This sweet potato creme brûlée is the perfect dessert for the holidays. It features tender cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes topped with a creamy custard and that quintessential brown sugar shell.
I just had to bring you this sweet potato creme brûlée dish and I promise it’s not as hard as it looks. Diehard sweet potato fans will fall in love when their standard dish is topped with a decadent brûlée, and single guys and gals who make this will end the meal with a marriage proposal, possibly more than one! LOL
If you like sweet potato casserole, you need to try this sweet potato creme brûlée recipe. It features three layers to make a dessert that’s perfect for the holidays. First, we have tender cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes, which are topped with a creamy custard and that brown sugar shell that’s made for cracking!
Now, this recipe is going to seem long and drawn out, especially compared to my usual ones. But it really is simple if you just look at the steps. I make this a day ahead of time, usually the day before Thanksgiving and then just sprinkle the topping on and put it under the broiler just before serving. That way it doesn’t take up so much of my time on the big day.
If there is just a smidgeon left, it makes a great breakfast eaten cold right from the baking dish.
- Sweet potatoes
- Melted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Whipping cream
How to Make Sweet Potato Creme Brûlée
I bake my sweet potatoes at 425 until tender in the middle (about an hour) a day or so ahead of time and stick them in the fridge.
Doing it that way, the skin just pulls right off easily and sweet potatoes that are baked in the oven, in their skins, have more flavor than when you peel and slice them and cook them in water.
Either way, get the skin off and place the baked sweet potatoes in a large bowl with cinnamon, sugar…
The melted butter and two eggs.
TIP: If you just got done cooking your sweet potatoes before this step, make sure they’re cool because if they are really hot when you do this, they’ll cook the eggs.
Mix that up really well with an electric mixer until well combined and there are very few lumps.
Spread the sweet potato mixture into the bottom of a baking dish and set it aside.
Make the Custard
Now, combine your egg yolks, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla.
TIP: You’ll have some egg whites leftover from this recipe. I just put those in a mason jar and stick it in the fridge because if you’re making Thanksgiving dinner you’re sure to need them to make meringue on a pie :). I suggest lemon meringue pie or peanut butter pie.
Whisk your ingredients together really well until combined and smooth.
Place this pot over medium-low heat and whisk constantly just until warm and your sugar dissolves (about five minutes).
Or, as I always say, until you’re tired of fooling with it.
Gently scoop and pour the cream mixture over your sweet potatoes.
Place your dish in a larger dish and fill it with water until it is at least one-inch deep.
You can use any type of oven-proof pan that is big enough to accommodate your pan and an inch or so of water.
Bake this at 325 for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
This won’t be set in the center by then, but most of the dish will be set except for the middle. There will just be a little bit of a jiggle in the center.
Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool by placing the dish on heavy dish towels or a wire rack.
Once cool, cover with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
I make this the day before Thanksgiving.
Broil the Topping
About half an hour before your meal, remove the dish from the fridge and let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes.
Turn your oven to low broil and sprinkle brown sugar over the top.
Place in the oven, about 5 inches from your broiler, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until most of the sugar melts.
Watch this constantly as different ovens cook at different speeds on broil but it will always go faster than you think!
Allow it to sit for five minutes before serving to allow sugar to harden.
Enjoy your sweet potato creme brûlée!! I sure do!
Store covered leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. As mentioned, I like to eat this cold for breakfast the next day, but you can quickly put it under the broil again to warm up.
- If you like, substitute the white sugar you mash with the sweet potatoes with brown sugar.
- For individual creme brulees, you can follow these steps but use ramekins instead of a casserole dish. Check them after 30 to 40 minutes.
- You can use canned sweet potatoes or canned yams instead of fresh sweet potatoes. However, they’re usually already flavored, so you might not want to add as much of the other ingredients. Add a little and taste test to see if it needs more cinnamon and sugar.
- Another option is to substitute sweet potato for fresh pumpkin.
- If you like, garnish with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry or fresh fruit.
- You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the mashed sweet potato for added flavor.
- I use sugar in the custard. But you could use Stevia or Monk Fruit or your favorite sweetener instead to make this a ‘sugar-free’ dish, except there is brown sugar on top, of course. These substitutes are much sweeter than sugar so some experimentation may be necessary to get the right taste.
Check out these other terrific Thanksgiving treats:
Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe From Scratch
Pumpkin Praline Cake With Cream Cheese Icing
Italian Cream Cake with Pecan Cream Cheese Icing
For Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- If you like, you can cook the sweet potatoes the day before you are ready to make the dish and store them in the fridge overnight. Bake at 425 until tender in the middle (around 15-25 minutes). This allows the skin to fall right off the next day.2 large sweet potatoes
- Place the sweet potato filling ingredients into a large bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread into the bottom of a baking dish and set it aside.2 large sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 eggs
- Place all of the custard ingredients into a medium-heavy saucepot (or transfer to one before heating) and stir well. Place over medium-low heat and whisk constantly for five minutes or until just warm. It will be very runny.2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream, 1/2 cup white sugar, 4 large egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Using a measuring cup, gently scoop and pour the custard over the sweet potatoes.
- Place the baking dish in the center of a larger baking dish and pour water into the larger dish until it is about an inch deep.
- Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Carefully remove it from the oven and remove the baking dish from the water. Allow it to cool by placing it on a heavy dish towel or wire rack. Once cool, cover with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Before serving, remove it from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for half an hour. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top and turn the oven to low broil. Place the dish on a baking sheet and put it in the oven, about 5 inches from the broiler, for 5-7 minutes, or until the sugar is mostly melted. Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the sugar to harden. Note: Not all of the sugar will melt but it will form a thin coat across the top of the dish.1/3 cup brown sugar
Every day is a holiday, every meal is a banquet!
~unknown, submitted by John (thanks, John!)
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can you make ahead, freeze it, then thaw and complete the last steps?
Hi Linda, I haven’t frozen it but I have made it ahead, put it in the fridge for 3 or 4 days then sprinkled on the brown sugar and broiled it. Remember to keep an eye on it when broiling. It always goes faster than you think.
Read as many comments as I could and have not found what size pan you are using. Please let me know.
A 9 x 13in dish would work just fine. Hope you absolutely love it!!
You are so right about the sweet taters being baked instead of boiled. They definitely do taste much better! Learned that the hard way!
I am glad you agree. Lots of trial and error for me too!
Hello! I LOVED this recipe!! I did use stevia and egg beaters in the potato mix and real sugar in the custard. I also took a challenge and substituted 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 cup of egg nog =P It turned out great and was soooo delicious. My picky daughter even liked it! Thank you so much for sharing. I am going to try your peanut butter pie next!
Oh WOW, I am so glad you enjoyed it and I love hearing about your substitutions!!!
does this have to cool before placing under broiler? i mean, can you finish the dish without waiting?
This looks and sounds delicious. I will have to try. Love sweet potatoes any way you prepare them, so I’m sure it will be a hit with me–not so sure about the rest of the family. I will try it for Thanksgiving.