While classic Southern sweet potato pie is often overlooked in favor of its more renowned Thanksgiving cousin (that’s you, pumpkin pie), autumnal flavor fanatics know that canned pumpkin purée can’t hold a candle to fresh sweet potatoes that you’ve transformed into a velvety mash in the comfort of your own kitchen.
In this easy recipe, the sweet potatoes are peeled, chopped, and simmered to cut down on prep time. (Whole boiled or baked sweet potatoes would increase the total cook time by quite a lot.) A piece of smashed ginger sneaks into the pot to impart its piquant, spicy-sweet flavor as it softens, and joins the warming spice trifecta of ground cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg in the food processor to make the custard pie filling.
You could opt for a store-bought pie crust here, but we believe that for the best sweet potato pie, you owe it to yourself to make it from scratch using our never-fail Actually Perfect Pie Crust recipe (included here). The buttery, flaky, homemade pie shell will become your go-to for pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, deep-dish apple pie, and frankly any other pie you choose to make this holiday season (and beyond). Note that we highly recommend using a metal pie plate, which conducts heat better than glass or ceramic.
One shortcut we do endorse: a jar of marshmallow creme, which lends body, sweetness, and a certain oomph to the whipped cream topping, and pays homage to the beloved Thanksgiving combo of mashed sweet potatoes and marshmallows.
If you’re trying to get ahead on Thanksgiving prep, you can make this sweet potato pie without the topping up to three months in advance and freeze it. Surround the entire cooled pie in three layers of plastic wrap and cover with an outer layer of aluminum foil. Place the frozen pie in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.