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.

last updated August 17, 2023