Sweet Potato vs Pumpkin Pie | What’s The Difference? 

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

What is the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pies?

It may seem like sweet potato pie is just a fancier, more flavorful version of pumpkin pie (and it is). And both pie fillings look similar in color, and the crust looks the same. Still, there are some significant differences between the two. 

Learn more in my posts about sweet potato pie Black history and why is sweet potato pie a Black thing.
Sweet potato pie vs pumpkin pie meme

Pumpkin pie vs Sweet potato pie 

Most of the differences between pumpkin and sweet potato pie involve where one was raised, one’s ethnicity, or race. These factors are significant to how pumpkin and sweet potato pies are prepared. So, I’m going to break down the differences in this post.


While both pies are Southern desserts and vegetarian-friendly. It’d be blasphemy in the Black Southern cooks’ community to even suggest that it’s OK to interchange the two!

Pumpkin pie: Pumpkin pies are traditionally made with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs. However, pumpkin purée is not as sweet as the namesake vegetable, sweet potato.

Sweet potato pie: Sweet potato pies have been elevated with soulful flavor combinations like cinnamon, sugar, sweet vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg. They mix beautifully with softened sweet potatoes that already have some natural sweetness.


Pumpkin pie: The best description I’ve seen of pumpkin pie was in a Reddit thread. The user described pumpkin pie as tasting like “baked hard squash seasoned with spices.” So, you can imagine that the cinnamon and nutmeg spices in the pie are the standout flavor profiles.

Sweet potato pie: The flavor profile of sweet potato pie features brown sugar and butter, complemented by hints of vanilla. With the additions of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove, it has a perfect balance of sweetness and rich, warm spice.

Pumpkin pie vs Sweet potato pie 


Pumpkin pie: Most pumpkin pies tend to be bland, dense, and creamy, even with the addition of pumpkin pie spices.

Sweet potato pie: In contrast, sweet potato pie has a more textured, airier, and fluffier filling compared to pumpkin pie.


“Black folks don’t like pumpkin pie. Side-by-side, a pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie can look very similar. By and large, these two favorites of the Fall appeal to two different cultures.” – Stefan Roots for Chester Matters

Pumpkin pie: Pumpkin pie is a traditional dessert from colonial New England. It was made initially from the autumn harvest of pumpkins and gourds and spiced for Thanksgiving dinner.

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

Which is better sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

Making the pies 

New-age appliances steeped in modern simplicity, combined with the holiday significance and cultural legacy of each dessert, make it easy and necessary to prepare either pumpkin or sweet potato pie today.

Pumpkin pie: This can take less than an hour to make because you won’t have to peel a pumpkin and scoop out the pumpkin flesh. Instead, you only need a can of pumpkin purée! Then, mix all the ingredients to create the pie filling, pour it into a pie crust, and bake. 

Sweet potato pie:  To make a traditional Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe, begin by roasting the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 40 minutes to soften them and make them easy to peel. Then, mix all the ingredients to create the pie filling and place it in a pie shell to bake. The entire process takes about an hour and a half.

What pie do Black people eat on Thanksgiving?

Which is better sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

If you ask Black folks, there is no debate about which one is better. The answer is always sweet potato pie—as long as it’s made the Black folks’ soul food way! 
Learn more in my post about sweet potato pie Black history.

However, if you compare the two side-by-side, sweet potato generally outpaces pumpkin in its nutritional makeup from vitamin A to fiber to protein. According to Yahoo’s fall nutrition face-off: “While pumpkin is a light, low-sugar option, sweet potatoes do more heavy lifting and will ultimately feed your body more essential nutrients.”

Deciding which pie to serve 

Most of the differences between sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie involve where one was raised, their ethnicity, or race. These factors are significant to how pumpkin and sweet potato pies are prepared.

For Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin pies are traditionally found on the kitchen tables in many homes of White Americans. While sweet potato pie is the go-to tradition for a Black family Thanksgiving.

The pie fillings of sweet potato and pumpkin pies are not the same

This is the best sweet potato pie recipe with the best flavor! 

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. 
Check out this recipe!

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

What is the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pies?
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!

Leave a Reply

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

Captcha loading...