Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Pie | Thanksgiving

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie

By Tessa Arias
October 8th, 2019
5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie features a buttery flaky pie crust with an velvety smooth and rich homemade sweet potato filling topped with freshly whipped cream. Perfect Thanksgiving pie recipe!

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook: 1 hour 8 minutes

If you’re tired of the same old traditional pies at Thanksgiving, this may be the perfect recipe for you!

It’s not so different that it’s super intimidating. But it’s different enough to keep things interesting.

Brown butter sweet potato pie with whipped cream on a marble counter

This Brown Butter Sweet Potato pie would be particularly perfect at a Friendsgiving celebration!

I served it with whipped cream on top but I think it would actually also be amazing with ice cream.

Homemade Brown butter sweet potato pie with whipped cream on a marble counter

The nutty toasted caramelized flavor of the browned butter and the tang of the sour cream really help to complement the spiced sweetness. This recipe doesn’t even contain much sugar! However, you may want to give your pureed sweet potato a taste before proceeding with the recipe. You may want to add a little extra sugar if your potatoes aren’t very sweet.

Slice of sweet potato pie taken out of pie dish

How to Make Homemade Sweet Potato Pie

How is sweet potato pie different than pumpkin pie?

They look *very* similar. But the tastes and textures are in fact different! If you have pumpkin haters in the family then this sweet potato pie is sure to impress them.

Sweet potato pie is, well, sweeter! Where pumpkin pie filling feels more like custard, sweet potato pie is firmer, sturdier, and more velvety thanks to the extra starches in the potatoes.

How to Make Sweet Potato Pie Filling

Start by browning the butter. Here’s a great resource with more brown butter tips. Bottom line? Don’t walk away from the stove.

While the butter cools get your other filling ingredients out and measured. The filling will come together more easily and smoothly if your ingredients are all at room temperature.

Combine all the ingredients except the browned butter. You want to add the butter in slowly and gradually as you whisk so that it incorporates evenly.

You’ll notice this sweet potato pie contains NO evaporated or canned milk products. I wanted the freshest and richest flavor possible. So I use heavy cream and sour cream to get an amazing taste and texture. You can use plain whole milk yogurt if you don’t have sour cream.

Do I have to use fresh sweet potatoes?

In short, YES.

Canned sweet potato puree has more water content and will take much much longer to cook. Fresh sweet potato puree is firmer and starchier so it makes for a much better filling. Not to mention the taste is 100x better!

How to make sweet potato puree:

Take 3 large sweet potatoes, place on a foil or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 425°F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until completely fork tender. Let cool then peel off the skin. Mash the flesh with a potato masher or blend in a food processor or blender. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature before using in this pie recipe.

DON’T BOIL the sweet potatoes to make the puree! We don’t want any additional water in the mix! You can microwave, but the cooking will be less even. Additionally, microwaves vary so much that I don’t feel comfortable giving timing.

Tips for a flaky crispy pie crust

Homemade all butter pie crust in pie tin ready to be par baked

I included the ingredients and directions for my pie crust, but you can also use any recipe that works for your kitchen. If you want to read more tips for perfect pie crust click here.

The most important thing is that you prepare the crust in the correct way so that it stands up to the very rich and moist filling. You want the butter the size of peas for this dough. Smaller chunks will create a sturdier crust.

pea sized chunks of butter pie crust vs large chunks of butter pie crust

You also want to make sure to par bake the crust so it doesn’t get soggy. If soggy pie bottoms are a common problem for you, try baking your pie on the bottom rack of the oven. Or better yet, on a baking stone!

How to tell when sweet potato pie is done cooking?

Cooking sweet potato pie correctly is KEY. Underbaking and your filling won’t set up and hold its shape. Overbaking will lead to cracks.

Your pie is done baking when it’s set at the edges but STILL WOBBLY in the center. The residual heat will continue to cook the center. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165-175°F. A knife inserted into the edge of the filling should come out moist but clean.

If you’re using a metal pie tin, that will cook faster. Glass and ceramic pie plates will cook slower.

How to cut perfect slices of sweet potato pie:

For perfect slices, make sure the pie is COMPLETELY cooled. This can take up to 4 hours at room temperature. For really easy clean slices you can actually refrigerate the pie.

Use a sharp knife and run the blade under hot water to wipe off between slices. For the first piece of pie, make three slices. This will give you some wiggle room and leverage to remove that tricky first slice.

How to store and make sweet potato pie ahead of time:

The filling will become more flavorful as it sits, but the crust will lose some of its crispiness. I’m comfortable leaving the pie out for up to 6 hours at room temperature. But if this makes you nervous feel free to refrigerate as soon as it’s cooled.

Store covered in the fridge (without the whipped cream for best results) for up to 2 days. Leave the whipped cream for serving if possible.

Can I freeze sweet potato pie?

Wrap the baked and cooled pie tightly in foil. Place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before slicing.

Slice of sweet potato pie with a bite taken out and whipped cream on top

More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

5 from 2 votes

How to make
Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 23 minutes
Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie features a buttery flaky pie crust with an velvety smooth and rich homemade sweet potato filling topped with freshly whipped cream. Perfect Thanksgiving pie recipe!


For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups (159 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 stick (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (545 grams) sweet potato puree
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Make the crust:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of peas. Add in a few tablespoons of water and pulse. Continue this until the dough is just moistened enough. If the dough holds together when pinched between your fingers, it should be good. If it doesn’t, drizzle just enough water until it does. You can remove the mass of dough that collects and sprinkle additional water on the floury bits left behind. You can also do this by hand if you keep everything super chilled.

  2. Shape the dough into a rough disk and chill in the fridge until firm and cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days or make ahead.
  3. Let the dough sit at room temperature for up to 10 minutes, or until slightly pliable. Its internal temperature should be about 65°F.
  4. Roll the dough out on a generously floured work surface. Keep turning the dough after every roll to ensure it doesn’t stick to the counter and is of even thickness and to avoid overworking the dough. Add additional flour to the dough, the counter, and your rolling pin as needed. Roll out into a 12 to 14-inch circle, depending on how deep your pie tin is.

  5. Gently roll the dough up and around the rolling pin then unroll and drape over a 9-inch pie tin. Gently press into the pie tin, being careful to avoid stretching it to fit. Use scissors or a knife to trim the excess dough, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp or flute. Avoid making the flute so heavy that it slumps over. Pierce the base of the dough with a fork.
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the chilled crust with foil pressed gently into the bottom and sides, leaving an overhang to protect the edges.
  8. Fill the crust completely with pie weights, rice, granulated sugar, or dried beans. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until just barely beginning to brown and no longer raw, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven, and carefully remove the foil and pie weights.
  9. Let cool on a cooling rack and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Make the filling:

  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises. Once the crackling stops, continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, about 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, remove from heat. Let cool until just warm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients except the brown butter. Once smooth, slowly pour the butter into the mixture, stirring until it’s completely combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell.
  3. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 350°F for about 50 minutes, or until the pie is set and the internal temperature is 165-175°F. If crust begins to brown too much, carefully place a pie shield on it then return to oven. Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.

Make the whipped cream:

  1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream until it begins to thicken. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and continue to whip until medium-stiff peaks form.
  2. Just before serving, spread the whipped cream over the pie.

Recipe Video

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : thanksgiving

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Deborah Brown — May 22, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I am so happy I made this pie, it’s wonderful. Thank you for the recipe, a new family favorite. I did add the zest of 1 orange, and we love this pie!!!

    • #
      Tessa — May 24, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      Ooooo delicious! So happy your pie was a hit!

  2. #
    Winni — October 10, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Delicious cake! Thank you so much for I Will try to make this Yeah!

  3. #
    Cherise — October 8, 2019 at 11:35 am

    This looks and sounds delicious. I have to try this before the holiday can introduce it!

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed