Looking for an alternative to traditional sweet potato pie this holiday season? These Sweet Potato Bars are not only easier, they have all the flavors of the season and they're absolutely delicious!
With a layer of pecan crust, sweet potato pie filling and homemade marshmallow fluff, these sweet potato bars will be a winner on your holiday table.
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Sweet Potato Pie Made Easier
Sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole are Thanksgiving staples on many holiday tables. Any variation of sweet potato filling with pecans or other nuts and often a marshmallow topping is fitting this time of year.
And this variation is a winner! The bottom layer is made of glazed pecans (plain can also be used) mixed with brown sugar and melted butter to form a simple pecan nut crust.
Pecans are traditionally used in sweet potato pie and casserole dishes this time of year, however, feel free to substitute with walnuts or other nuts. If there is a nut allergy or you simply do not care for nuts, substitute the pecan crust for a pretzel crust like the one in this recipe.
The secret to Smooth as Silk Sweet Potato Pie Filling
The filling of these Sweet Potato Bars is a traditional sweet potato pie filling. I recommend using roasted sweet potatoes, however, canned can also be used.
Roasting sweet potatoes brings out their sweetness, making them perfect for Fall dessert.
Roasted sweet potatoes can be made up to a week in advance. To prepare, simply scrub 2-3 medium potatoes, pat dry, pierce all over with the tines of a fork to allow steam to escape during roasting, and pop in a 425ºF (220ºC) oven on a foil-lined baking sheet for 45 minutes.
The length of time needed to roast the sweet potatoes will vary based on the size of the potatoes. The skin should look loose and a sharp knife should easily cut through the potato. If this is not the case, allow the sweet potatoes to roast for 5-10 minutes more then check again.
Once the potatoes are done roasting, allow them to cool completely. Remove the skins, which will easily tear away from the flesh, and place the flesh in a bowl to cool. No need to mash.
If preparing the sweet potatoes ahead of time, place the cooled potatoes in the fridge in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.
For this recipe, the secret to an ultra smooth filling is using a blender instead of a mixer. To make the filling, simply combine all ingredients and puree.
Be sure to stop to scrape the sides of the blender to allow the sweet potato puree mixture to combine evenly. It is a thick mixture, so using a high speed blender works best here.
Topping it off with homemade fluff
The best part of these Sweet Potato Bars is that homemade marshmallow topping! If you haven't already noticed in the photos, this is also the thickest layer of these Thanksgiving dessert bars. That's very intentional!
The biggest advantage to making your own marshmallow fluff is that it simply tastes better than the store-bought kind. It's made from real ingredients that you can pronounce and it's lighter, smoother and fluffier than the kind you buy in a jar.
This recipe does require the use of a candy thermometer. This tool is invaluable in my kitchen! If you don't already own one, they are inexpensive and a must-have for making marshmallow fluff at home.
How to Make Broiled marshmallow topping
I adapted this recipe from Tessa Huff and it works so well here! Use the entire amount of fluff to slather on a thick layer of marshmallow topping to the sweet potato pie filling.
Then, broil for just about 1 minute. This part requires your full attention, as that marshmallow topping can go from lightly browned to burned in the blink of an eye!
Alternately, a kitchen torch may be used to broil the sugars in the fluff layer. I prefer the oven broiler method, as I find it produces a more even browning to the marshmallow fluff.
Yes! By all means, use jarred marshmallow fluff or creme to top off these dessert bars. I have not used it myself in this recipe, however, the consistency is similar and it will work jus fine. As I mention in the recipe, watch carefully when broiling the topping, as it may burn quickly if you leave it in too long.
Yes! If you have a nut allergy or simply don't care for pecans, you can easily swap out the pecans in this recipe for another nut in equal measurements. Or, you can make a pretzel crust like in my Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.
Yes, the baked and cooled bars can be frozen. Even with the marshmallow topping or store-bought marshmallow fluff! Wrap the leftover bars tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature or place in a 300ºF oven until the center feels warm to the touch.
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Looking for more Fall or Thanksgiving dessert recipes? Give these a try:
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