The Best Sweet Potato Pie

No bourbon, crème fraîche, or any of the fancy add-ins here- just a solidly excellent, down-home sweet potato pie recipe. What makes this no-frills recipe unique is the finely-chopped pecans that are mixed into the crust and the fact that the sweet potatoes are mashed by hand resulting in a filling that has more body. Adapted from a recipe by Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans.

For Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup cold butter (the original recipe calls for all vegetable shortening- for a finer texture, use half lard/shortening and half butter)
  • 1/4 cups ice-cold water, or as needed

Make Crust:

In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the butter into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the feed chute as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl. Form the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap it in plastic; chill for one hour. The dough can be made in advance. It can be kept refrigerated for several days and even frozen.

Blind Bake the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs total), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Pecan halves for decoration

Make the Filling:
Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with no absolutely no resistance at the center when pieced with a fork.

Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato ricer or food processor.

As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.

Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the pre-baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more ground cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.

Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.