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Granny Alexander's Famous Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Updated on October 01, 2014
A sweet potato pie I made for for a potluck in November 2011.
A sweet potato pie I made for for a potluck in November 2011. | Source

How to make the best sweet potato pie you've ever tasted!

One of my favorite Thanksgiving treats is having a piece of homemade sweet potato pie with my dinner.

My paternal grandmother, Tiny Alexander, was known for making the best sweet potato pies in Los Angeles. Thank goodness she shared her pie recipe with her daughter-in-law (my mother), who has since given it to me.

Get ready for some mouth-watering authentic Southern cooking!

My grandmother, Tiny Blackwell Alexander, with her husband and 15 of her 16 children.

My grandmother, Tiny Blackwell Alexander, with her husband and 15 of her 16 children.
My grandmother, Tiny Blackwell Alexander, with her husband and 15 of her 16 children.

All the ingredients for a sweet potato pie

All the ingredients for a sweet potato pie
All the ingredients for a sweet potato pie

Here's Granny's recipe!

You can double or triple,or quadruple the recipe, depending on how many pies you want to make at a time.

The ingredients in the bowl.  The sweet potato has already been boiled and peeled.
The ingredients in the bowl. The sweet potato has already been boiled and peeled.
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 1 hour 15 min
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: 6-8
The oven settings for Granny Alexander's sweet potato pie.
The oven settings for Granny Alexander's sweet potato pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick of soft butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
The pie when I first put it in the oven.
The pie when I first put it in the oven.

Instructions

  1. Boil the sweet potato until it is soft and tender on the inside (approx. 10-20 minutes).
  2. Peel the sweet potato and remove any coarse strings.
  3. Add the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, and nutmeg.
  4. Beat or mix well with mixer.
  5. Bake in pie crust shell at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes up clean from the center (about one hour 15 minutes or until done).
  6. Allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.
3.7 stars from 6 ratings of Granny Alexander's Famous Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Sweet potatoes are an important part of African-American cooking

Photo of sweet potatoes from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Miya.
Photo of sweet potatoes from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Miya.

Sweet potatoes are a native plant in the Americas. When Africans were brought to the New World, they embraced the sweet potato because it was similar to a plant they knew back home, the yam. Sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same plant, not even in the same genus, but they were similar enough to become very popular with African-Americans.

"Africans in the South knew the yam...from their homeland and the two tubers have become virtually interchangeable in Southern cooking. Most Southern sweet potato recipes have been developed by blacks from their traditional cuisine..." -- Bill Neal in his book Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie.

Sweet potato pie vs. Pumpkin pie

Wikipedia's entry on sweet potato pie says that sweet potato pie is "similar in many ways to pumpkin pie." They may be similar, but a lot of people have a definite preference between the two. Do you?

Which pie do you like to see on your own holiday table?

Which kind of pie do you prefer, sweet potato or pumpkin?

Sweet potato!

Sweet potato!

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    • Brenda 3 months ago

      This is absolutely great for two reasons 1)I knew Mother Tiny Alexander and doubt had a taste of her pies at church festivities and 2) I can bake my own pie with Mother Alexander's recipe. Thanks Joan for being selfless and sharing this family treasure.

    • poetryman6969 22 months ago

      Pumpkin is nastee!

      Sweet, sweet potato!

    • anonymous 2 years ago

      How about carrot pie? A black muslim bakery in oakland made it. Haven't found it elsewhere. Any recipes out there? Pumpkin pie is an old cliché. Sweet potato all the way.

    • atkinsfelicia 3 years ago

      Omg...by far sweet potato pie!!! Never been a fan of pumpkin. Sweet Potato has been a long time family tradition.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Come on...Sweet Potato all the way!!!!

    • samuel2013 4 years ago

      sweet potato. but back in the day, they tasted better with homemade churned butter and fresh milk and eggs from out back. nothing comes close to what made the pies famous long time ago.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I don't pumpkin pie so I will take sweet potato pie any day. I will try this recipe. Thanks

    • Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I love sweet potato pie. The yams are so sweet, I hardly need add any sugar to get a wonderfully tasty pie. That's not to say I don't love pumpkin, too, or butternut squash pie either! Yum to them all!

    • Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      @Cynthia - I've had sweet potato pie with cinnamon in it and enjoyed it very much, but Granny's is still my favorite.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I AM GOING TO TRY THIS BUT, I SEE YOU HAVE NO BROWN SUGAR OR CINNAMON IN IT

    • Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Must I choose? I never met a pie I didn't like (except for maybe Humble lol).

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I am going to make me one today.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      oh, if you have not tried sweet potato pie.... give it a chance, it's sooo amazing. you will love it!!

    • Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Give me Sweet Potato Pie right now!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Now that I've made you Granny Alexander Sweet Potato Pie, I'm sold! This is the best pie I've ever had! I'm going to bake 30 of them to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving. God Bless You for sharing your wonderful Granny's recipe!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Homemade sweet potato pie any day and time. Not interested in the distinct flavor of pumpkin pie.

    • shandigp 5 years ago

      well, I haven't had sweet potato pie before but I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, so I say sweet potato!

    • Wendy Henderson 6 years ago from PA

      I'm a Sweet Potato Fan

    • Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Yummy yammy. No, yummy sweet potato pie. Yep, sweet potato.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      sweet potatoes

    Pumpkin!

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      • aquarian_insight 5 years ago

        I choose pumpkin, but only because I haven't tried sweet potato pie!

      • Nicole 5 years ago from Bethel, CT

        I chose Pumpkin but I love both of them!!! I just don't like pumpkin pie that has too many spices in it! That's one thing sweet potato pie doesn't have :) oops maybe Im voting for the wrong one lol

      • giddygabby 5 years ago

        I love 'em both, but if I have to choose, I'll take pumpkin, long as it's made from a fresh sugar pie pumpkiin--not that canned goop!

      • blanckj 5 years ago

        I can't say that I've tried sweet potato.

      • ItsAngel LM 6 years ago

        That's a hard decision,

      • happynutritionist 6 years ago

        I only say pumpkin because it is what I'm used too, but would LOVE to try some sweet potato pie...thanks for the interesting info on yams vs sweet potatoes, I love yams too. Sweet Potato Pie with a bit of vanilla ice cream sounds yummy right now! Lovely lens.

      • Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

        I crave pumpkin pie in the fall, but certainly wouldn't turn down an offer of a piece of sweet potato pie.

      My hope is to pass this recipe on someday

      to a daughter-in-law of my own.

      © 2010 Joan Hall

      So glad you dropped by for dessert! - Feel free to leave a comment!

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          poetryman6969 22 months ago

          I agree with the folks who say you have to have brown sugar and cinnamon. Voted you up mostly for not being that nasty pumpkin pie!

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          Sylvia 2 years ago from Corpus Christi, Texas

          This sounds like a little taste of heaven! I've always wondered about the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pie and now I see that one is the spices used are different. I will definitely give this a try. I'm intrigued by how much vanilla this has. Thanks for sharing Granny Alexander's recipe. This is a great way to immortalize the recipes that are passed down to us.

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          atkinsfelicia 3 years ago

          Need to give credit where it's due...this is the best sweet potato pie I have ever made. It's been a part of my family tradition before I was born, to bake these around the holidays. I've earned from my mom & looking at your simple ingredients & instructions, I was able to perfect my own. Thank you so much for sharing your family recipe & history. Happy Holidays!!!

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          Melissa Miotke 4 years ago from Arizona

          This looks yummy!

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          samuel2013 4 years ago

          good stuff

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

          Sure glad you shared your special family recipe. Makes the pie more special when it has heritage as the primary ingredient. Loved the family photo, too. Here's to the future daughter-in-law who will receive the blessing of this recipe and family tradition.

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          Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

          I tried your recipe and it is delicious!

        • DesignedbyLisa LM profile image

          DesignedbyLisa LM 5 years ago

          This looks super tasty! Hopefully I will be able to try it out soon.

        • Deadicated LM profile image

          Deadicated LM 5 years ago

          Nice meeting you on Google+, thanks for being a part of the "23 Squidoo Circle".

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          DebMartin 5 years ago

          I love the sweet potato! Never had a sweet potato pie though. Thanks for the recipe. It sounds easy enough and I bet it will be better than pumpkin pie.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          You are such a wonderful person. It is always good to leave a treasure for your family. You have started such a special gift to be passed on from one generation to another. Have wonderful day. I have enjoyed your lens.

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          kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

          Thanksgiving Day angel blessings **Enjoy the holidays**

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          Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          This looks and sounds a lot like my mother in law's recipe. I will have to compare. I haven't made it in awhile since I am the only one that usually eats it but I sure love it and love the way you presented this page of your Granny Alexander's Famous Sweet Potato Pie

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          giddygabby 5 years ago

          P.S. Thank you for sharing the picture of grandmother and her beautiful family, as well as a bit of history of the sweet potato and yam.

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          giddygabby 5 years ago

          Thank you so much for including my whole wheat pie crust on your page! I do love pies of all kinds. I made your sweet potato pie last fall, and I'm planning on making another real soon. Have to admit, though, I substituted heavy cream for the evaporated milk. It was so-o-o-o rich!

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          blanckj 5 years ago

          Something different is always welcome.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I haven't yet tried sweet potato pie. Would love to see a few more photos of the cooking and prep part.

        • justholidays profile image

          justholidays 6 years ago

          Looks and sound a yummy recipe! I've always wanted to eat sweet potato pie but I'm a zero in the kitchen, therefore, I need an easy recipe to make and found one!

          Thanks for sharing!

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          Wendy Henderson 6 years ago from PA

          This looks great Joan! I can't wait to try it out.

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          resabi 6 years ago

          Love the lens and thank you for introducing me to the recipe module. I really have to get out more...

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          Vikki 6 years ago from US

          Sounds yummy. Don't you just love the way the new recipe module looks? Very professional and cool!

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          puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

          No one in our family has a super duper recipe like this. I will bookmark it and give it a try. Maybe I'll be the one to have a keeper!

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          Author

          Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

          @paperfacets: Out of my grandmother's 16 kids, one died at age 16 in a car accident. The rest all lived on and had children. My father was #11.

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          Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

          My great grandmother had 16. One son died at nineteen on the farm in South Dakota. My grandpa was the very youngest. His physical traits were his Mom's and so he past on the Irish look and some habits too.

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          Pat 6 years ago from Midwest, USA

          This is a great lens. I'm going to lensroll it and feature it on my Sweet Potato Lens.

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          Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

          Thanks for posting the recipe. Good sweet potato pie is hard to find.

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          giddygabby 6 years ago

          Thank you so much for including my Tender Flaky Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe on your page. I love sweet potato pie, but I've never made one. You've inspire me, and I'm going to pick up some sweet potatoes next time I do my grocery shopping.

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          happynutritionist 6 years ago

          I'm not sure my "duel" post went through, but just want to say I appreciate the info on sweet potato pie, and would like to try making some this year!

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          eclecticeducati1 6 years ago

          Sounds yummy! Blessed by an Angel.

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          LotusMalas 6 years ago

          This looks fabulously delicious! I must add it to my Fall baking spree!

        • Virginia Allain profile image

          Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

          Sounds quite yummy! I wonder how it would taste with a graham cracker crust?

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