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Granny Alexander's Famous Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

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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.

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 timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

1 hour 15 min

2 hours

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.

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?

© 2010 Joan Hall

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

poetryman6969 on May 10, 2015:

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!

Sylvia from Corpus Christi, Texas on October 01, 2014:

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.

atkinsfelicia on November 25, 2013:

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!!!

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on November 19, 2012:

This looks yummy!

samuel2013 on November 07, 2012:

good stuff

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 03, 2012:

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.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on April 16, 2012:

I tried your recipe and it is delicious!

DesignedbyLisa LM on December 20, 2011:

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

Deadicated LM on December 15, 2011:

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

DebMartin on December 03, 2011:

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.

anonymous on December 03, 2011:

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.

kimbesa from USA on November 24, 2011:

Thanksgiving Day angel blessings **Enjoy the holidays**

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on November 21, 2011:

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

giddygabby on August 22, 2011:

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.

giddygabby on August 22, 2011:

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!

blanckj on June 02, 2011:

Something different is always welcome.

anonymous on May 02, 2011:

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

justholidays on February 21, 2011:

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!

Wendy Henderson from PA on December 03, 2010:

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

resabi on December 02, 2010:

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

Vikki from US on December 02, 2010:

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

puzzlerpaige on November 29, 2010:

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!

Joan Hall (author) from Los Angeles on November 24, 2010:

@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.

Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on November 24, 2010:

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.

Pat from Midwest, USA on November 21, 2010:

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

Ann Hinds from So Cal on November 21, 2010:

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

giddygabby on November 10, 2010:

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.

happynutritionist on September 27, 2010:

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!

eclecticeducati1 on September 24, 2010:

Sounds yummy! Blessed by an Angel.

LotusMalas on September 24, 2010:

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

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on September 24, 2010:

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