Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

This post may contain affiliate partner links. View our privacy statement HERE.

This is the BEST sweet potato pie recipe! I’ve shared over 250 recipes across my food blog, five cookbooks, and two seasoning guides, including the first and original “Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie,” my adapted family recipe that went viral in 2021!

Mmm mmm! A Black folks’ sweet potato pie tastes like warm family memories, good times, and a legacy of the best holiday traditions handed down from one African American generation to another. 

Whether it’s the scent of cinnamon-sugar that sings sweet notes of “Home” like Stephanie Mills or Diana Ross in The Wiz. Or how the deliciousness of sweet potato pie and its flaky pie crust reminds you of special occasions or childhood good times gone by. Either way – grab a slice before it’s all gone!

This old-fashioned Black folks’ classic Southern dessert may be single-handedly responsible for generations of nostalgic memories – especially in the Black community. Enjoying this sweet potato pie recipe for ThanksgivingChristmas holiday dinners, and New Year’s.

The Original Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe by The Soul Food Pot

What is Black folks’ sweet potato pie?

A Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe is a delightful Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Black Americans’ soul food cooking. 

Still, some people who never had a soul food sweet potato pie may ask,
What makes a Black folks’ sweet potato pie?

Every Southern sweet potato pie is not a Black folks’ sweet potato pie. Unless made with a flawless blend of soul food sweet and savory spices and fresh sweet potatoes! Because Black folks are known for their unique sweet potato pie recipe. Creamy and decadent comfort food at its finest! 

Why is sweet potato pie a Black thing?

Sweet potato pie has a rich history. It was made by Black folks back in Africa when they used the native-grown vegetable, yams. It’s a legacy of the best holiday season traditions handed down from generation to generation as part of sweet potato pie Black history.

What is the favorite pie of Black people?
African Americans in the United States today have continued the tradition of sweet potato pie on the holiday dinner table. So yes, sweet potato pie is a Black thing. However, with my list of straightforward, simple ingredients, it’s easy enough for anyone to make and everyone to love!

Sweet potato pies are often said to be an elevated, more soulful version of pumpkin pie because of the flavor combinations like cinnamon, brown sugar, sweet vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg. I explain more in my post about why Black people eat sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin pie.

Black folks sweet potato pie recipes - Which one is your favorite?

Kitchen equipment

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie

First things: For the best results, knowing what mistakes to avoid when making sweet potato pie is integral to the legacy of this classic Southern pies dish.

But no worries – Keep reading because I’ve gotchu with my complete list of ingredients and best-way instructions, including step-by-step guided pictures for making the best Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe!

What Type Of Sweet Potatoes Are Best For Sweet Potato Pie?

Black folks sweet potato pie recipe ingredients

Black folks’ sweet potato pie and its ingredients originated from the adaptive culinary skills of enslaved Africans using new-world crops.

The dessert holds a special place in Black communities, signifying heritage, family, and historical pride. An essential addition to holiday menus, sweet potato pie exemplifies the heartwarming embrace of soul food at gatherings.

The spices are what makes this Black folks’ sweet potato pie a favorite pie recipe. There are many other great recipes for pies out there, but Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe stands out from the rest!

What spices belong in a Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe?

*See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Ingredients

Are there any acceptable ingredients substitutes in a Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe?

You can use the following swaps for this soul food baked sweet potato pie recipe:

  • Can you use Garnet sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie? Yes, Garnets have a juicy orange flesh perfect for mashing or baking. Although, Jewels and Beauregards are best for baking, sweeter, and therefore preferred.
  • Can you use canned sweet potatoes? Nothing beats fresh potatoes for this incredible Black folks’ homemade sweet potato pie recipe, but you could use canned sweet potato.
  • Can you use sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk in pie? Yes, you can use sweetened condensed milk as a substitute for evaporated milk in sweet potato pie. Here’s my sweet potato pie recipe with condensed milk. While I’ve found evaporated milk to be the smoothest and the perfect flavor additive for this Southern dessert recipe, sweetened condensed milk can substitute. Likewise, heavy cream. 
  • Would regular milk work as a substitute for the evaporated milk? Because regular milk contains significantly more water, it’s not a recommended substitute in sweet potato pie.
  • Can you use granulated sugar? For this delicious sweet potato pie recipe, light brown sugar or dark brown sugar is best. But granulated sugar can also work in a pinch.
  • If you do not prepare the pie crust from scratch, can you use a frozen pie crust? Yes, you can absolutely use a frozen pie crust, pie shell, or store-bought pie dough. Even a frozen pie crust already nestled in an aluminum foil pan. Thaw, add your filling, and bake the pie on the oven rack or a baking sheet.

How do you make a Black folks’ Southern sweet potato pie?

This pie is traditionally made with softened or mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, butter, and the best harmonious blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and other sweet potato pie spices. 

Do you preheat (blind bake) the pie crust? No need to pre-bake, which could cause your pie crust edges to overcook or burn later when the pie is filled.

*See the recipe card below for a detailed list of instructions with step-by-step guided pictures.

  1. Grease the pie pan so the pie crust does not get stuck on the pie pan while baking.
  2. Pressure cook or roast the sweet potatoes. (Pressure cooking in an Instant Pot is the fastest and recommended way to peel the sweet potatoes easily.)
  3. Drain the cooked sweet potatoes into a colander.
  4. Peel the sweet potatoes once they have cooled to the touch.
  5. Gather the potato flesh and discard the skin.
  6. Mix the potato flesh, spices, and ingredients at high speed using an electric mixer or blender to make the pie filling.
  7. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust.
  8. Bake the pie.
  9. Let the pie cool for 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  10. Serve warm and enjoy! (Sweet potato pie is best served at room temperature or re-warmed.)

Pro tips:

  • Does this recipe make two pies or one? Depending on how deep of a dish your pie pan is, you’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix to make mini sweet potato pies.
  • Use any leftover pie dough for the easiest Southern dessert ever – flaky homemade pie crust cookies!

🎙 Listen to the recipe: Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie

Black Folks Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

Watch the video to see how to make sweet potato pie step-by-step with key moments.

What is the best way to cook sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie?

And how do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

The easiest method is to use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly to prepare them for mashing. You won’t even need a potato masher!

Recipe For Sweet Potato Pie - How do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

Should you roast or boil sweet potatoes for pie?

Roasting or pressure cooking the sweet potatoes is recommended over boiling or steaming.
Learn more about the best way to cook sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie in my post HERE.

🥧 Get the collector’s edition cookbook: Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Do you eat sweet potato pie hot or cold? 

Sweet potato pie is best served warm or at room temperature. Most pies are left unrefrigerated while family and friends feast on the dessert. Then, it’s chilled in the fridge to store the leftovers and warmed up before serving again.

What do you serve with Black folks sweet potato pie?

What do you serve with Black folks sweet potato pie?

If you’re looking for classic soul food recipes like sweet potato casserole and other authentic Southern soul food recipes to serve with your sweet potato pie, look no further than these delicious ideas in my post HERE about what to serve with sweet potato pie.

Black Folks Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Black folks sweet potato pie recipe FAQs & success tips

How do you get the strings out of sweet potatoes? 

Sweet potatoes stored at the wrong temperature can become stringy when cooked. But, no worries, a blender, hand-held mixer, or stand electric mixer will round up and collect the strings with the mixers or blade or dissolve the strings. Read more about how to get strings out of sweet potatoes in my guide HERE.

Why is your sweet potato pie runny?

If your sweet potato pie turns out runny after baking – don’t fret! Instead, put it back in the oven for five-minute intervals until the filling is puffed and firm in the center.

How can you thicken your sweet potato pie filling?

While many recipes call for adding flour for thickening, you don’t want to do this for a soul food sweet potato pie filling. It could compromise the unique Southern soul food flavors.

To avoid needing to thicken the pie filling, before cooking, make sure your sweet potato mixture has some texture and is not just a thin, runny purée.

How do you know when the filling is cooked? 

The pie is done is when you can see the center of the pie filling puffing in the oven and its firm and not runny or jiggly.

How do you keep your pie crust edges from burning? 

To alleviate concerns of your pie crust edges burning, use a pie crust shield.

How do you cut sweet potato pie?

How do you cut sweet potato pie?

It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours to a whole day. Otherwise, the slices will fall apart like feta cheese! But if you can’t wait the entire day, wait at least four hours before cutting it into pieces.

Pro tips for slicing sweet potato pie

  • Be sure your knife is clean and sharp. 
  • A perfect uniform slice will be in your hands if you refrigerate your sweet pie before cutting.
  • Wipe the knife after each slice and cut cleanly through to the bottom of your pie.

How to store and reheat sweet potato pie

Do you refrigerate Black folks’ sweet potato pie? Yes. After all, this recipe calls for eggs.

How long will sweet potato pie last in the refrigerator? The baked and cooled pie can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Can you reheat sweet potato pie? Yes, this sweet potato pie recipe can be quickly rewarmed in the oven. Or by the slice in the microwave. 

Can you freeze a sweet potato pie? You can absolutely freeze whole sweet potato pies or leftover pie for up to three months. First, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then foil, sealed tight in an airtight container.

Can you make this pie ahead? Yes, and if you’re making a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie or a Christmas sweet potato pie, it’s a good idea to make your sweet potato pie masterpiece ahead of time. (Assuming, of course, that you have the refrigerator space!)

Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie

What does Patti LaBelle put in her sweet potato pie?

Asked another way, “What is Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie recipe?” Miss Patti uses the traditional sweet potato pie main ingredients: nutmeg, cinnamon, and white sugar in her delicious pies.

Although her pies will satisfy your taste buds and sweet tooth, the ingredients don’t include my sweet potato pie’s soulful secret ingredients: brown sugar, ginger, clove, and vanilla!  

Do you eat sweet potato pie hot or cold?

Black folks sweet potato pie recipes

Which one is your favorite?

Which delicious pie? Purple Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe, Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe with condensed milk, Southern sweet potato pie with cream cheese, or Grandma’s sweet potato pie recipe.

Why is it called a Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe?

Also, check out my About page, which tells my story as a Black food blogger, sharing my family’s ancestral recipes and a legacy of Black people’s recipes.

What do you think about this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe?

This is the best sweet potato pie recipe with the best flavor! No corn syrup or making brown butter. The ingredients are simple, but the taste is unique.

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
The Original Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

If you like this recipe, then you’ll love these best Thanksgiving dessert recipes!

The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!

What are people saying about The Soul Food Pot Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe?

What are people saying about The Soul Food Pot Black folks sweet potato recipe? Love, love, love this recipe!!! My pies came out amazing and tasted just like how my mom makes her’s. With everything going on and not being able to go and get a slice of my mom’s pie, this was a really nice taste of home 😊. I took a pic of the pies and showed her how good they came out, she was amazed and now wants the recipe 😂. Thanks again Sis for this and I can’t wait to try more of your classic recipes! Oh goodness thank you for this and thank you for helping me find one for black folks! I get tired of trying to find our recipes on here.
Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

A Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe is a delightful Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Black folks’ soul food cooking. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 42 minutes
Pressure Release Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 268kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pound sweet potatoes washed, scrubbed, and unpeeled (equals about 3 cups when mashed)
  • 12 oz evaporated milk 1 can
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter unsalted butter, melted (or vegan butter)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
  • See my recipe HERE for homemade almond flour pie crust, or you can use a store-bought pie crust, dough, or pie shell that may or may not come with its own pie pan.
  • Pro tip: Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly!
  • Open the Instant Pot lid and fill the stainless-steel inner pot with water to the ½ mark.
  • Add the scrubbed sweet potatoes to the pot of water.
    Add the sweet potatoes to the pot of water.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes to loosen the potato skin.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 12 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Pour the water and sweet potatoes into a colander in the sink to drain the hot water from the potatoes.
    Pour the water and sweet potatoes into a colander in the sink to drain the hot water from the potatoes.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
    Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
  • Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
    Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
  • Add the sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt to a large bowl to use an electric mixer (hand mixer or stand). Or use the Instant Ace blender.
    Add to either the Instant Pot Ace blender or an electric mixer the sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt.
  • Mix or pulse until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
    Mix until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
  • Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
    Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
  • Bake the sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F: in a conventional oven for 28-30 minutes, in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 24-26 minutes, or until the pie is puffed and firm in the center. (Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.)
    Bake the sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F.
  • Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
    Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
    Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
  • Serve this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe warm and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Ingredients

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 12243IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 1mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.

Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest “Soul Food Recipes” board!

The Original Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Captcha loading...

97 Comments

  1. HI Hairstyles says:

    5 stars
    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  2. Sandra Smith says:

    5 stars
    Good combination of flavors. But I made some modifications. Firstly the cook time It took 55 minutes to bake at 350 degrees on convection not 30.
    I substituted 12 ounces of sweetened condensed milk for the evaporated milk and decreased the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. Delicious results. Overall though this is the closest truly Southern sweet potato pie recipe I have found.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today. This pie was HITTIN’!! It’ll be my go to from now on! We are some talented folks!! Great job girl!✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽

    1. 5 stars
      I absolutely LOVE your sentiments – “We are some talented folks!” Thanks so much for sharing your success with this Black folks’ Southern sweet potato pie recipe!!

  4. Rachel Mitchell says:

    5 stars
    What if I don’t have an instant pot?

  5. 5 stars
    I could not find my grandmas recipe but I new about what was in it so I chose this recipe. The pies turned out perfect and are as good if not better than grandmas. Will definitely make again. Too bad I can’t add pictures

  6. 5 stars
    Is it ok to make the pie filling a day before then cook it while it’s cold?

  7. 5 stars
    I’m so glad I found your recipe ad I prefer sweet potato pie over pumpkin. I made it today and it’s delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Doubled the recipe for 2 pie pans, but it ended up making too much pie filling? >> Solution: made mini pies!
    Also it was very runny at 30 mins in 350F, so I baked for 45-50..
    Overall, VERY good! I enjoyed it more than pumpkin pie

  9. Jezemal Johnson says:

    5 stars
    I am amazed I been making this pie the “white folk way” for years! I am so so so glad i found your black people recipes! Now i can make dinner for my family that my momma would be proud to eat! And i can finally throw my dang white sugar away! Hallelujah! I really have been preying to Gesis to show me a sign of my own culture and not nobody else’s and BAM! Here it is right on time! Thank you soso much again i don’t know what id be a doin right about now without it.

  10. B. Thomas says:

    5 stars
    I think that was a very very nice review, thank you for those lovely words Ms. Jezemal.

  11. 5 stars
    Made this recipe for Thanksgiving and everyone loved this sweet potato pie. It was everyone’s favorite, with many compliments.

    1. Shaunda Necole says:

      5 stars
      Thank so much for coming back to share your results! Happy holidays!

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe looks delicious, cant wait to try it now. Thank you for bring the recipe into our lives.

  13. 5 stars
    My husband came home with 2 HUGE potatoes (which he thought were regular sweet potatoes) they were actually white sweet potatoes. I researched and found out that they are very mild (closer to bland). I followed your recipe but added 1 tbsp of molasses to it. Wow! The molasses added such depth and warmth to the overall flavor. It is one of the best sweet potato pies I’ve ever made. Fantastic recipe!

  14. Bria Lowery says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for recipe

  15. Terry Harris says:

    5 stars
    Thanksgiving is approaching and I don’t want to use store bought pies this year. So I gave this a test run, took awhile because I don’t have instant pot equipment but the filling was delicious. Thanks for your yummy recipe 😋

  16. Tamara Bacon says:

    5 stars
    Thank You for this recipe!

  17. Melinda Worsham says:

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for this recipe. My favorite Pie and so easy to make. Yummy!

  18. Erica Cosby says:

    5 stars
    This is another recipe i use on Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday for my dinners. Keep those recipes coming!!!

  19. Cindy Meisenheimer says:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to try out this recipe and I’m sure that it’s going to become a staple for the holidays!

  20. Lia Evans says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe