’t have to spend a lot of time making them look pretty! A sprinkling of coarse nuts does the job.
  • You can make the pie more festive by using mini cookie cutters to place on the edge. Hearts, leaves, or even simple circles will work.  
  • To avoid your crust starting to brown too much, keep some cut-up foil strips handy so you can lay them over the edges in case they do start to brown.

How to avoid a Soggy Bottom Crust

  • To avoid a soggy bottom pie in the middle you will do what they call blind bake the crust before you add the filling. This just means you’ll bake the pie crust on its own without the filling, initially.
  • Using dried beans or rice on top of a piece of foil keeps the crust from bubbling up and keeps it level. 
  • It’s not a full bake, just enough that the crust is able to fully finish cooking after you add the filling. 
a spoonful of pecan sweet potato pie next to a lslice of pie

More Recipes for Pi(e) Day

Yield: 8-10 Servings

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Recipe

pointy end of pie slice up close

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie for parties, holidays or just because you want an easy make ahead dessert.

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups All- Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar (divided) 
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Solid Vegetable Shortening (ie Crisco)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Ice-Cold Water

Sweet Potato Filling

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk (NOT Sweetened condensed milk)
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown sugar, packed tightly
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Almond Extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Optional Topping

  • 1/2 cup Lightly Whipped Cream, with bourbon and sugar

Instructions

Crust:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl mix the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and a pinch of salt.
  2. Using your fingers, or a pastry blender add the butter and shortening -- mix to form coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together. You may not need it all.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a counter, or cutting board and knead 2-3 times to form a ball. Don't overwork the dough, just help it form a ball.
  5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  6. After chilling when ready to bake, remove from the fridge and preheat the oven to 400°.
  7. Place onto a floured surface and roll out using a rolling pin. Roll out to a 12" circle so that it can fit into a 9" pie plate.
  8. Drape the pie crust over the pie plate and leave 1" over-hang. Trim any excess. Either crimp or place any decorative cutouts along the edge.
  9. You can reroll the excess dough to cut decorative cutouts to lay along the edge of the pie.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the crust.
  11. Line with foil and then fill with dried beans or rice over the top.
  12. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and reduce the heat to 375°.
  14. Remove the foil and beans from the crust.

Filling

  1. In the bowl of a mixer add the sweet potato, evaporated milk, light brown sugar, eggs, corn syrup melted butter, almond extract, vanilla, salt and spices. Using the whisk attachment beat to combine.
  2. Pour mixture into crust.
  3. Sprinkle top evenly with the chopped pecans.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes until a knife placed at the center comes out clean.
  5. Check the pie at 25 minutes --- if the edges look to be browning cover with foil strips to prevent them from over-browning.
  6. Remove from the oven, remove foil strips and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Serve with a whipped cream dollop on the top.

Notes

To make sweetened whip cream add a teaspoon of bourbon, 1 teaspoon of sugar and using a mixed beat until stiff peaks occur. Place a dollop on the pie when serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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