Sweet Potato Pie vs. Pumpkin Pie: What’s the Difference?

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many home cooks are busy lining up what types of pies they’re going to be serving, and it’s likely that sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie are on those lists. So, what’s the difference between the two pies? Aside from the obvious — sweet potato pie is made from mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie is made from spiced pumpkin custard — there are 3 main differences: flavor, texture and preparation. When it comes to flavor, sweet potato pie has a rich natural sweetness, while pumpkin is milder and best accented by traditional spices like nutmeg, allspice, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The textural difference between the two pies puts pumpkin pie slightly ahead with an extra velvety, dense texture, while sweet potato pie has a more rustic, airy texture. As for preparing the two pies, pumpkin edges ahead as a timesaver. To make sweet potato pie, slice sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and roast or steam them until they become tender and creamy. Once they’re cool, peel and purée them with assorted spices, sugar, large eggs, and heavy cream. To make classic pumpkin pie, combine canned pumpkin purée with the seasonings, dairy, sugar, and eggs and transfer the filling to a prepared pie shell. Bake both pies until the centers are set, but slightly jiggles in the center. In the end, the best pie is the one you like best — better yet, why not bake one of each.