The Savvy Marketing That Put Marshmallows on Your Sweet Potato Casserole

If you’re an American, you’re probably used to seeing marshmallows on top of your traditional Thanksgiving dish of sweet potato casserole. Even if your family didn’t do it that way, you know someone who does.

For those outside the states, the idea of a gooey marshmallow topping with a savory dish of potatoes probably seems like something that would result from one of those cooking contests where you have to cook from a vending machine. One of my favorite sites, Atlas Obscura has uncovered the origins of this strange and wonderful tradition.


Like many holiday traditions (that round red-cheeked Santa & Rudolph), it all goes back to a smart marketing campaign.  This fun site traces the beginning of the marshmallow topping from a 1915 cookbook and follows it through community cookbooks. It even has the original recipes.  There’s even an alternate recipe made with plantains.

Interestingly, one of my favorite recipes for cranberries came from Campfire. It involves cranberry sauce, Cool Whip, Pineapple, and mini marshmallows. Darn.  I should have made that this year.

It also makes an interesting topic of conversation over leftovers. Enjoy.

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