This gorgeous 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 optional pecans on top. It can be made in advance and comes together quickly if the puree is ready or you use canned.
Are you ready for the holiday season? I am super excited to post this amazing sweet potato pie recipe. Luscious and so incredibly easy to make!
This vintage recipe is a simple dessert (similar in line to the sweet potato pie with graham cracker crust) and perfect for those who want their favorites year after year and are unhappy if you dare complicate things too much.
Or simply because you want to try an alternative to pumpkin pie 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.
A cookie crust and a filling made with sweetened condensed milk. Both come together in less than 10 minutes, especially if you use canned puree or make it ahead.
Trust me when I tell you 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.
- 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 sweet potatoes because they have great flavor and color, but white sweet potatoes also work.
- Sweetened condensed milk. It's a must ingredient and can't be substituted. Use the regular type, such as Carnation condensed milk or Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, not unsweetened or evaporated milk.
- Eggs. Fresh, large.
- Brown sugar. Light or dark.
- 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 pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
- 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 well with the filling and add some crunch.
- Whipping cream. Optional for serving.
See the recipe card at the end of this post for quantities.
What is sweetened condensed milk?
It's cow's milk cooked with sugar and reduced until thick and shiny. The water content evaporates, and the mixture left is very sweet, smooth, and consistent with thick honey.
Is it the same as evaporated milk?
No, it's not.
Condensed milk differs 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 well or taste as it should.
The sweet potatoes
After complaining about the anemic color of sweet potatoes while making this 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 orange ones appeared. 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 the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Make sure the angles where the side meets the bottom are 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).
If using the food processor, ensure the mixture is not stuck to the bottom or sides of the bowl. Scrape it once or twice with a spatula.
Mix the sweet potato puree with the sugar, salt, and spices.
Add the condensed milk and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
Add the eggs with the vanilla, and process to integrate well but don't overdo it. We don't want to incorporate too much air.
Pour into the prepared crumb crust, being careful not to overflow it.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans (if using) and bake according to the instructions.
Vintage Kitchen tip: I use the food processor to make the filling, but an electric mixer, a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand whisk (with a little arm muscle to make a smooth batter) also work.
Baking this pie
- Pecans: they are optional. But they add crunch and look pretty.
- When is the pie done? I recommend baking it until the center of the pie almost stops jiggling. Almost. The texture will be creamy after the pie cools down and is chilled.
- Refrigerating it. A day in the fridge settles the flavors and firms up the filling.
- Make ahead: you can have the cookie crust and the sweet potato puree made in advance, up to 3 days kept in the refrigerator.
When is the pie done?
It should be *almost* completely firm. The center should have a slight jiggle, similar to the rest of the pie except the edges.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. 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(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. Or make a 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 freshly ground nutmeg.
- Topping: I haven't tried it, but if you aren't a fan of nuts, you may try a streusel topping.
- Serving this pie: sweetened whipped cream is the traditional way. If we are going true vintage, some people insist on a tub of cool whip topping for their holiday pie.
- Pumpkin pie: use pumpkin purée! 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:
Instead of the warm spices below, you can use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix.
- 1 ½ cups (about 13 oz raw) sweet potato puree (or yam puree)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ 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 back of a spoon, a measuring cup and 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 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: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look 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 (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.
Topping: I haven't tried it myself, but if you aren't a fan of nuts, you may try a streusel topping.
Serving: whipped cream would be a great option (see my tip to add cream cheese to the cold cream if it holds better), and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some people even insist on a tub of Cool Whip for their holiday pie if we are going true vintage.
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
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Protein: 7.9 g
- Cholesterol: 124.7 mg
Keywords: sweet potato pie