Uncle Richard’s sweet potato pie

sweet potato pie DSC0529

In times like these, I’m in need of some serious comfort. I work in magazines and it’s very grim seeing your industry on a downhill slide. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about a spate of media-industry lay-offs or a publication closing. So to assuage my fears, I’ve been eating lots of pie. Sweet potato pie.

Sweet potato pie is always on our Thanksgiving table—my family prefers it to pumpkin pie, though the two are similar in texture and taste. But sweet potatoes give the custard a bit more heft and are, as the name implies, more naturally sweet than pumpkins.

I asked my grandma for the family recipe but she pointed me in the direction of my Uncle Richard. “Richard makes the best sweet potato pie,” she said. And after years of eating it, I have to agree that indeed he does.

sweet potato pie | Homesick Texan
Richard loves his pies, and when my brother got married in September my uncle helped coordinate the marathon pie-baking party that side of the family held. See, my brother had decided that instead of a groom’s cake he wanted a table filled with pies. And so my family’s repertoire was on full display—chocolate, chess, apple, peanut butter and, of course, Uncle Richard’s sweet potato.

When you make a sweet potato pie, the most important thing is the spice. Richard uses the usual suspects such as cinnamon and nutmeg. But he also adds ginger and cloves, which I think add a bit of heat and zing.

Because of obligations, I’m not going to the farm this Thanksgiving; I’ll miss sharing the day with my family. But still, I am so very thankful for all that I have—I am beyond blessed and feel very, very fortunate.

sweet potato pie | Homesick Texan

My heart, however, goes out to those who have lost their jobs. I know that a pie won’t put food on the table or a roof over your head, but perhaps, in that moment when you take a bite, it’ll provide a little bit of sweet soft comfort.

What pies are you making for Thanksgiving?

sweet potato pie DSC0529
5 from 1 vote

Uncle Richard’s sweet potato pie

Servings 16
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the pie:

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes or 1 (15-ounce) can mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells

Ingredients for the ginger whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

  2. In a blender, add the sweet potato, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and evaporated milk. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into the pie shells and bake uncovered for 55 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, to make the ginger whipped cream, in a chilled bowl, beat the cream, honey, and ginger with a mixer, whisk or egg beater until soft peaks form.

Recipe Notes

Uncle Richard’s says: I really enjoy it cold out of the refrigerator the next day for breakfast.

  1. Well, now I know what I’m going to do with all the sweet potatoes that have been accumulating in my kitchen from our CSA boxes!

  2. Hmmmm; peanut butter pie? Very interesting. 😉

  3. Amy C Evans

    I made four different sweet potato pies last Thanksgiving, all in an effort to try to duplicate my very favorite one made by Jessie Sculark in Drew, MS. It never happened. I’m definitely going to try your uncle’s recipe, but I have to confess, my sweet tooth loves a SPP that’s packed with vanilla. Still, I never met a SPP pie I didn’t like!

  4. Mmm, that looks wonderful (and easy!). I think I’ll try that for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  5. Culinarywannabe

    I think we are all in need of some pie eating! My husband works on WS, so he comes home everyday with claims that the world is coming to an end. We can’t end the recession, but we can keep the ovens loaded with goodies until it does!

  6. I’m still trying to figure this out, but I offered to bring, not a pie, but a pumpkin cheesecake to my sisters house for Thanksgiving. I better get crackin’ on testing this bad boy….wish me luck.

  7. Anonymous

    We’ve been getting a bit tired of pumpkin pie, and I think I’ll give your Uncle Richard’s recipe a whirl. We’re also having apple and chocolate cream (which is a family tradition) and mini mince tarts.


  8. Usually I make Stephan Pyle’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie with Bourbon Cream Sauce but I think I’m going to add your Uncle Richard’s Sweet Potato pie this year. Thanks.

  9. Lisa Fain

    Laura–It’s a perfect way to use up some sweet potatoes!

    Kkryno–You know, I don’t have that recipe but I must get my hands on it!

    Amy–I bet this would be great with vanilla, so you should add some!

    Lauren–You’re very welcome, enjoy!

    Culinarywannabe–Oh, yes. WS place getting hit hard. Y’all definitely need to eat more pie.

    Mike–I made a sweet potato cheesecake last year that was wonderful! The hardest part about cheesecakes is knowing when to take them out of the oven so they don’t cracks. But even if they do split on top, you can cover it with sweetened sour cream.

    Mares–I haven’t had mince tarts in years! I might have to make some of those, too!

    Sharon–I’m all for bourbon cream sauce, which I bet would go well with this one, too!

  10. Uncle Richard’s comments:
    The delicious whipped cream concoction is all Lisa’s – I can’t take credit for that.

    I bump up the cinnamon and clove – I let myself get sloppy on those measurements.

    Amy C. Evans: Vanilla Absolutely! I always throw in a generous teaspoon of vanilla, just didn’t include it in the base recipe.

  11. ooops:
    “1 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes or one 15 oz. can of mashed sweet potatoes”

    Should be:
    1 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (baked or canned – if you use canned, drain them well)

    Uncle Richard

  12. I’ve never made SPP before but I am dying to tryit out :)I’ve seen other recipes sub in heavy cream forthe evap. milk. Does the cream add a smoother texture?

    ps. I hope your stress/anxiety lessens with each slice of pie!

  13. lisadinnerparty

    Feeling your pain as a fellow magazine person.

    Also feeling really hungry looking at that pie!

  14. Pie as a stress reducer. Pie therapy! I like it.

    Your Uncle Richard’s pie looks fabulous. I’ve never made sweet potato pie, only pumpkin. I’ll have to try this.

  15. Lisa Fain

    Richard–Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

    Amanda–I think the texture would probably be as smooth, but more rich and heavy with cream instead of condensed milk. For less rich but more tang, you could use buttermilk.

    Lisadinnerparty–Yep, it’s tough times in the magazine world. Hope all is well with you.

    Julie–If you enjoy pumpkin, you’ll also enjoy sweet potato. And yes, it’s an awesome stress reducer!

  16. Sarcasm is just one more service I offer.

    That looks really good! I am horrible in the kitchen but, I may have to give this recipe a try.

    Hope your having a great day! :o)

  17. Making my grandmother’s pecan, as always. It’s required eating on my Thanksgiving. I love that idea of a table full of pies at a wedding, BTW. I love pie so much that I could see doing that instead of the wedding cake too.

  18. I have a peanut butter pie recipe that’s so good, it must be a sin. If you’d like, I could e-mail it to you.

  19. Brave Sir Robin

    I am so glad you posted this. I too, am a huge sweet potato pie fan.

    I will definitely make this.

  20. Stephanie

    I love sweet potato pie, but I have to confess, I love pumpkin a little bit more – family tradition. The pics and recipe are gorgeous, I’ll be giving them a go, thank you.

  21. If this is as good as your Chess pie you’ll feel better soon.

    I’ve always wanted to make a SPP so maybe this weekend is the time.

  22. Hi Lisa! Found your site and I must say this sweet potato pie looks great. Sometimes I don’t like the thick custard that goes on top of the standard sweet potato pie.

    This looks wonderfully rich yet new! Love the photos also.


  23. I’m making all of the pies for my family’s dinner (40 in all). I’m doing the usual pumpkin and pecan, but in addition, a chocolate green chile pecan, a red velvet cake, chocolate chip cookies and a pumpkin roll.

  24. Anonymous

    Our family will be enjoying pecan pie–the nuts cracked from the tree in the front yard. I’m so exited to go home to central Texas for Thanksgiving this year!!

  25. Lovely post, wishing you well. Those reports about publishing sure are scary for all of us.

  26. Anonymous

    Wanted you to know that you SPP will be enjoyed in the Texas Hill Country on Thanksgiving! Love all of your recipes. They bring back a lot of memories.
    Bulverde, TX

  27. Jen and Ed

    I am intrigued by the idea of a chocolate green chili pecan pie and I’m going to try it for the big day. What fun.

  28. Lisa Fain

    Sarcasm–Don’t worry, it’s a pretty foolproof recipe.

    AT–I’d much rather have pie than cake at my wedding, I agree!

    Susan–I’d love to see it–thanks for offering!

    Brave Sir Robin–Hope you like it!

    Jana–Good lord, that chocolate green chile pecan pie sounds decadent! I can’t wait to try it!

    Nick–It’s rich, but you could eat half the pie and not feel ill (not that I know anything about that, of course!).

    Stephanie–Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

    Greg–You’re right, it’s hard to feel bad when you have a belly full of pie!

    Anon–That’s the best kind of pecan pie–one that is made with nuts from your own tree.

    Maggie–Yeah, hopefully it’ll turn around soon.

    Jane–I’m honored! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Jen and Ed–Doesn’t that sound amazing? I can’t wait to try it either!

  29. This is just what I’ve been needing. Pumpkin pie is my favorite part of Thanksgiving, but none of my local stores are carrying canned pumpkin this year. As I like to tell myself and others, pumpkin or sweet potatoes make a very nutritious pie – a pie that I can eat for breakfast. The financial news is truly scary, but at least we still have these simple pleasures.

  30. I didn’t used to like pumpkin till I ate pumpkin pie. I don’t like sweet potato (except as chips) so maybe I need me some sweet potato pie! 🙂

  31. This sounds so delicious…I used to attend Niceville FUMC in NW Florida, and sweet potato pie was a staple at our Wednesday night suppers. I miss those days.

    I’m making a caramel apple pie with loads of buttery crumb topping…oh my god, it is THE best pie you’ll ever eat. I wind up making it for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.

  32. fairyflutters

    This sounds delicious! I’ll try it. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  33. Farmer Jen

    Thank you to you and Uncle Richard for this great recipe. I will try it. This year we celebrated Thanksgiving early with our family “Harvest Dinner” last Sunday. We had homemade pecan, pumpkin and apple pies. I love your blog and your recipes.

  34. Great Grany 5

    Your uncles’ SPP sounds great and I think I will add it to my menu. One of the reasons I love the SPP is the fact the nutrition is great and makes the sin of the crust less. I have my Carmel Apple Pecan pie on my menu but I can always make that one later in the season. My hubby is a Buttermilk Pie fan and I just get tired of making it all of the time.

    As far as the economy is concerned, we have had a lot of serious down turns in the past and we survived and thrived. Don’t give up and remember, women are strongest when times get tough. Keep a song in your heart and prayer on your lips.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone and many more to come


  35. I am going to beg for an invitation one day to go visit your family! 🙂

  36. We’re having chocolate around here. No one “gets” pumpkin pie in France, but they do seem to like chocolate.

    Twist my arm!

  37. Team Clermont Publicity

    Silly question… I don’t think I’ve ever actually made a pie before (I mean, I used to help my nana when I was little, but nothing too involved.) Do you prebake your grandma’s pie crust before pouring in the filling?

  38. Dreams and Decor

    I got a kick out of what you said about your brother wanting a table full of pies instead of a groom’s cake! That sounds like my husband’s side of the family—personally, I love to bake cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. but am not much of a pie maker. On the other hand, my Mother-in-law and Sisters-in-law are pie-makers! They make every kind of pie you can imagine for the holidays. I’ll never forget the first holiday I celebrated with them! It is so yummy! They have strawberry-ruhbarb pie, apple-ruhbarb pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, various chess pies, lemon pie, coconut pie, chocolate pie, etc., etc. What a feast! Patti

  39. I have gained a lot of weight since I started reading your blog…thanks for all the wonderful recipes.

    p.s. A pie crust made with milk and oil? Really? It comes out good? Can you sense I’m a bit skeptical to try this?

  40. Rip Ford

    I normally bake a chocolate chile cake for Thanksgiving but this year I was thinking of having a go at my mother’s fudge pie recipe. Of course pecan pies made with pecans from my grandparents’ pecan trees was a family staple for quite some time and my father is partial to apricot pies so we usually have one of those around this time of year. I’ve been wanting to try a sweet potato pie so maybe I’ll try your recipe and leave the fudge pie for Christmas.

  41. Anonymous

    I have always made Candied Yams for Thanksgiving and had to deal with the leftovers, this year I will try your uncle’s pie, don’t think there will be anyleftovers this year

  42. Lisa Fain

    Bee–I think that sweet potato makes a fine substitute for pumpkin if you can’t have that.

    Olivia–You definitely need some sweet potato pie! I’m sure it’ll convert you!

    Sarah–I don’t think I’ve baked a caramel apple pie, but it does sound decadent!

    Fairyflutters–You’ve very welcome!

    Farmer Jen–I love the sound of your harvest dinner–all the best foods of fall!

    Great Grany 5–Yes, people keep saying that the economy is cyclical and jsut be patient. So I will. And a Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    Cynthia–Considered yourself invited!

    DavidL–Those silly French! Will there be cumin in your chocolate pie?

    Team Clermont Publicity–Nope, not this one–it bakes as the pie bakes.

    Dreams and Decor–What a feast indeed! All those pies. Yum!

    Niocle–Trust me–her pie crust is the BEST!

    Rip Ford–I don’t think I’ve ever had apricot pie–that’s something I need to remedy!

    Anon–Enjoy! And I hope there are no leftovers!

  43. I am making your grandma’s pecan pie for sure.
    The first time in my life that I ever made my own pie crust was with your grandma’s recipe!
    Thank you for that- Homesick Texan! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! You have a great blog!
    Also making pumpkin pie–and now I might just try my hand at your Uncle Richard’s special pie.

  44. Zoe Francois

    This is what I am making for Thanksgiving! Sounds perfect! Given all of the sweet potatoes and yams I have laying around my house right now! 😉

  45. Do you think I could halve the recipe for just one pie?

  46. That pie look great!

  47. Chess pie recipe. Please. 🙂 I miss that stuff!

  48. I, too prefer sweet potato pie to pumpkin. I’ve never made one before and I’m not sure what I am waiting for as around here it’s not seen too often. Thank you Uncle Richard for the recipe!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  49. I made a few of these pies over the weekend. Anxious to try sweet potatoes in place of pumpkin for the first time .

    I quite liked Uncle Richard’s version.
    Easy to peel a few sweet potatoes, easy to prepare. Texture was slightly less dense than pumpkin, but the taste was almost the same.

    I’d do this again anytime. Very tasty.

  50. Bob LaGatta

    I don’t know on how I stumbled upon this cooking blog., All I know is that I’d better check out the archives for a good read. Ha-ha! Just droppin’ to say hi!

  51. Lisa Fain

    Evy–My grandma will be pleased to hear that you’ve enjoyed her recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Zoe–It’s a wonderful way to use up sweet potatoes!

    Clare–Sure, that could work.


    Jenn–Here’s a chess pie recipe.

    Ingrid–It’s a cinch to make! Enjoy!

    Bob–Welcome! And I’ll have to check out what you tech folks are cooking.

  52. Uncle Richard adds:
    Use Lisa’s Grandma’s pie crust – the best in the world, and do not prebake, pour the batter into the raw crust:

    Crust (makes enough for two):
    2 cups of flour
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 cup oil (she used to use corn, but I believe she uses canola now)
    1/4 cup milk

  53. Céline-marine

    My boy-friend and I hoped to be vacationing in NYC for Thanksgiving but could not spare the time and money to do so, so I am going to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, instead… I considered cooking a pumpkin pie but will try your SPP instead! Thanks for all the other Thanksgiving recipes you’re sharing on this blog, I will definitely dig in several times (cranberry sauce, gravy…) but I was wondering : what do you stuff the turkey with??? (sorry to ask such a question, but I’m not American, so I’m a first-timer )… Thanks a lot in advance, and happy Thanksgiving!

  54. Lisa Fain

    Tommy–That’s awesome! I know my uncle will be happy to hear that you liked the pie so much.

    Celine-Marine–I make a corn bread stuffing, though I don’t stuff the turkey with it while it’s baking–I make it on the side instead (and call it dressing). I reckon I should have posted the recipe, eh?

  55. Céline-marine

    Thanks for your quick answer! Next year you will post the recipe for me, then 😉

  56. I’m in some kind of weird bizzaro world, Amy! uh, what are you doing over here? I was just reading your SPP recipe on your blog at Made in Mississippi… what do I do, which pie do I make?

    More to the point. Should the sweet potatoes be steamed, boiled, or canned? Or other method? Hey wait I just thought about sweet hash potatoes.

  57. I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was a major hit. I put the mixture through a fine sieve before pouring it into the crust, which made for a really smooth filling. It wasn’t too sweet, the spices were perfect and everyone raved. Only thing is that I would tent the crust next time as mine got a little burnt around the edges due to the long baking time.

  58. i just wanted to let you know, i found this recipe on foodgawker and made it for thanksgiving…and holy moly it was so good! so good, in fact, that the first one i made (on wednesday) got dug into wednesday night, and i had to make a second one for thanksgiving day! :)thank you for sharing the recipe, it’s going to become a tradition around here i think!

  59. Thank you for sharing Uncle Richard’s sweet potato pie recipe. It was amazing (I baked two kinds of sweet potatoes for the filling), and will forever replace pumpkin pie at our house. And, of course, it will always be known as Uncle Richard’s pie… Sharon

  60. Paula Maack

    Hi Lisa,

    I, too, made sweet potato pie (well roasted-to-caramelization-yams, actually, but who’s splitting atoms?).

    My filling recipe is almost identical to yours, except I add a bit of orange zest, swap allspice for the clove – the ginger is key IMHO, yet most people don’t think add it – and use a full can of condensed milk (not evaporated). The condensed milk makes the pie so rich and creamy, with delicious caramel low notes, but it is a much denser pie than with evaporated milk.

    I think I am slightly heavier handed with the spice than you, but not by much and pretty much in the same ratio (I cook by instinct and eyeball everything, so it’s not exact). Oh, and I added a dash of some Mexican vanilla.

    This year I cheated and used a frozen pie shell (gasp!) because I was too exhausted – with very sore arms – after 13 hours of cooking for three days in a row to break out a rolling pin. It wasn’t bad, and the fantastic filling more than made up for the lack of good pastry, but I really missed the quality of a homemade pie crust.

    I hope your holiday was wonderful, even though you weren’t at the farm.


    ~ Paula

  61. Anonymous

    I absolutely love this site. I check it every week for new recipes. From Austin

  62. Anonymous

    I first found this site when I was a homesick texan living in New York. I have since made the move back to the motherland (Austin) and don’t regret it one bit. I enjoy all the comfy, yummy recipes you post. It documents the history of America’s southern heritage one morsel at a time. Thanks!

  63. masdevallia

    I LOVE SWEET POTATO PIE! I’ve never tried to make it (or pumpkin for that matter.) I’m jazzed to give this a go!

  64. Love the look of that recipe, I'll have to try it, just a couple of questions, last time I tried to mask sweet potato it went into loads of fiberous strands, what did I do wrong? Also you mentioned Peanut Butter pie, that sounds awesome, are you posting a recipe for that anytime soon?

    Love your blog!

  65. Lisa Fain

    Hi Liz, I wish I had an answer for that–maybe the eggs and evaporated milk weren't mixed well enough with the sweet potatoes?


    Hi, I never eat sweet potatoes but I got a few in my CSA box. I gave this recipe a try last night and it was amazing far better than pumpkin. The whip cream was a hit as well. Thank you


    Hi, I never eat sweet potatoes but I got a few in my CSA box. I gave this recipe a try last night and it was amazing far better than pumpkin. The whip cream was a hit as well. Thank you

  68. hello, i just made this pie today and it was pretty good! it was my first time having spp and it was my first time making fresh whipped cream! both were quite good. the only problem was i cheated and used a premade frozen crust…which didn't taste very good. i will make my own next time (i've never made a crust before and was intimidated by this fact) and i expect the pie to be even better! thanks for sharing!

  69. Anonymous

    We're so glad we found Uncle Richard's sweet tater pie, this has become our family's favorite pie recipe. One of our local stores had sweet potatoes on sale, I bought enough to make two, one for us and one for a friend.
    Thanks Uncle Richard 🙂

  70. jeff's backpacking adventures

    Un freakin real!!!!!! We had this pie for dinner tonight and those 2 pies disappeared Fast! I was expecting that pumpkin pie taste(supermarket pumpkin pie taste to be exact) but what I tasted was absolutely amazing. And the cream was very good with just the right amount of ginger. I was born in Richardson near Dallas and now live near San Fransisco and miss those great recipes. Great blog and thank you for your hard work. Jeff

  71. lol, been searching for a simple good recipie, glad for not adjusting oven temperature, and my husband and I are also "homesick texans"! I'm sure this will be good, thanks.

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