This healthier sweet potato casserole features a lightened-up spiced sweet potato mash topped with a pecan streusel and baked until creamy and golden. No added sugar!
One of the best parts of Thanksgiving and the holidays is, of course, the food. And yes, that includes the side dishes! My twist on the classic sweet potato casserole is a family favorite.
Now, I’ve given the classic a little makeover to make it lighter and more wholesome.
Instead of all the added sugar and fat, I use coconut sugar, which is less refined and light cream. There’s no butter either, but don’t fret- It’s so hearty and delicious; no one will know it’s secretly healthier than the classic.
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Why this recipe works
- It’s like eating dessert for dinner. You get the best of both worlds in this sweet-savory side dish: healthy mashed sweet potatoes enhanced with warm spices. Go ahead and serve it for dessert if you’re so inclined!
- An easy holiday side dish. This easy sweet potato casserole is always welcome whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the Fourth of July.
- Made without marshmallows. I opted to leave the marshmallows off of this sweet potato casserole recipe in place of the pecan streusel. It not only cuts back on the added sugar but honestly makes the dish so much more delicious.
A mix of pantry staples makes this casserole incredibly comforting with just the right amount of sweetness. This is what you’ll need:
- Sweet potatoes. Pick up about three large sweet potatoes when you’re shopping. This is enough to make a casserole that will feed a crowd.
- Butter. Yes, butter is high in fat, but we only use a few tablespoons, unlike other recipes that call for up to one cup.
- Coconut sugar. A healthier alternative to white or brown sugar. Want something even healthier? No problem! Just swap a few tablespoons of the sugar with maple syrup instead. You can also use a sugar free substitute for no added sugar.
- Eggs. The sweet potato filling is divinely rich, which is thanks to whole eggs. They add moisture and help thicken the filling so it doesn’t fall apart in the spoon.
- Light cream. Instead of omitting the cream completely, I like to use light cream, which has fewer calories and fat than heavy cream. Stir splashes of the cream into the filling at a time until it’s as creamy and luscious as you like.
- Warm spices. Sweet potatoes are best friends with cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s the best warm and comforting duo for fall and winter recipes!
- Streusel topping. Chopped pecans are stirred together with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and coconut sugar to make the streusel topping. And if you don’t have pecans at home, use almonds, hazelnuts, or pumpkin seeds instead.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make sweet potato casserole
While impressive looking, putting a sweet potato casserole together is a total breeze! Here’s an overview of what you need to do:
Step 1- Cook the sweet potatoes. Boil the potatoes in water until fork tender.
Step 2- Make the filling. Mash the potatoes, then stir in the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix until smooth and combined.
Step 3- Make the pecan topping. In a separate bowl, stir the pecan topping ingredients together until crumbly.
Step 4- Assemble and bake. Pour the filling into a prepared baking dish and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top, then cover the dish with foil. Bake until the pecan topping is golden brown.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Avoid runny, watery mashed potatoes. Boiling the sweet potatoes is my preferred method but only when the water is thoroughly drained. If too much is left behind, it can make the filling watery. To avoid this risk while enhancing the flavor, air fry or bake the sweet potatoes instead.
- Make the potatoes ahead of time. Cook and mash the sweet potatoes 3 to 4 days ahead of making the casserole. Just keep them in an airtight container in the fridge until it’s time to finish the filling and bake.
Flavor and recipe variations
This healthy casserole is very forgiving and is super easy to customize to various
- Nut free. Omit the pecans from the streusel or replace them with pumpkin seeds.
- Gluten-free. Use your favorite gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour in the streusel.
- Dairy-free. Replace the butter with melted coconut oil or vegetable oil, and use non-dairy milk instead of the heavy cream.
- Egg-free. Use ½ cup of applesauce instead of the eggs.
- Add a subtle heat. A pinch of cayenne or paprika will give the filling a subtle but complimentary heat.
- Add bourbon. A splash of bourbon or whiskey in the filling will give it a deeper, more complex flavor.
To store: The leftovers will keep for 4 to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Just know that the streusel will lose its crispy crunch as it sits.
To freeze: Sweet potato casserole freezes very well for up to 3 months. Either assemble or bake it without the pecan topping, wait for it to cool, cover the dish, and freeze. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before adding the streusel on top and baking.
To reheat: While the casserole is delicious chilled or at room temperature, you can reheat it in a 350ºF oven or microwave if you prefer it hot.
More healthy holiday side dishes
- Pumpkin Curry Soup
- Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Squash Casserole
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Frequently asked questions
Yes, the casserole can be assembled without the streusel up to 2 days ahead of time. Keep it covered and in the fridge until it’s time to add the topping and bake.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Place the sweet potato in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thick and smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, combine the pecan topping ingredients and mix until a thick crumble remains. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the streusel topping is golden.
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