Two classic southern Thanksgiving desserts meet in one perfect pie with distinct bourbon sweet potato and pecan layers. Thank you Karo® Syrup for sponsoring this post. Celebrate sweet moments together with Karo®! Originally published September 2020. Last updated November 2022.
It's not even close to Halloween yet and I'm focused on Thanksgiving planning. Since you likely are, too, here's a Thanksgiving dessert to turn up your table. If your family is made up of sweet potato and pecan pie lovers, I highly encourage you to make this bourbon sweet potato pecan pie. It's truly the best of both worlds with two Thanksgiving classics rolled into one...plus a little splash of bourbon! You can't go wrong with bourbon, right? Let's get into the details.
Now, if you're team sweet potato, you'll love these:
Making Pecan Pie with Corn Syrup
This sweet potato pecan pie hybrid uses my all-butter pie crust but you can make the process simpler by using a pre-made crust. One ingredient, however, should not be substituted. That's the Karo® Corn Syrup. It's a versatile ingredient that perfects anything from marshmallows to sticky cinnamon rolls and it is key to my Grandma's pecan pies. Growing up, she taught me how to make pecan pie using the recipe on the side of the Karo bottle plus a few personal tweaks.
There are a bunch of sweet potato & pecan pie recipes floating around the internet but I referred to two of the great cooking influences in my life for this extra special pie: my late Grandmother and Ms. Patti LaBelle. My granny has baked perfect pecan pies for our holiday tables for as long as I can remember. This will be our first Thanksgiving without her and I'm thankful to have learned so much from her.
And Ms. Patti has been popping since long before Patti Pies hit your local grocery stores. My Grandma gave me her direct advice on the pecan pie and I consulted one of Ms. Patti's fabulous cookbooks for her sweet potato pie tips because I don't have her on speed dial just yet. Here's my classic sweet potato pie for you, too!
What You'll Need for the Pecan Pie Layer
If you don't know how to make pecan pie, it's really as simple as mixing and baking. Here's what you'll need for the pecan pie filling:
Can I make any substitutions in this recipe? Yes! Either light or dark brown sugar will work and you can use different kinds of pecans for this layer: halves, pieces, or chopped pecans all work fine but will give you different textures and looks in the finished pie.
The Sweet Potato Pie Layer
Also wondering how to make sweet potato pie? Don't worry. I've got you. This recipe is a crash course in both pies and all the steps are just below. Here's what you'll need to make bourbon sweet potato pie filling.
- Bourbon Whiskey
- Brown and Granulated Sugar
- Heavy Cream
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Sea Salt
Now just combine both of these with a pie crust and you're in business, boo. There's a method to making each component and making the best use of your time while you're at it. Peep the recipe card for each step.
Tips & Tools for this Recipe
This is a straightforward recipe but there are a few things you want to take note of for a successful pecan sweet potato pie with beautiful, distinct layers. Here are my tips.
- For the pecan pie layer, use Karo Syrup. It provides a smooth texture with balanced sweetness and allows for the flavor of the pecan pie to shine through. Trust me, I've tried others and the results aren't the same.
- Use a food processor for smooth, silky sweet potato filling. We want a thick, custard-like filling so that the pecan pie filling "floats" on top and I've found that combining the ingredients in a food processor yields the best results.
- Speaking of the sweet potato filling, be sure to use a quality bourbon. The alcohol will cook away, leaving the flavor behind, which is why the quality matters.
- Be sure to par bake, aka blind bake the crust so that it stands up to all this luscious filling! Use pie weights or dry goods like lentils for this step.
- Follow the order of the steps in my recipe card below for the most efficient experience making this bourbon sweet potato pecan pie.
I hope my bourbon sweet potato pie with pecan topping will grace your holiday table this year--and for many years to come. It's a favorite unique Thanksgiving dessert for my family. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this Pattie Labelle sweet potato pecan pie recipe for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Best Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Recipe
Bourbon Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato Pie Layer
- 1 ½ large sweet potatoes about 6 inches long and 4 inches across
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 egg beaten
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Pecan Pie Layer
- 1 ½ cups pecan halves
- 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup butter cut into cubes
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a fork or knife, pierce sweet potatoes several times then place in oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until tender.
- While sweet potatoes roast, make pie crust. Start the crust by incorporating sea salt, flour, and butter until a coarse meal forms. This can be done in a bowl by hand by hand or in a food processor. Add cold water and continue working or pulsing mixture until a dough forms. Shape dough into a disc (like a hockey puck), wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Once sweet potatoes are roasted, carefully remove from oven and place in fridge to cool to room temperature. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.
- Remove pie crust dough from fridge and roll out into about ¼-inch thickness. Place dough into a 9-inch pie pan and fold or crimp edges, as desired. Place a sheet of parchment paper over crust then cover with pie weights or dry goods. Transfer pan into oven to par bake for about 10 minutes then remove and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
- While crust par bakes, make sweet potato filling. Remove skin from roasted sweet potatoes and combine with heavy cream, butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, whiskey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sea salt. This step can be done with a mixer, by hand, or in a food processor. I recommend using a food processor for the smoothest filling. The result should be thick, custard-like, and free of lumps. If filling is too thin, place in the fridge to stiffen up a bit before assembling pie.
- In another bowl, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth and uniform. Stir in pecans.
- To assemble pie, spread sweet potato filling into prepared crust. There should be about one inch of space between the top of the sweet potato filling and the edges of the pie crust. Next, gently pour pecan pie filling over top. This layer should be almost flush with the top of the pie pan.
- Bake pie for one hour. Top of pie will puff up as it bakes but will settle as it cools. Cool pie completely before cutting.
- To prevent the pie crust from shrinking during the par bake, I recommend using pie weights. A simple substitution is to place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough then pour in dry beans, lentils, or other grains that won't burn in the oven.
- The key to distinct sweet potato and pecan layers in this pie is a thick sweet potato filling. If the sweet potato filling is too thin, either the two layers will mix together or the pecan pie filling will sink to the bottom of the pie. The flavor is still delicious either way but the pie will not look as pictured. You can thicken sweet potato filling that is slightly too thin by chilling it or mixing in more roasted sweet potato.