As many of you have figured out, I’ve got a megawatt crush on Southern food. It comes out with a vengeance all summer when I want nothing more than to dry-rub ribs, make corn bread and buttermilk dressing salads, dive headfirst into tomato pie and douse pretty much everything in bourbon then usually goes into a soft hibernation over the winter save a fried chicken or chicken and dumplings run-in or two.
Given this infatuation, it seems only right and proper that I’d get in a recipe for sweet potato pie at a time of year when sweet potatoes are exactly everywhere. But while I do love me some sweet potato pie, there’s a heaviness about it that is exactly what some people like about it but leaves me feeling kind of lukewarm. So you can imagine when I spied this fluffier, tangier and [here’s the part I think you’re really going to remember] almost cheesecake-like version of it a cookbook written by and I’d like to believe for Manhattanites with a thing for Southern home cooking, I bookmarked it instantaneously and then sat on my hands/tapped my feet impatiently until sweet potato season came around.
[Can you tell I went a little overboard with the sweet potatoes at the market? I have so many, I’m even tepidly considering cooking, pureeing and freezing some for that seemingly far-off time a few months from now sobpleasestopgrowingsofast when this fist-eater theoretically moves on to more nutritional solids.]
This recipe is a total win, especially if you were looking for a brighter, lighter alternative to a traditional sweet potato pie. Just be sure to warn folks because it may look like tradition but it tastes like “surprise!” and you know, not everyone likes to be surprised when they cut into their Thanksgiving dessert. Which, frankly, just means more for you.
Extra buttermilk to use up? I’ve got more buttermilk uses than you might know what to do with. Ice cream, anyone?
One year ago: Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Meyer Lemon and Fresh Cranberry Scones, Winter Fruit Salad and Mushroom and Barley Pie
Two years ago: Creamy White Polenta with Mushrooms, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies an Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts in Brown Butter
Three years ago: No-Knead Bread, Tomato and Sausage Risotto, Sundried Tomato-Stuffed Mushrooms and Jacked-Up Banana Bread
Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
Adapted only slightly from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
Whipped egg whites give this pie a frothy texture, buttermilk gives it a tangy flavor and together you end up with a sweet potato pie that’s less leaden and more cheesecake-like than the tradition. Yes, I know you read that whole sentence and only registered the word “cheesecake”!
Oh, and Alex and I don’t see eye to eye on the lemon juice in this recipe. I find the lemon distracting, and slightly clash-y with the cinnamon and warm spices in this pie, and possibly overpowering the sweet potato flavor. Alex likes the extra tanginesss. I’m going to leave it up to you depending on where you want your pie to be on the acidic scale. I believe the buttermilk alone will give you some brightness but the lemon will take it a step further.
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup full- or lowfat buttermilk (or, you can make your own)
1 All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Crust (a half recipe will yield a single crust), prebaked (instructions below)
Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Pour 1 1/2 inches of water into a 3-quart stock part with a strainer basket suspended over it and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Place the steamed sweet potatoes in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Mash them into a smooth puree with a fork or potato masher (though I suspect that a potato ricer would also do a great job). You should have 1 1/4 cups puree; discard any excess (by topping with a pat of butter, sprinkling with salt and making yourself a most-excellent snack). Add the butter, lemon juice if using, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a whisk, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until they’re a creamy lemon-yellow color, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated and the filling is a consistent bright orange color. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add the buttermilk and again stir until smooth and even.
With a cleaned whisk (or electric hand mixer), whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, dry bowl. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the prebaked crust and bake on the middle rack of the oven until the center is firm and set, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature (or cold from the fridge; you can cover it with plastic wrap before chilling) with a dollop of whipped cream.
To pre-bake your pie crust, choose a method: “Proper” method — Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and carefully scatter pie weights, dried beans or pennies over it. Bake on the middle rick of your oven at 325°F for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes more.
Deb’s “Cheater” method — Freeze your rolled-out pie shell for 20 to 30 minutes until solid. Press a piece of buttered foil, buttered side down, very frozen shell and blind bake it at 325°F for 20 minutes, then carefully pull back the foil, press any part of the crust that has bubbled up gently back with the back of a spoon, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes more.
286 comments on sweet potato buttermilk pie
Oh my – a little piece of heaven right there and just in time for the holidays!
Ive never made sweet potato pie! I’d love to try for the Holidays!
This is definitely going on my Must Make list. Here in North Carolina, sweet potatoes are in season year-round so I am always looking for new ways to eat them!
I was just thinking this morning that I would like to make sweet potato pie for thanksgiving, your recipe is right on time! But, I bet you knew that ;)
Finally a sweet potato pie that isn’t like pumpkin pie. And he just gets cuter everyday.
OK, am I the only one who’s disappointed when there aren’t baby pictures after the jump?? :)
Can’t wait to try this! My husband loves sweet potato pie, but I’m with you in that they’re always so heavy and lacking something. I can’t wait to try this one. Thanks, as always, for your great inspirations
i might just have to make this, but only because it could potentially seem like cheesecake.
People, there are ALWAYS baby pictures. Sometimes embedded, sometimes linked to an off-site page. :)
I have just become aware of your blog, and this is such an enticing recipe. I’m a big fan of the sweet potato pie and I can not wait to try this recipe! Such pretty pictures, beautiful blog!
Oh I LOVE the idea of the whipped egg whites lightening the whole thing up. Plus, anything with buttermilk really makes me happy.
I’ll admit I’ve never had sweet potato pie. This tuber never made it into my childhood. Now, when I go to dinner and someone has sweet potatoes, they’re actually yams. Can you use either in this recipe? Thanks for the inspiration, as always.
Carol — Excellent question, especially as I mix them up all of the time. [Love this.] I bet either would work.
I love, love, LOVE sweet potato pie! I’ve always thought it the superior pie in the pumpkin v sweet potato war. But it could be because I’m from Maryland, a state some consider southern, and I definitely have a whole lot of family from locales a LOT futher south!
Too bad I’m not doing thanksgiving at home this year, because this would be on my table. But maybe I’ll have some friends overy to sample after the family holiday!
I made this a week and a half ago — saw it on another blog. I loved the lemon juice (I actually used half lemon/half lime) and the texture. Perfect for CSA or Farmers Market sweet potatoes.
I always preferred sweet potato pie over pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I guess I am pretty much nuts over ANYTHING with sweet potatoes in it though… My family actually rarely made the typical pumpkin pie. It was always some other type of squash, like a kershaw squash pie, or something similar. I have been trying to convince myself that the canned pumpkin might not be such an evil thing that I imagine it as, but I have not yet been successful in that re-imaging. So far, I have always just stuck with boiling/baking the real thing when using pumpkin puree. Anyway, looks delicious as always Deb!
@Jenni, if you’re looking for a cheesecake, I posted one today that might make you drool! :)
Yay for Southern food! Born and raised in the South so I know of what you speak.
Thanks for this recipe. I’ll have to try it out on my Thanksgiving crowd.
This southern girl does love sweet potato pie. Yours looks so good. I will have to try with the buttermilk. Photos are beautiful as usual. Do you have a blog on your photography?
This looks wonderful. Do you know of the blog Vic’s Recipes, (she also writes Cooking Zuni)? She recently posted a wonderful southern fried chicken recipe and this week, a genuine southern cornbread. I joked that I almost have enough information for a complete meal, (I think beans are in order). And now here is a genuine, true-blue southern desert. Oooo la, la. Looks like it’s time for some home-cookin’ !
Thank you, Michaela
Could it be that I have all of these ingredients waiting for me at home!?! I have been trying to figure out what to do w/ just two sweet potatoes and some leftover buttermilk. I can’t wait to try this one!
I love sweet potato pie! I’ve tried this version, and ended up returning to my original, but using buttermilk instead of milk. I love the tanginess of it! Also, we found that we enjoyed the Lee Bros. pie better when it was chilled, for some reason. Enjoy!
Thank you for this. My big opposition to sweet potato pie in the past was how pasty and dense it usually bakes up. I fell in love with your Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie because the marriage of pumpkin and sweet potatoes was the answer to deepening the flavor of the pumpkin while the cream lightened up the texture of both of these vegetables for pie. I’m also crazy about the combination of maple syrup and bourbon with pumpkin or sweet potatoes from that recipe. Do you think bourban a decent replacement for the lemon juice in thid recipe, considering the tangy buttermilk in it?
Reminds me of a sweet potato pudding a friend shared with me a few years ago. It also had prunes added. So delicious. I’d love to make this but the sweet potatoes we get here are a shade of dull beige – won’t look as stunning as yours.
Last year I made your Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie for Thanksgiving. This year, I’ll give this one a try! Can’t wait!
PS- Your little boy is sooooo freakin’ adorable! Thanks for sharing him with us!
I found the little guy’s pic embedded in the site :) ADORABLE! I might have to try this with some bourbon whipped cream!
YES. YES. YES. Great find!
There’s not many ways to expand upon the genius that is buttermilk pie, but dang girl, I think you’ve found one. And of course it’s from the Lee Brothers. I flippin’ love those boys.
I fancy myself a mother to only daughters (I’m 1 for 1 now) and I am terrified of giving birth to boys, but if I could get a guarantee that they would turn out like the Lee Brothers I might reconsider.
This will be dessert on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks, Deb!
In the second paragraph of the instructions,do you mean a vanilla bean added with sugar? I did not see vanilla in the list of ingredients. Your baby is so darn cute! I love his pictures and I love your recipes.
Patty — Whoops, no. That is “beat”, not “bean”. Fixed now, thanks.
Lemon juice. Huh. I like it.
This sounds so decadent! I’ve never made a sweet potato pie, and I’m happy to have this tried and true version, that sounds to die for!
With recipes like this I’m tempted to off to come be a live in babysitter and get paid in sweet potato pie, snickerdoodles, and your other various yummies. Mmmmmm
i’ve been going a bit overboard with sweet potatoes at the market, too…it’s hard not to right now! this pie sounds delicious…i’ve never tasted a buttermilk sweet potato pie and cannot wait to try it.
Oh hooray, I love sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie… who am I kidding, I just love pie. Definitely going to have to try this one!
I actually noted to myself this weekend, when i was sick on my couch leafing through that book, that this is a must. Looks amazing.
Deb, do you think I could make this on a weekend then serve it on a certain Thursday? Would you think freezer, or fridge?
oh WOW this is sort of like a sweet-potato souffle, isn’t it? WOW.
tastes like “surprise!” – I love it!
Another great way to bake a blind shell is to preheat a heavy, dark cookie sheet in the oven. Fill the shell with weights as usual and place the lined pie plate on the hot cookie sheet. The extra bottom heat makes a BIG difference in amount of shrinking. I use this for filled pies also to ensure a nice crisp crust. Works like a charm.
Love your southern addiction. Just made a pecan pie for honey’s birthday today but we were out of bourbon, he didn’t tell me we were out. He also wants mashed sweet potatoes tonight. Will try this version of pie next week, just in time for the holidays. Thank you. And your baby just makes me ache…mine will be 12 next week.
just in time for thanksgiving! i love sweet potato pie but i completely agree with you on the heaviness factor of it. can’t wait to try this recipe!
as for the excess sweet potatoes i would strongly encourage you to puree them up for your little man! i went crazy during the first year my son was born and roasted, pureed and froze a pumpkin and butternut squash as well as sweet potatoes. he loved them and luckily for me he didn’t turn orange. try freezing any puree in ice cube trays which are perfect little portion sizes!
I am so making this next week-end. I agree with you about lemon and here’s a suggestion that I am going to do when I bake this pie: move the lemon flavor to the crust. Just zest the lemon in the dough while pulsing the butter and flour. i think it should give that lemony edge without intercepting anything in the filling!
You know, I don’t believe I’ve ever had sweet potato pie. And you know what else? I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, so this just may be the year to do it. Because if it doesn’t taste like tradition to anyone else, guess what? You asked me to host! Deal! :)
Also, I highly, highly suggest getting on that baby food now. Honestly, if you’re kids anything like mine, he will blow through your stash like you don’t even know.
Also also, have you seen the new Lee Bros book? It’s being put on the Christmas list, I do believe!
The baby picture has become the first thing I look for too! He’s so cute, Deb!
Do you use that other method of crust baking just to avoid having to keep pie weights or pennies around? It seems like mostly the same amount of time/work otherwise, unless I’m missing something obvious.
The food pictures are almost as delicious as the food pictures. And thank you, by the way, for your post on food photography (from way, way back). I am using your advice on cameras/lenses for my upcoming trip!
With the shortage of pumpkin this season, sweet potato pie is the way to go, y’all!
Yes!!! I was just contemplating lightening my favorite sweet potato pie for next week, but you’ve done my work for me. Thank you!
This will make one Mr. Measured Memory very happy…sweet potato fiend that he is!
Your son is so cute! I didn’t even read the recipe yet, I just clicked on the “fist-eater” link to see his cuteness! :)
mmmmm…. I’m southern (can you tell by my blog name??!) and this looks good to me! I like sweet potato any way you give it to me though, so my excitement may not prove much!
What a fabulous idea! I’m going to have to try that. Too much buttermilk? I didn’t know that was possible! I use it as substitute for cream or half/half in all kinds of recipes… my favorite is in scones… mixed in and brushed on top (sometimes I cut it with a little milk if the consistency is off).
Thanks for the respect of southern food… I remember after an awesome Gourmet on Edna Lewis, the magazine got all kinds of hate mail from people saying southern cooking wasn’t real food. Geez. Anyway. Can’t wait to try this one!
looks amazing! but i still have a desire to throw some melted marshmellows on top.
Wow, whipped egg whites in a custard pie….hmmm, that makes me want to get that book. I hadn’t thought of that before, and it looks like it lightens everything up and creates unexpected texture. I love something that tastes like surprise.
JulieH- The crust won’t be as crisp or tasty if you chill the pie for several days in fridge. I think if you have to make it ahead, I would freeze the whole thing. I think it would taste best the day of or after baking.
How about African peanut stew with some of those sweet potatoes?
Great pie recipe! Sounds divine!
This sounds heavenly! I still haven’t gotten off of my pumpkin kick long enough to move onto sweet potatoes. This may nudge me in the right direction.
I can honestly say I have never had sweet potato pie before…it’s not a popular item up here in Canada but it sounds wonderful though and I LOVE cooking with buttermilk too!
There are ALWAYS baby pictures???? I’m going on a treasure hunt now! :)
AHHH! I just found the cuteness in this post. YAY!!!
The “bean” instead of “beat” is still there, just so you know.
Buttermilk, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
–Mashed potatoes: Joy of Cooking, ’93 editon. I use more butter than the recipe calls for, though.
–scrambled eggs: just like adding milk or cream, but better.
–biscuits: my current favorite recipe is “Heavenly Bread-Flour Biscuits from Dori Sander’s Country Cooking. They use a ton of buttermilk!
–ranch dressing, from http://www.smittenkitchen.com
(I just replace the mayo with sour cream)
–meat tenderizer, especially for chicken or pork (I use it to bind breading, etc. to meat)
There, that should use up your buttermilk! :)
Mmm I’ve only stuck with pumpkin pie to date…this looks like a great change.
I too love sweet potatoes and also prefer them in a savory preparation. I highly recommend you try the Sweet Potato Salsa from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day. A great go-to cookbook. We triple the salsa recipe and eat it as a side dish. Heavenly.
why do little boy babies look so darn cute in stripes? kills me. also, made your mama’s apple cake for my sister’s b-day this weekend. it was divine, everyone loved it, and we had LOTS leftover for breakfast. thank you, thank you.
It looks so fluffy, like it could float on air. I love the empty plate photo at the end of the post…
That looks so creamy and delicious!! I’ve never made a sweet potato pie before!
Sounds like an interesting pie! I’m from the South, but we are not big sweet potato eaters here. I think I might give this a go with pumpkin, see what happens!
This looks delicious, though I’m sure that my husband would hate it for one reason and one alone: that it wasn’t actually a pumpkin pie. I’ll have to make both and see if he has an issue with the pumpkin pie (or maybe see if pumpkin puree and buttermilk work well together).
I just adore southern food and anything that belongs in the thanksgiving category. This sounds great!!! I love your recipes and have always had good luck with them.
I recently discovered the joys of buttermilk pie, so especially excited to see a sweet potato version! Do you think a graham cracker crust would work?
Do you have white sweet potatoes where you are? We lived in Raleigh and found them at the Farmer’s Market there. So wonderfully sweet and not stringy like an orange sweet potato. They would probably be fabulous in this recipe.
i love sweet potatoes and i love southern food (being half southern myself)…the photos just make me want to eat it. i know sweet potatoes aren’t traditional very starchy and are naturally sweet, but i’m not sure i can imagine this as a dessert. the type of dessert that you crave and can’t have just one slice of.
I’m southern through and through — born in Mississippi and have lived in Georgia and Alabama with 18 months of Manhattan thrown in. Sweet potato pie is a must! Every fall, I get a bushel or so of Mississippi or Texas sweet potatoes (must be from one of these states!) and boil/bake them and freeze in 2 cup batches. Easy to pull out of freezer for a pie or even mashed sweets.
Ok, so I’m in Sydney and summer is pretty much right on top of us so there is very little that will get me to turn on the oven but dear goodness, I think this is on the list. What a pie! I’m going to be thinking about it all day…
I will confess that I have never made sweet potato pie, though have always been tempted by the thought. This lighter version appeals to me is being bookmarked immediately!
A light sweet potato pie? Yum! I love the idea of sweet potato + buttermilk… actually, sweet potato + anything. Thanks for this!
Delicious! Having a grandmother from Virginia, another from Kentucky and great grandmother from Georgia I also share a love for Southern cooking. There is something about their rich comforting food that make me smile :)
I’m crazy about southern food too. It’s so comforting!
I love pies but I’ve never made a pie. of any sort. EVER. I’m scared I’m going to mess it up.
Is there any way you can mail one to me? :)
This sounds very similar to a favorite recipe that I sadly lost. Oh how I hope this tastes the same! A lady brought this pie to almost every church potluck and people would charge her way even before she got through the door. Her pie tin would be empty in a matter of seconds and the lucky winners would hold up their plates triumphantly. I know hers had lemon so it may not be optional after all…
my family would’ve finished up this pie in seconds!
My husband actually prefers sweet potato pie to pumpkin pie so he’s definitely happy for me to try this recipe :)
Where’s the Baby?
So is this part of dinner or dessert? Either way, looks delish!
Ok, the pie is great and everything, but OH MY GOOD LORD that baby is adorable!
I wonder if any of my thanksgiving guests would (notice) be upset if I made this instead of a plain ol’ pumpkin pie? They’d probably notice, huh.
I am a full-blooded southerner (I live in south Mississippi) and I LOVE our food too! Sweet potatoes are my favorites and on many rural roads and not so rural roads the beds of pick-up trucks are loaded with sweet potato goodness for sale. Whether mashed, fried, boiled, baked, steamed, etc. the options are endless. My family is a huge fan of the sweet potato fry! We will have fresh sweet potatoes in one form or another on our table for Thanksgiving!! For that we are grateful! Happy Thanksgiving to you!!
This looks amazing!
Excuse me!? No baby pic? I scrolled through twice, thinking I must have missed it… Note: No matter what you’re cooking, there is one mandatory ingredient…!
Sneaky! I see him now! :-)
First, the fist-eater remains adorable as ever.
Second: Any chance you can recommend/create a recipe for sweet potato pecan pie? This was an Indiana/Michigan, midwest meets south food that I had a couple of times several years ago. AMAZING stuff! Wonderful Sweet potato filling in place of that corn syrup goo, and the yummy crunchy pecans at the top.
Gabriela what’s with this “instead”? It’s Thanksgiving. Make both!
Sweet Potato Pie looks delicious! I’ve never had the nerve to make it (not entirely sure why) but maybe i’ll experiment this weekend and do it for Thanksgiving!
This looks yummy, dude. Thank you.
Most importantly, though, DO freeze some for Jacob. You’ll be really glad you did when the time comes. Just throw it into ice cube trays, freeze, then empty into plastic baggies.
This looks yummy! I just bought the Lee Bros, new cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern, and I really want to try their Pimento Cheese Potato Gratin. I bet you’d like it, Deb!
I actually made this sometime ago from “The lee brothers” I kept the lemon in..but I think I did cut it back some….our family eats sweet potatoes like candy!
Sarah — It’s that I just hate working with pie weights. The ceramic ones don’t seem to fill the pan well enough and beans don’t seem heavy enough and ugh, I can’t even imagine dealing with a pan full of 300 degree copper coins… My method allows me to avoid all of this, and it works surprisingly well.
I am a big fan of anything that tastes like “surprise!”
I am also a fan of Deb’s “Cheater” method. Pie weights can be really obnoxious.
Looks delicious! We love sweet potatoes here in Kentucky, and the buttermilk is a nice twist on the classic recipe. I’m ready to bake! No doubt, there will be rave reviews from the family next week. Happy Thanksgiving!
(Oh, and your darling little fist-eater looks delectable, too!)
Baby! and pie!–how fabulous a post is this?
Looks great. Definitely more appealing than the incredibly heavy sweet potato pies that usually abound this time of year.
Also–Jacob looks (insert girlish squealing) SO PRECIOUS HERE! His great big cheeks never cease to amaze me.
if “someone”objects to lemon juice, but you still feel the pie needs a bit of tartness, might apple cider vinegar work as a substitute? Really looking forward to making this!
Another sweet potato recipe that kids might like! The ingredients are easy to find in the market,that’s why I like this recipe except for its distinct great taste. I definitely gonna try this for the coming season or occasions.
Have a somewhat unrelated question (only related as the pie might be a solution) that I was hoping I can raise here:
What would be the perfect saturday afternoon menu? casual but still fun…
Would really appreciate suggestions as I’m pretty lost and confused…
I am soo making this I have some sweet potatoes left form sweet potato and red pepper soup :)
Sorry if this was addressed already in the comments, but I didn’t see it when I flicked through – do you think this pie would freeze well?
The pie looks and sounds great, but I was so disappointed when there were no baby pictures!
Count me in on lighter, fluffier sweet potato pie. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hey Deb, I’ll be making this one along with the recipe for the smooth and silky pumpkin pie. Anything with buttermilk is a hit. And anything that even resembles the texture of cheesecake – well, you can sign me up!! Thanks and I’ll let you know how everything turns out! :)
HI, Well, there goes my diet! I was looking round for some receipes and came across this article- I love sweet potatoes there aren’t many recipes for them over here in the UK,
Oh my, yum yum! Think I could do this crustless? Does the “custard” part hold together well enough? I’m thinking of modifying this to be gluten-free and crustless just makes things easier.
You know I just might do this one! I recently made a sw potato pie recipe that turned out like a cousin to pumpkin pie and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. But this one looks like a souped up version that has me enthused again. I too am having a crazy “how many things can I do with them” dance with the little orange spuds and am glad they have a pretty decent shelf life.
I will make this for my family!! Thank you, Deb. Your website is so beautiful and your recipes always appeal to me.
Well,as normal you don’t let your readers or friends down!! You always have great pictures and wonderful food!! The pie is in a “make it mode,for most all readers,and especially me.Thanks for all your playing(work) and time!! We do appreciate it,and have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!!
My husband is fearful of sweet potato pie, specifically because of the texture. This recipe looks incredibly light and creamy – will most definitely give it a try for this year’s holiday table! Thanks for sharing!
wow this looks great and I LOVE sweet potatoes. Great job.
Thanks you so much for this I have been scouring the web looking for a light sweet potato pie to add to my Thanksgiving menu. I think this it. Test run will be this weekend.
Oh my god! Is it as good as it looks! Cheers from Bordeaux for that recipe!
As an official Southern girl, I can tell you that you aren’t alone in your love for sweet potato pie. My standard version is sweet potato pie with meringue, but yours looks divine. I’ll definitely give it a try. It’s funny that you are featuring a sweet potato dessert today. I made a sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting over the weekend, and am still enjoying it. Definitely go ahead and freeze some of your cooked, pureed sweet potatoes. One great way to use the puree is to make sweet potato waffles — totally yummy topped with a little butter and maple syrup.
Wow this looks amazing! I could eat sweet potato anything!!
Holy yum! I love holiday pies and this recipe definitely looks like a keeper. My dad makes the BEST pumpkin pie with home-made whipped cream that I just cannot WAIT to dig into next week. Thanks for the great post!
Oh, I cannot tell you how badly I want some PIE right now! :) Love sweet potatoes, too!
You must try the sweet potato black bean burritos with your extra sweet potatoes. Its in the Moosewood LowFat Favorites. We make the sweet potato filling and freeze it in individual sized amounts to pull out and put into a burrito for snacks or easy meals.
Oh Boy – this looks awesome. Its almost like you read my mind. I’ve been scouring the internet for a sweet potato pie recipe. I do believe this is the one. Also, Jacob is just too darn adorable. I love all the pics you post of him, in fact, I look forward to them. Keep ’em coming.
I don’t know how I overlooked this one – I have their book and it’s basically my bible when it comes to “company food.” Is it wrong to have more pies than people at your Thanksgiving table?!
I’ve made this pie several times and I’m featuring it on my T’day menu for CookingforTwo.About.com (along with pan-roasted duck breasts with cranberry coulis) and I agree 100% with you. The buttermilk gives it a lovely tang and beating the egg whites really lightens it up. As far as I’m concerned it beats pumpkin pie hands down.
I absolutely love the low calorie photos you consistently post on Smitten Kitchen. Thanks for the pie crust therapy you have provided. I am excited to try my hand, err rolling pin, at this recipe. If you ever take a field trip to Chicago you should check out Hoosier Mama Pie to fulfill your every pie craving…plus their website is adorable.
Also, I have great nanny street cred and am seriously proposing a “will nanny for food” deal.
I’m a big sweet potatoe-fan, but I just realized how little I’ve explored. Haven’t even tried the classic american sweet potatoe pie …
In sweden we mainly roast them with vegetables or make a sweet potate mash of them. This recipe seems like a good pie-introduction. I’m not sure how to find buttermilk in Sweden though. Ideas anyone?
You can make a buttermilk substitute
This is what I do: MAKE ACIDIFIED MILK
Add one tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, and add enough milk until it measures 1 cup. Stir, and let sit for five minutes before using. This also works with non-dairy milks.
You can also use watered-down yogurt, watered-down sour cream or cream of tartar added to milk according to epicurious
I can’t say I’ve ever had a sweet potato pie, but I’m one of those New Yorkers who really lusts after (some) Southern foods. I think I’m going to try this using an unrefined sugar since the recipe calls for so little. Yum.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe! I am overloaded with sweet potatoes from my CSA and was looking for a sweet potato pie recipe. I’ve already made sweet potato muffins and this pie looks perfect. Can’t wait to make it! PS – the baby is absolutely adorable!
If you aren’t wild about lemon try orange. I just had a sweet potato pie full of orange zest, made it so light on the tongue!
hooray! between this and the pumpkin pie with bourbon-caramel sauce that the new yorker posted a few weeks back, this is shaping up to be a truly excellent thanksgiving.
Pie-relatedly: thought you’d be amused to know that one of the tags on Choire Sicha’s post “Stop Being a Wuss: How to Make Pie Crusts the Easy Way” is “Smutten Kutchen”!
It’s because Choire loves me too.
you’re a goddess for posting this.
Oh my heavens! There was an old soul food restaurant around here that used to serve a sweet potato buttermilk pie to die for. I make buttermik pie all the time (with the buttermilk left over from making biscuits of course) and I have made sweet potato pie, but completely forgot about that old pie. And cooking for my site this week, I have leftover buttermilk from Pumpkin Sage Biscuits and extra sweet potatoes for my casserole. Thanks for this blast from the past.
lots of leftover sweet potatos? Sweet potato fries are killer. sweet potato latkes are awesome too. trust me, I’m a southerner (born in Mississippi) who was taught to cook by my grannie. you can make either with any good regular potato recipe.
Looks light too! Buttermilk was often used by my mother, in the 50’s in Ohio, so it’s not all Southern. She would make her own as in your link. She’d worked at a bakery before marrying and was a fabulous baker. I was born in the 40’s and remember lard being used, but then always Crisco for crusts. She had very flaky crusts. At one point she was not making enough pies or to my dad’s liking because there ensued a pie war with his baking his own version of the Best Apple Pie. My mom was not happy about that but he eventually stopped. I should note that his mother had been an even more fabulous baker from Czechoslovakia, her strudel and nut rolls were high art as far as I’m concerned.
Just found out about the pumpkin shortage today, and was dreaming of the sweet potato pie as a substitute. This one looks like a winner!! As is your own little thumb sucking sweeet potato.
So sorry if someone already asked this…can this be made with yams and/or sweet potatoes?
I just got assigned pies for next week by my pops.
I made this earlier today. It’s really, really good, and my husband and I just loved it. It’s so light and airy, which is what I was hoping for. I love the nutmeg that comes through as the starring spice in this. It’s nice not to have it overshadowed by ginger and cinnamon for a change. I did take your advice and leave out the lemon as I thought it would detract from the tang of the buttermilk. I added just 1/2 tsp vanilla and rounded out the rest of the 2 tbsp with maple syrup, just to see if it would come through. It mellowed the buttermilk a little, I think, as it wasn’t really as tangy as I had expected, but there wasn’t any noticeable maple flavor. It’s not a sugary sweet pie, but perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the potato (I actually used Garnet Yams). I will make this again. I think all sweet potato pie fans will really enjoy this. (It does use a good bit of kitchen ware, though!)
You know, you had me at cheesecake. I love me some sweet potatoes, but cheesecake is like a drug. Yum.
The little fist eater is getting so big so fast!! Don’t blink..I did and now mine are 19 and 16 and not nearly as cute as they were before I blinked!! Hey and the pie looks delicious too! My interest was peaked when you said cheesecake-ish…and a good pie crust recipe and tips is very welcome!! Thanks for sharing your passions both the cute and tasty! Alex probably falls under one of those categories if not occasionally both!
Man O man I do love me some sweet potato pie~ but even more, I am lovin’ your darling boy’s dark head of hair. So handsome
This is what I want. Thank you so much. As for leftover sweet potato, I use it/them in quesadillas…the combination of cheese (I use xtra sharp cheddar but jack or provolone work well too), chile powder (I use ancho/NM mix but even supermarket will give it to you), cumin (if not combination), onion, red bell or tomato and sweet potato can’t be beat. Try it. It’s also a quick and filling meal via micro for the sweet potato. I really enjoy your site, and have a list of recipes backed up that I will get to … soon. Time goes too fast, sometimes, doesn’t it
Seriously! Lovely lovely photos!!
do you think i could cheat and use cheesecake base made out of digestives and butter?
I made this last night and added a lattice crust on top so I wouldn’t waste any of the buttery goodness. It turned out fantastic!! Check out my blog for pictures…your recipe is brilliant! Best crust ever!
I LOVE sweet potato anything!!!! this looks so amazing!!! and ur pics are awesome! thanks for sharing
Sweet potatoe AND buttermilk; what’s not to LOVE!? I think this would do nicely with pumpkin also.
Nice photo as well, thanks for this entry.
Deb — Where did you find that steamer basket? I searched and can’t find anything similar that lets me put the lid back on my saucepan. I normally resort to baking sweet potatoes since boiling them removes so much flavor. Thanks!
I think it was part of a three-piece strainer set from Crate and Barrel. However, I wouldn’t recommend them as the little metal feet all fell off pretty quickly.
I say go for pureeing and freezing. When he comes of age to eat them they won’t be in season.
Ahh my sweet potato obsession can move into desserts now. This just looks so, so good. Will definitely try this.
I am recently a huge (huge) fan of sweet potatoes. This pie looks wonderful. I, too, am becoming a Southern food addict! It makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.
My mouth is watering reading this recipe but I have a nagging question about pie crusts (may seem simple to some but I’m stumped)….How can you prebake a crust and then REALLY bake it and not have it get too brown on the edges? Thanks!
If your edges brown too fast, you can cover them with foil. But it should only be the last 10 minutes that the edges are exposed; the rest of it, they should be covered with foil.
I made this last night and it was sooooo good!!!!!!!!! Instead of just American sweet potatoes, I also used asian yams.
My friend would love this, he puts sweet potatoes in everything, risotto, on salmon, mixed together with mashed potatoes in one big gloopy mess. It’s odd, I know. I’m sure he’d love this recipe because as of yet I haven’t seen him make a pie.
Ahem, HELLO! HELLO!! I have scanned this post up and down and I do believe you got so carried away with that pie that you forgot something…….the “fist eater”!!! We’ll cut you some slack this once, but don’t let it happen again s’il vous plait!
Now Sweet Potato Pie. Well sistah you’re preaching to the Alabama crowd right here! Born and raised in Alabama and I’ve never liked sweet potato pie like I do pumpkin. Oh go ahead and run me outta town on a rail. That said, maybe I’ll give yours a go. You are a …..Yankee…………but……I think I’ll risk it and give yours a whirl. A Yankee that likes sweet potatoes can’t be all that bad!!! :) Give the monkey some all pureed up soon. He’ll smack those precious lips.
See comment #12!
This was the first thing I made when I purchased the Lee brothers cookbook. It is excellent and its not even their best recipe!
Hi, Deb —
Is this for a 9″ pie? I didn’t see that it said anywhere here or in the pie crust recipe.
I love your blog and adore the photos. Every recipe of yours I’ve made has been a hit. Thank you SO much!
Shelly – Yes, whoops – this is for a 9″ pie.
Yum! I made this pie today, and it is delightful. I love how fluffy the sweet potato filling turned out.
Any way to sub fresh pumpkin purée instead of sweet potatoes? I imagine the pumpkin would be way more watery, but I have a TON in my freezer. Anyone help?
Thanks for inspiring me to make my own version of this pie today – Sweet potato butter milk persimmon pie. Can’t wait to try it! LOVE your site!
This pie looks sooo yummy. Thus far I have been afraid to delve into the world of the sweet potato in baking..but I think this is the perfect season to start!
Thanks for sharing :D
Oh my. I don’t like pumpkin pie, I grew up in the south but have never had sweet potato pie nor even known anyone who has had sweet potato pie. Until now. This is SOOOOOOO good. Thanks Deb.
Thanks for the inspiration! I am making four of your pies right now. I’m in Charleston, SC and am looking forward to sending these yummy pies around town tomorrow!
OK, this is a totally random question–how did you get your sweet potato cubes all the same size???
I made this pie a couple of days ago, and all I can say is Oh. My. Gosh. This is the best sweet potato pie, maybe even best pie, period, that I have ever tasted! It’s so fluffy! And delicious. It has a perfect amount of spice, and doesn’t have that overly smooth texture that pumpkin pies tend to have, at least in my experience. I went out and got to stuff today so I can make two more for Thanksgiving! Thank you so much for the amazing recipe =)
Smitten, I adore the fact you are in love with Southern food. It makes me feel good all over and I like your blog even more than before! We Southerners have always been in on the secret ~ and glad to know you have discovered it!
Could I make this with a crumb crust instead? (I’m thinking gingersnap). I don’t mind making a pastry crust, but am trying to streamline my Thanksgiving preparations. Thanks for the recipe!
I made this pie for my friend last weekend when he came for dinner. I used a gluten free crust receipe I have and made sure ingredients were gluten free. He told me it was the best pie he had ever had. I am taking the pie to my family for our gluten free turkey day. I am so thankful my family and friends understand my celiac and gluten free diet and make food that I can eat and enjoy with them. Have a great turkey day and I love the blog.
hey Deb !
I invite my friend over for dinner, and I made for dessert this pie……….A-MAZING !!!! I am my worst critique ever……most of the times I am not 100% happy with what I cook……but this recipe will stay in my fav-recipes file FOR SURE !
thanks so much ! and keep on doing this thing you do :)
Three out of our four discriminating family members really like sweet potato pie. Is this one every wonderful! We all loved it and it is my all time favorite.
a great piece in the NYTimes this morning, to finally clear up the yam/sweet potato question. I thought I would share. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/25/opinion/25harris.html?_r=1
Mine is in the cooker right this very instant and the house smells amazing! I skipped the lemon because it just sounds odd to me, and I made a crust with ground oats, pecans and hazelnuts held together with a bit of butter. This pie is meant to travel with us tomorrow, although I may have to hide it from myself for tonight. Can’t wait to try it!
I just made mine for tomorrow’s dinner. I ended up using Okinawan sweet potatoes since I love the purple color. My whole place now smells like this pie. Thanks for the recipe
Okay… we are actually celebrating T-giving tomorrow. I had way too many sweet potatoes so decided to whip this up. (Then I remembered why I bought so many sweet potatoes to begin with!)
1) I used my pasta pot and insert as the “steamer” — I did two HUGE sweet potatoes to have leftovers for my son.
2) I used my little Cuisinart food processor bowl to puree the SP. I left off the plunger/feed thingy to vent as the SP were still warm. (I was in a hurry!)
3) after beating the yolks by hand, I had no energy left for the whites… so I dumped those in the (washed) food processor bowl. Soft peaks in no time flat.
4) I used my regular fat-free milk to make the “buttermilk” — use this trick all the time.
5) My daughter is allergic, so I never use nutmeg. Instead, I doubled the cinnamon. Also left out the lemon juice.
I had a finger-full after I poured it into the pie shell. YUM!!! I think I am really going to like this version. I think it will also go over well with guests who avoid overly sweet desserts.
Can’t wait to taste it after it is baked!
I made this today with local persimmon and a bit of sweet potato and it was oh so killer.
going down in the archives.
Made this for t-giving dinner today. Delish. Light and creamy and lovely. Not too sweet. Much better than pumpkin pies I’ve tried. 4 of us have eaten 3/4 of it.
I also tried the cooks illustrated pie crust with vodka and it was fabulous. I always have trouble working with drier pastry dough so this was a dream to roll out and tasted great. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of pie crust, so I don’t appreciate nuances the way others mightanywho, the filling is spool good I’ll definitely make it again.
The second hit in the dessert parade at my family’s Thanksgiving (the first being the apple upside gingerbread posted here and the third being my own pumpkin pie with applejack whiskey a gingersnap crumb crust.) The best thing about this pie is that it is so far away from traditional sweet potato pies–not heavy, not overly sweet. I went halfway with the tartness and used only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Yes, like Deb said, really more like cheesecake than pie.
I so wanted to love this pie but I was disappointed. Not bad, not great. I don’t like sugar-bomb desserts, but I think this was under-sweetened and under-spiced. I loved the chiffon texture, but I may try this again with a bit more sweet potato, less buttermilk, a touch of brown sugar and more spice–maybe a bit of clove in addition to more cinnamon and nutmeg. I liked the lemon though–I think it needs the brightness.
I have a fondness for deserts that are low on the sweet factor, and I found this one to fit the bill just right. We brought it to a family dinner where it was delight. I have a second pie in the oven right now, since we want a bit more to be selfish with. As always, thank you for pointing me in such a lovely direction.
I ended up using just a touch of lemon to keep the color of the sweet potato while it cooled to room temperature. This added the perfect touch of brightness without overly tangifying the pie.
i love the cheaters method idea, but im just curious.. do you think a pyrex glass pie dish placed in the freezer than into the oven would crack or break due to the extreme changes in temperature?
Great recipe. I had some white sweet potatoes from local Whole Foods that gave an interesting color and great flavor. I agree that buttermilk is enough for zest without the lemon. I had leftover filling that baked well in small buttered ramekins. I’m tempted to try this with butternut squash staring at me from the counter.
Southern food is pretty amazing! You do it well! Buttermilk is magic in my opinion. Adds so much flavor but with very little fat!
I made this for a pre-Thanksgiving rev-up. It was delicious…much lighter and creamier than either pumpkin pie or a more traditional sweet potato pie. I will make this again and again…it’s that good! I cheated and used a Pillsbury crust, which made it even faster to prepare. Thanks!
sorry i just didnt like it :(
Can you tell us what didn’t work for you? It’s helpful to others that way!
Oh yes, sweet potato pie. When Thanksgiving comes around, I’m actually not a big fan of pumpkin pie (yes, I’m told how weird I am). I much prefer a sweet potato pie. Love this recipe, especially the buttermilk! Rich taste, not overly sweet.
I love sweet potatoes! This looks really good, I will have to try making this soon. At the moment I just love grilled sweet potatoes. Takes care of my sweet cravings.
i donk know why? i love sweet potatoes and was really looking forward to it, pastry turned out lovely (i used your freezing method) but i just found the flavour of sweet potoato too strong, but mabye its just me and my common tastebuds ;)
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was enjoyed by all, even the pumpkin pie devout. I always love the flavor and tartness of buttermilk in food, so I skipped the lemon juice. I should have added in at least 1 Tbsp for extra tartness as the buttermilk was almost overwhelmed.
Have you tried using Meyer lemons for the juice? Their added sweetness should balance things out.
Just thought I would suggest another method of cooking those potatoes for the pie. Being from the south and being from a family that LOVES sweet potato pie (except for me, don’t care for them). Try baking your potatoes instead of boiling them. My mother and sister always bake the potatoes (hanging on to those old family traditions) because you don’t loose any of the flavor or sweetness when they are cooked this way. It will make a much richer pie. Just remember to put the potatoes on a foil lined pan and of course prick them.
I made this today with Joy the Baker’s No-Roll pie crust! I think I fudged something somewhere because the crust had more of a hard cookie-like texture – it could’ve been overbaked – AND I forgot to add the buttermilk. It was sitting curdling on top of my freezer ALL THE WAY OVER THERE and it just didn’t make it. I’m really wondering what it would’ve tasted like perfect, because even my bodged effort was how-bad-would-it-be-to-have-thirds delicious. I didn’t add any lemon juice, either, and I think I’m you on that one, Deb – the warmth and sweetness of the sweet potato mixture was just right as it was for me. And I was left with enough to add the buttermilk to and freeze – maybe that won’t work in practice, but it was too good not to. :D
I just made this for Christmas. I followed the recipe exactly but cut the lemon juice to 1 tbs. I am glad I did-I think next time I might leave it out all together. The pie was very delicious though and tart. Someone said it tasted similar to a cheesecake. It has a nice light and creamy texture to it and the buttermilk really ups the flavor. This was way better than my last sweet potato pie I made from my Better Homes and Gardens cook book. Thank you for sharing!
I made for Christmas, too! I thought that looked like enough filling for two small pies rather than one big one. Unfortunately, we ended up with two pies only about an inch thick. I “repaired” by beating 8 oz cream cheese with 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1 t. vanilla, then beat in splashes of milk until the consistency seemed right. Spread half overtop each cooled pie, sprinkled a teaspoon or so of brown sugar over each, and covered with plastic wrap. The brown sugar liquefied into a caramel-y glaze that settled into the swirls of the cream cheese topping. Gave one pie to a neighbor. She called to say that was the best pie she’s ever eaten! BEST PIE SHE’s EVER EATEN! Thank you for sharing!
I made this for Christmas dinner, and it was a hit. I skipped the lemon juice, and made a graham cracker crust instead. Loved it!! The very little leftover there was kept well in the fridge for a few days, too.
This was a big hit at the New Year’s party yesterday. The crust didn’t work out so well for me — I was thinking that it would be fab with a graham cracker crust and am glad to see that Beth had the same idea (and it worked out well). I’ll definitely try that next time. Thanks!
This is a wonderful pie– a Southern dessert filtered by a Northern cook so that it is not too sweet. I had never seen the appeal of sweet potato pie until I tried this– the rich filling with the tangy buttermilk, and aromatic nutmeg, wow. I do make two changes. First, I use brown sugar instead of white. Second, I dispensed with the complicated mixing and whipping of egg whites– I just throw all the ingredients in a bowl and blitz it with my immersion blender. Outstanding, I have another one (of these pies, natch) in the oven right now.
I love the utensils you have, can I please ask where you get your colander/sieve from. I live in Australia and would love to get some of the bowls, plates etc have feature on you blog. Thank you. LC
I just made this to “practice” for Thanksgiving and it is absolutely delicious! Thank you!
This is my very favorite Thanksgiving pie. I like it because the texture is not as dense as a regular sweet potato pie, the lemon gives it a terrific brightness, and the buttermilk does make for a slight cheese cake flavor. It’s wonderful! The Cook’s Illustrated vodka crust works with it, too.
This was a big hit for a Halloween party we had! I used crushed gingerbread mixed with flour and butter for the crust (we live in Sweden and used Anna’s pepparkakor, they are available in the US too or any gingerbread would likely work). The gingerbread was a nice accent to the buttermilk and lemon. Will definitely make again for Thanksgiving!
The pie is in the oven right now : )
Quick question…how many pies will this recipe yield?
I might have to make this for Thanksgiving… I’ve been scouring the web for something to bring this year, and this looks fantastic!! I might need to make a test pie first for just us… you know, for scientific reasons of course…
Mine ended up lighet (in color) and fluffier than the one in the photo. Hoping it’s okay…Ha!
This pie was such a hit, it has become a holiday staple for dinner parties. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Glee, and just because….lighter than pumpkin pie, but deliciously rich! I usually substitute the sugar for brown sugar, and throw in a dash of ground cloves for good measure!
I made a “test pie” after my last comment and it was DELICIOUS! Legit Thanksgiving pie is in the oven… smells heavenly =) Thanks for the recipe!
I made this for Thanksgiving for my husband, with no plans to even try it since I don’t really like sweet potatoes. But, not only did I try it, I had two servings and made it again last night for dinner. It is light and airy, the perfect amount of sweet and savory. Everything about it is wonderful! Thanks for introducing me to a sweet potato I like. (I did have to search everywhere for them, since apparently, sweet potatoes are an exotic vegetable in Switzerland and not readily available!)
I was just wondering, is it neccessary to prebake the crust. I normally use store brought crust(sadly) But I stubbled across your all butter pie dough, used it to make apple pie for thanksgiving,AMAZING i love it. But my normal sweet potato pie recipe call for an unbaked crust. Does it make a difference. Thanks in advance
You don’t have to. It’s a preference some people have, to keep the crust sturdier once baked with its filling.
Hi Deb, do you think the pie will be okay if I made it the day before I plan to serve it? Will the flavor improve or diminish? I just have so much to do on the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend: pecan pie + this pie + dinner rolls + only 1 day to make it!
It should be just fine made in advance; pumpkin pies keep pretty well.
Deb – I want to make this for Thanksgiving, but my boyfriend is insisting on pumpkin pie. Do you think it would be ok to substitute pumpkin for sweet potato? Thanks!
It shouldn’t be a problem at all.
can you bake the sweet potatoes for the filling/ what ultimately is the difference between boiling and pureeing and baking and pureeing?
happy holidays, and infinite thanks for your contribution to countless tables and tummies!
Boiling versus roasting — moisture content. Roasting dries things, just a bit, as well as cooking them. Steaming will be somewhere in the middle.
CHELSEA: I baked my sweet potatoes (I was also making Paul Prudhomme’s Sweet Potato-Pecan pie and that’s what his recipe suggests) and they came out great. 400 degrees for 40-60 min., depending on size. Just put potatoes on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, and poke ’em w/ a fork a few times halfway through baking.
I pre-baked one of the crusts and DIDN’T pre-bake the other. Unfortunately, the blind baked crust shrunk — and quite a bit — despite following the directions to the letter (but it didn’t last time?!?!). The crust that I just filled then baked is perfectly beautiful. Next time I’ll skip the blind baking, if at all possible. I
This is fabulous, slightly shrunken crust or not. I skipped the lemon and am blissfully happy with the results. The pie’s crust stays crispy, despite being in the ‘fridge for a few days now. It tastes indulgent but doesn’t overwhelm because it’s light and fluffy. And did I mention that it’s FABULOUS? Thanks, Deb! It’s a keeper!
I made this about a week before Thanksgiving, but I thought I’d take the time to say that it was an absolutely delicious success! The only thing I did differently was that I baked the potatoes beforehand instead of boiling them and it turned out fine. Well, more than fine- my family ate this pie within one day! Sometimes I feel sick/too full after a big slice of pie, but this wasn’t too filling like a lot of desserts are. It was very satisfying. Anyway, thanks for a great recipe!
I had a serious Sweet Potato Pie craving. Your recipes have never steered me wrong and yet again you’ve done me proud.
I did use my own short crust recipe though that uses lard and butter though.
My dear English husband is now a sweet potato pie fan.
Just made this pie… As a southern girl, I would like to say this pie was awful. No resemblance whatsoever to actual sweet potato pie. Made this for friends and was terribly embarassed. This pie is going to the chickens!
Hey Deb I love your website! Can you use Bourbon instead of lemon juice? Would that work?
I haven’t tried it but I am sure it would be delicious. Well, I’d use less. 1 tablespoon, tops. I personally prefer when booze is a subtle thing in desserts.
Hi-Made this pie twice, first time I liked it but thought it needed to be sweetened and wasn’t to sure about the lemon. Made it the second time increased the sugar by 1/4 cup and ommited the lemon and it was fabulous!! My mother who is Italian and weary of some American desserts LOVED it! Whats your thought of making and baking ahead of time and then freezing for T-Day?
Poor Kim. She has some lucky chickens. I used plain yogurt instead of buttermilk and forgot the lemon juice, and now I will never enjoy a pumpkin pie again. This was wonderful, and the barest sweetness of the pie itself meant that the slightly-sweeter molasses-bourbon (thanks for the idea, Betsy) whipped cream was the perfect match. My first sweet potato pie — eating or making — and it was a home run. Who wouldn’t like this?!
I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! The only tweak I would make would be to just pony up and buy buttermilk, I used the homemade technique and I couldn’t taste any of the bite that the buttermilk would have provided. Other than thatit really was quite good! Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Deb. I’ve never baked pies before so I was just wondering about the “pre-baking the crust” part. What would happen if I just pre-bake it naked, without any weights nor buttered foil, and I watch it meticulously and just use the back of a spoon to push the dough down if it rises?? Or is this a completely terrible idea? Help!!
Sarah — It will usually slump down the sides; it’s not fun. Trust me, I deeply dislike par-baking and pie weights (pennies and/or dry rice or beans also work) but it’s hard to find another way to do it.
Okay, thanks for the help. I think I’ll just use some rice then! :)
Hi Deb, checking back in, and I just wanted to let you know that I just (and finally!) made the pie crust (my first pie ever!!!) with your crust recipe and the rice technique and it was perfect! I still can’t believe that I actually got the supposedly rare and oft-striven-for flaky crust on the first try! Thanks for the recipe! I studied your notes and pictures thoroughly haha to perfect this crust. So good! (And I even filled the crust with a buttermilk pie filling – just not this sweet potato one. I used a classic, Southern buttermilk pie filling recipe instead. It was lovely! :)
I love looking through your site, but I’ve never actually made one of your recipes. I also love making desserts, but have never attempted making a pie. My mum had a dinner party today, and I had sweet potatoes lying around so I gave this a go, using your buttermilk substitute in place of cultured buttermilk. It was DELICIOUS. I mean seriously the best sweet potato pie I’ve ever had- potentially one of the best pies I’ve ever had. You’re right about that cheesecakey texture. It’s not super dense (I had 3 pieces after eating soup, bread, fish and pasta) and it just melts in your mouth. Amazing. Your pie crust is fantastic too. I didn’t have enough white flour lying around so I used an Indian whole wheat flour that typically is used in making breads. Turned out great. I will definitely be making this in the future!
Note: Although that meal might suggest otherwise, I’m not obese. Just an athletic teen with a ridiculous metabolism that will eventually catch up to me. Until then, bring on the pie!
Hi, Deb — have I checked in since we met? Thank you so very much for taking a moment to say hello and chat at that enthusiastic book signing. You were gracious and patient during what must have been a sometimes-challenging tour. I wanted to tell you that I learned the hard way a couple weeks ago that this pie really needs that egg-whipped-with-sugar for the best texture. I took the lazy route and simply whisked everything together (though I did halfheartedly hand-whip the whites), and the texture was just like all the sad pumpkin pies I’ve ever eaten. Even the flavor was a little off (and not just because I slopped in too much molasses), though we still ate it all. Next time, this pie will be worth the extra few minutes and dishes.
Hey, holiday bakers! Make this pie!
Deb! I just discovered this cheat for parbaking pie crusts! Why don’t you include this in all your pie recipes?? At least a link? I love you!
Samantha — Whoa. Because I completely and totally forgot about it? I looked at the date I think I had a two month old back then, I probably wasn’t sleeping or thinking much at all. I’ll retest this with a pie soon and make sure it’s still what I’d recommend. Thanks for drawing my attention back to it.
I made this for Christmas dinner and have another in the oven right now. It’s what I have always dreamed pumpkin pie will taste like, but it never does. I skipped the lemon juice, because I think the flavor combination is one that seems like a good idea until you try it. This flavor is already bright and light. I do think the mixing instructions are overly complex. I made it more like a French custard base, beating the egg whites and seeing aside, then beginning beating the egg yolks, and gradually adding the remaining goodies. Works like a charm.
Love sweet potato pie — hate making pie crust.
Do you think a gingersnap crust would work with this?
Appreciate your help (which you don’t know, but you provide about 15x/week) very much.
robyn — I don’t see why not. And thank you!
just made 3 of them with graham cracker crusts! This has been a favorite of ours since I saw the recipe in the Boston Globe, several years ago. The egg whites make it nice and light. The fresh nutmeg is a must.
We had our Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday, because that’s when we were all going to be together, and I cannot tell you how many sweet potatoes I have left over! (my bad timing meant that they came out of the oven very late and were mostly overlooked) THANK YOU for giving me something to do with them. So when my bf said last night “what are we going to take to my aunt’s on Thursday?”, now I have something awesome to answer him with! (yes, I am well aware that “we” means “you”.) No more leftover sweet potatoes AND a way to impress his family! Wahoo!! ;)
Hi there! Hoping to make this for tomorrow’s festivities. Would a regular store bought pie crust work, and would I have to pre-bake it?? Or, can I just put it in the pie tin with the filling and cook it :) Thanks!
I am making a sweet potato pie as we speak using Patti LaBelle’s recipe but now I can’t wait to try this one . . .
When this popped up Thanksgiving morning, I immediately added it to the menu. That made two pies for 2 people.
Delicious! My spouse says I should plan on making it again.
Oh, this was so good, there were three other pies brought by various sister in laws on the buffet, but this was the best. I went for the lemon and valued the tang. We have beautiful purple sweet potatoes in the market, I want to try with them, as it would make a different looking pie – and I already used them to make sweet potato hummus!
First time commenting but I’ve enjoyed this blog for a long time. I always appreciate how positive the comments are and often people comment before making the dish so I wanted to comment after making the dish with my own tips/thoughts. I didn’t have time to make crust so I used a pre made graham cracker crust (please don’t judge me) and I also didn’t have real buttermilk so I used the cheap buttermilk power (feel free to judge). I whisked the egg whites in the stand mixer because I don’t have a hand held mixer and my attempt at using hand whisker was taking too long. I skipped the lemon at Deb’s suggestion. It was great! Big hit in my house! Next time I will for sure use real buttermilk and make the crust but if you’re pressed for time and ingredients I would highly recommend my cheats!
When you say to bake it til the centre is ‘firm and set’, what does that look like? I’m not a pie maker, but I’ve made lots of cakes, so I tend to think that it’s not done until a knife comes out clean. But after baking it for am extra 15 mins and still getting an unclean knife, I began to suspect that’s not true for pie (which actually makes sense when I think about it).
Anyway, I decided enough was enough amd took it out to cool. It was still kind of jiggly but when I touched it with my finger it wasn’t goopy. Is that what I’m looking for? I hope so, ‘cuz I’m not baking it any more!
Sadie — Not goopy. It can wiggle a little but not in a way that suggests a liquid center sloshing around.
buttermilk dressing salads?
Maybe it’s hyphenated? I was thinking you meant buttermilk salad dressings.
Hi Deb! just a heads up that the recipe says “all-purpoe flour”
LOL. Now fixed!
Substituting bourbon for lemon… good idea or bad? ;)
Keep the lemon, add bourbon. Lemon provides good contrast!
Thank you for such a quick response— you’re the best!
Since your pecan pie recipe, you converted me to a golden syrup devotee.
Can you substitute golden syrup for the sugar? If so, is it one to one, meaning 1/2 cup of syrup for the 1/2 cup sugar.
Do I need to adjust anything else if using the liquid syrup in place of the dry sugar?
Thanks in advance…
Due to shortage of Libby’s abroad (UK!) this year, I’m going to try sweet potatoes instead. Thanks for the recipe!
When I blind bake the crust, do I need to let the crust cool completely before adding the filling?
I don’t think it’s necessary for it to fully cool.
Hi Deb – love your recipes! I am making this pie for the holiday, but need to travel 7 hours with it. I have two questions:
1- should I bake it before leave and just reheat on thanksgiving?
2- how far ahead can I make the filling and store in the fridge pre-assembling?
Thanks so much!!
I’d bake and reheat on Thanksgiving. The filling should keep easily for a few days in the fridge.
I have made endless pumpkin, squash and sweet potato pies, but last night my husband declared this the very best pie I have ever made! Thanks for this great recipe. Your daily feed keeps me cooking great meals!
For this recipe we will need only half of the all-butter flaky pie crust. Is that correct?
Yes — i.e. a 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter amount.
This may be a silly question, but I’m curious what type of sweet potato you’re using/recommend?
My husband said that this was “almost like… cheesecake!” I hadn’t put the idea in his head, nor let him see the recipe. It IS like cheesecake!
why did my pie dough slide all down the sides of the pan? I had it very chilled????
I have read about baking the sweet potatoes first instead of boiling/steaming to bring out a deeper more caramelized flavor…thoughts?
Made this for the second time – and it is amazing. We had a problem, I was supposed to take it to my family, but we ended up snow bound – and I couldn’t let my husband and me eat it all – so we had our pieces, and then I delivered to neighbors and co-workers…
A few things I learned –
1) I made a 3/4 batch of the crust because my pan is a little larger than standard, this let me have good crimping edges, and shrinkage was not a problem. There was extra crust which I cooked with cinnamon sugar just for nibbles!
The process calls for a lot of bowls, I used the following short cuts:
2) Microwave the sweet potatoes – this works great – they don’t get dry, Put the whole sweet potato in the microwave, poke a few times with a fork, and let it go a long time (ten minutes?). Then cut in half, and scoop into the ricer.
3) Rice the potatoes into a measuring cup,
5) Melt the butter in the large bowl you’ll mix everything up in.
4) Don’t tell your husband you’re giving away the pie to protect him from himself.
Wow, Deb! Was just thinking how amazing this by would be with your slow roasted sweet potatoes. Would you make any adjustments to this recipe? Thanks so much!
Great idea. I’d just swap it 1:1 with the slow-roasted sweet potato flesh.
Amazing – that was the question I was about to post! Thanks – did you try it Claudia?
I looked at a few pie recipes alongside this one and I just couldn’t do it. I really love this recipe, Deb. This time, I made two tiny changes: added a bloop (a teaspoon?) of molasses and mashed the sweet potato while it was still hot. The former boosted the overall flavors just a touch, and the latter gave me the smoothest filling yet. Damn, that’s a good pie!
Put ginger meringue on top and that was 👌🏼
I made this tonight and it was so delicious! I had leftover whole mashed sweet potatoes and immersion blended them so there were no lumps or pieces of skin. To make it a little quicker, and because I really like cookies, I also made these as bars with a shortbread base (from the salted peanut tart recipe). Excellent recipe!
Wow, I realy love that one!
Prepped this in about 10 minutes with leftover baked sweet potatoes. Put everything but the egg whites into a blender, whipped the egg whites in the mixer, folded in the blended puree, and spread in a store-bought crust. Perfect use for leftovers!
Made it with and without the crust. Super delish! It tasted like a delicate pumpkin pie to my family. It became more dense after the night in the fridge, and then took on more of a Sweet potato flavor. Recommend highly.
I made this today, and it was my first time making sweet potato pie! It was excellent! I took your side and left out the lemon. I also used a pillsbury crust (I stupidly gave away my last frozen SK crust and wasn’t in the mood to make more). I didn’t prebake the crust. I figured I don’t do that for pumpkin, why would I for sweet potato? I also roasted my sweet potatoes whole, then peeled and mashed. I thought that would offer better flavor.