Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

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This healthy sweet potato casserole is the perfect side dish for any holiday table. Nobody will miss the marshmallows! It’s a great addition to your list of holiday side dishes, and it’s easy to make!

This traditional Thanksgiving side dish gets a healthy makeover without losing any of the taste or flavor. It’s naturally dairy-free, low in calories, and has plenty of fiber and even some protein.

The finished Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole in a white casserole dish.

Find All My Thanksgiving Recipes Here!

This is a combination of two recipes that I put together and then converted to a healthier, whole-food version. One recipe was from AllRecipes.com and the other was an annual favorite of my sister-in-law’s mother. Neither recipe was clean, but the combination just sounded so good! So I combined the two and then converted the whole thing. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the results!

The filling is good all by itself. But the topping really “tops it off” in the flavor department. I’ll make this healthy sweet potato casserole again, year after year.

Do You Have To Put Marshmallows On Sweet Potato Casserole?

Absolutely not! In fact, many people make it without. But there is definitely something to be said for adding a topping. So I chose homemade candied pecans instead and I think, if I dare say it, it’s far better than marshmallows could ever be. Far more nutritious as well!

However, if you really want to use marshmallows, you can even make those from scratch too! And the best part is, they are super easy to make! Here’s the recipe.

A spoon lifts a serving of Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole towards the camera.

How To Make Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

While other recipes may require more adjustments, the only thing you have to switch out here is the honey. Use pure maple syrup instead and this instantly becomes vegan.

How To Make Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole

In this particular recipe, you only have to switch out one thing. The whole wheat flour. A simple substitute with gluten-free oat flour will get the job done. Just make sure the package is labeled as such because oats are very heavily cross-contaminated.

Crumble Topping For Sweet Potato Casserole

The topping on this is sweet, but not sickeningly sweet like marshmallows. It’s a mix of pecans, honey, whole wheat pastry flour, oil, and cinnamon. You can use any light-flavored oil you prefer.

A single serving of Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe on a white plate.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

1 cup pecan pieces – I used raw pecans so they don’t get burned in the oven.

¼ cup honey – You can also use pure maple syrup.

¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour – If you need a gluten-free option, opt for gluten-free oat flour.

1 tbsp. light-flavored oil – I have used both coconut oil and grape seed oil.

½ tsp. ground cinnamon – Just plain cinnamon, no sugar added.

Filling Ingredients

3 lbs. sweet potatoes – Make sure you get sweet potatoes, and not yams.

½ cup orange juice – This should be 100% juice with nothing else added.

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon – Again, just plain cinnamon. No added sugar.

¾ tsp. ground nutmeg – You can use pre-ground nutmeg or buy it whole and grate it yourself.

1 tbsp. honey – You can also use maple syrup.

Butter – Optional for consistency. You can also use vegan butter if you need this to be vegan.

Unsweetened almond milk – optional for consistency.

How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Topping Directions

The topping ingredients for this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe mixed together. A spoon lifts some towards the camera.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients together using a wooden spoon. It will be clumpy and sticky.

Spread out the mixture the best you can on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F. for approximately 10-15 minutes. The mixture should have a nice golden color to it. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Transfer small portions to a large cutting board and chop roughly. Set aside.

Casserole Directions

A whole sweet potato rests on a counter, next to a towel.

Wash the sweet potatoes and rub them with oil. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until fork-tender. (about 30-40 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.

The mashed sweet potatoes and some spices in a mixing bowl.

Peel the potatoes and place them inside in a large mixing bowl. Add all other filling ingredients and mash with a potato masher or blend with an electric hand mixer. You can also use a food processor if you prefer.

The Healthy Sweet Potato mixture in a white casserole dish.

Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a baking dish or serving bowl. Sprinkle the pecan topping evenly over the potatoes and serve.

The topping sprinkled over the top of the Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole, in a white casserole dish.

Note: You will most likely have some topping leftover depending on the size of the dish you use. The leftovers are great for topping oatmeal or mixing in with granola.

Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole?

You absolutely can! But you have to be a little careful with how you do it. If freezing is part of your plan, here are some tips from Leaf on how to freeze this casserole successfully.

What To Do With Leftover Sweet Potato Casserole

There are a few ways to use up your leftovers.

  • Make pancakes -Beat two large eggs into about 1 ½ cups sweet potato casserole and cooke in a skillet like regular pancakes. They are soft and delicious.
  • Have it for breakfast – Fry and egg and grab a little leftover turkey and layer them both over some of this casserole. It’s delicious!
  • Make oatmeal – Simply stir some of this sweet potato casserole into your morning bowl of oats.
  • Make waffles – Make a bunch and freeze for easy morning toaster waffles. Check out this recipe from Food52. Just switch the brown sugar for Sucanat or coconut sugar! Easy!

How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead Of Time

If you need to prep or make this ahead of time, it’s super easy to do. Simply make the topping and the casserole portion, but don’t put them together. Cover the casserole portion with foil and warm in the oven on 300-degree heat. The length of time it takes to warm will depend on how deep your dish is. Once warmed up, remove from the oven and sprinkle the topping over the top.

A spoon lifts a scoop of Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole towards the camera.

How To Store Sweet Potato Casserole

Keep this well wrapped with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. This will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole?

Technically, yes. It’s best frozen without marshmallow topping if you used that. If you used the nut topping here, it will freeze just fine. But not for a large amount of time. The limit on freezing this is approximately 1-2 months.

Recipe Substitutes

Here are all the substitutions you can make in this recipe:

  • Pecans – Try walnuts.
  • Honey – Try real maple syrup.
  • Whole wheat pastry flour – Try white whole wheat flour, or if you need gluten free, try gluten-free oat flour with about 1 tbsp. of arrowroot powder mixed into it.
  • Oil – You can try butter, ghee or use any oil you like
  • Cinnamon – A yummy switch here would be to use pumpkin pie spice with no added sugar.
  • Sweet potatoes – Try butternut squash or Kabocha squash.
  • Orange juice – Try pineapple juice.
  • Almond milk – Try cashew milk or regular dairy milk.

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Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

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The finished Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole in a white casserole dish.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

This classic dish gets a clean eating upgrade by using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and candied pecans instead of marshmallows. So delicious nobody will care!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 small servings
Calories: 319kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp. light-flavored oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup 100% orange juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Instructions

Topping Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all topping ingredients together using a wooden spoon. It will be clumpy and sticky.
    Spread out mixture the best you can on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
    Bake at 350° F. for approximately 10-15 minutes. The mixture should have a nice golden color to it. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
    Transfer small portions to a large cutting board and chop roughly. Set aside.
    The topping ingredients for this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe mixed together. A spoon lifts some towards the camera.

Casserole Directions

  • Wash the sweet potatoes and rub with oil. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake until easily pierced with a fork (about 30-40 minutes).
    Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.
    A whole sweet potato rests on a counter, next to a towel.
  • Peel the potatoes and place them inside in a large mixing bowl.
    Add all other filling ingredients and mash with a potato masher or blend with a hand blender.
    The mashed sweet potatoes and some spices in a mixing bowl.
  • Transfer the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the pecan topping evenly over the potatoes and serve.
    The Healthy Sweet Potato mixture in a white casserole dish.
  • Note: You might have some topping left over depending on the size of the dish you use. The leftovers are great for topping oatmeal or mixing in with granola.
    The topping sprinkled over the top of the Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole, in a white casserole dish.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 24170IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1.7mg

This recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted, 11/19/10.

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61 Comments

  1. I cut the sweet potatoes into chunks, pour pineapple canned in pineapple juice over them in a covered baking dish and cashews on top. I bake it at 350F until the sweets are done and it’s beginning to brown. Yum! Never liked the marshmallowy excessively sweet stuff some folks make. Your recipe looks really good, too. I’d have to substitute cashews or pistachios for the pecans (allergy)

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jodi – Sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    2. Jodi do you put pineapple and juice or just juice

  2. Oh sweet potatoes, how I love thee! I think my last 3 or 4 posts have been dedicated to sweet potato treats 🙂 This casserole sounds fantastic, and I could easily eat 2 helpings!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lauren – Ya, there’s just no way around it. They’re yummy! Especially if prepared correctly. Yum!

  3. I never had sweet potatoes before until a couple of months ago, they are now my favorite vegetable! This recipes sound awesome, I think I may have to make it for Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shelly – Great! Let me know how you like it! Have a great holiday.

  4. I’m curious what you think about using unsweetened vanilla almond milk in place of the orange juice? It would be a different taste but do you think it would cook ok? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rose – I think it would be fine. But as you say, it will change the flavor.

  5. 5 stars
    I made the sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving, and it was terrific! I followed your recipe exactly. So delicious, and easy to make.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Linda – That’s wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Happy Holidays!

  6. Deb Taber says:

    I cannot believe you have a “clean” recipe for Sweet potato casserole. I was laying in bed last night thinking about Christmas dinner and sweet potato casserole. This casserole is my husband’s all time favorite. I only prepare it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and it is far beyond any healthy version. I am from the south, so you can imagine the butter, brown sugar, that is involved.

    I cannot wait to try this recipe. I don’t think my husband will know the difference and I will feel so much better about serving it! I will update after we try it. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Deb – Fabulous! I’d be curious to know if my casserole can compete with a southern dish. Let me know!

  7. I’m impressed! The southern version of sweet potato casserole was served at all of our holiday parties growing up and it was by far my favorite dish. I haven’t had it in a long time but I think I’ll make your recipe and bring it to my next family function. I’ll let you know how it compares to the real thing. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brittany – Wonderful! I look forward to it!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dixie – Yes, but don’t put the topping on until the last minute or it will get soggy. Enjoy!

    1. Casey Bromwich says:

      Would you bake it if it was prepared the day before??

      1. Anonymous says:

        Casey – To warm it up, not to cook it, yes. You could also microwave it. Without the topping, its pretty simple to stir it up. So heat it any way you like (if you cooked it the day before) and then put the topping on.

  9. Why quote calories without half the ingredients. The filling??

    1. Anonymous says:

      Yp – It’s there. I explained why I broke it into two sections of data as well. Just scroll down further.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Casey – You mean the topping? No. Just prepare everything, but leave the topping off until the last minute so it stays crunchy. You can certainly warm it in the oven however.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Jln7 – I’m not sure this one would work in a slow cooker. But never say never!

  12. Amanda Smith says:

    Awesome! How do I send this recipe to my email address?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Amanda – I’m not sure what you mean. You can print the recipe, or copy and paste it into a word doc. If you want the recipe updates to come to your email, you have to sign up for email updates at the top, right side of my page here.

  13. graciouspantry says:

    Ccr – You can try it, but I’ve never done that so I can’t advise you. Sorry.

  14. Mamastrat says:

    I have a sweet potato casserole recipe that has shredded cheese & sour cream in it (you could use yogurt instead of sour cream). It’s wonderful!

  15. graciouspantry says:

    Sure! As long as it’s in a liquid state when you use it.

  16. graciouspantry says:

    I hope you enjoy it!

  17. graciouspantry says:

    Ya, it was the frozen stuff you mix with water.

  18. SeattleMom says:

    What about adding unsweetened shredded coconut to the topping? Should I reduce the flour?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      No, I wouldn’t reduce it if you’re using coconut as a topping.

  19. What kind of honey do you use? Raw?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Any type of honey will work here. Enjoy!

  20. Mary Pat Kenney Filer says:

    5 stars
    made this today for tonight’s dinner with my turkey breast and sweet potato casserole, YUM! Also, had clean hot chocolate this morning 🙂

  21. Made this tonight with leftover sweet potato. YUM!!!  I think this will be one of my go-to sweet potato recipes. Did I say YUM!!!

  22. 5 stars
    Made this casserole this Thanksgiving and it was delicious! I did not eat the topping because I personally don’t like pecans, but everyone else loved it. There were lots of leftovers from this, and I ate it with leftover turkey for days. Mmmmmm, awesome recipe 🙂

  23. Cheri Bollendorf says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night with pork chops. It was just as good as the original recipe I have with milk, eggs & brown sugar. In fact the pecan topping was way better. It definitely is a make again recipe!

  24. Looking in to this clean eating.This recipe looks good but what is clean orange juice? Also where is a good place to shop for clean eating ingredient?

  25. Could you use olive oil instead of safflower oil in the topping? Trying to avoid buying ingredients I won’t use a ton but don’t want to alter the flavor too much. Thanks for the help! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tess – If you have extra virgin olive oil, it should be okay.

  26. 5 stars
    Yum!! I substituted a mix of maple syrup and brown rice syrup for the honey and almonds for the pecans and it was still delicious!! That topping could definitely be a quick cookie treat! Thanks for posting such great clean recipes – this is my go to site for ideas. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cortney – My pleasure! And yes, that topping is a bit addictive!

  27. 5 stars
    This recipe is great. I made it last year as written and, while it was tasty, the orange juice taste wasn’t my favorite. When I went to make it again this year, I remembered that and substituted pineapple juice instead because I’ve always loved those sweet potato casseroles with the pineapple in it. Also, I used homemade maple syrup instead of honey in both the filling and topping. This version was so good. I’ve experimented every year to find the perfect sweet potato recipe and this is it. The topping is amazing! With the maple syrup I should have baked it a little longer as it was runnier than the honey would have been and the topping wasn’t as crunchy as I would have liked. But I was afraid to burn it. Thanks for another great recipe. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Krista – My pleasure! 🙂

  28. 5 stars
    Mmmm! Best dish on the holiday table. One little suggestion: Try adding some chopped green apple and a smidge of maple syrup! That’s how we make them in our family. Sooo yummy.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lindsay – Sounds wonderful!

  29. Christina says:

    I love you, haha! Sweet potato casserole is my favorite holiday dish and I usually make it for family gatherings. I cannot wait to try this and share it with my family. Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Christina – Thanks so much! 😀 I hope your family enjoys it!

  30. Do you think I could substitute coconut oil for the safflower? If not, I can go with the extra virgin olive oil.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Deb – Sure. But you may have a hard time incorporating coconut oil because is clumps up so easily when cooled. I think olive oil may be the better choice. Light flavored if you have it.

  31. Quick question. If i make this today how would i reheat it tomorrow? Oven? How long and how many degrees?. Will it taste the same? Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Andrea – It should be fine. I would cover it loosely with foil and warm on 300F. But leave the topping off until you are ready to serve. You don’t want that overcooked.

      1. I plan on trying this and making it a day or two ahead of time… would I make both ahead and just warm up the potatoes and put the topping on cold, or should I warm up the topping as well? How long will the topping last if I make it ahead of time? 1-2 days okay?

        1. The Gracious Pantry says:

          Kelly – I would just add the toping after warming the potatoes. If you want the topping to be warm too, I would warm it for about 1-2 minutes in the oven separately so the nuts don’t get overcooked. But yes, a day or two in advance should be just fine. Enjoy!

  32. Hi there! I’m probably overlooking the Nutritional information for this dish (calories, Ect,) could you please direct me to where to find this info? Thanks so very much!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bobbie – No, sadly I have had to remove all of that information due to liability. But MyFitnessPal.com has a really easy calculator you can use. You don’t have to enter the ingredients. You just copy the url and their system imports the entire recipe. Hope that helps!

  33. Hi – Are there any substitutes for whole wheat pastry flour, such as coconut flour or regular whole wheat flour?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Pamela – You could use regular whole wheat flour. I do not recommend coconut flour here.

  34. What is clean orange juice? Is there something specific to look for?
    Thanks. Looking forward to making this.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jesyca – If you flip the bottle over and read the ingredient list, the only thing listed there should be oranges or orange juice. Look for a bottle that says 100% juice. 🙂

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