Patti LaBelle sells a mind-boggling amount of sweet potato pies

slice of sweet potato pie on plate
Photo: Lisa J. Goodman (Getty Images)

Tick. Tick. Cha-ching. Tick. Tick. Cha-ching. That’s the sound of singer/songwriter/cookbook author Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies selling once every two seconds at Walmart. I may not be a mathamagician, but selling 36,000 sweet potato pies a day seems like an impressive feat of deliciousness.

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That’s not even the max she’s ever sold, either. In 2015, LaBelle unleashed her Sweet Potato pie in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Boosted by this viral video by YouTuber James Wright, pie sales shot through the roof at a whopping rate of one pie every second for 72 hours, reports Food & Wine. And of course (?), they ended up on the sweet potato pie black market (?) for up to $60. After that massive spike in sales, Walmart estimated that it would need around two million pounds of sweet potatoes (holy shit) to replenish their stock. Who has two million pounds of sweet potatoes just lying around?

Fortunately, the Patti LaBelle dessert lineup has expanded to include a buttermilk pie, peach cobbler, bread pudding, and banana pudding. Five years later, we’re all still going bonkers for the sweet potato pies, too.

In total, that’s around 65 million pies sold since its release, enough for every single American to have a big slice. She’s even given out the recipe since then, but people can’t get enough. I mean, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around I never want to bake either, and these are suddenly starting to sound really good. This poses a good hypothetical question: What if the Four Tops, who sang that “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” song came out with a competing pie? They can start a pie feud, and the real winners would be all of us. Because who doesn’t want more pie in the world?

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

DISCUSSION

doclawyer
Dr. Lawyer

Is sweet potato pie different from pumpkin pie? I’ve never had sweet potato, since I’m from Canada by way of New England. Someone once told me that canned pumpkin mix is mostly sweet potato. The main difference I can see is potatoes would be drier? I don’t know .I want someone to tell me.

Agree that making pie crust is a pain in the ass and I’m happy to outsource it.