Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie

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No one makes a soul-food Southern Thanksgiving sweet potato pie like grandma. But you can come pretty close with this homemade Thanksgiving sweet potato pie recipe! 

Make this potato pie in advance and freeze it for a simple and easy Thanksgiving dessert. Then, if you want a decadent treat, serve it with ice cream or whipped cream on top. 

Or add a yummy layer of cream cheese frosting to enjoy this dessert as a  Southern sweet potato pie!

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie

What does sweet potato pie taste like?

I’ve only ever had Black folks’ soul food sweet potato pie, which tastes like warm family memories, good times, and a legacy of the best holiday traditions handed down from one 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 reminds you of childhood good times gone by. Either way – grab a slice before it’s all gone!

This old-fashioned Black folks’ Southern dessert may be single-handedly responsible for generations of nostalgic memories – especially in the Black community. 

What makes sweet potato pie a favorite recipe?

What is the most popular dessert pie? A soul food Thanksgiving sweet potato pie! 

It’s traditionally made with softened or mashed sweet potato, eggs, sugar, butter, and the best blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and other sweet spices. 

What is the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pies?

Pumpkin pies are made with pumpkin, traditionally sweetened with sugar, spiced with cinnamon, or a pumpkin pie spice.

A Thanksgiving sweet potato pie is made with sweet potatoes or yams and boasts a soulful upgrade with cinnamon-sugar, vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg flavors.

The main difference between sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie is the texture. Pumpkin pies are generally known for being pudding or custard-like.

Whereas sweet potato pies are usually smooth, like caramel in texture, with a sweeter and denser filling. 

Sweet potato pie is more of a standout recipe because of its consistently sweet and soulful flavor!

Thanksgiving 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 a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie made the Black folks’ soul food way!

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

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.

For Black peopleThanksgiving isn’t a proper holiday without a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie on the table!

The Best Soul Food Sweet Potato Recipes
A collection of soul food sweet potato recipes to get you inspired! From Black folks sweet potato pie, Southern soul food candied yams, & more
Check out this recipe!
The Best Soul Food Sweet Potato Recipes

What makes a sweet potato pie so iconically fall?

The spices. It’s gotta be the spices!

There are many other great autumn recipes for pies out there. But a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie recipe stands out from the rest!

You may also like this fall soul food autumn harvest pie recipe:

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

How to make Thanksgiving sweet potato pie

Use this step-by-step recipe to learn how to make Thanksgiving homemade sweet potato pie with the perfect sweet potato mixture and the right balance of seasoning and spices.

Kitchen equipment for Thanksgiving sweet potato pie

Shop my kitchenware!

Instant Pot Duo Nova  |  Instant Pot Omni Plus oven  | Instant Pot Ace Plus blender  |  Amazon electric mixer set  |  Courtly Check colander  |  The Pioneer Woman measuring bowls  |  Kate Aspen measuring spoons  |  Amazon mixing bowls  |  Amazon small rubber spatula  |  MacKenzie-Childs pie plate  |  Pottery Barn similar plate  |  Anthropologie dish towel  |  Courtly Check glass cutting board  |

Ingredients for Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe

  • 1 ½ pound 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
Can you make sweet potato pie ahead of time?

Instructions for Black folks’ 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 a 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 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.
  13. Pulse or mix until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
  14. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the unbaked 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. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. 
  18. Serve this Thanksgiving sweet potato pie recipe warm, and enjoy!
Should you roast or boil sweet potatoes for pie?

Pro tips for making Thanksgiving sweet potato pie

  • Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly! 
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Depending on how deep-dish your pie dish 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!
  • Let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day before slicing.
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What do you serve with Black folks sweet potato pie?

A simple answer would be whipped cream or ice cream, but that’s not the question. 

You want something that compliments it! 

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

Thanksgiving Yams
You probably recognize the turkey as the star of the Thanksgiving dinner. However, I'm bringing attention to the Thanksgiving yams, a buttery-rich brown sugar mix of sweet potatoes with soul food spices.
Is it even an authentic Thanksgiving meal without candied yams on the table?
Check out this recipe!
Thanksgiving Candied Yams

What do you serve with Black folks sweet potato pie?

Thanksgiving sweet potato pie FAQs

What spices can you use in sweet potato pie?

What are the ingredients in sweet potato pie?

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.

What spices can you use in sweet potato pie?
  • 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. The sweet aroma of cloves alone should definitely be included in any soul food Thanksgiving menu or Christmas dinner!

What leaks out of sweet potatoes?

People often as, “What is the white stuff that comes out when you cut a sweet potato?”

The milky white liquid you sometimes see when a sweet potato is cut is starch and sugar. It’s completely normal and OK to eat!

How do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

How do you prepare the sweet potatoes to be mashed?

Should you roast or boil sweet potatoes for pie? 

The easiest method for making mashed potato is to start with an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly to prepare them for mashing. 

Instant Pot Cooking Times
How to cook with Instant Pot is one of my favorite topics!
I wish everyone knew how easy Instant Pot cooking is for busy households – one-pot… straight to plate!
Print my helpful Instant Pot cooking times chart to always know how long to let meats, seafood, vegetables, eggs, rice, grains, and beans pressure cook inside the pot.
Check it out!
Instant Pot Cooking Times Guide by The Soul Food Pot

If you do not prepare the pie crust from scratch, can you use a frozen one?

Yes, you can use frozen prepared pie crust or store-bought pie dough.

How long should sweet potato pie cook?

  • Bake Thanksgiving sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F. 
  • In a conventional oven for 28-30 minutes, or until the pie is puffed and firm in the center. 
  • In the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 24-26 minutes, or until it’s puffed and firm in the center. 
  • Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.

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

How do you know when your sweet potato pie is done?

How do you know when your sweet potato pie is done?

So how do you know when the filling 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 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 soul food thanksgiving sweet potato pie filling. 

Doing this 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.

What makes sweet potato pie a favorite recipe?

Do you put eggs in sweet potato pie?

Yes, 2 large eggs are required for this recipe.

Can you make sweet potato pie ahead of time?

If you’re making a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie, it’s a good idea to make your dessert masterpiece ahead of time. (Assuming, of course, that you have the refrigerator space!)

You can make the pie filling and pour it into your pie crust a day later to bake.

Remember to wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge because this recipe calls for eggs.

 

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 another. 

Or you could make mini Thanksgiving sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling!

Thanksgiving sweet potato pie - Can you use canned sweet potatoes?

Can you use canned sweet potatoes?

Nothing beats fresh sweet potatoes for this incredible Thanksgiving sweet potato pie recipe. But you could use canned sweet potato in a pinch.

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

When it comes to soul food Thanksgiving desserts, you can bet that the menu starts with a classic Southern Black folks sweet potato pie.

But have you heard about the contemporary upgrade of this classic Southern treat? 

Purple sweet potato pie is what they call it – and it’s still made the Southern soul food way!

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

Are there any acceptable ingredient substitutes for a Thanksgiving sweet potato pie recipe?

While I’ve found unsweetened 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 can also work in a pinch.

Do you refrigerate sweet potato pie?

Yes. After all, this recipe calls for eggs.

How long can you leave sweet potato pie in the fridge?

Florida rap artist, Plies tried to tell us when he broke down the rules of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, LOL!

So Thanksgiving sweet potato pie should not remain in the fridge beyond 3-5 days.

 

Can you reheat sweet potato pie?

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. 

 

Can you freeze a sweet potato pie?

You can freeze whole sweet potato pies or leftover pie for up to three months. 

First, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, sealed tight in an airtight container.

Do you eat sweet potato pie hot or cold?

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

I don’t know of many people who prefer their sweet potato pie cold!

How would you rate Thanksgiving sweet potato pie?

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

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

No one makes a soul-food Southern Thanksgiving sweet potato pie like grandma. But you can come pretty close with this homemade recipe! 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 42 minutes
Pressure Release Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: Black folks sweet potato pie recipe, Instant Pot Thanksgiving, recipe for sweet potato pie, soul food sweet potato pie, soul food Thanksgiving, soul food Thanksgiving menu, Southern sweet potato pie, Southern sweet potato pie recipe, sweet potato pie, Thanksgiving menu, Thanksgiving sweet potato pie, vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Serve this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe warm and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly! 
  • 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.

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
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
268
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
54
mg
18
%
Sodium
 
198
mg
9
%
Potassium
 
488
mg
14
%
Carbohydrates
 
50
g
17
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
35
g
39
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
12243
IU
245
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
179
mg
18
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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