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.
Disclosure: I have included links to some great products and services that I think you’ll love. I use them myself and only recommend them because I love them. If you purchase via the links I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Looking for more Fall or Thanksgiving dessert recipes? Give these a try:
FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
- 3 cups pecans glazed or plain, whole or pieces
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 pinch salt
Sweet Potato Pie Filling
- 1 ½ cups mashed sweet potatoes from 2-3 roasted, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes* (see note) or canned sweet potatoes
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- 4 ounces egg whites from about 3-4 large eggs, not from carton egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make Pecan Crust
- Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing at least 6 inches of foil hanging over at least two of the sides. This will make it easier to lift the baked bars out of the pan. Set aside.
- Place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Press the crust mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan, ensuring an even layer. Freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). After 15 minutes of chilling, bake the crust for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
Make Sweet Potato Pie Filling
- Set the oven to 300ºF. To a high speed blender, add all ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
- Pour the sweet potato filling mixture into the baked crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top looks set, about 45-55 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing the marshmallow topping.
Make Marshmallow Topping
- Place the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 240°F (116ºC) on a candy thermometer, typically 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the sugar is heating, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium until the egg whites are foamy. Increase the speed to high and add in the cream of tartar and salt. Continue to mix until soft peaks form.
- Once the sugar mixture reaches 240°F (116ºC), carefully remove it from the heat and let rest for about 20 seconds. With the mixer running on high, (very carefully) slowly stream the sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to mix for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the outside of the mixing bowl returns to room temperature. Add in the vanilla; mix until medium-stiff peaks form.
- Top the slightly cooled sweet potato filling with the marshmallow creme, spreading with a spatula or offset spatula into an even layer. Place under the broiler for 45-90 seconds until the top is golden brown and the higher points of the topping a bit darker, watching it carefully to ensure it does not burn.
- Cover the pan loosely with foil and place in the refrigerator until cool, at least 1 hour. Slice, wiping the knife between cuts, and serve.
- To roast the sweet potatoes, scrub the skins with warm water. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, pierce all over with a fork and roast at 425ºF for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Allow to cool slightly and remove the flesh from the skins.
- Marshmallow topping can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before using in this recipe.
- Sweet Potato filling recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood; Marshmallow fluff recipe adapted from Tessa Huff
SAVE THIS RECIPE FOR LATER! PIN THE IMAGE BELOW TO PINTEREST
Notice: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. By clicking on any of these links, you are consenting to us to place cookies on your browser.