How to Make Sweet Potato Pie: It’s a Southern Thing!

Sweet Potato Pie is definitely a Southern thing. It is believed to have originated during the Colonial era and used as a substitute for both pumpkins and yams.

The South has perfect growing conditions for sweet potatoes. They need sandy loam soil with a pH balance of 5 to 7.5. Hot days and warm nights are required for them to produce well.

Yams are often thought to be interchangeable with sweet potatoes, but they are not the same at all. Other than close in design and shape, that is where the similarity stops.

a pile of yams

Yams vs Sweet Potatoes

Yams are a starchy vegetable with a brown skin. They can easily grow up to 45 feet long.

Sweet Potatoes, on the other hand, are softer with an orangish brown skin and traditionally have an orange interior, but some have white or purple, depending on the variety.

Sweet Potatoes are sweeter than yams. Yams are more akin to white potatoes in flavor. According to*, there are nutritional variations as well:

Sweet Potatoes: Very nutritious. Has more sugar, protein, calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and water than yams do. *

Yams: Very nutritious. Has more fat, carbs, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E than sweet potatoes do. *

It is rare to see Yams in anything other than a specialty market. What you see in the grocery stores are probably sweet potatoes. If you aren’t sure, ask the market manager if what you see are truly yams!

a pot of sweet potatoes cooking

Sweet Potato Pie – Delicious No Matter Where It’s Made

Growing up in the South, I always thought pumpkins were for Halloween decorations, and sweet potatoes were for eating. I love any way they are prepared: baked, candied, Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows or fried.

But by far, one of my favorite things to eat is Sweet Potato Pie. This has been a holiday tradition for years, and it’s one I hope continues for a long time to come!

The most time-consuming part to making this pie is peeling, slicing, and boiling the potatoes. While the pie is baking, you can quickly clean up and move to the next task on the list. And while you are working, you can enjoy that delicious aroma!

Ready for a touch of the South on your Holiday table? Go ahead. Make one. I promise you won’t regret it!

sweet potatoes, sugar, spices and other ingredients for sweet potato pie

How to make Sweet Potato Pie


  • 3 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 pinch Cloves
  • 2 Deep Dish unbaked Pie Shells
  • Whipped Cream (or Whipped Topping) for serving


Peel, slice and boil the potatoes until soft.  Drain.  In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes.

Add in remaining ingredients and blend well.  Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells.  Bake at 375 degrees

For 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.  Top with whipped cream and serve.

a slice of sweet potato pie on a light blue plate

Fix and Freeze

If you are trying to get as much done before the holidays, you can easily make your Sweet Potato Pie ahead of time and freeze. Just bake it and cool completely first. Then, wrap it tightly in foil, label it, and place it in the freezer.

To serve: Remove the pie from the freezer for at least 1 hour prior to serving. When you are ready to serve, just pop it into the oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed (not hot) through, as Sweet Potato Pie is best served warm.

sweet potato pie free recipe

Get Your Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Here

If you are planning on trying this delicious Southern tradition, the recipe is RIGHT HERE for your convenience. Just print it out and start baking!

And after the holidays, be sure to let me know what you and your family think about it. I would love to have your input!

The Farm Wife in the Kitchen

Need More Recipes for the Holidays?

Don’t miss these posts:

Apple Pie with Cheese Crust

Banana Pudding

Rich Chocolate Pie

Alona’s Apple Dumplings

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Holly’s Blueberry Dumplings

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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