Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

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This healthy sweet potato casserole is lower in sugar, dairy-free and made with a crunchy oatmeal pecan topping. Vegan + gluten-free.

Sweet potato casserole has always been my favorite holiday side dish. Creamy sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping… it’s literally the best thing ever.

A serving spoon resting in a white baking dish containing sweet potato casserole.

Growing up my mom made sweet potato casserole three times a year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) and I was always so pumped to have it. Using my mom’s sweet potato casserole recipe as a guide I was able to make a healthy version that’s filled with better-for-you ingredients.

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, EBF-approved version that still has all the flavor and texture of the classic version I grew up with. And let me tell ya, we might even prefer this version a tiny bit more than my mom’s, but we’ll keep that a secret!

I know some folks prefer a marshmallow topping instead of the brown sugar topping. If you’re team marshmallow, feel free to try my classic sweet potato casserole instead.

Healthy sweet potato casserole in a baking dish with a spoon.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The combo of creamy sweet potatoes with a crunchy pecan sugar topping = chef’s kiss!
  • It’s made with healthy, real-food ingredients ingredients.
  • It’s the perfect side dish for the holidays that everyone will love!
  • Gluten-free and vegan! No butter, eggs or white flour needed.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole: coconut milk, sweet potatoes, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, ground flaxseed, coconut oil, vanilla, coconut sugar, oat flour, oats and pecans.

Ingredients Needed

  • fresh sweet potatoes – we’re using fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned to make a sweet potato puree. When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for firm, unwrinkled skins with deep orange flesh.
  • flaxseed – this is a replacement for the egg in a regular sweet potato casserole.
  • coconut oil – I like using this as a replacement for butter. You can sub this for vegan butter or even regular butter if you don’t need the recipe to be vegan.
  • maple syrup – this is added to the sweet potato puree for an extra hint of natural sweetness.
  • coconut milk – I prefer to use canned coconut milk because it’s rich and creamy, but if needed you can sub it for almond milk, oat milk or regular milk if you don’t need this dish to be vegan.
  • vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt – key flavor enhancers.
  • brown sugar – this adds sweetness to the topping and makes it perfectly crunchy. Feel free to use coconut sugar, if desired.
  • pecans – pecans add a nutty flavor and crunch to the topping. I personally love the combo of sweet potato and pecans but if needed you can sub walnuts for the pecans or use more oats for a nut-free version.
  • rolled oats – for the topping. Use gluten-free rolled oats if needed. I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats.
  • almond flour or oat flour – this helps bind the topping together. Oat flour and almond flour both work great. Feel free to use whichever you have on hand.
Collage of six photos showing how to make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole.

How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Cook sweet potatoes: 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.

Make topping: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the pecans, oats, 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.

Make sweet potato mixture: Add sweet potato chunks to a large mixing bowl and mash using a fork or potato masher. Alternatively you can use the flesh from four baked sweet potatoes. Then add the coconut milk, maple syrup, oil, flaxseed, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined.

Bake: Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a prepared 9×13 or 9×9 baking dish and sprinkle pecan crumble topping over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350°F uncovered for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are warm throughout.

A serving spoon resting in a baking dish containing healthy sweet potato casserole.

Prepare This Casserole Ahead of Time

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or don’t want to spend your holiday morning making your dish to share, you can prep this casserole ahead of time! I prefer to prep the sweet potato base, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then prep the topping separately.

On the morning you serve it, simply place the sweet potato mixture in a casserole dish, add the topping and bake as the instructions suggest. If you want it to be fully cooked, you can bake the entire casserole ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, heat the oven to 350°F and heat for about 20 minutes, or until the casserole is warm.

I don’t recommend freezing it because the consistency would likely change.

A portion of sweet potato casserole on a plate with a fork.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a fabulous holiday side dish and a personal favorite for Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s what I typically like to serve alongside sweet potato casserole:

Portions of sweet potato casserole on plates next to a baking dish.

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat the sweet potato casserole on the stovetop, in the oven or microwave. 

More Sweet Potato Recipes

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Check out all of my sweet potato recipes and the full collection of Thanksgiving recipes here on EBF.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

4 from 125 votes
This healthy sweet potato casserole is lower in sugar, dairy-free and made with a crunchy oatmeal pecan topping. Vegan + gluten-free.
A serving spoon resting in a white baking dish containing sweet potato casserole.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 8 cups sweet potatoes, about 4 large potatoes
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • cup oat flour or almond flour
  • 3-4 Tablespoons coconut oil, in solid form

Instructions
 

  • 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.
    Cubed and boiled sweet potatoes in a bowl.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a little cooking spray on a 9×13 or 9×9 inch casserole dish.
  • 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.
    Oatmeal topping mashed together with a fork.
  • 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.
    Sweet potato casserole filling mixed together in a bowl.
  • Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle on the brown sugar and pecan mixture.
    Topping the sweet potato mixture with the oatmeal topping.
  • Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are bubbling.
    Healthy sweet potato casserole.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1/16 of recipe Calories: 277kcal Carbohydrates: 40g Protein: 3g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 6g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 358mg Potassium: 24mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 10g
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy sweet potato casserole

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    155 comments
    1. Rebecca
      December 21, 2022 AT 1:53 pm

      5 stars
      Can you substitute flaxseed for just eggs or eggless eggs

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 23, 2022 AT 11:47 am

        Hi Rebecca – Yes, you can use flax eggs for this recipe instead of eggs!

    2. Teresa Mann
      December 4, 2022 AT 6:14 pm

      5 stars
      This is my go-to sweet potato recipe. It is one of the few recipes I
      I don’t change too much (honey instead of maple)! My sister-in-law despises coconut- she has no clue about the coconut content and scarfs it down every time I make it. Tee hee!

      I don’t put the toppings on until the last 15 minutes. Prior to that I would always sadly burn the topping. Bummer.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 5, 2022 AT 3:24 pm

        Love this, Teresa. I am so excited to hear that this recipe is a hit. Thank you so much for sharing your review + star rating, I really appreciate it.

    3. Linda McBee
      November 26, 2022 AT 8:47 pm

      5 stars
      I used this recipe with pumpkin and should have increased the flax seeds since the pumpkin was a little watery than sweet potatoes. I also did not put the sugar in the topping but used some granola that was sweet also. I am excited to try the original recipe but probably will only use 1-2 T to make it less sugar. It was better the next day! These are ingredients I usually have in my home and excited for a pumpkin option that is vegan. Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 28, 2022 AT 10:34 am

        Yum! The pumpkin is such a great idea, thank you for sharing, Linda. I can’t wait to hear how you like the sweet potato version as well. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I so appreciate it.

    4. Jenna
      November 26, 2022 AT 4:47 pm

      5 stars
      I don’t think I’ve tried an EBF recipe that I didn’t like. This recipe is amazing!! It was a HUGE hit. Even the sweet potato casserole haters were eating it. The biggest complaint was that I didn’t make enough! I’ll be making this again soon for sure. I hope your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 28, 2022 AT 10:36 am

        Ah, this means so much! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was such a hit for your whole family, Jenna. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review + star rating. I really appreciate it!

    5. Fran
      November 24, 2022 AT 5:37 pm

      5 stars
      We loved it. I made it a couple of days ahead and heated at 300. It was delicious and the vegan son was happy!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 28, 2022 AT 10:54 am

        YAY! I am loving the convenience of being able to make this ahead of time. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for sharing your review & star rating, I so appreciate it.

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