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Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole with Pecan Streusel

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Sweet potato crunch casserole is a Thanksgiving must-have! This dish is packed with all of the classic holiday flavors – sweet potatoes, pecans, and a crispy, crumbly topping. Plus, it’s super easy to make ahead of time so you can relax on Turkey Day.

Our version of this Southern classic doesn’t require mashing the sweet potatoes. We use fresh sweet potatoes (not the mushy canned stuff) and toss them with a sweet buttery glaze with a hint of orange and cinnamon. The pecan praline streusel topping gives the casserole a delicious crunchy contrast to the creamy sweet potatoes.

A sweet potato casserole with pecan praline topping.

If you’re opposed to marshmallows on your casserole, this recipe is for you. The sweet potatoes get tender and nicely caramelized when baking, and that crunchy topping is irresistible. It’s easy to make and quick to prep. Most of the work happens in the oven!

If a sweet crumbly, streusel topping can elevate apple pie and muffins, just imagine what it does to sweet potatoes. And I do want to be clear that this is a sugary-sweet side dish. If that’s not your style, try our savory sweet potato casserole or our savory sweet potato mash.

It is as sweet as a dessert, but it compliments all your savory sides like mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Why This Recipe Works

A holiday sweet potato casserole is the perfect side dish for your feast. Here’s why you’ll like this recipe:

  • The sweet potatoes are perfectly tender.
  • The streusel makes for a delicious crunchy topping adding some nice texture to the dish.
  • Preparation is easy and fast.
  • You don’t need to pre-cook and mash the potatoes like most recipes for sweet potato crunch (just cut them up and toss them in a baking dish).
  • Makes the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Sweet potato casserole partially scooped out of a dish.

Ingredients needed for this recipe

The secret ingredient is the frozen concentrated orange juice, but we can’t forget the pecan topping (that’s what makes a sweet potato crunch casserole so delicious). This is almost a dessert with all the sugar in the filling and topping, but we aren’t complaining. 🙂

To make the filling, add these items to your grocery list:

  • Sweet potatoes. We like to peel the sweet potatoes, but it isn’t a necessary step if you leave the peel on, expect to get a little more ‘texture’.
  • Butter. You can use salted or unsalted butter. The small amount of salt in salted butter will not affect the flavor.
  • Brown sugar. Dark brown or light brown sugar. Whatever you have on hand.
  • Concentrated frozen orange juice. Do not re-constitute the orange juice. Leaving it in the concentrated form will add a more intense orange flavor that compliments the buttery brown sugar mixture.
  • Orange zest. All you need from a whole orange is the zest. Just eat the rest of the orange or use it for orange juice in the morning. 🙂
  • Ground cinnamon and cumin. These warm spices complement the buttery, brown sugar, and orange flavors so well.
  • Salt. Flavor enhancer.
  • Vanilla extract. Flavor enhancer.

For the pecan crunch topping, you’ll need:

  • Butter. Don’t use whipped tub butter. It has air whipped into it.
  • Pecans. Chop some pecans up but save a few large ones to sprinkle on top.
  • Brown sugar. Dark or light brown sugar will work fine.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour or sub with a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Oatmeal flakes. Old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats will work fine.
  • Ground cinnamon.
Ingredients used to make sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel and orange juice.

How to Make Our Sweet Potato Crunch Recipe

Here is a breakdown of the recipe. Make sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

To make the filling, follow these basic steps:

Adding sweet potatoes to a casserole dish.

Prep your sweet potatoes: Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Dice into 1/2-inch cubes and toss in a 9×13 baking dish. It really doesn’t get any easier than this unless you decide to leave the skin on the potatoes.

Adding the sauce to the sweet potatoes.

Make sugar mixture: Combine the rest of the filling ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve.
Pour sugar mixture over sweet potatoes: Toss the sweet potatoes making sure each cube gets coated in the sugar mixture.

To make the crunchy pecan streusel topping:

Mixing a crunchy topping for a sweet potato casserole.

Create streusel mixture: Melt butter in a saucepan or in the microwave. Stir in the rest of the streusel ingredients. Mix well.

Topping a casserole with streusel crunch.

Top the sweet potatoes and bake: Coat the top of the sweet potato cubes with the crunchy pecan mixture. Sprinkle with pecans and bake.

Tips for recipe success

Keep these tips in mind for the perfect sweet potato casserole:

  • The concentrated orange juice should not be reconstituted, as it will lose its intense orange flavor.
  • Dice sweet potatoes evenly for even baking.
  • Halfway through baking, cover your casserole with foil to prevent the streusel topping from burning.
  • The bake time may vary depending on how big you cut the sweet potatoes.

Frequently asked questions 

Can you make sweet potato crunch casserole ahead of time?

Yes. This sweet potato casserole is great for make-ahead cooking, especially during a busy holiday season. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator and is easy to reheat.

How long does sweet potato crunch keep?

You can store this casserole in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Make sure you store it covered in an airtight container. When reheating, portion out the amount you plan to eat in a baking dish and reheat in the oven or microwave.

Can you freeze this casserole?

Yes, you can freeze sweet potato crunch casserole. The best approach is to bake the casserole, let it cool down to room temperature, then cover it and place it in the freezer.

When you are ready to eat, thaw it overnight in the fridge then cover it with aluminum foil and bake it for your Thanksgiving dinner.
This is an excellent choice if you know your holiday cooking prep will be hectic and chaotic. You can save yourself time in the days leading up to the holidays by assembling the sweet potato casserole in advance.

Are there eggs in sweet potato casserole?

While some recipes call for eggs in sweet potato casserole, this recipe does not. In other recipes, the eggs are used as a binder for a mashed filling. However, this version calls for diced sweet potatoes, so egg is not necessary as a binder.

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same vegetable?

No. Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same vegetables, although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Real yams have a tree trunk-like skin and are quite rare in the US.

Orange or white sweet potatoes are a different vegetable altogether and are what you’ll want to use in this recipe. If you’re at a grocery store and you see orange sweet potatoes labeled as yams, they’re really just sweet potatoes.

Close up of a bite of sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel on top.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and if you’re looking for an easy side dish to add to your menu, this sweet potato crunch recipe is surely going to be a family favorite. Our version doesn’t require mashing the sweet potatoes, which saves you an extra step in preparing your holiday meal.

Now all you need for your Thanksgiving table is a beautiful roast turkey (or a smoked turkey), cranberry sauce, fluffy mashed potatoes, and some green beans.

More Recipes You Will Love

This sweet potato pie with marshmallow topping is creamy and smooth and reminiscent of a pumpkin pie.

Instant Pot mashed sweet potatoes are a flavor fusion of savory, sweet, rich, and nutty. Making them in the Instant Pot will make room in your oven for other dishes.

This sweet potato frittata is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch. It is easy to make and so so delicious.

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Sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan topping.

Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole

No need to pre-cook and mash the potatoes. Just slice them and toss them in the casserole dish. They get tender as they bake in a buttery, sweet, orange sauce. The crunchy pecan streusel makes a perfect contrast with the soft sweet potatoes.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Video Save
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Calories: 525kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup frozen orange juice thawed
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest from half of an orange
  • 1-½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pecan streusel topping

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • cup flour
  • cup oatmeal flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Wash and peel the sweet potatoes then cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the sweet potatoes into a 9×13 inch baking dish. 
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, concentrated orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the orange juice mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat all the potato cubes. 

Make the pecan streusel topping:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave. Stir in the pecans, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Spread the streusel topping over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with extra pecan halves. 
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Cover with foil halfway through the baking time to prevent the streusel from browning too much. 


  • Use concentrated orange juice without re-constituting it.
  • Cut the chunks of sweet potatoes in evenly sized pieces as best as possible so they bake evenly.
  • Larger chunks of sweet potatoes will need to bake longer.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 317mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 42g

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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Recipe Rating


Sunday 6th of December 2020

What a magnificent casserole!! I can't take my eyes off of that pecan good!

Dahn Boquist

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Thanks Angie, the streusel is my favorite ;)

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