Gingersnap Sweet Potato Praline Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 35 min. Bake: 30 min. + chilling
Sweet potato pecan pie pairs two southern classics in one delicious layered dessert.

Updated: Dec. 11, 2023

With our sweet potato pecan pie, you’ll never again have to choose between sweet potato pie and pecan pie.

The fusion of sweet potato and pecan pies is a natural one. Each pie hails from the American South, and the ingredients complement each other with their earthy sweetness. Further, when we combine the two pies into one, we address some common pie issues. The custardy layer in a typical sweet potato pie tends to crack, so covering it with sugared pecans ensures a beautiful top with every bake. And on its own, pecan pie typically needs corn syrup to set up properly. Here, the dense sweet potato layer resolves that problem.

This recipe is basically a sweet potato praline pie, so get ready for a spiced, creamy filling with a crisped, caramelized nut topping. Autumnal bliss!

Best Sweet Potatoes for Pie

In stores in the United States, the terms “yams” and “sweet potatoes” almost always refer to varieties of the same plant, although a true yam is a tropical crop rarely available in the U.S. In the 1930s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to be sold as “yams,” and the label stuck.

You can use any sweet potatoes for pie, but the orange-fleshed varieties are likely more traditional and will give you a moist filling. Among the orange-fleshed options, the dark-skinned Beauregard, copper-skinned Jewel and red-skinned Garnet varieties all work well.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

  • Gingersnap cookies: A cookie crust can be less fussy than rolling and fluting pie dough, and the crispy base counterbalances the nut layer on top.
  • Sweet potatoes: You can use any type of sweet potato in this (and many other sweet potato desserts), but orange-fleshed varieties, often sold as “yams” in the U.S., tend to be the sweetest and juiciest.
  • Pecan halves: Halved pecans can be arranged more easily than whole ones or pieces for an attractive presentation.

Directions

Step 1: Shape and prebake the crust

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, mix the crushed cookies into the melted butter until they are completely coated. Transfer the mixture to the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Using your fingertips, lightly press the crumbs into the dish’s bottom and up its sides in an even layer.

Transfer the pie plate to the preheated oven, and bake the crust until it’s set, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.

Step 2: Mix the filling

Increase the oven setting to 375°. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and 1 cup of the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sweet potatoes, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, beating them in until blended. Beat in the egg yolks, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

Step 3: Add the pecan layer

Arrange the pecans evenly over the filling. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar.

Step 4: Bake the pie

Bake the filled pie for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the edge loosely with an aluminum foil pie shield during the final 20 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning.

Step 5: Chill the pie

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Transfer the baked pie to a wire rack, and remove the foil shield if used. Let the pie cool completely on wire rack. Cover the pie loosely, and refrigerate it for at least two hours before serving.

Step 6: Mix the topping

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In a bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add the maple syrup, continuing to beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Serve the whipped topping with the pie.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Variations

  • Get toasty and roasty: Boost the pie’s flavor by roasting and mashing the sweet potato and toasting the nuts. You can even finely chop some extra pecans and swap them for part of the cookies in the crust; they’ll toast as the pie bakes.
  • Make a pumpkin pie-spiced filling: Instead of measuring out individual spices, use 2 teaspoons of a pumpkin pie blend. It has a few extra spices in it to give more flavor notes.
  • Infuse the filling with bourbon: A couple tablespoons of bourbon can alter the flavor profile. Avoid going overboard—you don’t want a soggy pie. We recommend dropping 1/4 cup of the filling’s brown sugar to ensure the extra liquid is fully absorbed. You can also replace some of the maple syrup in the whipped cream.

Can you freeze sweet potato pecan pie?

This sweet potato praline pie can be frozen, but the filling texture may change, and the crust and top may lose some of their crunch. First, let the pie cool completely, then wrap it tightly before freezing. Layers of plastic wrap, foil and a freezer-safe resealable bag or airtight container will help keep frost crystals at bay for a few weeks. To defrost, remove all but the inner layer, and refrigerate overnight.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tips

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How should you cook sweet potatoes for sweet potato pecan pie?

Sweet potatoes can be boiled for pie, but steaming, baking or roasting the potatoes until softened works even better. These techniques draw out some of the potatoes’ natural water, making it easier to create a dense, creamy filling.

Although it’s tempting to use leftover mashed sweet potatoes, any sweet potato recipe that you served at the dinner table probably contains added ingredients that would alter the texture and flavor of the pie filling. A better shortcut is to bake extra sweet potatoes just for the pie alongside the ones you plan to eat straight away.

Can you use a regular pie crust to make this sweet potato pecan pie recipe?

You can use a regular pie crust for this pie. Simply make enough dough for a single-layer pie crust. Then, to prevent the custard filling from soaking into the crust, blind bake the pastry. It’s the same technique recommended for a cookie crust, with pie weights to prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes.

Should you refrigerate sweet potato pecan pie?

Yes, since this contains eggs, sweet potato pecan pie should be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to cool the pie completely before covering and refrigerating it. Sweet potato pecan pie will keep well in the fridge for three or four days.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Prep Time 35 min
Cook Time 30 min
Yield 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • FILLING:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups pecan halves
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, mix crushed cookies and melted butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Increase oven setting to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in sweet potatoes, spices and salt until blended. Beat in egg yolks, milk and vanilla. Pour into crust.
  3. Arrange pecans over filling; sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover edge loosely with foil during the last 20 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove foil. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add maple syrup; beat until stiff peaks form. Serve with pie.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece with 1/4 cup whipped cream: 659 calories, 39g fat (17g saturated fat), 140mg cholesterol, 353mg sodium, 74g carbohydrate (49g sugars, 4g fiber), 7g protein.

This luscious mix of sweet potatoes, spices and nuts is like serving pecan pie and sweet potato pie together. Bake it and watch everyone devour it. —Emily Hobbs, Ozark, Missouri