There’s something undeniably magical about Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie. A dessert that marries homemade coziness with the flair of Southern soul food tradition.
In the spirit of transparency, I want to note that this is a copycat recipe for an existing product. Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie ( as seen in Desserts LaBelle) is a proprietary brand I want to acknowledge and give credit!
What does Patti LaBelle put in her sweet potato pie?
Miss Patti infuses her culinary magic to create a pie that stands out on any holiday table! And while her recipe does not include sweet potato pie secret ingredients signature to my viral Black Folks sweet potato pie recipe, it’s still a delicious Southern soul food recipe that’s easy to make at home.
The pie filling, laden with orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, swirls together the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg, revealing an inviting complexity in every bite.
The finale is what Miss Patti insists on – a dollop of whipped cream on each slice! It serves as a cloud-like contrast to the rich, velvety smoothness beneath.
What spices go in sweet potato pie?
Sweet potato pie spices, nutmeg and cinnamon, are essential to a soulful sweet potato pie recipe. And Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies do not skimp on these key ingredients!
Ground nutmeg and cinnamon are carefully measured and stirred in, creating a warmth that radiates throughout the pie. Once thoroughly mixed, the pie filling is poured into the pie shell, spreading evenly to create a seamless surface, ready for the oven’s embrace.
The world has come to know that Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie is more than just a famous name dessert. It’s a celebration of tradition, family, and the simple joy of Southern soul food hospitality found in a slice of homemade pie.
Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie recipe
This recipe is for Miss Patti’s sweet potato pie filling. You know, the main ingredient!
The yummy goodness starts with the best type of sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie. Choose either Jewel (best for baking) or Beauregard sweet potatoes (slightly sweeter).
You can use your favorite pie crust or pie shell brand or make your pie dough homemade.
Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie ingredients
*See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients with measurements.
- Sweet potatoes – A naturally sweet pie filling with a smooth, creamy texture.
- Evaporated milk – Evaporated milk adds a velvety smoothness to the pie.
- Granulated sugar – For the sweetness.
- Eggs – The binding agent that ensures the pie filling holds its shape.
- Butter – Adds a rich flavor that complements the natural sweet potatoes.
- Nutmeg – Adds a warm, nutty, and earthy balance to the pie’s sweetness.
- Cinnamon – Adds a comforting warmth and heat with earthy flavor.
- Salt – A necessary contrast to balance the sweet spice profiles.
- Pie crust – Elevates this dish from a sweet potato soufflé to a sweet potato pie with a simple, delicious, and flaky pie crust encasing.
Miss Patti’s pointers
Evaporated milk is also my favorite dairy ingredient for sweet potato pie, just like Patti LaBelle.
You might wonder why she choose evaporated milk over fresh milk, condensed milk, or heavy cream? For a trifecta of reasons:
- Evaporated milk brings an incomparable creaminess, enriching the filling without making it too heavy.
- Its concentrated form adds a depth of flavor that enhances the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
- When you beat evaporated milk into the mixture with the eggs, sugar, and spices, it perfectly binds all these elements, ensuring a silky-smooth texture.
Trust me, evaporated milk is a simple ingredient that makes a world of difference in your sweet potato pie Southern dessert!
Are there any acceptable ingredients substitutes?
You can use the following swaps for this soul food baked sweet potato pie recipe:
- Can you use sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk in pie? As detailed in the trifecta of reasons above, Miss Patti and I agree on why evaporated milk is the best for sweet potato pie. However, you can use sweetened condensed milk as a substitute instead. Here’s my recipe for how to make sweet potato pie with condensed milk.
- 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.
- If you do not prepare the pie crust from scratch, can you use a frozen one? Yes, you can absolutely use a frozen pie crust 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.
Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie instructions
*See the recipe card below for a detailed list of instructions with step-by-step guided pictures.
- Grease the pie pan so the pie crust does not get stuck on the pie pan while baking.
- 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.)
- Drain the cooked sweet potatoes.
- Peel the sweet potatoes.
- Gather the potato flesh.
- Mix the potato flesh, spices, and ingredients at high speed using an electric mixer or blender to make the pie filling.
- Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust.
- Bake the pie. (No need to pre-bake the pie crust, which could cause your pie crust edges to burn.)
- Let the pie cool for a few hours for ease in slicing.
- Serve warm and enjoy! (Sweet potato pie is best served at room temperature or re-warmed.)
Success tips for baking a sweet potato pie
- Use these sweet potato pie best practices to avoid making mistakes.
- When selecting sweet potatoes, look for firm ones with no soft spots, bruises, or signs of sprouting.
- The skin should be tight and unwrinkled, ensuring the potato is fresh and will provide a concentrated flavor.
- How about the size of your sweet potatoes? Size can also play a role because medium-sized sweet potatoes are often the best for even cooking.
- Start by giving your sweet potatoes a good wash to clear any dirt from the skin. (No need to dry them with a paper towel.)
- Use a fork to check if the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
- 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 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.
- Let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day before slicing.
- 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!
Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie FAQs
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.
Why is your sweet potato pie runny?
Asked another way: “Why is my sweet potato pie mushy?
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?
Asked another way, how do you stiffen a sweet potato pie?
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, make sure your sweet potato mixture still has some texture and it’s not just a thin, runny purée.
Can you freeze Patti LaBelle pie?
You can freeze whole sweet potato pies or leftover pie for up to three months.
First, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then foil, sealed tight with an airtight container.
How many calories in a slice of Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie?
You can use the dynamic recipe card below to understand the calories per serving and Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie nutrition.
Patti LaBelle pie
Whipping up desserts that sing to the soul – that’s a Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie!
Lovingly blending the filling and patiently waiting for the pie to bake, topping it with just the right amount of whipped cream feels like adding a crown to a masterpiece!
Did you enjoy this recipe for Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie?
Have you had it?
Would you make it?
Comment below and lemme know.
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
- electric mixer
- 2 ½ pound sweet potatoes washed, scrubbed, and unpeeled
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar granulated
- 2 eggs large
- ½ cup butter unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 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.
- 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.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
- Gather 2 cups of sweet potato flesh.
- Add the sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, sugar, egg, melted butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt to an electric mixer or the Instant Ace blender.
- Mix until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
- Bake the sweet potato pie at 375 degrees F in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the pie is puffed and firm in the center. (Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.)
- Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
- Garnish with whipped cream.
- Serve this Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie recipe warm and enjoy!
- *See the notes below for Miss Patti's homemade whipped cream instructions.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract