This is seriously the best sweet potato pie recipe in the entire world. When I think of Thanksgiving and sweet potatoes, I think of the overly sweet canned yams and marshmallow casserole, and for years I stayed far away from any sweet potato recipe. Too sweet. Then one year my sister showed up with my brother-in-laws Aunt Normas sweet potato pie, and everything changed.
While I was working on my blog recipe list for the holidays, I kept thinking about this pie. Since it’s a family recipe that my sister Kim is known to bake, I didn’t think it right to make it myself plus I’ve never actually made it. I just eat it! So I headed up to her house to learn and bake.
My brother-in-law was home, and so I asked him all about Aunt Norma who developed this recipe. It turns out she was one of the first African American women to graduate from her college in California in 1953 with a teaching degree. She made this pie every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas for her family, and it became famous because it’s that good. Gil told me there was always a fight for the last piece! I learned so much and have a greater appreciation for this pie. Afterall, that’s what a family recipe is all about!
Sweet Potato Vs. Yam
This pie calls for a white sweet potato, not the orange variety or what you might see labeled as yams. But after doing some research, I found out that orange sweet potatoes we see in the store labeled as yams aren’t yams at all! If you want to nerd out on potato facts, you can read what the NC Sweet Potato
people had to say about it. But Kim said you must use the white variety because the orange variety will make the pie too sweet. I’m just going to trust her on that.
This is the best sweet potato pie recipe because it makes three large pies and maybe even a bit more! It makes a lot of pie so be prepared to give away a few if you don’t need that many. We like to make mini ones as well as regular sized pies because they are so darn cute! This time we made two regular pies and four mini pies. Most of the ingredients are on sale now since it’s the holiday season, so you get a lot of pie for not a lot of dough. Yes, I just said that.
Kim has made this recipe for years, and she has tried all the ways with the sweet potatoes. She’s certain that you need to boil the sweet potatoes and not microwave them or the consistency will be off. Fresh potatoes too, not frozen. Boil the potatoes until soft, and the skins come off. Let them cool slightly before removing the entire skin. When you mash them, you can use a fork, masher, or your mixer. She uses a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, but I don’t have one of those, so a hand mixer works fine too. When you add the potatoes to the batter, mix slowly and once combined, leave the potato mixture to cool before adding the eggs, so they don’t scramble. While you wait, you can prepare your pie crust.
If you have a homemade pie crust you like to make, go on with your bad self. We don’t, and frankly, I find it a major pain to deal with so we always use a pre-made crust. (I love how I’m acting like I make pies all the time!) I prefer Pillsbury; it tastes good and turns out every time. So sister, save yourself the effort and do this. And frankly, you don’t even need the crust because the pie tastes that good. One year Kim did go crustless and poured the pie batter directly in a ramekin. Delicious.
Not Pumpkin Pie
If you think this pie will taste like pumpkin pie for whatever reason, it won’t. The flavor is more butterscotch and caramel and all the good things. It’s not overly sweet potato flavored and while the recipe has sugar, pudding, condensed milk (I know, but it’s Thanksgiving) it’s not crazy sweet either. It’s just magical. You must make this! Set your oven to 400º and bake a regular pie for about 45 minutes checking in on it around 20 minutes. We baked the mini pies in her super cute toaster oven! Yes! They were done in about 25 minutes.
I really hope you try out this recipe. It is a family favorite, and I look forward to it every year. Enjoy with a glass of Tawny Port, Sauternes, or a strong cup of decaf. This pie also works well with regular coffee at breakfast- yes, I eat a piece for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving!
If you made this best sweet potato pie recipe, let me know. Reply below!!
Check out this Amaretto Yule Log
or Linen Mulled Wine
for other holiday recipe ideas.
Have a terrific Thanksgiving!