Sweet Potato Casserole with canned yams is a warm, comforting, and delicious Holiday Casserole. This decadent recipe consists of tender sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon, topped with marshmallows and, if desired, a sprinkle of chopped pecans.
The result is a delicious dish that will leave your taste buds craving more. This sweet side dish is perfect for your Holiday table.
Easy Sweet Potato Casserole made with Canned Yams
No holiday is complete without one of our favorite side dishes! This sweet potato casserole has been on our family’s Thanksgiving and holiday menu for years and years. Our Granny always made this sweet potato casserole, then my mother made it, and now, of course, I make it every year!
The casserole boasts an incredible combination of soft, sweet, buttery yams and a melty on the bottom but crisp on the top marshmallow topping, providing an extra dose of sweetness and a delightful texture contrast.
I do love my holiday sweets, so for me, it is a toss-up between this dish and the black cherry jello salad on which holiday side is my favorite.
In this recipe, we always use canned yams instead of fresh sweet potatoes. Using canned sweet potatoes saves much-needed time and effort, as there is no need to peel or boil the sweet potatoes. (They are called canned yams but are actually sweet potatoes.)
Ingredients in Sweet Potato Casserole
(Ingredients at a glance; you can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Canned yams | We always buy Bruce’s canned yams, but any brand works. Make sure the canned yams you buy are are orange, not white.
- Butter | Unsalted. Salted is fine, too, just leave out the additional salt.
- Brown sugar |
- Cinnamon |
- Salt |
- Mini marshmallows | Make sure they are fresh!
- Optional pecans | I love adding pecan pieces to my sweet potatoes for a bit of crunch.
How to make sweet potato Casserole with Canned yams
1 Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2 Combine the ingredients and heat on the stove. In a medium saucepan, add the drained can of yams, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a large fork or potato masher to mash the yams and stir all the ingredients together over medium heat, until thoroughly combined and the yams are heated through.
3 Bake: Transfer the yams to an 8 by 8 (or slightly smaller) baking dish. Top the yams with enough marshmallows to fully cover the dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are toasted and golden brown.
4 Cool and Serve: Allow the sweet potatoes to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- Make sure to thoroughly drain the can of sweet potatoes; too much liquid can lead to a watery casserole.
- This sweet potato casserole is usually one of the very last dishes I pull from the oven before we sit down to dinner. That way, the top of the marshmallow topping stays crisp when served. That being said, the dish needs about 10 minutes to cool to allow the sweet potatoes to firm up.
- Make sure to keep a close eye on the marshmallows toward the end of the cooking time. They go from almost golden brown to burnt very quickly.
- Mix in chopped pecans for added crunch and nutty flavor.
- Replace mini marshmallows with a brown sugar crumble (see instructions under the FAQ section.)
- Add a splash of vanilla extract.
- Add a touch of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice for a unique twist.
- Add pineapple rings to the bottom of the baking dish, then top the pineapple with the sweet potato mixture and the marshmallows.
To store leftover sweet potato casserole, cover the dish with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. Reheat in a microwave or oven before serving.
Can I use fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned yams?
Yes, just be sure to bake, microwave, or boil them until they’re soft and tender. Then, proceed with the recipe. (I would just microwave them.)
Do I drain the syrup from the Canned yams?
Yes, drain the syrup from the can before adding them to the saucepan.
Should I Rinse Canned Sweet potatoes?
There is no need to rinse, just drain them well.
What can I substitute for brown sugar?
You can use honey, maple syrup, or even white sugar as an alternative to brown sugar. I have also used sugar substitutes with excellent results. (Splenda makes a half brown sugar/half sugar substitute, and the Surkin Brown Sugar substitute is good too.)
Can this recipe be doubled?
Yes, I always double the recipe, and it is still the first leftover to disappear. When I double it, I usually use a 2-quart Corningware dish. If you want a higher marshmallow to sweet potato ratio, you could use a larger dish. I used a small baking dish similar to this 7-inch baking dish for today’s version.
How would I make a brown sugar crumble topping?
In a bowl, combine 5 tablespoons of salted melted butter, 2/3 cup brown sugar, and 2/3 cup of flour. Use a fork or your fingers until the mixture becomes small crumbles. Sprinkle crumbles over the sweet potato mixture. If you like pecans, mixing about 1/2 cup of chopped pecan into the brown sugar crumble topping would be amazing.
How can I make the casserole ahead of time?
Prepare the yam mixture and refrigerate it in the casserole dish. For faster heating, you can pull the casserole from the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal, allowing it to come to room temperature for more rapid heating. Bake for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven, then add the marshmallows and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden brown.
Can this recipe be made in the slow Cooker
I think it definitely could; you would just be missing out on the crunchiness that toasting the marshmallows in the oven provides.
Can the sweet potato casserole be frozen?
Yes, to freeze leftovers, cover the casserole tightly and store it in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Holiday Recipes to Try
- Black Cherry Jello Salad
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad (this one is low carb)
- Cranberry Jello Salad
- Classic Cornbread Dressing
- Old Fashioned Chess Pie
- Homemade Chocolate Cream Pie
Did You Make This sweet Potato Casserole Recipe?
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A southern holiday staple, Sweet Potato Casserole is made with canned yams combined with butter, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon, topped with marshmallows.
- 1 40 oz can of yams, drained- We always buy the Bruces canned yams
- 1/3 cup Butter
- 1/3 cup Brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 1 to 2 cups mini marshmallows
- optional 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium saucepan, add the drained can of yams, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Begin mashing the yams and stirring all the ingredients together, over medium heat, until thoroughly combined and the yams are heated through.
- Transfer the yams to an 8 by 8 (or slightly smaller) baking dish.
- Top the yams with enough marshmallows to fully cover the dish
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the marshmallows are toasted and golden brown.
- Serving Size: 1/5 of recipe
- Calories: 401
- Fat: 12
- Carbohydrates: 72
- Protein: 2
Keywords: sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole with canned yams, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows,
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.