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Patti Labelle’s Sweet Potato Pie

A delicious Southern pie made with simple ingredients, Sweet Potato Pie is the ultimate traditional treat! Miss Patti’s signature pie is made with flavorful Louisiana yams, sweet butter, creamy half and half, and warm spice! Try our other pie recipes like this Buttermilk Pie and this Kool-Aid Pie!

A top down shot of a sweet potato pie slice on a plate with whipped cream with the full pie nearby.

There are few recipes in this world more delicious than a sweet potato pie. I mean, come on y’all! Buttery pie crust, smooth earthy filling, and a sweet dollop of cream on top? There’s just no better bite in the whole world!

I have many sweet potato pie recipes but this one is incredibly unique and guaranteed to be delicious. Changing one singular ingredient in a pie recipe can change its entire flavor makeup. I highly encourage you to try out a few and find out which suits you best!

PATTI LABELLE SWEET POTATO PIE RECIPE

Today’s recipe comes to us from none other than THE diva herself: Patti LaBelle. Known for her talent on the microphone and in the kitchen, Patti’s pie recipes are just as iconic as they are delicious.

Patti got her signature sweet potato pie recipe from her best friend Norma Gordon Harris. Each bite of this classic southern pie is buttery, earthy, sweet, and creamy. This is a great pie to serve for the holidays, dinner parties, or special Sunday dinners!

BROWN SUGAR PIE CRUST

So, what sets this pie apart from the rest? This sweet potato pie has a thin layer of brown sugar on the bottom crust. This “black bottom” doesn’t just add a caramelized flavor but it also helps keep the filling from making the crust soggy.

This genius hack makes this recipe super unique and extra sweet!

An overhead of sweet potatoes, butter, sugars and spices with an unbaked pie crust before making a pie.

SWEET POTATO PIE INGREDIENTS

Quality of ingredients is everything when making a pie. A simple recipe will always taste best when made with fresh, high-quality food. This pie is no exception to that.

  • Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes or Louisiana Yams are sweet, creamy, and colorful. For a deeper flavor, you can opt to slow roast your sweet potatoes in the oven rather than boil them.
  • Unsalted Butter offers a sweet taste and smooth texture. It’s not necessary but a high-quality European style butter does add a special touch.
  • Light Brown Sugar and granulated sugar both add sweetness but by using both of them we introduce contrast in flavor.
  • Eggs should be as fresh as possible and at room temperature when ready to use.
  • Half and Half adds a smooth silkiness to the filling. If you’re in a pinch, you can use a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. Use ¼ cream for every ¾ milk.
  • Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg layer in earthy flavor and warmth.
Sweet potato filling being mixed together ready to enjoy.

HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO PIE FROM SCRATCH

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of baking homemade sweet potato pie; it’s simpler to make than you’d think. You’ll need to make a homemade crust, which is probably the hardest, most time consuming part but with practice it gets easier. 

Still unsure? Watch my step by step video  on how to make the best pie crust ever! 

Here’s what you’re gonna need to do to make the creamiest, butteriest sweet potato pie ever: 

  1. BLIND BAKE THE CRUST- Custard fillings can often cause a soggy bottom on your crust. To avoid that, we blind bake the crust, creating a firm barrier for the filling to bake on. Bake until the pie dough is set and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. If the pie shell puffs, do not prick it.
  2. PREPARE POTATOES-  You’ll need to boil, peel, and mash the sweet potatoes before making the filling. This can take some time so I suggest doing this first.
Sweet potatoes being peeled on a wooden sheet.
  • MAKE THE FILLING – Once the crust has been prepared, use an electric mixer on low speed to mix the mashed sweet potatoes, melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Brown and white sugar in a bowl with sweet potato and butter before mixing together against a gray background.
  • ADD FILLING TO PIE – Keep going until the filling is smooth. Spread into the partially baked pie shell, smoothing the top.
  • BAKE, COOL, AND SERVE- Carefully transfer the pie into the oven. Bake for about 90 minutes, or until the center of the filling comes back clean. Remove from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate whenever you’re not serving it. 
A beautiful top down shot of sweet potato pie against a gray background with a white and gray napkin.

PIE BAKING TIPS

  • Bake the Pie Properly. The texture of a sweet potato pie is similar to that of a custard pie: satiny and smooth. In order to achieve that creamy mouthfeel, keep a close eye during baking. 
  • How do I know when the pie is baked? When done, the center of the pie should have a slight jiggle; it will continue to set during the rest period. A knife inserted in the edge of the pie should come back moist, but clean. 

Give the Pie Enough Time to Rest. Okay, I know this is the worst part. Who wants to wait while a warm, tasty pie is just sitting there? But, I promise that if you cut into it too early, it’s gonna be a hot mess. For best results, let the pie sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours after baking. Then, cover loosely and rest overnight (a full 24 hours, if possible) in the refrigerator.

A slice of Patti Labelle sweet potato pie on a white plate with whipped cream ready to serve.

HOW TO STORE SWEET POTATO PIE

Sweet potato pies usually contain milk and eggs, so they are essentially baked custard pies and should be stored in the refrigerator. After baking your pie, let it cool completely. This may take about two hours- you don’t want to feel even a hint of warmth when you touch the bottom of the pie pan. Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil before refrigerating for up to three days.

A close up of a piece of Patti Labelle's Sweet potato pie on a gold fork.

CAN YOU FREEZE SWEET POTATO PIE?

You totally can! Just note that, although sweet potato pie can be frozen for up to 3 months, its texture might change a bit. Once your pie has completely cooled, wrap it securely in a few layers of plastic wrap, then wrap again in aluminum foil or place in an airtight freezer container. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight.

A slice of Patti Labelle's Sweet potato pie with whipped cream on a white plate with a nearby slice in the background
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4 from 2 votes

Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie

A delicious Southern pie made with simple ingredients, Sweet Potato Pie is the ultimate traditional treat! Miss Patti’s signature pie is made with flavorful Louisiana yams, sweet butter, creamy half and half, and warm spice!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Pie Crust

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening chilled
  • 1/3 cup ice water

For the Filling

  • 3 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes Louisiana yams
  • 8 tbsp butter melted (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

For the Crust

  • Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Add the shortening. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized bits. Stirring with the fork, gradually add enough of the water until the mixture clumps together (you may need more or less water). Gather up the dough and press into a thick disk. If desired, wrap the dough in wax paper and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Fold the dough in half. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, and gently unfold the dough to fit into the pan. Using scissors or a sharp knife, trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself so the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute the dough around the edge of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while making the filling.

For the Filling

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel the sweet potatoes and place in a medium bowl.
  • Mash with an electric mixer on medium speed until very smooth. Measure 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes, keeping any extra for another use, and set aside.

To Assemble

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Uncover the pie shell and brush the interior with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the brown sugar over the bottom of the pie shell. Bake until the pie dough is set and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. If the pie shell puffs, do not prick it.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, the remaining melted butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar, the granulated sugar, eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread into the partially baked pie shell, smoothing the top.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the filling comes out clean, about 1½ hours. Cool completely on a wire cake rack. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with whipped cream.

Notes

Sweet potato pies usually contain milk and eggs, so they are essentially baked custard pies and should be stored in the refrigerator. After baking your pie, let it cool completely. This may take about two hours- you don’t want to feel even a hint of warmth when you touch the bottom of the pie pan. Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil before refrigerating for up to three days.

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