This Vegan Sweet Potato Pie is just like the Southern classic, but made without the dairy and eggs. Sweet, creamy, and perfect for a celebration!
Both sweet potatoes and sweet potato pie are classic Black foods, especially in the South. While the traditional sweet potato pie recipe is made with milk or heavy cream, butter, and eggs, I’ve swapped all three out to make a vegan sweet potato pie that’s every bit as delicious as the original!
The Significance of Sweet Potatoes in Black Cooking
In many parts of West Africa, yams are a staple food. The tuber is grown in tropical environments, so enslaved Africans brought to the Americas substituted sweet potatoes, which can be cultivated in milder North American climates.
Although many people think yams and sweet potatoes are related, they’re actually different in flavour, appearance, and texture. Despite this, sweet potatoes became a just as much of a staple in Black American cooking as yams were in West Africa.
Sweet potato pie is a poignant reminder of what the slave trade took from our people, and also the uncomfortable ways it forced enslaved populations to innovate and make do with what they had.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Garnet sweet potatoes – There are two types of sweet potatoes: moist and dry. You want moist sweet potatoes for this recipe, which are red or orange. I prefer the garnet variety for their color and natural sweetness.
- Coconut milk – Use the kind from the can, not the refrigerated cartons.
- Vegan butter – You could use coconut oil, but vegan butter gives your pie an irresistible buttery flavour.
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground ginger
- Maple syrup – Or use agave if you prefer.
- Sea salt
- Cane or brown sugar – Either one will work in this recipe, but I prefer brown sugar for its molasses flavour.
- Vanilla extract
- Pie crust – Use your favourite recipe or try my Vegan Pie Crust
How to Make Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
Here’s how to make your own plant-based sweet potato pie at home:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
Pre-bake the crust. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, then place a piece of parchment paper onto the top of the crust and fill it with pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes, then let it cool.
Bake the sweet potatoes. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F/200°C. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork, rub them with oil, and bake them on a foil, parchment, or silicone lined baking sheet for 50 to 60 minutes, or until they’re tender.
Puree the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cooled, peel them and puree them in a food processor until they’re smooth.
Make the filling. Combine the puree with the remaining pie ingredients, either in a large mixing bowl or in the food processor. Stir or process until smooth, then cover with a kitchen towel and let the mixture sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
Bake. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F/180°C and pour the filling into the pie crust. Tap lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles, then bake for 60 minutes.
Cool. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
Serve. Slice and serve with coconut whipped cream.
Why Is My Sweet Potato Pie So Soft?
Vegan sweet potato pie has a different texture than sweet potato pie made with eggs. They’re both soft, but in different ways—traditional sweet potato pie has a pudding-like consistency similar to pumpkin pie, while vegan sweet potato is creamier and more puree-like.
Tips for Success
These simple hints and tips will help you make a perfect vegan sweet potato pie:
- Bake the pie as far from the heat as possible. Depending on your oven design, this could mean positioning a rack at the very bottom of the oven or in the top position.
- Know when it’s done. The pie won’t be completely set when it’s done, and that’s okay! It will continue to set as it cools. The middle will be a little bit jiggly when you pull it out of the oven.
- Using a store-bought crust. Not all store-bought pie crusts are vegan, but if you can find one, you can definitely use that instead of making your own.
How to Store
You can wrap your vegan sweet potato pie in the dish or transfer leftovers to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Wrap the sweet potato pie well or transfer it to an airtight container; it can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
- 2 lb garnet sweet potatoes (907g) results in about 3 cups of cooked sweet potato puree
- ¾ cup coconut milk from the can the thick creamy white portion only (172g)
- ¼ cup melted vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cup maple syrup (68g)
- ½ cup cane sugar (100g)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup cornstarch (38g)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vegan pie crust
MAKE THE PIE CRUST AND SET ASIDE
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Prepare pie crust. Prick the bottom with a fork lightly, then add pie weights into a parchment paper onto pie crust. Pre-bake pie crust for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool fully. Set aside.
SWEET POTATO PIE FILLING
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Place the sweet potatoes on foil or parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, stab them all over with a fork and lightly oil the sweet potatoes. Bake for 50-60 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes (it should easily come off) and place the sweet potatoes into a food processor. Blend until fully smooth and a puree.
- In a large bowl, add the pureed sweet potato and add all the pie ingredients. Alternatively, you can add the pie ingredients over the sweet potato puree in the food processor (to avoid another bowl).
- Mix/blend everything together well until cornstarch is completely whisked out.
- Leave this to set for 15-30 minutes on the counter with a kitchen towel covering the container to allow ingredients to completely meld together. To me, it tastes even better when ingredients are left to sit a bit.
- Lower the temperature to 350°F/180°C. Pour the batter into the cooled and pre-baked pie crust. Tap lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 60 minutes in the oven on the lower shelf or highest shelf depending on your oven (furthest away from heat). The center should be slightly wobbly.
- Remove from the oven carefully and let set and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Move the pie to your fridge and let it finish setting in the fridge for at least 4 to 6 hours, ideally overnight. Remove and cut the pie and serve. Dollop each slice with delicious vegan coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!