Celebrating My Black History: How to Bake a Sweet Potato Pie

When I was a little girl, I loved to bake for my family and friends. I made cookies and cakes because it seemed like that brought joy to the people around me. Most of the time I would bake in the kitchen at my grandma’s side while she would make dinner. Around Thanksgiving, my grandma’s talent would really shine because not only would she make a delicious meal, she would also make sweet potato pies! In my house we could only have them once a year so everyone in my family would anxiously wait for Thanksgiving to have these pies. My grandma would always have me help her mix the sweet potato pie and help to pour the mixture into frozen pie crusts. To me this is my Black history.

During Black History Month, we have the opportunity to celebrate the lives, accomplishments, and resilience of Black people. We celebrate those from our past and present so we can look ahead to the future. I share my story because my grandma did not learn how to make sweet potato pies by herself. She learned from her mom just like her mom learned from her mother. The recipe has transcended generations of Black women to get to me. Every time I bake sweet potato pie I am honoring myself and my ancestors (my family who lived before me). My grandma shared her recipe with me and I created my own version of it to share with you! May baking this pie bring joy to all who make it, from my family to yours!

Also, many people make different versions of sweet potato pie. Some use brown instead of white sugar or evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed. Some even add lemon juice! So come back to the recipe later to try adding new ingredients. Grandma’s advice is to just bake the pie in anyway that makes you happy so have fun!

How to Make Sweet Potato Pie*


Making a sweet potato pie is fun but requires adult supervision. Make sure to work with an adult to help with

each of the the baking steps to make creating the sweet potato pie safe and easy.

Baking Utensils



Mixing Bowl

Immersion Blender, if unavailable use spatula.


2 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 ½ Cup White granulated sugar

3 Eggs

2-3 tsp vanilla extract

1 Cup Salted Butter

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

A pack of frozen pie crusts

2-3 Cans of sweet potatoes or 2-3 whole sweet potatoes*

*This depends on how much you want to make. Three cans makes 3 pies. When using whole sweet potatoes it depends on the size of each potato and this can vary how many pies can be made.

Step 1:

Have an adult preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gather the needed ingredients.

Spices, vanilla extract, a can of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and two sticks of butter in front of a stand mixer on top of a brown wooden table.

Step 2:

For the sweet potatoes, empty the sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to blend the potatoes into a mixture. Once completely mixed, set aside.

*For whole sweet potatoes: Have an adult peel and dice the sweet potatoes, then boil them on high heat for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Once soft, drain the potatoes, let cool then follow step two.

A stand mixer with mashed sweet potatoes in the mixing bowl.

Step 3:

Add the condensed milk and eggs into the potato mixture. Mix until well blended.

Mashed sweet potato mixture with condensed milk and eggs on top inside of a stand mixer bowl.

Step 4:

In a separate medium saucepan, have an adult combine the vanilla extract, butter, and sugar over medium-high heat. Stir semi-frequently to dissolve sugar. Once completely melted and the sugar is mostly dissolved, set the mixture away from heat.

Melted butter in a pot on top of a stove with a hand holding a blue spatula stirring the butter.

Step 5:

Now have an adult take the butter mixture and add it to the potato mixture. Use a spatula to mix the two until the butter mixture is well blended into potatoes. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Use the immersion blender to smooth the ingredients together. Careful of over mixing!

Melted butter in a pot about to be poured into sweet potato mixture in stand mixer bowl.
Immersion blender blending sweet potato mixture in stand mixer bowl.

Step 6

Finally, with an adult, pour the potato mixture into frozen pie crusts. Even as a grown up it is hard not to spill! Bake the pies for an hour. Once removed place a toothpick into the middle of the pie. If it is clean then the pie is done. If not, then try baking the pie 10 minutes longer until the pie is done.

Pie mixture being poured from stand mixer bowl into a frozen pie crust.

Last Step

Let the pie cool for 2 hours or overnight, then cut, and enjoy!

A fully baked sweet potato pie on top of a brown wooden table.

How do you and your family celebrate Black History Month? Share your stories or pies with @ican.radio!

Still have a bunch of eggs? Check out this brownie recipe from ICAN Radio and learn the importance of math in baking.