This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole is made with warming spices, rich maple syrup, and a crunchy oat crumble. While dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly, this recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole is just as delicious as the classic recipe.
Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite Thanksgiving recipe has been Sweet Potato Casserole. Now, I grew up eating a sweet potato casserole that was made with sweet potatoes canned in a heavy syrup, combined with more sugar, eggs, and milk. AND then topped with butter, more sugar, nuts, and flour. I am not going to lie. It was incredible.
But as our family grew, many food issues arose. We have dairy allergies, egg allergies, and gluten sensitivities. Our classic recipe needed to be revamped.
I took it upon myself to recreate my family's Sweet Potato Casserole and make it allergy-friendly and a bit healthier, while keeping the family happy. And if you have ever messed with a classic recipe passed down for generations, that can be quite the task.
After multiple tries, SUCCESS!
I have created a Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole that is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and perfectly spiced. It is topped with a delicious oat crumble that adds texture and flavor to the casserole.
And most importantly, this recipe for Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole is absolutely delicious. In fact, my entire extended family prefers this version to the traditional--and that speaks volumes!
- Sweet Potatoes: Instead of canned sweet potatoes in thick syrup, this Sweet Potato Casserole starts with homemade sweet potato puree, which can be made easily using the oven or instant pot. You need 3 cups of sweet potato puree for this casserole, which equates to about 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, or 3 very large sweet potatoes, or 6 medium sweet potatoes.
- Apple Juice Concentrate: Not apple juice, but instead apple juice concentrate. It is a perfect ingredient to replicate the sweetness in traditional sweet potato casseroles without refined sugars. This allows just a small amount of maple syrup to be used while allowing the casserole to still be perfectly sweet.
- Oats: Use old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats for the crumble, being sure to check that your oats are certified gluten-free if needed.
- Coconut Oil/Vegan Butter: Coconut oil makes a great dairy-free option to replace butter and gives the crumble on this casserole a rich, nutty finish. Use vegan butter in place of coconut oil or if you are not dairy-free/vegan you can use regular butter.
- Nuts: Walnuts or Pecans are a wonderful source of crunch and healthy fats, but feel free to omit the nuts and use additional oats to keep this Sweet Potato Casserole nut-free.
- Nutmeg: Whenever I use nutmeg in a recipe, I use whole, dried nutmeg and grate it using a Microplane. The taste is superior to ground nutmeg and the whole nutmeg lasts in your spice cabinet indefinitely.
How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
Step One: Prepare Sweet Potato Filling
- Roast fresh sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F for about 1 hour, or until fork-tender. Alternatively, use my recipe for Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes, to perfectly cook tender sweet potatoes.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, allow them to cool slightly until you can easily handle them. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and place the flesh of the potatoes into a food processor fitted with an s-blade or a blender.
- Add in apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, and puree until the mixture is smooth.
- Spread the sweet potato puree into a greased 2-quart baking dish.
Step Two: Prepare Topping
- Wipe out the blender or food processor. No need to wash as the flavors are similar, just rinse or wipe out using a paper towel.
- Place the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut oil, nuts, and maple syrup into the food processor or blender and pulse until the oats are broken down and the crumble comes together.
- Evenly sprinkle the crumble over the sweet potato puree.
Step Three: Bake
- Bake the casserole until heated through and the topping is golden brown.
Preparing in Advance
A huge time-saving tip is to prepare your sweet potato casserole ahead of time, making your Holiday dinner that much easier to pull together.
- Prepare the base of the sweet potato casserole as directed and place it into a large airtight container or freezer-safe bag, leaving 1-inch of room for expansion. Store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Prepare the oat topping as directed and place the crumble into a separate airtight container or storage bag. Store the oat crumble in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours or up to 1 month in the freezer.
- If frozen, place both the sweet potato puree and crumble into the refrigerator to defrost 12-24 hours before planning to bake the casserole.
- When ready to bake, spread the sweet potato puree into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
- Bake as directed.
Leftover Sweet Potato Casserole
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. And while it is delicious just served reheated, you can also use up your leftovers in more creative ways if desired.
- Use leftover sweet potato casserole, crumble, and all, in place of the sweet potato puree in Sweet Potato Pancakes or Sweet Potato Waffles. The crumble will add a delicious texture to the pancakes or waffles.
- Combine ½ cup of the leftover sweet potato casserole with 1 frozen cubed banana and 1 cup of canned coconut milk in the blender for a delicious, easy Sweet Potato Smoothie.
More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
- Corn Casserole
- Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Twice Baked Butternut Squash
If you made this Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole, be sure to leave a comment and review below.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes scrubbed
- ⅓ cup apple juice concentrate
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- ½ cup gluten free oats
- 1 cup chopped nuts walnuts or pecans
- ¼ cup coconut oil or vegan butter solid
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Roast sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Cool slightly. And lower temperature to 350 degrees.
- Remove skin of sweet potatoes (simply by peeling off skin with fingers) and place the pulp into a large blender or food processor (or use a hand/stand mixer).
- Add the remaining ingredients for the base and puree/mix until smooth and then transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish.
- Combine the oats, nuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until crumbly. Sprinkle over the casserole.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes are about 3 very large sweet potatoes or 6 medium sweet potatoes. It should make 3 cups of sweet potato puree.
- Use melted vegan butter in place of coconut oil or if you are not dairy-free/vegan you can use melted butter.
- The apple juice concentrate is key to adding sweetness without a lot of added sugars. If you don't have it on hand, use ¼ cup apple juice and increase the maple syrup to ⅓ to ½ cup.
- Freshly grated nutmeg is always better than ground nutmeg, but feel free to omit the nutmeg if you don't have the whole nutmeg on hand.
- Store leftover casserole in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- To Prepare in Advance: Prepare the base of the sweet potato casserole and spread into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Prepare the sweet potato casserole topping and place into separate container or storage bags and place in the refrigerator. Before baking the sweet potato casserole, sprinkle the crumble evenly over the casserole and bake as directed.
This recipe was originally shared in 2016 but has been updated in 2020 with new photos and tips.
This will have to make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table! I love sweet potatoes and it's so nice that this recipe is vegan and gluten free so my whole family can enjoy it!
This was absolutely delicious! Definitely going to make again soon.
THanks for sharing Marsha! So happy to hear you enjoyed the sweet potato casserole.
I doubled the recipe and proceeded in 2 batches in my food processor. My 1st batch of topping was ok but my 2nd batch got doughy. I refrigerated both and now I’m wondering if I should reprocess and add more oats before I put on top before baking? Otherwise it will be in clumps. Everything smells amazing I can’t wait to bake and serve fit Easter!!
Hi Kim! It sounds like you may have processed the 2nd batch a bit too much and broke it all down too fine. You can MIX in a few tablespoons of oats for texture or you can bake as it, and let it be more like a cobbler topping. I hope you enjoy!
Delicious! I have a super sensitive gut so I appreciate the healthier option on this.
Could you use applesauce instead of apple juice?
Yes, but you may need a bit more maple syrup as the apple juice concentrate is much sweeter than applesauce.
How could I substitute anything to make this lower carb but still be your awesome recipe?? Thank you!
Hi Merry! Making this recipe low carb would be difficult as the sweet potatoes are not low carb themselves. To shave off 15 grams or more of carbs, you could use butternut squash puree instead of sweet potatoes and use all walnuts instead of oats on the topping. If you try that out, let us know how you like it. It won't be the same, but close 🙂
I thought I saw a version of this with sweet potatoes made in IP?
Hi Carlee. I use my Instant Pot to "bake" sweet potatoes, and I have a youtube video walking through making it using this method.
Can this casserole be "baked" in the Instant Pot?
Hi Carlee! I prefer preparing my sweet potatoes in the instant pot and then baking the casserole in the oven. That will ensure a nice crisp crumble topping.
Your recipe looks delicious, but I don't really need to make it gluten free, I am just trying to cut out the sugar that is typically used. My questions are can I just boil the sweet potatoes and mash them and can oats be added without a food processor. I don't have one, but do have a blender. Can you use just regular oats from oatmeal? Thanks!
Hi Junia! You can certainly make this work without a food processor. I would mash the potatoes well or use a hand held mixer to get really smooth (but a few lumps is okay in my opinion.) For the topping, use oats that you use for oatmeal, but I would zap in blender until broken down a bit--it makes the topping much more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy!
Thanks for your response Kristin, but I also needed to know if I can just boil them like regular potatoes vs putting them in the oven. Seems easier to just boil them vs heating up the kitchen.
Absolutely Junia. Boiling sweet potatoes works as well. Just drain them well so your casserole won't be watery! Enjoy!
Hello - this looks delicious! I'm allergic to oats, should I use something else, such as breadcrumbs? Or just leave them out and increase the nuts by 1/2 cup?
Hi Jill! I would double the nuts! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving
We are allergic to nuts:(. What else can I sub for the topping?
Hi Carrie! You can add an additional 1/2 cup of oats to replace the chopped nuts--it works great. I hope you enjoy!
I am WFPB so instead of the coconut oil I used apple juice to moisten the topping and left everything else the same. It is fabulous!
What a fabulous idea Debbie! I am so glad you enjoyed.
Fantastic! My kitchen smells like a caramel apple!
I didn't have a 2 qt pan, so used a 1.5qt. - so it's deeper. I lowered the temp to 325°, but how do I know it's done? Thanks!
Hi Carlee! The casserole will be done once warmed through and the topping is browned. I would plan to cook for 1 hour. Enjoy!