I Tried 5 Marshmallow-Free Sweet Potato Casseroles and Found My New Thanksgiving Go-To

I’m even obsessed with its cute name.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Sweet potato casseroles can take on several different forms. Some are flavored with orange juice, others taste more like dessert, and don’t even get us started on the marshmallow topping debate.

But personal preferences aside, most of us can agree that the dish deserves a spot on the Thanksgiving table. Not only does the orange-hued casserole provide some much needed color, but its crispy-creamy texture lends excitement to every plate. Plus, it feels fun and a little rebellious to indulge in something so sweet during an otherwise savory main course. Which is why I set out to find the best possible version to serve this holiday by testing the five most popular sweet potato casserole recipes on

What Makes a Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole?

While there’s no one right way to make a sweet potato casserole, there are some factors I looked for. The perfect recipe should be a smooth, creamy, not-too-sweet mash topped with just the right amount of crunchy, buttery topping. Neither layer should overpower the other, and they should combine to create the ultimate sweet and savory bite.

Which Sweet Potato Casserole Recipes Did I Test?

I tested the five most popular sweet potato casseroles on None of them called for marshmallows, which was actually a relief, making for a more apples-to-apples (or sweet potatoes-to-sweet potatoes) comparison between competitors. There was one made with boiled potatoes, one that calls for canned, one that made me crave ice cream, one with extra topping, and one that I fell in love with. Here’s how it all turned out.

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Best for Kids: Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Fast facts: Developed by TINA B, has 2,897 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

With its rich, buttery flavor and extra-thick layer of topping, this super-sweet casserole certainly lives up to its name. In fact, you may want to double the recipe and make two pans: When the first gets scraped clean during dinner, you’ll have a backup to serve with leftovers.

Boiling the potatoes instead of roasting keeps the oven freed up for the turkey, and mixing in generous amounts of sugar, milk, and butter ensures the filling gets a thumbs-up from the kids. My one tiny tweak? Use cold butter in the topping, which cuts more easily into the flour and lets you skip the step of softening.

Get the recipe: Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Best for Dessert: Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic

  • Fast facts: Developed by Heather, has 1,864 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

Even those who swear by marshmallows might be converted by this beauty. The crunchy brown sugar topping contrasts the super-smooth potatoes below, and the use of cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream really does make it taste gourmet. You’ll want so much of it, in fact, that it might be better served as dessert, where it won’t be crowded by other sides and you can enjoy it topped with ice cream.

Remember to build in time to let the sweet potatoes cool—they’re far too hot to handle when they first emerge from the oven. You could also cook the potatoes a few days in advance, leaving you less to do day-of.

Get the recipe: Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Quickest and Easiest: Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Fast facts: Developed by Nancybanjo, has 448 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

Thanks to a can of cut sweet potatoes, this casserole comes together fast: The potatoes are quickly boiled, drained, and mashed, then mixed with the usual suspects. Though the recipe has you fold in pats of butter, we suggest you melt it, which makes it easier to stir right in.

The potato flavor may taste mild to you if you’re accustomed to using fresh, but the crumbly pecan topping acts as a pretty effective distraction.

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Best for Topping-Lovers: Sweet Potato Casserole Dessert

  • Fast facts: Developed by Suzanne, has 1,272 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

If you eat the crumb topping off of coffee cakes or prefer a fruit crisp to pie, this streusel-heavy casserole was designed with you in mind. The buttery topping, made with flour, brown sugar, and toasty pecans, yields a thicker layer than its competitors, and bakes up to form an irresistible candied crunch.

If you’re practically sold but want something a little less sweet, simply reduce the sugar in the sweet potato mixture. And don’t be afraid to let this one bake longer than instructed—it really tastes best when it’s deeply golden brown.

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole Dessert

<p>Dotdash Meredith Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Studios

Best Overall: Sweet Potato Crunch

  • Fast facts: Developed by bakerbaker, has 19 reviews with a 4.7-star rating

Most sweet potato casseroles could double as dessert. But thanks to a whopping six potatoes and just a touch of sugar, this one lets the flavor of the earthy veggie shine. Using an electric mixer makes the boiled potatoes super smooth, and the sheer volume of the mash means it fills the pan up perfectly.

Two layers of nutty topping add crunch to every bite, and while the coconut is optional, I highly recommend it.

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Crunch

Read the original article on All Recipes.