Gorgeous and very easy to make, this sweet potato pie is a fall favorite around here. The easiest gingersnap crust is paired with a sweet potato filling that bakes to a golden brown and includes condensed milk and pecans. It can be made in advance and comes together quickly if you have the puree ready.
Are you ready for the holiday season? I am super excited to post this amazing sweet potato pie recipe. So luscious and so incredibly easy to make!
First of all, I’m having a newfound interest in traditional, old school recipes. This vintage recipe is a simple pie, perfect to serve to those who want to have their favorites year after year, and are close to slashing your hand if you dare complicate things too much.
Or simply because you want to try a new great recipe because you’re bored up to your eyeballs with the same mixing and baking. Also, I'm in love with the color of this pie and it has condensed milk, which is always a plus in my book.
A cookie crust, a filling made with condensed milk that comes together in less than 10 minutes, especially if you use canned puree. Trust me when I tell you that you can add this recipe as a last-minute option to your holiday table.
It is easy as pie. And good as a great pie.
They are simple and easily available, and, if you usually bake during the holidays, might already have all of them at home.
- Gingersnap cookies. Any store-bought brand that you like works. Or use a homemade graham cracker crust.
- Sweet potatoes. Choose whatever type you like, or yams. I like orange ones because they have great flavor and color, but the yellow ones also work.
- Condensed milk. Good old can of sweetness (NOT evaporated milk), any brand works.
- Eggs. Fresh, large.
- Brown sugar. Use light or dark, both work.
- Spices. I like a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, but you can also use a pumpkin pie spice mix, homemade or purchased.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or paste. But a good brand of vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works. It's a small amount.
- Unsalted butter.
- Salt. I use kosher salt for my baking. A little enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
- Pecans. Use natural ones, not previously toasted or roasted. They are optional but go really well with the filling and add some crunch.
The sweet potatoes
After complaining about the anemic color of fresh sweet potatoes while making the sweet potato swirl bread, I finally found my beloved orange sweet potatoes.
Or yams if you call them that way. I was used to those light yellow sweet potatoes for the longest time until these beautiful colored ones appeared (image above). They make this pie more festive and the flavor is outstanding.
How to bake sweet potatoes or yams
- Wash and dry them.
- Bake, unpeeled, at 350°F /180°C for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the skin and the pulp.
- Scoop up the pulp and keep refrigerated in an airtight container if not using immediately. It lasts for 3 days.
How to make the gingersnap crust
Cookie crusts are the easiest part of this pie. I'm using gingersnaps, but you can also use a graham cracker crust.
With only two ingredients, cookie crumbs and melted butter, they can be baked for a few minutes to set or simply refrigerated if you don't want to turn on the oven, especially handy when you make no-bake desserts that need a crust, like cheesecakes.
- Mix ground cookies and butter.
- Pat onto bottom and sides of the pie pan. Make sure the angles where the side meets the bottom is firm.
- Bake for 10 minutes or refrigerate before filling.
The sweet potato pie filling is luscious and creamy and comes together in less than 10 minutes if you have the puree ready (which can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept refrigerated).
I use the food processor to make the filling, but you can also use a hand-held electric mixer, a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand whisk )which involves a little arm muscle to make a smooth batter).
The ingredients are processed until smooth. Make sure they are not stuck to the bottom or sides of the bowl.
Besides that, it takes 3 minutes to have a smooth and perfect sweet potato mixture. Pour it into the prepared pie crust and it's ready for the oven!
Baking this pie
- Pecans: they are optional really. But they add crunch and look pretty. You can also use walnuts.
- When is the pie done? My recommendation is to bake it until the center of the pie almost stops jiggling. Almost. That way the texture of the pie will still be creamy. Just keep an eye on it as it cooks because all ovens have temperature variations that can change the final baking time.
- Refrigerating it. A day in the fridge settles the flavors and firms up the filling.
- Make ahead: you can have the the cookie crust and the sweet potato puree made in advance, up to 3 days kept in the refrigerator.
What is condensed milk?
It's cow's milk that has been cooked with sugar and reduced until thick and shiny. The water content evaporates and the mixture left is very sweet, smooth, and similar to thick honey in its consistency.
Is it the same as evaporated milk?
Condensed milk is different from evaporated milk, which is thicker than regular milk but doesn't have added sugar. Be sure you are using the correct product or your filling will not bake correctly or taste the same.
My top tips
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Crust: use a traditional flaky pie crust recipe, or buttery pie crust if not interested in the gingersnap crust. You can also make a cookie crust from vanilla wafers, use my graham cracker crust recipe, or pick up a pie shell at the store - I won't tell!
- Spices: whatever mix of spices you like is fine. It's a personal taste so go ahead and use whatever suits you. I like to use a whole nutmeg.
- Topping: I haven't tried it myself, but if you aren't a fan of nuts you may give a streusel topping a try.
- Serving: Whipped cream would be a great option (see my tip to add cream cheese to the cold cream si it holds better), as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If we are going true vintage, some people even insist on a tub of cool whip for their holiday pie.
- Pumpkin pie: use pumpkin puree! Simply substitute one veggie for the other and that's it. Pumpkin pie ready in no time.
Let me know in the comments below if you made this recipe and loved it and if you had issues so we can troubleshoot together. I love to hear what you think, always. Thanks for being here. It's much appreciated.
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For the gingersnap crust:
- 2 cups (200g) ground gingersnaps or use a graham cracker crust
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1 ½ cups (about 13 oz raw) sweet potato puree (or yam puree)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Grated fresh nutmeg (about 10 gratings)
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup condensed milk (less than a can)
- 3 tablespoons (45g) butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecans, coarsely broken (optional)
For the gingersnap crumb crust:
- Preheat oven to 325ºF /160ºC
- In a food processor, ground cookies. Don’t wash the food processor.
- Add melted butter and pulse until it’s like wet sand.
- Dump it onto a glass 9-inch (24cm) pie dish. With the aid of a spoon or your hands, evenly pat the crumbs onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Try to make it as even as possible and make sure it’s firmly pressed.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Reserve on a wire rack while you make the filling.
- Leave the oven on.
For the filling:
- Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork 5 or 6 times each.
- Cook in the microwave oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or in an electric oven for about 45 minutes, or until very soft when pierced with a fork.
- Let cool until you can handle them, cut in half, and scoop out the pulp. Let it cool down until it's at room temperature.
- In the same processor you used for the crust, put the sweet potatoes, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, sugar, and pulse until it’s well mixed. Don’t worry if the potatoes aren’t very smooth.
- Add the eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, and mix until smooth.
- Add butter and pulse until it’s an even batter. It will be quite liquid.
- Pour the filling carefully into the baked crust, sprinkle the pecans on top, and return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until the center is set.
- Let cool on a cooling rack to room temperature and serve.
Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Crust: use a traditional flaky pie crust recipe, or buttery pie crust if not interested in the gingersnap crust. You can also make a cookie crust from vanilla wafers, use my graham cracker crust recipe, or pick up a pie shell at the store - I won't tell!
Spices: whatever mix of spices you like is fine. It's a personal taste so go ahead and use whatever suits you. I like to use a whole nutmeg.
Topping: I haven't tried it myself, but if you aren't a fan of nuts you may give a streusel topping a try.
Serving: Whipped cream would be a great option (see my tip to add cream cheese to the cold cream si it holds better), as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If we are going true vintage, some people even insist on a tub of cool whip for their holiday pie.
Pumpkin pie: use pumpkin puree! Simply substitute one veggie for the other and that's it. Pumpkin pie ready in no time.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling + refrigeration time: 120 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Pies & Tarts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 469
- Sugar: 31.3 g
- Sodium: 279.2 mg
- Fat: 27.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 49.8 g
- Protein: 7.9 g
- Cholesterol: 124.7 mg
Keywords: sweet potato pie