Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Everyone loves this healthy sweet potato casserole with a crunchy oatmeal 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 pecan and 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.

A Holiday Classic, Made Healthy

I finally decided to use my mom’s classic sweet potato casserole 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. 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.

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

Upgraded Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole 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 version that’s also dairy-free and gluten-free!

  • Fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned
  • Oat (or almond) flour and oatmeal for the topping
  • Coconut oil and flaxseed to replace the butter and eggs
  • 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.

Prepping the 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 healthy sweet potato casserole ahead of time! I prefer to prep the sweet potato base, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then prep the topping separately.

On Thanksgiving or Christmas morning, you can add the base to a casserole dish, add the topping and bake! If you just want to get it all done, you can bake the entire casserole ahead of time and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because the consistency would likely change. 

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

Need More Ideas? Here Are My Other Favorite Holiday Recipes:

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

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

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


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

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!


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: healthy sweet potato casserole

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Recipe rating

    99 comments
    1. Janine
      January 28, 2021 AT 2:24 pm

      Made this for thanksgiving and it was a big hit with the whole family. Delicious!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2021 AT 7:39 pm

        I’m so glad!! Thanks for coming back to leave a review, Janine. I so appreciate it!!

    2. Julie Crate
      January 9, 2021 AT 6:42 pm

      So delicious! I was searching for a healthy version of sweet potato casserole and happened upon this recipe. After taking a glimpse down through the ingredients, I felt it was worth a shot. Absolutely fantastic. I followed the recipe exactly, using the coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. Of course it doesn’t taste just like the original with the brown sugar, but it is so healthy that I don’t feel guilty eating it! Thank you for a wonderful, healthy side dish! I will be making this again!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 10, 2021 AT 11:56 pm

        So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Julie!! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment. 🙂

    3. Kara
      November 29, 2020 AT 11:04 am

      Sweet potato casserole is my fave Thanksgiving side dish, and this one did not disappoint! I’m so glad there are leftovers too, so I can enjoy all week. I used coconut milk and coconut oil, and next time I might opt for vegan butter or regular butter in place of coconut oil, since I prefer the butter taste to coconut oil. But this was still sooo good! Thank you for the recipe!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2020 AT 4:52 pm

        So glad this recipe was a hit, Kara!! I so appreciate you making it and coming back to leave a review. It means the world to me. 🙂

    4. Sachin Suryawanshi
      November 28, 2020 AT 5:51 am

      Eating is necessary for living but also health is also important ti living i see in this site lot of recipes are so good and also i try in my weekend to new recipe with eating bird food.
      loved it…
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      thank you

    5. Nathalie
      November 27, 2020 AT 3:43 pm

      Omg! Made this for Thanksgiving and it was my favorite side dish this year! Truly the best sweet potato casserole I’ve had, and I love that it’s a healthier version. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks so much!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 28, 2020 AT 11:24 pm

        Ahh yay! That makes me so happy to hear, Nathalie. I’m so glad this casserole was a hit for Thanksgiving dinner! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    6. Stephanie
      November 22, 2020 AT 1:16 pm

      Is there a substitution for the coconut milk and coconut oil?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 22, 2020 AT 4:21 pm

        You could use another plant-based milk. I’d go with some creamy like oat milk or cashew milk. You can do vegan butter or regular butter in place of the coconut oil. Let me know if you try it!

    7. Paula
      November 21, 2020 AT 7:34 am

      I can’t wait to make this for my family this Thanksgiving! Can it be made a day or two ahead?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 21, 2020 AT 6:53 pm

        Hey Paula – Yes, I have a note about that in the blog post. 🙂 You can definitely prep this ahead of time. I prefer to prep the sweet potato base, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then prep the topping separately. The morning of, you can add the base to a casserole dish, add the topping and bake! If you just want to get it all done, you can bake the entire casserole ahead of time and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

    8. Kelli
      November 19, 2020 AT 4:26 am

      This looks amazing! I have someone who can’t eat oats – Do you have a suggestion for a substitute in the topping? Or just leave out? Thanks!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 20, 2020 AT 3:19 pm

        Hey Kelli – You could try just subbing in more flour/nuts for the oats. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

    9. Janine
      November 5, 2020 AT 8:34 am

      This recipe looks great! Do you have any make ahead instructions for this recipe?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 5, 2020 AT 8:52 pm

        Hey Janine – I have instructions for prepping the dish in advance in the blog post. 🙂

    10. Misty
      October 30, 2020 AT 7:49 pm

      This is such a great recipe. I make it for the holidays and my fam loves it!

    11. Rochelle
      March 7, 2020 AT 9:24 am

      Assuming I can leave out the pecans for the topping due to allergies? Should I just add more flour or leave as is?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 7, 2020 AT 1:06 pm

        Totally! You can just skip the pecans if needed. Shouldn’t need to add more flour.

    12. Lysandra Blevins
      November 28, 2019 AT 7:49 pm

      This recipe is AMAZING! My family loved it and it’s definitely a keeper. The coconut milk helps keep it creamy, and the spice combination is incredible. Thanks for providing a healthy and delicious take on a classic. ❤️

      1. Arielle Williams
        November 19, 2020 AT 7:33 pm

        Hi, can I leave out the flour in the topping, or is the flour needed?

        1. Brittany Mullins
          November 20, 2020 AT 3:18 pm

          Hey Arielle – You could try just subbing in more oats for the flour. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      2. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2019 AT 4:52 pm

        Oh yay!! I’m so glad you tried and loved this casserole, Lysandra! It’s one of my all-time faves. I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment and star rating. The ratings are super helpful to other readers!

    13. Angela Satarino
      November 25, 2019 AT 1:16 pm

      This looks delicious and I plan to make for thanksgiving. Can you sub canned sweet potato in place of baking sweet potatoes? I just purchased a few cans from Whole Foods and am hoping I can use them as a shortcut! Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 25, 2019 AT 8:21 pm

        Hey Angela! Yes, I think canned sweet potatoes would work just fine. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think, definitely let me know how it turns out!

    14. Anna
      November 21, 2019 AT 3:02 pm

      I made this recipe for a Friendsgiving with my mom’s group and it was a huge hit! So delicious! I’ll be making another pan for Thanksgiving. And sharing the recipe with my sister who is gluten and dairy intolerant. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

      1. Monica McCann
        November 28, 2019 AT 9:28 am

        I’ve been making this casserole 2 years in a row now for both my family Thanksgiving dinners and Friendsgiving too and it’s always a hit! I have multiple family / friends that are gf or vegan so this is always my go-to recipe. Love it!

        1. Brittany Mullins
          November 29, 2019 AT 4:56 pm

          Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Monica! I’m so glad this casserole is a hit with your family and friends. Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment / star rating. I so appreciate it! <3

      2. Brittany Mullins
        November 21, 2019 AT 5:23 pm

        Yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Anna. I’m so glad the casserole was a hit! I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment and star rating. They are super helpful to other EBF readers. <3

    15. Mara Michelle
      November 18, 2019 AT 1:14 pm

      This was so good! I made it a for a Friendsgiving and people were grateful it wasn’t loaded with refined sugars. I cubed and roasted my sweet potatoes with a little avocado oil before mashing so they carmelized a bit more and it turned out great.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 18, 2019 AT 2:00 pm

        Yay!! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit! Thank you for trying it. <3

    16. Morgan
      November 13, 2019 AT 11:09 pm

      Can you omit the ground flaxseed and sub unsweetened almond milk for coconut milk?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 15, 2019 AT 2:34 pm

        Hi Morgan – Yes, you can use coconut milk instead of almond milk. If you’re going to take out the flaxseed I would use 1 egg in place of it because the flaxseed replaces the egg in this recipe.

    17. DavidHerbek
      October 31, 2019 AT 1:17 pm

      Brittany, my wife utilized the Oatmeal Cookie recipe. She interchanged 1/4 cup of flour with a 1/4 cup of ground flax meal and reducecd 1/4 cup of Oatmeal and added 1/4 of Almond Meal. She substituted Coconut Oil with Avacado Oil. Next time we would increase the spices to our taste. We used raisins and walnuts in our recipe. Delicious. Thank you for sharing. David & Diana Herbek

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 31, 2019 AT 10:21 pm

        Hi David, I’m so happy to hear that you and your wife tried and enjoyed this recipe. I’m glad it turned out well with your modifications. I’m sure the added raisins and walnuts were delicious. And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating, I so appreciate it! The ratings are super helpful to other EBF readers.

    18. Di-Di | Flat-Out Flexitarian
      May 14, 2019 AT 11:30 am

      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.

    19. see this
      December 10, 2018 AT 1:24 pm

      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

    20. Julie Saldana
      November 29, 2018 AT 12:03 pm

      actually, the dish is not very eye-catching.But, okay, importantly it’s good for health. Can you tell me the taste of it ?

    21. Mairi-a
      November 24, 2018 AT 2:45 am

      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

      1. Lisa
        November 27, 2018 AT 11:53 pm

        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.

    22. Susan
      November 23, 2018 AT 10:40 am

      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.

    23. Jeanette
      November 23, 2018 AT 10:32 am

      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.

    24. Deb
      November 22, 2018 AT 1:03 pm

      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!

    25. Elizabeth Hicks
      November 21, 2018 AT 8:13 am

      Excited to try this for Thanksgiving!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 21, 2018 AT 9:40 am

        Yay! You’ll have to come back and let me know how it turns out! 🙂

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