Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe™

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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 this first and original “Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe™,” my 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. 

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 holiday, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dessert packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Black Americans’ soul food cooking. Still, some people who have never had a soul food sweet potato pie may ask, What makes it a Black folks’ sweet potato pie?

Every Southern sweet potato pie is not a Black folks’ sweet potato pie unless it’s made with a flawless blend of soul food sweet and savory spices. This includes brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. It’s a dessert cleverly spiced, elevating it beyond traditional pumpkin pie with the essence of West African seasonings.

Black folks sweet potato pie recipes - Which one is your favorite?
Here I am, demonstrating how to make my signature Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe!

Why is sweet potato pie a Black thing?

Sweet potato pie has a rich history and a significant place in Black culture. Created by Black people in Africa using the indigenous vegetable, yams, its core recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and remains a vital part of African American culture.

In the United States, sweet potato pie continues to be a popular dish on the holiday dinner table. Many view it as a more flavorful and soulful alternative to pumpkin pie, and it’s the preferred choice for African Americans over the denser and less flavorful pumpkin pie recipe.

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

Measurements for the recipe can be found in the printable recipe card below. 

  • Sweet potatoes Garnet, Jewel (ideal for baking), or Beauregard sweet potatoes are best, as they produce a naturally sweet pie filling with a smooth, silky texture. Learn more about the best sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie HERE.
  • Evaporated milk adds a luscious, velvety texture to the filling. 
  • Light brown sugar imparts a delightful caramel-like flavor to the pie.
  • Vanilla extract infuses a warm and comforting essence.
  • Nutmeg contributes a warm, nutty, and earthy balance to the pie. 
  • Cinnamon adds a comforting warmth and heat, along with a burst of color and flavor.
  • Ginger imparts a subtle spiciness and a warm kick.
  • Clove serves as the secret ingredient, contributing to the pie’s overall soulful spice with its beautiful aroma.
  • Salt is a necessary contrast and balance to the sweet and spicy flavor profiles of the pie.
  • Butter adds a rich, buttery flavor that beautifully complements the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
  • Eggs play a crucial role in binding the pie filling together, resulting in a creamy, custard-like consistency.
  • The pie crust will elevate this dish from a simple sweet potato soufflé to a delectable sweet potato pie because of the flaky and delicious crust encasing.
Fresh Sweet Potatoes For Sweet Potato Pie

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 potatoes. The pies’ texture will be precisely light and fluffy when using fresh sweet potatoes, while you risk a mushier pie when using a canned alternative.

Also, if using canned sweet potatoes, you can skip the steps for roasting and peeling them and go straight to mixing the canned potatoes with the seasonings and spices.

Black Folks Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

How to make a Black folks’ Southern sweet potato pie

The foundation of any stellar sweet potato pie starts with selecting fresh, high-quality sweet potatoes. Then, the potatoes are softened and combined with eggs, sugar, butter, and a harmonious blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and other sweet, soulful spices. Together, these foundational elements create a dish that has always had a special place at the soul food holiday table!

Step-by-step instructions with guided pictures can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  1. Grease the pie pan so the pie crust does not get stuck on the pie pan while baking.
  2. Roasting the sweet potatoes in the oven is the preferred way to cook them to maintain their sweetness over baking (oven temperatures below 400 degrees) or boiling. 
  3. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, the skin will easily peel away, revealing the soft, sweet, roasted flesh. 
  4. Gather the potato flesh and discard the skin.
  5. To make the pie filling, use an electric mixer to mix the potato flesh with the evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt at high speed.
  6. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust (store-bought or homemade).
  7. Bake the pie until the filling is firm and puffing in the center.
  8. Let the pie cool for 4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy! Sweet potato pie is best served warm, at room temperature, or re-warmed by the slice.

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!

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

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie

🎙 Listen to the recipe: Black Folks 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?

The preferred method for preparing sweet potatoes for mashing is to roast them in the oven. This helps break down the starches into sugar, resulting in a sweeter pie filling.

However, an easier method involves using an Instant Pot pressure cooker to quickly soften and peel the sweet potatoes. This method can save you nearly 30 minutes in the kitchen! Learn more about the best way to cook sweet potatoes for 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 enjoy the dessert. Afterwards, any leftovers are chilled in the fridge and warmed up before serving again.

What do you serve with Black folks sweet potato pie?

What to serve with Black folks sweet potato pie

If you’re looking for classic soul food recipes to serve with your sweet potato pie, look no further than these delicious ideas in my post about what to serve with sweet potato pie. Favorites include Southern fried chicken, soul food collard greens, and Southern candied yams.

Black Folks Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Black folks sweet potato pie success tips

How do you get the strings out of sweet potato pie? 

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

Avoiding runny sweet potato pie

If your sweet potato pie comes out runny after baking, don’t worry! Simply return it to the oven in five-minute intervals until the filling is puffed and firm in the center.

How to thicken sweet potato pie filling

While many pie recipes call for adding flour to thicken the pie filling, you won’t want to do this for this soul food sweet potato. Doing so could compromise the unique soul food flavors.

However, this is an easy mistake to avoid. To ensure the pie filling won’t need to be thickened, it’s best to use fresh sweet potatoes so it has some texture before baking and is not just a thin, runny purée.

How to know when sweet potato pie is done

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

To prevent the pie crust edges from burning, you can use a pie crust shield or line the edges of the pie with aluminum foil while baking. And there’s no need to pre-bake (blind bake) the pie shell or crust, as this could cause the edges to overcook or burn later when you add the pie filling for baking.

How do you cut sweet potato pie?
Here I am, baking sweet potato pie with my mom, who passed down our legacy family recipe from her mom to me—and now to you!

How to cut a sweet potato pie

For the best results after baking, allow the pie to cool and set for 4 hours to a whole day. Refrigerating the pie before cutting will result in a perfect, uniform slice that cuts cleanly through to the bottom of the pie. Otherwise, the slices may fall apart!

Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie

How to store leftover sweet potato pie

Remember to refrigerate this sweet potato pie recipe because it contains milk and eggs. It can last in the fridge for five days.

When tightly wrapped or sealed in an airtight container, sweet potato pie can be frozen for up to three months. Then, you can reheat a whole sweet potato pie in the oven or microwave individual slices.

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

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. It’s simple, made the soul food way!

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: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Sweet potatoes roasting: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 268kcal



  • 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


  • Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes and set them aside, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • You can use either homemade or store-bought uncooked pie crust, dough, or shell in a pie pan. If you're using your own pie pan, grease it, place the uncooked pie crust in it, and set it aside.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, place the sweet potatoes on it, and roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for 40 minutes or until tender. (You can also use the Instant Pot to save time—it only takes 12 minutes to cook the sweet potatoes in it!)
    Is it better to boil or bake sweet potatoes for pie?
  • Remove the cooked potatoes from the oven, and once the sweet potatoes have cooled, the skin will easily peel away, revealing the soft, roasted flesh. 
    Cooking sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie
  • To prepare to make the pie filling, gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
    Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
  • Add the softened sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt to a large bowl.
    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.
  • To make the pie filling, combine the potato flesh with the ingredients using an electric mixer at high speed until smooth.
  • Pour the sweet potato pie filling into the unbaked pie crust.
    Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
  • Bake the sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the filling is firm and puffing in the center. (Note that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.)
    Bake the sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F.
  • Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
    Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  • Optionally, garnish with whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Serve warm and enjoy! Sweet potato pie is best served warm, at room temperature, or reheated by the slice.
    Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.



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.

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.

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The Original Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe™
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!
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4.78 from 348 votes (271 ratings without comment)

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  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