This healthy sweet potato casserole is a Thanksgiving show stopper! The sweet potatoes are light and fluffy, and the casserole is topped with an irresistible and slightly sweet crispy pecan crumble. It’s nourishing, comforting, and easy to make a day ahead of time. Because the ingredients are simple, this is a paleo sweet potato casserole recipe!
When it comes to all the goodness of Thanksgiving, there’s nothing more comforting than sweet potato casserole. The light and luxurious texture of the sweet potatoes, and that crisp pecan crumble topping! It’s a side dish showstopper everyone will be coming back for.
My goal with this healthy sweet potato casserole recipe was to keep the ingredients hearty, nourishing, and simple. In this family, we’re totally team pecan streusel topping, which is pretty obvious given that it’s a component of my Baked Apple Crisp, Healthy Apple Pie Bars, and Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel. What can I say, I’m a sucker for that golden crisp and sweet texture! I know you’ll love it too.
This has been a favorite on our Thanksgiving table for years because healthy sweet potato casserole pairs so well with turkey and other savory side dishes. And it’s great as leftovers! Pro tip—if you’re burnt out on Turkey, heat it up and put a little ground beef on top. Perfection!
What Makes This Sweet Potato Casserole Healthier?
I love figuring out ways to make healthy swaps in staple dishes without sacrificing texture or flavor. While this make-ahead sweet potato casserole recipe is made with healthier ingredients, it’s everything you’d want from sweet potato casserole—light and fluffy potatoes with a crunchy sweet pecan topping! This recipe is:
- Made with whole ingredients: The filling is made with sweet potatoes, coconut milk, coconut oil, and eggs, and the pecan topping is made with almond flour, pecans, and a little sweetener. As a result, this is a paleo sweet potato casserole.
- Gluten free: The only flours used in the pecan topping is almond flour and a little arrowroot flour, which gives it a nice crisp.
- Dairy free: Need to avoid dairy? This healthy sweet potato casserole uses a little coconut milk and coconut oil to make the potatoes light, fluffy, and creamy!
- Naturally sweetened: Maple syrup and coconut sugar are the only two natural sweeteners used in the casserole.
Ingredients in Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
There are just a few simple ingredients you’ll need to make this healthy sweet potato casserole. And, this is a make-ahead sweet potato casserole recipe, so you can do this all in advance! You’ll need:
For the Casserole:
- Sweet potatoes
- Coconut milk
- Pure maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Sea salt
For the Pecan Topping:
- Raw pecans
- Blanched almond flour
- Arrowroot flour
- Coconut sugar
- Sea salt
- Pure maple syrup
How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cook the Potatoes. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a medium baking dish with coconut oil. Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover the potatoes with water. Place the pot over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes.
- Make the pecan topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the ghee and maple syrup, and fold them into the dry mixture.
- Whip the potatoes. Drain the potatoes, and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, ghee, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt and whip the ingredients together until smooth. Fold in the eggs.
- Prepare the casserole. Spread the sweet potato mixture into the baking dish. Crumble the pecan topping evenly on top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bake and serve. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover the dish, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crisp. Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes prior to serving.
Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole
Because the ingredients are simple, this is a paleo sweet potato casserole recipe! The main components of the dish are just sweet potato, eggs, and coconut milk, and the flours in the pecan topping are completely grain free. You can use either ghee or coconut oil in the casserole, and both sweeteners are natural and paleo-friendly.
Can I Make Substitutions?
Sure can! However, this is where I make that special note that you won’t get the same consistent results if you vary from the original recipe. But, if you find yourself short, here’s a few swaps you can make:
- Almond flour: You can use another nut flour, like cashew flour.
- Arrowroot flour: You can swap this for tapioca flour.
- Maple syrup: This can be swapped for raw honey.
- Coconut sugar: You can swap this for any granulated sugar, including brown sugar.
- Ghee: It’s fine to use unsalted butter or coconut oil in place of ghee.
- Eggs: For vegan sweet potato casserole, used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer.
Can I Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes! If you’ve got a lot going on on Thanksgiving day (who doesn’t), this casserole can be made 1-2 days in advance. To make sweet potato casserole ahead of time, prep the entire casserole in the casserole dish, but do not bake it. Cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator. Pull it out from the fridge when you’re ready to bake it on Thanksgiving day an hour or two before baking to let it come to room temperature. Then, bake as directed!
Can I Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole?
The good news is, you can freeze your sweet potato casserole and it will stay in the freezer up to 4 months. If you’re making this healthy sweet potato casserole in advance, make the sweet potato filling, place it in the casserole dish, but don’t bake it. Wait to top the casserole with the pecan topping until after it’s been thawed and you’re ready to bake it. The pecans will not stay as crunchy when frozen.
To freeze sweet potato casserole leftovers, let the casserole cool to room temperature, then place the leftovers in in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to two months.
Baking Tips and Tricks
- When boiling the sweet potatoes, make sure they’re all roughly 1-inch in size so they cook up quickly and evenly.
- To test the sweet potatoes for doneness, take a cube out and pierce it with a fork. If soft, they’re done.
- Use the beater attachment with your mixer when whipping the paleo sweet potato casserole ingredients together. You can use a potato masher—it will take just a bit more effort.
- For make-ahead sweet potato casserole, prepare the entire casserole as written, but don’t bake it. You can store the unbaked sweet potato casserole in the refrigerator with a snap lid. If you don’t have a lid, place the entire casserole dish in a large ziplock bag and seal it. To bake, just remove it from the refrigerator and bake as directed.
- For vegan sweet potato casserole, use Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer in place of eggs, and use coconut oil instead of ghee.
Why I Love This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- This healthy sweet potato casserole can be made in advance.
- The recipe contains simple, nourishing ingredients. The crumble is perfectly crisp and slightly sweet.
- On the Thanksgiving table, this dish pairs perfectly with other savory sides, and of course—it’s heavenly with turkey!
- This sweet potato casserole recipe is gluten free, paleo, and can easily be made vegan. It naturally fits a variety of dietary needs, so everyone is included!
Stocking the Pantry
I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs because it saves me some cash—especially when it comes to commonly used items like blanched almond flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my favorite kitchen tools and pantry items.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Healthy Apple Pie Bars
- Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)
- Healthy Apple Crisp (Gluten-Free, Paleo)
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Paleo Pumpkin Bread
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ⅓ cup full-fat coconut milk (or other milk of choice)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or butter
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup chopped raw pecans
- ½ cup blanched almond flour
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut oil, ghee, or butter, soft at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a medium baking dish (2-quart or 8×8 baking dish) with coconut oil.
- Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover the potatoes with water. Place the pot over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until fork tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the pecan topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the ghee and maple syrup, and fold them into the dry mixture with the back of a fork until a crumble forms. Set aside.
- Drain the potatoes, and add them to a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, ghee, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Using the beater attachment, whip the ingredients together until smooth. Fold in the eggs.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Crumble the pecan topping evenly on top of the sweet potato mixture in the dish.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover the dish, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crisp. Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes prior to serving.
- Store any leftovers covered in the casserole dish or in a separate, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or place the sweet potato casserole dish in the oven at 300°F until warm. Cover with aluminum foil to prevent the pecans from burning.
- For vegan, use 2 tablespoons egg substitute in place of eggs like Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer.
What did you think about this healthy sweet potato casserole? If it made it on your Thanksgiving table, let me know below!