Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

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What are the ingredients for a sweet potato pie?

A Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe is a delightful dessert – especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas, packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Southern soul food cooking.

Nutmeg, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, and more!

Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

A soul food Southern sweet potato pie recipe tastes like warm family memories, good times, and a legacy of the best holiday traditions handed down from one Southern generation to the next!

Is Sweet Potato Pie A Black Thing?

Is sweet potato pie a Black thing?

Yes, but it’s easy enough for anyone to make and everyone to love!

Soul food recipes traditionally combine African American foods derived from Black enslaved people’s take on American and British cuisine. 

Combined with the essence of West African color, warmth, flavors, and traditions. That’s because sweet potato pie was made by Black folks back in Africa when they used the native-grown vegetable, yams.

Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

It’s a legacy of the best holiday traditions handed down from generation to generation as part of sweet potato pie Black history.

Sweet potato pie is one of these classic soul food recipes – causing many people to ask, “Is sweet potato pie a Black thing?” The answer is yes, but it’s still easy enough for anyone to make and everone to love!

What is Black folks’ sweet potato pie?

The Soul Food Pot’s famous Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe is the same as this Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe. 

It’s a delightful Thanksgiving sweet potato pie or Christmas dessert packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Black folks’ soul food cooking

What are the ingredients for a sweet potato pie?

What ingredients do you need for sweet potato pie?

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

Check out the step-by-step list of recipe ingredients and instructions below!

Suggested kitchen equipment

Shop my kitchenware HERE!

Ingredients for a Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe

  • 1 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed (equals about 3 cups when softened and peeled)
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk, 1 can
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted (or vegan butter)
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
How do you make a Black folks’ Southern sweet potato pie?

Instructions for Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe

  1. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Pro tip: Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly! 
  4. Open the Instant Pot lid and fill the stainless-steel inner pot with water to the ½ mark.
  5. Add the scrubbed sweet potatoes to the pot of water.
  6. Close the Instant Pot lid (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes to loosen the potato skin.
  7. When cooking is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 12 minutes.
  8. To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  9. Pour the water and sweet potatoes into a colander in the sink to drain the hot water from the potatoes.
  10. Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
  11. Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
  12. Add the sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt to a blender or an electric mixer.
  13. Pulse or mix until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
  14. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
  15. 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.)
  16. Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  17. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. 
  18. Serve this Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe warm, and enjoy!

Can you use purple sweet potatoes in place of regular sweet potatoes?

Yes, with purple Stokes purple sweet potatoes, you can try this pie a different way! 

Check out the recipe below for a purple sweet potato pie.

Black Folks Purple Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Black Folks Purple Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
New twist on an old classic: Introducing Black folks purple sweet potato pie recipe!
Same but new – incredible soul food flavors with a regal purple hue!
Check out this recipe!

Pro tips: 

  • Depending on how deep-dish your pie pan is, you’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Or you can pour it into a Ziplock bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • You could also make mini-Black folks sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling.
  • And don’t forget to use any leftover pie dough for the easiest Southern dessert ever – pie crust cookies!
  • How do you get the strings out of sweet potato pie? A blender, hand-held, or stand electric mixer will collect the strings.  Read more about how to get strings out of sweet potatoes in my guide HERE.
What do you serve with Southern sweet potato pie?

What do you serve with Southern sweet potato pie?

A Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe is often served with a traditional Southern soul food menu, likely to include:

Southern fried chicken or a Black folks Southern turkey recipesoul food collard greensBlack folks chicken and dressingBlack folks homemade cornbread, and soul food baked macaroni and cheese.

Washed down with a glass of holiday eggnog or everyday Southern sweet tea!

Soul Food Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe FAQs

What makes sweet potato pie so iconically fall?

The spices. It’s gotta be the spices!

The best blend of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other sweet spices. 

Sweet potato pie is also easy to make ahead. Easy to serve. It has simple pantry ingredients that yield a sweet and mildly spicy flavor. 

There are many other great recipes for pies out there, but a Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe stands out from the rest! It’s an iconic autumn treat.

What spices belong in a Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe?

Here are three spices that belong in a delicious soul food sweet potato pie. 

  • Ground cinnamon is a versatile spice for savory and sweet dishes for an extra burst of flavor while adding more color. 

 Cinnamon is an excellent addition to everything from an apple pie, pumpkin bread, and even sweet potato pies! Cinnamon helps brighten up even the darkest desserts because it adds lightness to them while giving off its unique taste.

  • Ground nutmeg is often found in pumpkin pies, but it goes exceptionally well with sweet potato pie. This spice gives the dish a wonderful flavor and provides some warmth to your palate. 

 Think about how good your grandmother’s Thanksgiving meal tastes every year! Ground nutmeg has that same type of taste without being overwhelming or spicy at all. You need this for sure if you are planning on making this Thanksgiving specialty!

  • Ground cloves are that secret ingredient that gives your finished sweet potato recipes a beautiful aroma, a spicy kick, and the perfect sweetness without going overboard with sugar. 

 Ground cloves have an aromatic sweet aroma and taste. You’ll love how much more flavorful your ciderstoddiesbrines, and sweet treats become once cloves are added!

When combined, these spices create an excellent balance. Cloves should definitely be included in any soul food Thanksgiving menu or Christmas dinner.

What does Patti LaBelle put in her sweet potato pie?

Miss Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie recipe includes: sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

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

What are the benefits of eating sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are as healthy as they are good! Supporting eye, brain, and cardiovascular health, among other benefits.

Can you use yams instead of sweet potatoes for pie?

Yes you can because yams are a vegetable similar to sweet potatoes but come from the motherland in Africa.

Africans were used to cooking with yams. So when they were brought to the American South as enslaved persons, the next best thing available was a sweet potato, which they also called yams.

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

One of the most significant differences between sweet potatoes and yams is in their appearance. Yams are typically larger, while sweet potatoes come in smaller sizes.

Sweet potato roots are tapered at one end, whereas yam roots are more circular. Furthermore, yams are starchier and tougher than sweet potatoes.

If making 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, do you just double the recipe or leave the same?

This recipe calls for 1 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes. 

Two pounds will leave you extra filling for perhaps another pie!

Use the dynamic recipe card below to adjust the ingredient amounts for updated proportions.

How do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

Can you boil the sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie? Asked another way: Should you roast or boil sweet potatoes for pie?

Yes, but 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. 

How long do you cook the sweet potatoes in the oven before making the pie filling?

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half. Of course, using the Instant Pot is much quicker!

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.

How do you keep pie crust from getting soggy on the bottom?

Make sure your sweet potato pie filling is not runny. It should have some texture instead of being thin and watery like a purée.

How long do you cook the sweet potatoes in the oven before making the pie filling?

Bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes at e400 degrees F.

Or, for quicker cooking, use the Instant Pot.

What is the best type of crust to use for a sweet potato pie?

You can use your favorite crust. Almond flour, graham cracker crust, pie dough, etc.

How do you keep your pie crust edges from burning?

Unlike some pie recipes, there is no need to preheat your empty pie crust for this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe. Doing this can cause your pie crust edges to burn.

How do you know when sweet potato pie is done?

How do you know when the filling of the pie is cooked?

A good indicator of when this pie recipe is done is when you can see the center of the pie filling puffing in the oven. 

Also, the center of a sweet potato pie should be firm and not runny or jiggly when you remove the pie from the oven.

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 do you thicken a 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, ensure your sweet potato mixture still has some texture and is not just a thin, runny purée.

How long should a sweet potato pie sit before slicing?

How long does a sweet potato pie have to cool? 

One primary consideration when cutting your sweet potato pie is to let it set before cutting. Otherwise, the slice will fall apart like feta cheese! 

It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours to a whole day. 

But if you can’t wait the entire day, wait at least four hours before slicing it.

How long should a sweet potato pie sit before slicing?

How do you cut sweet potato pie?

Pro tips:

  • This process can be even simpler if you run your sharp knife on a chilled sweet potato pie. 
  • A perfect uniform slice will be in your hands if you refrigerate your sweet pie before cutting it. 
  • Be sure the knife is clean and sharp before cutting. 
  • Wipe it off with a damp cloth after each slice and cut cleanly through the bottom of your pie.

Does sweet potato pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes. After all, this recipe calls for eggs.

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 with an airtight container.

What’s the difference between pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie?

What makes sweet potato pie different from a pumpkin pie?

It may seem like sweet potato pie is just a fancier, more flavorful version of pumpkin pie (and it is). Still, there are some significant differences between the two. 

Pumpkin pies are traditionally made with sugar, spices, and eggs. 

However, soulful flavor combinations like cinnamon, sugar, sweet vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg have elevated sweet potato pies. Mixed beautifully with softened sweet potatoes or yams.

Most pumpkin pies tend to be bland, dense, and creamier. Even with the addition of pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin pie is no comparison. 

In contrast, sweet potato pie has more texture with an airier and fluffier filling.

African American Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Which is better, pumpkin or sweet potato pie?

If you ask Black folks, there is no debating which one is better. The answer is always sweet potato pie – as long as it’s made the Southern soul food way!

You can learn more in my post about why Black people eat sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin pie.

Can you make this pie ahead?

Suppose you’re making a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie or a Christmas sweet potato pie. In that case, it’s a good idea to make your sweet potato pie masterpiece ahead of time. (Assuming, of course, that you have the refrigerator space.)

Just remember: wrap tightly and keep in the fridge because this recipe calls for eggs.

Does this recipe offer two pies or one with the ingredients mentioned?

Depending on how deep of a dish your pie pan is, you’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix to make another. 

You could also make mini-Black folks sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling.

How many eggs are needed?

2 large eggs will be enough if you’re following this recipe.

Are there any acceptable ingredients substitutes in a Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe?

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

While I’ve found evaporated milk to be the smoothest and the perfect flavor additive for this recipe, sweetened condensed milk can substitute, as I use in my sweet potato pie with condensed milk recipe. Likewise, you could use heavy cream. 

Also, for this pie recipe, light brown sugar or dark brown sugar is best. But granulated sugar can also work in a pinch.

Can you use canned sweet potatoes?

Nothing beats fresh potatoes for this incredible Southern soul food potato pie recipe. But you could use canned sweet potato.

Should sweet potato pie be served hot or cold?

Should sweet potato pie be served hot or cold?

There’s nothing like a slice of warm sweet potato pie. Although, on Christmas Day, the pie is often served at room temperature if it’s not warmed up by the slice.

What other recipes can you make with sweet potatoes?

Do you have more sweet potatoes than you know what to do with?

Check out these best soul food sweet potato recipes HERE, from soups to candied yams and Southern sweet potato pies!

What do you think about this Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe?

The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is unique! 

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

African-Americans today have continued the tradition of sweet potato pie with celebratory gatherings and holiday dinners.

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

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!

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

Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie

Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

What are the ingredients for a sweet potato pie?
A Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe is a delightful dessert – especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas, packed with flavorful seasonings and spices in the tradition of Southern 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 and scrubbed (equals about 3 cups when softened and peeled)
  • 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 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.
    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.
  • Pulse or mix 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 Southern soul food sweet potato pie recipe warm, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Unlike some pie recipes, there is no need to pre-heat your empty pie crust for this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe. Doing this can cause your pie crust edges to burn.
  • A good indicator of when this pie recipe is done is when you can see the center of the pie filling puffing in the oven. 
  • You’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix, depending on how deep-dish your pie pan is. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Or you can pour it into a Ziplock bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • You could also make mini-Black folks sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling.
  • And don’t forget to use any leftover pie dough for the easiest Southern dessert ever – pie crust cookies!
  • It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day before slicing.
Southern Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Card

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
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