Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

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Nothing recalls warm memories of Thanksgiving traditions like a slice of Southern sweet potato pie. 

Just thinking about it pulls you into a cozy and festive holiday aesthetic with holiday sights, sounds, and smells. 

 

Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

 

Oh, the smell of a Southern sweet potato pie and its warm spices in the air. It’s a quintessential part of the holiday season!

The family gathering, the laughter and joy, the smells of good food in the kitchen. 

 

When should you eat sweet potato pie?

Reminiscing has me compelled to wonder…

Is there any reason you should wait until ThanksgivingChristmas, or Easter to enjoy a delicious Southern sweet potato pie recipe?

Absolutely not! 

Especially when it’s so easy to make.

Once you try this recipe, you’ll be hooked on enjoying this Southern dessert classic every season! And not just when you pull out your Thanksgiving recipes.

 

How do you make Southern sweet potato pie?

 

Best Southern sweet potato pie recipe

That sweet, mouthwatering aroma will fill the air when you grab a fork. The instant that first piece enters your mouth, you’ll be hit with a burst of flavor! 

A flavor explosion of those buttery and silky potatoes, with every bite until you eat it all.

You don’t even need to taste it to know it’s delicious. (But who wouldn’t taste?!)

 

Where did sweet potato pie originate?

Sweet potato pie originated in the Southern US states among the African American community. 

So although this recipe may be called “Southern sweet potato pie,” it’s still Black folks’ food at its finest!

 

Is sweet potato pie a Black thing?

I’ve always had sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners. And sometimes even on New Year’s.

That’s because sweet potato pie was made by Black folks back in Africa when they used the native-grown vegetable, yams

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

 

 

How do you make Southern sweet potato pie?

Similar to our original Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie, this Southern sweet potato pie recipe is made with fresh sweet potatoes and soul food spices and seasonings. 

But for this recipe, it’s the Southern charm added to the pie after it bakes…

A thin layer of homemade cream cheese frosting is spread on top to savor the sweet taste of Southern hospitality!

 

What makes this sweet potato pie Southern?

 

What’s the difference between a Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe and a Southern sweet potato pie recipe?

What makes this sweet potato pie Southern?

It’s the velvety addition. 

The decadent homemade cream cheese frosting is a Southern sweet potato pie recipe secret ingredient. A North Carolina family tradition passed down generations.

Warning: Once you enjoy sweet potato pie with the addition of a homemade cream cheese topping. AKA, Southern charm. You may not want it any other way!

 

Ingredients for the Southern sweet potato pie filling

 

Kitchen equipment for a Southern sweet potato pie recipe

 

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Southern Southern Sweet Potato Pie Filling

 

Ingredients for the Southern sweet potato pie filling

  • 1 ½ pound of sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed (equals about 3 cups when softened and peeled)
  • 12 oz. of evaporated milk (1 can)
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 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

 

Southern sweet potato pie frosting homemade cream cheese topping

 

Ingredients for the Southern sweet potato pie frosting (homemade cream cheese topping)

  • 4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup of powdered sugar
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Instructions for a Southern sweet potato pie recipe

  1. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
  2. See my recipe HERE for almond flour homemade 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 (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes to loosen the potato skin.
  7. When the cooking time 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 large bowl.
  13. Pulse or mix with a hand or stand electric mixer 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.
  16. Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
  17. For the Southern sweet potato pie cream cheese topping: Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract by hand or with an electric mixer on low until combined. 
  18. Spread an even layer of the cream cheese frosting on the cooled pie, or slice and top each piece of pie with a dollop of cream cheese topping.
  19. Serve this Southern sweet potato pie recipe and enjoy!

 

Classic soul food sweet potato pie 

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!
Black Folks Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

 

Pro tips: 

  • 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!

 

Southern-Style Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

 

How do you cut sweet potato pie?

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! (Oh no!)

Let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day. 

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:

  • 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.

 

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

 

What do you serve with Black folks’ Southern sweet potato pie?

A simple answer would be Cool Whip whipped cream or ice cream, but that’s not exactly descriptive. 

You want something that compliments the beautiful rich buttery, vanilla, Southern spice flavors! 

So if you’re looking for classic soul food recipes to serve with your sweet potato pie this Thanksgiving or Christmas, then look no further than these delicious ideas:

 

Southern sweet potato pie recipe FAQs

This is what some folks call the how to make sweet potato pie tips!

What is sweet potato pie?

Southern sweet potato pie is a delicious custard pie made with cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. The mashed sweet potatoes combine with brown sugar, milk, and spices.

Then, it’s all baked in a single pie crust and finished off with a decadent layer of cream frosting. 

 

Why do Black people love sweet potatoes?

 

Are sweet potatoes and yams the same?

What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? Yams are vegetables similar to sweet potatoes but come from the African motherland. 

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

 

Why do Black people love sweet potatoes?

True to Black folks’ nature, our ancestors took something from nothing and elevated sweet potatoes to the soul food delicacy that many people love and crave today…

Black people’s food – Southern sweet potato pies and candied yams!

 

Black Folks Southern Candied Yams
Candied yams are an old-fashioned African-American recipe. A sweet potato soul food side dish cooked to perfection in a cinnamon-brown sugar glaze.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Candied Yams

 

How do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

Should you roast or boil sweet potatoes for pie? 

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 do you get rid of the strings in sweet potatoes?

To avoid stringy sweet potatoes, look for shorter, plump ones rather than longer narrow ones. 

Long and narrow sweet potatoes will be stringy, resulting from growing in soggy soil.

 

Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes For Black Folks Purple Sweet Potato Pie

 

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

Purple sweet potatoes just might be one of the prettiest vegetables on the planet! 

They are indeed purple – skin and flesh, and they don’t lose their color when cooked. Thus, making for a beautiful purple sweet potato pie filling!

 

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!
Black Folks Purple Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

 

What’s the difference between sweet potato pie and 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. 

Sweet potato pies have been elevated with soulful flavor combinations like cinnamon-sugar and sweet vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg. 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, and the filling is airier and fluffier.

 

Which is better, pumpkin or sweet potato pie?

Some think that pumpkin pie has a similar texture to sweet potato pie. 

But even with that thinking, the sweet potato has an even richer and namesake “sweeter” flavor than a pumpkin. 

So, in my opinion, sweet potato pie is even more delicious!

 

Black Folks Southern Pecan Pie Recipe
Black folks' Southern pecan pie recipe is an old-fashioned African American soul food classic that yields an abundance of sweet flavor with each bite.
Brown sugar is combined with a syrupy pecan filling, caramelized, and then baked.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Pecan Pie Recipe

 

What spices belong in a Southern sweet potato pie recipe?

Sweet potato pie ingredients

Here are three key ingredients that belong in a Southern 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 apple pie to pumpkin bread to 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 ingredient for sure if you’re planning on making this Thanksgiving specialty!

 

  • Ground cloves are that secret ingredient that gives your finished recipes a beautiful aroma, a spicy kick, and the perfect amount of 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. 

 

Do you have to put eggs in sweet potato pie?

Eggs are essential for a Southern sweet potato pie filling.

Sweet potatoes contain starch granules that need to be cooked to be broken down and taste sweet. So the eggs and brown sugar help to bind the sweet potatoes and turn the mixture into a custard-like consistency.

 

Do you have to put eggs in sweet potato pie?

 

What does Patti Labelle put in her sweet potato pie?

Did Pattie Labelle make sweet potato pie? 

Yes, and she is famous for them!

A Ms. Patti Labelle sweet potato recipe includes integral soul food seasonings: ground cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Her recipe is absent ground cloves, which is an elevated Carolina sweet potato pie recipe ingredient!

 

How do you make Paula Deen sweet potato pie?

Paula Deen’s recipe is a sweet potato pie from the South. Not a Southern soul food sweet potato pie.

Still delicious, it lacks Southern soul food sugar and spices: brown sugar, ground cloves, and nutmeg. 

 

Does this recipe make two pies or one?

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

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

 

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 tell your sweet potato pie is done?

 

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 Southern soul food sweet potato pie filling. It could compromise the unique Southern 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.

 

Why does your sweet potato pie fall apart?

Similar to other custard pies, sweet potato pie has a creamy texture. So it’s imperative to note how the pie is baked affects its final appearance. 

Can you overcook sweet potato pie?

If overbaked, the pie loses its satiny texture and becomes dense. Underbaking will prevent it from cutting well.

 

How do you know when the filling is cooked?

How can you tell your sweet potato pie is done?

A good indicator is seeing 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.

 

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 unbaked pie crust or pie dough.

 

What makes sweet potato pie a favorite pie recipe?

 

How do you keep your sweet potato pie crust from getting soggy?

Southern Living suggests this tip:

“Chill the pie shell until firm before placing it in the oven. Cold pastry going into a hot oven is key to a flaky crust.”

 

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 Southern sweet potato pie recipe. Doing this can cause your pie crust edges to burn.

However, while baking, you can cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent them from overcooking or burning.

 

Can you make sweet potato pie ahead of time?

Suppose you’re making sweet potato pie for a holiday. 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.

 

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:

While I’ve found evaporated milk to be the smoothest and the perfect flavor additive for this recipe, sweetened condensed milk can substitute. Likewise, heavy cream. 

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

 

Can you use canned sweet potatoes?

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

 

Would almond milk work with this recipe?

Yes, almond milk is another acceptable substitute that should not alter the taste too drastically.

 

Best Southern sweet potato pie recipe

 

Can this recipe be doubled without any problems?

Use the dynamic recipe card below to increase the ingredients for the amount you want to make.

 

Do you serve sweet potato pie hot or cold?

This Southern recipe can be served both ways. So it’s entirely up to your personal preference – hot, cold, or even room temperature!

The best time to serve sweet potato pie is after it has completely cooled down. Then you can add a layer or dollop of Southern hospitality homemade cream cheese spread! 

 

Does sweet potato pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes. After all, this recipe calls for eggs and milk. 

 

Can you reheat sweet potato pie?

This sweet potato pie recipe can be quickly rewarmed in the oven. Or by the slice in the microwave. 

Be careful not to overheat if you’ve added the layer of homemade sweet cream cheese!

 

Can you freeze homemade sweet potato pie?

You can freeze whole sweet potato pies or leftover pie by the slice for up to three months. First, wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. Or seal it in an airtight container.

 

How long is homemade sweet potato pie good for?

For up to five days, refrigerated and three months in the freezer, sealed airtight.

 

What makes sweet potato pie a favorite pie recipe?

The spices. It’s gotta be the spices!

And the Southern cream cheese topping is a favorite, too!

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. 

 

What did you think of this soul food Southern 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!

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!
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide

 

Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Similar to our original Black Folks' Sweet Potato Pie, this Southern sweet potato pie recipe is made with fresh sweet potatoes and soul food spices and seasonings. 
But for this recipe, it's the Southern charm added to the pie after it bakes...
A thin layer of homemade cream cheese frosting is spread on top to savor the sweet taste of Southern hospitality!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 42 minutes
Pressure Release: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 4 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: Instant Pot recipe, recipe for sweet potato pie, soul food sweet potato pie, southern food, Southern sweet potato pie, Southern sweet potato pie recipe, sweet potato pie, vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 390kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (optional)
  • Instant Pot Omni Plus oven (optional)
  • Stand or hand electric mixer

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Southern sweet potato pie filling

  • 1 ½ pound sweet potatoes washed and scrubbed (equals about 3 cups when softened and peeled)
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons 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

Ingredients for the Southern sweet potato pie frosting (homemade cream cheese topping)

  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
  • See my recipe HERE for almond flour homemade 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 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.
  • Pulse or mix with a hand or stand electric mixer until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
  • 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.
  • Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.

For the Southern sweet potato pie cream cheese topping:

Video

Notes

  • 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 12637IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 1mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
390
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
16
g
25
%
Saturated Fat
 
10
g
63
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Cholesterol
 
86
mg
29
%
Sodium
 
234
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
497
mg
14
%
Carbohydrates
 
54
g
18
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
39
g
43
%
Protein
 
7
g
14
%
Vitamin A
 
12637
IU
253
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
184
mg
18
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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