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! Everyone will love this easy sweet potato casserole recipe!
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Yes, I love a juicy turkey or ham at the holidays, but truth be told, the side dishes are the real stars of the show! And believe it or not, they don’t need to be filled with fat and calories to be good. Nope!
I love making this loaded cauliflower mash, creamy Au gratin potatoes, healthy baked ziti, roasted carrots, roasted asparagus, and this fantastic healthy sweet potato casserole. See all of my healthy side dishes for more inspiration.
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a healthy, 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 roasted sweet potatoes and then minimal brown sugar in the pecan oat streusel topping. You’ll never miss the marshmallows.
- It’s easy to prepare. Holiday recipes always sound so complicated. Not this sweet potato casserole. This recipe uses easy ingredients and comes together quickly. If you can mash potatoes, you can make this!
- It 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 hosting Thanksgiving or any holiday party. This sweet potato recipe can be assembled and refrigerated 1-2 days ahead of time and then popped in the oven on Thanksgiving day!
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes. So many versions of sweet potato casserole call for different ways to cook the potatoes. However, in my opinion, roasting sweet potatoes are 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 takes 45-60 minutes but can be prepared a couple of days beforehand. I’ll give some more make-ahead tips below. You can also cook sweet potatoes in the slow cooker for an easy, hands-off method.
- Pure Maple Syrup. The great thing about roasting sweet potatoes is that it brings out a natural sweetness which means you don’t need a lot of sweeteners to make this casserole taste like a treat. I only use ¼ cup of pure maple syrup to add more sweetness to this sweet potato side dish.
- Unsalted Butter. Only three tablespoons of melted butter are needed to add richness to the casserole filling and streusel topping. Many recipes use coconut oil or vegan butter, which works fine, but if you can use butter, I recommend sticking with butter. I 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 also use almond milk or dairy milk in this recipe.
- 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 a pinch of nutmeg for another warm fall flavor.
How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
This easy sweet potato casserole is so simple 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, 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 fewer lumps, 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 the pecans, rolled oats, almond flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and butter until evenly mixed and forms a crumble. You can make the streusel topping while the potatoes are cooking or even the day before.
Sprinkle the pecan oat topping over the sweet potatoes.
Bake uncovered for 40 – 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are hot and fluffy and the topping is toasted, golden brown, and fragrant.
- 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 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 processor 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) similar to this one on Amazon.
This healthy sweet potato casserole goes perfectly alongside turkey and other Thanksgiving side dishes.
Other Thanksgiving recipes:
- Baked Ziti or Gluten Free 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 during the holidays.
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Italian Roasted Vegetables
- Sunday Sauce
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- You don’t have to peel the potatoes. Another perk to roasting sweet potatoes is the skin will come right off after cooking the potatoes.
- You can mash or puree potatoes. If you prefer a chunkier sweet potato casserole, use a potato masher. If you like a creamier casserole, you can process the potatoes using a food processor or hand blender. I think a chunkier filling works best, but it’s 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 pure maple syrup and butter.
- The streusel adds a lot of flavors, 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.
This healthy sweet potato casserole is easy to make ahead of time in several 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 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 making this for Thanksgiving, I assemble the casserole the day before, cover it with foil, and refrigerate it. When I’m ready to bake it, I continue with the recipe. The only difference is I’ll add 5 minutes of cooking time since the casserole is going into the oven cold.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Baking Sheet
- Mixing Bowls
- Potato masher
- 9 x 13 ceramic baking dish
- 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 uncovered 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 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!
Thank you for sharing this recipe- my family absolutely loved it! I have made several yam casseroles in my day and this is by far one of my favorites. I did not have pecans on hand and had to substitute walnuts, which was delicious, FYI. Will be making this again for sure.
Tammy Overhoff says
You’re very welcome! Your comment just made my day! I’m so happy you all love it.
Linda M Zielinski says
Just put together the healthy sweet potato casserole. I used the gluten free suggestions for my family. The directions were very easy to follow and prep time was minimal. The finished product was phenomenal and was loved by all. I gave this recipe five stars. Hats off to you Tammy from Organize Yourself Skinny for a great recipe.👏👏
Michelle Sangalang says
This recipe was amazing. I also love sweet potato casserole and I did not miss the marshmallows and loads of butter at all! I used regular flour and almond milk and I did not add vanilla extract or nutmeg. I can’t believe how nice and sweet it was with only the natural flavors that came through. I also used my mixer on the dry ingredients to break down the rolled oats. You can’t even tell their are oats in the final struesel. Thank you so much Tammy, this recipe is a keeper!
Tammy Overhoff says
So happy you loved it. I made this also for Thanksgiving and everyone was loving it. It was more popular than the turkey!
Trying it a day ahead… will update after we taste, but this definitely keeps the day of a lot less stressful
Tammy Overhoff says
So what do you think? I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone was loving it.
Deborah Doss says
I will try your recipe, because I like simple recipes.