Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Everyone loves this healthy sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan topping. It’s lighter in sugar, absolutely delicious, vegan and gluten-free!

Sweet potato casserole has always been my FAVORITE holiday dish. Growing up my mom made it three times a year — Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter — and I was always so pumped to have it. Creamy sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy brown sugar topping = the best!

A large white oval baking dish with healthy sweet potato casserole, a gold spoon and mini pine cones for decor.

WATCH HOW TO MAKE THIS HEALTHY SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE:

Nowadays we typically spend Thanksgiving with Isaac’s family and they do the sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. I like them okay, but I miss the crunchy, oatmeal pecan topping. This shouldn’t be too surprising given my obsession with all things crunchy. Btw, if you’re looking for a healthy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, this looks like a good one to try.

Anyhow, I finally decided to use my mom’s classic recipe as a guide to make a healthy sweet potato casserole that’s made with better for you ingredients but not so “healthy” you don’t feel comfortable sharing it with family for a holiday meal. You know what I mean here, right? There are certain healthy recipes that I make for myself and Isaac and I LOVE them but I wouldn’t bring them to a party or a holiday dinner. This sweet potato casserole isn’t one of those recipes. It’s meant to be shared.

My mom’s recipe uses canned yams, white sugar, white flour, eggs and butter. With a few small tweaks I was able to make a healthier version that’s also vegan and gluten-free!

A white baking dish with healthy sweet potato casserole with a gold spoon scooping out a portion.

I used fresh sweet potatoes, oat (or almond) flour and oatmeal for the topping, coconut oil and flaxseed to replace the butter and eggs, and maple syrup instead of white sugar to sweeten the filling. The one thing I didn’t change was the brown sugar for the topping. I wanted to make sure it still came out crunchy like the original version so I stuck with organic brown sugar. Coconut sugar might works well too if you happen to have that on hand.

We LOVE this healthy version of sweet potato casserole so much… maybe even a tiny bit more than mom’s, but we’ll keep that a secret.

I hope you love it as much as we do.

Overhead shot of a white baking dish with sweet potato casserole with a gold spoon scooping out a portion.

If you make this healthy sweet potato casserole be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers!

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sweet potato casserole with a fork in it

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

You (and your family) will love this healthy sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan topping. It’s lighter in sugar, absolutely delicious, vegan and gluten-free!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 cups sweet potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or regular)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour or almond flour
  • 34 tablespoons coconut oil, in solid form

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place the chunks in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain well and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a little cooking spray on a 9×13 or 9×9 inch casserole dish.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the pecans, oats, oat flour, and brown sugar. Cut in coconut oil with a fork or knife until the mixture is sandy with pea-sized chunks of oil. Set aside.
  4. Place sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them with fork before adding coconut milk, maple syrup, oil, flaxseed, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined.
  5. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle on the brown sugar and pecan mixture. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are bubbling.
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/16 of recipe
  • Calories: 237
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 3g

Keywords: sweet potato casserole, vegan sweet potato casserole, gluten free sweet potato casserole, healthy sweet potato casserole, healthy thanksgiving recipe

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    63 comments
  1. Thank you, Brittany. The combination of sweet potato + maple syrup + vanilla + cinnamon + nutmeg + pecans is a match made in heaven. I’ve added this recipe to a mini sweet potato recipe roundup for flexitarians.

  2. Goood day!This is kid off off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
    Is it tough to seet upp your own blog? I’m nnot very techincal but I can figure things out
    pretty quick. I’mthinking about creating my ownn bbut I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips
    or suggestions? Appreciate it

  3. Hi, saw this on Instagram, great!
    I’m european though, and it seems
    confusing, is this casserole a dessert,
    or a side dish for main meal
    One comment was for breakfast?
    how would you
    catagorise it! Thanks

    • Mairi-a: A sweet potato casserole is a traditional side dish for a main meal, especially a meal for the holidays or for a social event in the U.S. There are many traditional American recipes for sweet potato pie, which is a dessert and would contain very similar ingredients (brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, etc.). The chief difference is pastry dough for pie, and only a streusel topping for the casserole.

      Breakfast casseroles are not as popular in the U.S. as sweetened cereal, but we typically make them egg-based, similar to quiche and are often light on vegetables and heavy on meat. Having this sweet potato casserole for breakfast is not a traditional suggestion, but a very good way to increase the consumption of vegetables.

      Older, more traditional American recipes tend to emphasize sweet preparations with this particular root vegetable, but other cultures tend to prepare them with more savory ingredients.

  4. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving, and it was great! I loved the flavor of the sweet potatoes and the crunchy topping. Delicious, and healthier than so may other recipe. A keeper – I will definitely make it again.

  5. Made your sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. It camer out delicious! I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe. I roasted the sweet potatoes to add in the carmelized flavor. Worked great! I omitted the coconut oil and used almond butter for the topping. I omitted the coconut oil in the sweet potato mixture and replaced with a homemade walnut butter since it adds a buttery flavor. Worked great making it ahead then adding the prepared crumb topping just before putting in the oven.

    Initially, I planned to double the recipe, but due to sick guests cancelling after I baked the sweet potatoes, I’m going to make the second batch today and freeze it. I think I’ll freeze it in a zip lock bag molded to the size of the baking dish so it won’t have to be defrosted to fit the dish.

    Definitely a keeper recipe! Thank you for taking the time to create such a wonderful recipe.

  6. Just put this in the oven for the second year because it was such a big hit last year. Doubled the recipe this year so we’d have plenty!

  7. We tried this new recipe for our family Thanksgiving. Now that we have a dairy-free nephew, we have to give up our old (butter-filled) recipes and search out new ones. THIS ONE IS AWESOME!!! Give it a try with your families this year! You won’t be disappointed.

    …and leftovers made an amazing breakfast today 😉

    • Yay!! This makes me so happy, Allison. And I’m totally with ya on having the leftovers for breakfast. That might be the best part about making this. Also, thank you so much for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it and I know other readers will appreciate it as well. 🙂

  8. Please help!!! This is my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe and I just went to look at it again because I plan on making it for Easter and the recipe isn’t coming up. I used my phone and the computer so I’m thinking it’s not just me. Can you please send me the recipe or try to get it loaded back onto this page? It will be greatly appreciated 🙂 Thanks!

    • Hi Becky! Thanks so much for letting me know about the recipe issue. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience, but the recipe is updated now! I hope you enjoy the casserole this weekend. Happy Easter.

  9. This was my favourite recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole, I last made it at Christmas, but now you can’t see the recipe on your website! It just shows all the pics but not the list of ingredients or instructions. Please help!! Can you repost this recipe?

    • I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. I’ve been making some changes to the back-end of my site to help speed things up and this recipe was deleted in the process. I went in and updated it so it should be good to go. Enjoy!

  10. I have made this twice now! So delicious. I even had some people who don’t eat sweet potatoes eating them! Thank you for this great recipe!

    • Hooray!! This casserole is one of my favorites from childhood so I LOVE being able to share this healthier version with you and your family. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment too. I so appreciate it. 🙂

  11. Do you mix in the liquid portion of the canned coconut milk or just measure 1 cup of the solid cream part? This looks perfect for this year’s feast, thank you for republishing the recipe!!

  12. Looks amazing!! I want to make this recipe this year for thanksgiving and have family with nut allergies, would the recipe work with vegan marshmallows instead of the nut topping (even though it looks delicious!)

  13. This looks amazing! Can you confirm if you’re using regular coconut milk (like drinking milk) or the coconut milk that comes in a can and is thicker? Also by chance do you have the recipe for the mini version? I’d love to make a small portion just for me on any given day ????

  14. The vegan version I made this year was almost the same. Except I add coconut to my sweet potatoes, some unsweetened Cashew milk and use Agave for sweetener. (In the past I used Eagle Brand milk so I was looking for a healthier substitute. I did not tell family members that I had changed my recipe. Several commented that it was even better than last year. My picky Dad even went back for seconds.

  15. Hi. Does this freeze well? I’m desperate for as many “make-ahead” recipes to get a jump on Thanksgiving and not be worn out by party time. Thank you!

    • Hi Pam. Prepping early is such a good idea. That said, I don’t know how well this freezes because I haven’t tried it. If you do end up testing it out I’d love for you to report back about how it held up! 🙂

  16. Yummy! This is right up my alley and I may need to put it on my “request list” for when I visit my parents over Christmas. Mondays are not fun, and this one is extra hard. But at least it’s good to get back to healthy eating for the week!

  17. Hi Brittany,

    Can you please let me know what maple syrup you use? Grade A or B? Looks like a great recipe! I love anything made out of sweet potato. Cannot wait to try this. I got all the ingredients todaY except maple syrup. Making this over the weekend!

    Thanks,
    Swarna

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