This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole uses fresh sweet potatoes, is naturally sweet, dense, and crunchy. Say hello to your new favorite Thanksgiving side that just so happens to be super Easy, Clean-Eating, Paleo, and Gluten-Free!
I first tried Sweet Potato Casserole when Dustin and I were newly dating and it was finally time to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Eek!
If I recall, I was the ripe old age of 17 and I was soooo nervous.
Dustin explained to me his mom made three things he loved. They included: (1) quesadillas (2) his great grandmother’s lasagna and (3) THIS easy sweet potato casserole. You can imagine my interest in tasting one of his favorite foods.
Needless to say, at first bite, I became an instant fan of Sweet Potato Casserole.
I mean, what’s not to love with tasty sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and brown sugar baked with a crunchy and sweet pecan topping?
Well, the years went on (and on and on) and, Dustin and I moved in together during college. Since we were both craving it, Dustin asked his mom for the easy sweet potato recipe so we could make his beloved casserole in our home. Our home. What an exciting time that was!
It turned out the recipe actually came from Dustin’s aunt who gave it to Dustin’s mom and that it wasn’t even his aunt’s original recipe. This casserole recipe ran deep!
Finally, I got my hands on it! And, as often happens for me, when I finally saw the recipe, I thought about what I could do to improve it and make it healthier.
I can never just let things be.
The original recipe included canned yams, rather than fresh sweet potatoes. Even though the final result was delicious, I was never a fan of using canned yams. So, I decided to replace them with fresh sweet potatoes….and I hoped it would still taste as wonderful.
And guess what? It worked! Dustin and I agreed: even better than the original. Sweet! (And…few!)
How To Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
To make Sweet Potato Casserole healthy, just follow these super easy steps:
- replace brown sugar with coconut sugar
- cut the sugar amount in the recipe by at least half (you seriously won’t even miss it!)
- replace butter with coconut oil
- replace flour with an unrefined flour, like almond meal or buckwheat flour
All in all, this healthy sweet potato casserole is naturally sweet, dense, crunchy, and makes a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner spread. You won’t even miss the old highly sweetened, high fat casserole you grew up with, but you’ll still get all those feels.
Can I Make Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole?
Yes, you can easily make this healthy sweet potato casserole ahead of time and serve it for Thanksgiving. The only thing you do differently from the recipe below to make it ahead is not to bake it. So, just get all the goods mixed together and prepped ahead in the casserole dish, and then refrigerate it until Thanksgiving. When you’re ready to cook it, just pop it in the preheated oven like the recipe directs, and you’ll be good to go.
One of the tricks Dustin and I use every Thanksgiving is to make this healthy sweet potato casserole ahead of time. It reheats perfectly the next day so we prep it completely, pecan topping and all, and then wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
This saves so much headache and time on Thanksgiving since we place it in the oven along with the stuffing once the turkey is all done.
How To Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole
Looking to freeze this easy sweet potato casserole? Great! Just follow these easy steps and your sweet potato casserole will freeze perfectly!
- If you’re making this easy sweet potato casserole and plan to store in the freezer for later, wait to top the casserole with the crunchy pecan topping until after it’s been thawed and you’re ready to bake and/or reheat. The pecans will not stay as crunchy when frozen.
- Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature before freezing. Placing the casserole in the freezer when still hot will not only heat up your freezer and possibly start to thaw foods that should remain frozen, it may also cause the texture of the casserole to change.
- Store the cooled casserole in a freezer-safe container if it’s not already in one. Use plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil to shield the casserole from the air in the freezer, which can affect its flavor.
- Frozen sweet potato will last for up to one month in the freezer without losing it’s deliciousness.
- When ready to bake, follow the directions as normal and bake at 450 degrees until heated through. If the casserole starts to brown on the top and edges, you can cover it lightly with tin foil.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole: Substitutions
Here are some easy substitutions you can use to make this healthy sweet potato casserole fit your healthy lifestyle.
- Coconut Oil: If you don’t care for coconut oil, you can use organic, grass-fed unsalted butter in equal portions.
- Pecans: Other nuts, like walnuts and almonds, would work great. If you don’t like nuts or are allergic, you could sub out with pumpkin seeds or flax seeds for texture, or just leave them out entirely.
- Almond Meal: Replace with whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour for diets who can have gluten, or with coconut flour or buckwheat for gluten-free diets.
- Eggs: Replace with unsweetened applesauce or flax eggs.
- Coconut Sugar: You can replace with pure maple syrup or raw honey.
This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole uses fresh sweet potatoes, is naturally sweet, dense, and crunchy. Say hello to your new favorite Thanksgiving side that just so happens to be super easy, Clean-Eating, Paleo, and Gluten-Free!
- 6 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/3 coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup melted and cooled coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup raw pecans chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup almond meal can also use whole wheat pastry flour or buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup melted and cooled coconut oil
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Grease a 13-inch by 9-inch casserole dish with coconut oil.
Boil or steam sweet potatoes until tender. Once tender, allow to cool and then remove and discard skin. Dice cooked sweet potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced sweet potatoes, 1/3 cup coconut sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, vanilla extract, and kosher salt.
If they have not already done so from mixing, lightly mash about 2/3 of the sweet potatoes so that only about 1/3 of them are still in cubed form.
In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping (pecans, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, almond meal, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon).
Mix well to incorporate all the almond meal into the mixture.
Spread the sweet potato mixture into the casserole dish.
Cover with the coconut sugar and pecan topping. There should be enough topping to pretty much cover the entire casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping begins to turn golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
Want More Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes?
If you’re looking for more healthy Thanksgiving recipes, check out all my faves:
- No-Fail Thanksgiving Turkey
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
This post contains affiliate links for the kitchen item(s) I use regularly and highly recommend.
28 thoughts on “Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole | Easy, Clean-Eating, Paleo, and Gluten-Free!”
All time favorite!
It’s so good! I’m so glad you introduced it to me all those years ago 🙂
Hi Lacey- Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe that I definitely will try soon. It reminds me of a recipe that I found on “Sailor Jerry Rum” website but, your recipe seems a LOT healthier. While the Sailor Jerry recipe incorporated rum which I enjoyed, it had a ton of brown sugar and butter. It was so good and sweet that it could almost be considered a dessert! A dollop of ice cream and it would have done the trick. Anyway, I thought I would suggest a couple of add-ins to your recipe that I am going to try as well. Sometimes, a little- maybe a teaspoon of some nutmeg and a little ground ginger can add a nice spicyness which I enjoy, although I admit it may be too much for some. Also, perhaps a tablespoon of rum extract or, even, about a third cup of your favorite rum baked into it would be yummy. I am going to experiment as I love sweet potatoes/yams as they are so healthy and so good at this time of year! Thanks so much and Happy Thankgiving!!
Hi Mark! I’d love to know what you think with any additions you add – those all sound like good ideas 🙂
This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it on Thanksgiving!
Yay! It’s SOOO good! 🙂
Lacey thanks so much for the recipe. I have everything I need to make it tomorrow for thanksgiving dinner.
You have a great Thanksgiving Lacey.
You’re so very welcome, Donna. I hope the casserole turned out yummy for Thanksgiving 🙂
I’m going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving. I prefer baked sweet potatoes but my kids love the sweet potato casserole. The only thing I am going to do different is add the marshmallows on top because my children just can’t understand Thanksgiving dinner without those burnt crunchy marshmallows. Thanks!!
Haha, I still have a hard time understanding that as well. I bet the marshmallows will be great. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂
This sweet potato casserole look verrrrry tastie,will try for family Thanksgiving dinner. How many servings is this recipe?-:)-:)!!!
Yay! I hope you enjoy it this Thanksgiving. It makes 8-10 servings. 🙂
On your sweet potato casserole recipe, you mentioned the original recipe used canned yams. How much would equal the fresh that you used?
Darlene, it was about 2 cans of yams.
Could you make this ahead and freeze before baking?
Charlotte, while I’ve never tried freezing this beforehand, I’d bet it would be fine. Please let me know if you try it 🙂
Thanks, Lacey. I will let you know.
Thanks, Charlotte! I appreciate it 🙂
I have mixed and froze this sweet potatoe casserole and when ready to bake just thaw and add topping and bake as directed, works wonderfully.
Thanks so much for sharing how it went, Cindy!! 🙂
The Sweet Potato recipe sounds delish and to cut back on time….could I microwave the sweet potato first?
Yes, you can totally microwave instead of steam if you’re looking to save time.
Lacey, Lacey, Lacey – using fresh yams made such a big difference!!! We all loved it.
SOOO glad you liked the revision, Kathy! Yay! 🙂
Lacey: Thanks for all the kind words. I intend to make signature casserole with fresh (not canned) yams for Christmas dinner. I’ll let you know what I think. XOXOXOXO
Of course, Kathy! I hope you like the variation!! 🙂
A grand edition to a vegetarian dinner.
My thoughts exactly 🙂
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