streusel-topped sweet potato casserole
Right there, between the crunchy, nutty streusel topping and the smooth, buttery, warm sweet potatoes? Where I want to be alldayeveryday.
Say hellloooo, dahling to another one of my family’s Thanksgiving side dishes that we just can’t get enough of every year. Unlike Mom’s baked bean casserole, this one wasn’t a part of our annual repertoire until a little later in my youth, and that’s because it’s based on a recipe from my dear aunt Lynn. We had Thanksgiving at her and my uncle’s house in Alabama once way back in the day (I think I was still in my scrunchies/crimped bangs/Lee Pipes/clogs phase) and, true story, she made this casserole and we all were done for, in a slump-over-our-chairs-in-bliss-from-all-the-yums kind of way.
It was love at first bite, and we couldn’t go without it for subsequent Thanksgivings. It’s been on our holiday table every year since then — a beacon of bright-orange, buttery, sweet and streusel-y deliciousness, cuddled up right next to the rolls and the green beans.
You probably have had sweet potato casserole before — in fact, you might even have your own go-to recipe for it (with ‘mallows on top, I presume?) that you swear by for Thanksgiving. But oh, friends, let me try to convince you to give this one a go. First, there’s butter. Almost two sticks of it like YOLO/it’s Thanksgiving so for the love, just enjoy all the eating this one day. Some of that butter gets all melted and mixed with sweet potatoes that are mashed to oblivion (I’d even suggest using an immersion blender to get them the smoothest of the smooths) along with eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. You spread that goodness into a casserole dish, then top it with a simple streusel of nuts, flour, brown sugar and more butter. Sprinkle that magic over the top, then bake it until it’s golden brown and bubbling. Bonus? You can eat it immediately. (HOLLA HANDS EMOJI)
BUT WAIT. Before you do, let me tell you about my favorite part (well, apart from eating it): The crack. (Oh pssh, don’t be so immature.)
The crack is that moment when you take the serving spoon and dig into the casserole for the first time. The streusel topping has baked into a crunchy dome that seals in the deliciousness of the smooth sweet potatoes underneath, so when you press that spoon into the topping, it kind of cracks, releasing the sweet aroma of the casserole inside. I. Love. It.
Like its pal the baked bean casserole, this casserole tastes even better the next day — this year, I’m thinking the leftovers need to be mixed with oatmeal and called breakfast. And it’s open to variation, too — you can use walnuts or pecans or a mixture of both on top for the streusel, and I alllllmost browned the butter that gets mixed in with the sweet potatoes because ZOMG (but I didn’t because I forgot, wah wahhh). And yes, yes you can add some mini marshmallows to the top if that’s your thing. But I’m telling you, even without all of these variations/additions, this casserole is outstanding. And we in our stretchy pants can all give my sweet aunt Lynn in the South a big thank you and virtual bear hug for it.
For the casserole:
- 3 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten
For the streusel topping:
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, stir together mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and eggs until well combined. Pour and spread evenly into a casserole dish.
- In a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or your fingers, combine pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter until mixture forms a coarse crumb. Sprinkle streusel evenly over top of casserole.
- Bake 40 minutes until casserole is baked through and streusel topping is golden brown and bubbling.