The best part is, there's no reason to choose just one. 

By Tiffany Stevens
November 18, 2019

There’s plenty of culinary disagreements that can crop up around the Thanksgiving dinner table, but none so fraught as the debate over how best to top a sweet potato casserole. The sweet side dish is a battleground for pecan lovers and marshmallow enthusiasts, as well as for those who enjoy the sweet crunch of cornflakes. But there’s no need to be a loyalist to any one of these classics. There’s plenty of room for all toppings in the casserole dish, as well as for trying out something new altogether. To help you figure out how best to adorn your sweet potatoes, we’ve rounded up our favorite finishers. Use this guide to help shake up your usual feast day routine, or to find a new twist on your most familiar method. 

Photo: Johnny Miller; Styling: Sarah Smart

How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Get the Recipes: Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole, Quick Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Marshmallows provide a toasty, sweet, gooey topping to an already saccharine dish, and it’s a sure favorite with adults and children alike. For this topping, simply sprinkle mini marshmallows over the top of your dish after baking your casserole, and place back in a 350° oven for five minutes or until browned. Serve warm. If you’d like to add a little something extra, sprinkle the marshmallows with cinnamon or nutmeg, or scatter some sliced almonds over the top of the casserole along with the marshmallows.

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel

Get the Recipes: Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole, Gingersnap Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping 

Streusel can be a fantastic way to finish off a sweet potato casserole. The sweet, crumbly topping can be greatly enhanced a number of ways: by adding nuts like pecans, almonds, or walnuts, or by crumbling in a favorite cookie like gingersnaps. But it’s plenty tempting on its own. To make a streusel, combine a half-cup of flour and a half-cup of brown sugar. Cut in a quarter-cup of cold butter—either by hand or by using a pastry blender—until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then sprinkle on top and bake along with the casserole. If you don’t want the streusel mixture to get too brown, you can cover the pan with foil until the last 10 or 15 minutes. 

How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole Topped with Coconut Flakes

Get the Recipe: Tropical Sweet Potato Casserole

Coconut flakes can be a fun twist on sweet potato casserole, especially if you’re concerned about nut allergens and are not the biggest fan of marshmallows. To make this topping, simply top your casserole with flaked coconut before placing the uncooked dish in the oven. Use it to enhance a tropical variety of sweet potato casserole, such as this recipe that uses both crushed pineapple and bananas. 

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole Topped with Corn Flakes 

Get the Recipe: Triple Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

If streusel isn’t your speed, but you still want something with a bit of contrasting texture, try corn flakes cereal. This tasty topping is slightly sweetened with brown sugar and often combined with pecans or almonds. Sprinkle the mixture over your casserole and bake the entire thing in the oven. 

If you can’t decide between toppings, feel free to combine them. Sprinkle a row of cornflakes diagonally and bake the casserole. Five minutes before it’s finished, take the casserole out of the oven and sprinkle on some marshmallows. You can even complement the sweet morsels with coconut flakes before returning the dish to the oven until melted. By combining the most popular toppings for sweet potato casserole, you’ll be able to please everyone. 

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