This healthy sweet potato casserole recipe is the perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish that the entire family will love. It is lightened up but still big on flavor with a crunchy oat pecan streusel topping you’ll want to eat on everything!
Most people aren’t searching for healthy recipes when planning out holiday dinners. Okay, maybe some are but for the most part, people are looking to splurge a little when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. I know I am.
This sweet potato casserole is the best of both worlds. It tastes like a cheat meal but in reality, it’s wholesome and healthy.
Reasons You’ll Love This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- It’s a clean wholesome delicious version of the classic. Instead of being filled with sugar, marshmallows, and other processed sweets, this healthy sweet potato casserole is sweetened with a small amount of pure maple syrup in the sweet potatoes and then minimal brown sugar in the pecan oat streusel topping. All the delicious flavors come naturally from the ingredients. Honestly, you’ll never miss the marshmallows.
- It’s easy to prepare. Holiday recipes always sound so complicated. Not this healthy sweet potato casserole. This recipe uses easy ingredients and comes together quickly. If you can mash potatoes you can make this!
- Can be made ahead of time. The more recipes I can prepare ahead of time the better! This saves time during the busy week and is a must when I’m hosting Thanksgiving or any holiday party. This sweet potato dish can be assembled and refrigerated 1-2 days ahead of time and then pop in the oven on Thanksgiving day!
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredient Notes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes – There are so many versions of sweet potato casserole that call for different ways to cook the potatoes. However, in my opinion, roasting the sweet potatoes is THE BEST way to make a delicious sweet potato casserole without a lot of added sugar. This provides the best flavor.
Roasting the sweet potatoes does take between 45-60 minutes but they can be prepared a couple of days beforehand. I’ll give some more make-ahead tips below.
Pure Maple Syrup – The great thing about roasting the sweet potatoes is that it brings out a natural sweetness which means you don’t need a lot of sweetener to make this casserole taste like a treat. In fact, I only use ¼ cup of pure maple syrup to add more sweetness to this sweet potato side dish.
Unsalted Butter – 3 tablespoons of melted butter is all that’s needed to add richness to the casserole filling and streusel topping. A lot of recipes use coconut oil or vegan butter, which works fine, but if you can use butter then I recommend sticking with butter. I personally love the flavor it brings.
Unsweetened coconut milk – Milk gives this casserole a creamy fluffy texture. I used unsweetened coconut milk because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use almond milk or dairy milk in this recipe too.
Eggs – some recipes leave out the egg but, if you can eat eggs, I recommend keeping them in the recipe. Eggs help to bind and stiffen the casserole without making it heavy.
Pecan Streusel topping – This streusel topping is made with pecans, gluten-free rolled oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, almond flour, and melted butter. To keep the recipe gluten-free I used almond flour and gluten-free rolled oats. However, you can use any flour for this recipe. You can also add in a pinch of nutmeg for another warm fall flavor.
How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole (Step by Step Instructions)
This healthy sweet potato casserole is so easy to prepare. Let’s get started.
Start by roasting the sweet potatoes. Using a fork, poke holes all around the sweet potatoes. Roast the potatoes in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes. Set the potatoes aside until they are cool to the touch, about 5 – 7 minutes. Once cooled, remove the skins. The skins should peel right off. Again, you can do this step 1-2 days in advance.
Turn down the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cooked sweet potatoes into a bowl and mash with a potato masher. If you prefer the potato to be smooth, with less lumps, then use a food processor or hand blender to puree the potatoes. Stir in the pure maple syrup, egg, milk, and melted butter.
Spread the sweet potato mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, coated with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the pecans, rolled oats, almond flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and butter until evenly mixed and forms a crumble. This can be made while the potatoes are cooking or even the day before.
Sprinkle the pecan oat topping over the sweet potatoes.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the topping is toasted, golden brown, and fragrant.
You don’t have to peel the potatoes. Another perk to roasting the sweet potatoes is the skin will come right off after the potatoes are cooked.
You can mash or puree potatoes. If you prefer a chunkier sweet potato casserole then use a potato masher. If you like a creamier casserole then you can process the potatoes using a food processor or hand blender. Personally, I think a chunkier filling works best but it’s really your preference.
Wait until the potatoes are cool before mixing in the egg. This might go without saying, but wait until the potatoes are cool before adding in the egg or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Add vanilla extract or other spices to the sweet potatoes. Many sweet potato casseroles call for adding vanilla extract or cinnamon to the sweet potatoes. I prefer to just flavor with a little pure maple syrup and butter.
The streusel adds a lot of flavor so I like to keep the sweet potatoes simple. If you want to add vanilla extract then ½ – 1 teaspoon will work. Same with adding in the cinnamon spice.
Sheet pan – I have this set by Nordicware and it works great for roasting sweet potatoes and other vegetables.
Mixing bowls – I’ve owned this Pyrex set for years and it never fails me.
Potato masher – You’ll need one of these if you want a chunkier casserole. I have this OXO brand potato masher.
Hand mixer – When I want don’t want a lot of lumps in the sweet potatoes I’ll use a hand mixer to get all the lumps out. I like this basic hand mixer by Cuisinart.
Food processor – You can also use a food processor to create a smooth texture with the sweet potatoes. This Cuisinart food processer is the one I use and recommend.
9 x 13 casserole dish – I’m obsessed with my Le Creuset casserole dish, but it’s a little on the pricey side. I also have a basic white one (shown in the pictures) that’s similar to this one on Amazon.
Serve this casserole with these sides
This healthy sweet potato casserole goes perfectly alongside turkey and other Thanksgiving side dishes.
Other Thanksgiving recipes:
Baked Ziti – I know this isn’t your typical Thanksgiving recipe but in the Italian-American world, we love to serve up a big lasagna or baked ziti at the holidays.
This healthy sweet potato casserole is easy to make ahead of time and it can be done in a couple of different ways.
- Roast the potatoes ahead of time. Roasting the potatoes is the most time-consuming part of this recipe. This step can be done 1-2 days ahead of time. After you roast the potatoes, let them cool, and then remove the skins. Place the potatoes in a container and refrigerate.
- Make the crunchy pecan streusel ahead of time. This step doesn’t take long to make but it’s still another thing you can prepare in advance.
- Assemble the entire casserole. When I’m making this for Thanksgiving I assemble the casserole the day before, cover it with foil, and refrigerate. When I’m ready to bake it I continue with the recipe. The only difference is I’ll add on 5 minutes of cooking time since the casserole is going into the oven cold.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 tsp salt divided
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk can substitute almond or dairy milk
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond flour can substitute any flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- Set oven to 425 degrees.
- Using a fork, poke holes all around the sweet potatoes. Place the potatoes onto a sheet pan lined with foil. Roast the potatoes for 45-minutes or until soft and you can stick a knife easily through the middle. Set the sweet potatoes aside until they are cool to the touch, about 5-7 minutes, and then remove the skins. The skins should peel right off.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Place the cooked sweet potatoes into a medium-sized bowl and mash with a potato masher. If you prefer the potatoes to be smooth, with less lumps, then use a food processor or hand blender to puree the potatoes.
- Stir the maple syrup, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, coconut milk, and eggs into the sweet potatoes.
- Spread the sweet potato mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, coated with cooking spray.
- To make the pecan oat streusel topping mix together, in another medium bowl, the pecans, rolled oats, almond flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of softened butter until evenly mixed and forms a crumble. This can be made while the potatoes are cooking or even the day before.
- Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the topping is toasted, golden brown, and fragrant.
Have you tried my healthy sweet potato casserole? If so, I’d love for you to rate it and leave a comment below. We all benefit from your own personal experience with this recipe, and what, if anything you did differently. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it!