Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


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This healthy sweet potato casserole has all the tasty Thanksgiving flavors in one baked dish. It’s a lightened-up, refined sugar-free version of the classic recipe with a layer of creamy, spiced sweet potato topped with a nutty pecan crumble. It’s loaded with flavor and certainly not missing anything – you’ll love it!

Mashed sweet potato topped with a pecan crumble in a white casserole dish.

Hello sweet potato, we meet again. If you’ve been following along this season, I’m sure you’ve noticed how much I love this rich, versatile vegetable. From prosciutto wrapped sweet potato to roasted sweet potatoes to a sweet potato breakfast hash, the sweet potato recipes just keep on coming!

But when it comes to the holidays, there is no doubt they deserve a special place amongst your Thanksgiving side dishes (like these candied yams).

While you expect a sweet potato casserole baked with marshmallows, I figured there’s no need to add extra sugar or softness to this recipe. Instead I’ve create a delicious golden crumble made from pecans, dates, pepitas, and almond flour. The contrast between silky sweet potatoes and crispy nuts makes for the perfect texture combination.

Blending sweet potatoes and chopping nuts.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients

With just a few pantry staples and a bundle of sweet potatoes, your trip to the market will be a quick one. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Boiled Sweet Potatoes: Instead of baking, I boil my sweet potatoes to create a similar creamy texture to my mashed sweet potatoes. This will also save you some time!
  • Milk: You can use any type of milk here, but I use cashew milk. It’s got a creamy and nutty flavor that mixes well with the sweet potatoes.
  • Butter: While I’ve used melted butter, you can also use ghee. This will add extra creaminess to the sweet potatoes.
  • Spices: Throw in a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and vanilla extract to bring a spicy aroma to the sweet potato layer.
  • Pecan Crumble: This is a blend of chopped pecans, dates, pepitas, almond flour, and butter. It’s naturally sweetened from the dates. While the pecans and pepitas give it a savory crunch.
Mashed sweet potato layered in a casserole dish.

How To Make A Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

This easy, one pan recipe come together with a few simple steps. Just follow along below and you’ll have a winning Thanksgiving side dish in no time.

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil, peel and dice the sweet potatoes, and let them cook for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Mash the sweet potatoes. Drain them with a colander and mash the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with a hand masher or electric beater.
  3. Add the butter and milk into the bowl and mix until it’s creamy. Then add the seasonings and blend again.
  4. Make the crumble topping. First, roughly chop the pecans, dates, and pepitas and toss them in a large bowl. Then add the almond flour and butter and mix with your hands until everything is combined.
  5. Spread the sweet potato in a flat layer into a baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle the pecan crumble on top as thin, even layer.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top becomes a nice golden brown.
  8. Let it cool once you take it out of the oven, then serve!
Close up photo of pecan crumble topping on sweet potato casserole.

Prepare This Casserole Ahead Of Time

Looking to meal prep this casserole ahead of time? No problem. To do this, just make sure to keep your mashed sweet potatoes and pecan crumble separate and tightly covered in the fridge.

On the next day, take the the mixtures out of the fridge and let the sweet potatoes thaw for about 30 minutes. Then, spread the sweet potato into an even layer in the baking dish and sprinkle the pecan crumble on top. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp.

A big scoop of the healthy sweet potato casserole on a spoon.

More Thanksgiving Side DIshes

Plan out your menu with these delicious Thanksgiving recipes. But first, here are a few other side dishes you’ll want to make!

I hope everyone at your Thanksgiving dinner enjoys this sweet potato casserole! If you make it, I’d love to hear how this turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.

Mashed sweet potato topped with a pecan crumble in a white casserole dish.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

5 from 37 votes
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This healthy sweet potato casserole is lightened-up, refined sugar-free version of the classic recipe! It's gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant as well.



Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, (about 3 pounds)
  • ¼ cup milk, dairy-free milk works as well
  • ¼ cup butter, or ghee, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • ¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pepitas, roughly chopped
  • 4 Dates, pitted and diced
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoon butter or ghee


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil on high heat.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes with a hand peeler.
  • Dice the potatoes into chunks and place them into the pot. Cook the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes over a colander, and place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash them with a hand masher or electric beater.
  • Pour the milk, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper into the mixture and continue mixing until creamy.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make the crumble topping. Roughly chop the dates, pecans, and pepitas, and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the almond flour and butter, then mix thoroughly with your hands until combined.
  • Spread the sweet potato into an even layer in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Lisa’s Tips

  • To create a more creamier sweet potato layer, use a food processor, hand mixer, or stand mixer to blend.
  • To make it dairy-free , you can swap butter for ghee as well as use any type of nut milk.


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 440mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 18366IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy sweet potato casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Sweet potato casserole recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made it at Thanksgiving and there was barely anything left for the next day. Making sweet potato casserole for Christmas too. Love it.5 stars

  2. It hasn’t been Thanksgiving until I’ve had the sweet potato casserole – its my favorite staple. My recipe is old school and LOOOOOAAAADED with sugar and dairy and is wildly unhealthy. I made enough of Lisa’s recipes to trust her so I tried this one out on Thanksgiving. Massive hit. I loved it and so did everyone else (I caught people going back for 3rds… AFTER their meal!) You’d never guess there is no added sugar at all in this recipe.

    Substitutions: I did tweak things slightly for our crowd since we had a couple vegetarians and a vegan. Swapped out the butter for equal portions of coconut oil, swapped out the milk for oat milk. I also doubled the topping & put it in a slightly smaller pan because I just love the crunchy topping.5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m so thrilled you loved this sweet potato casserole recipe, Josh! Thanks for sharing your substitutions as well. :)

  3. Loved this recipe!! I made it for my moms house and my in-laws house so we had a healthy option to eat and it was a huge hit. Both families loved it especially my mother in law. Surprisingly even my husband5 stars

  4. This recipe was perfect! I have been looking for a sweet potato casserole that wasn’t too rich or sweet and this hit the spot. I haven’t come across a recipe here that I wasn’t impressed with. Thank you for creating a delicious dish that I will use years to come!5 stars

    1. Thanks so much, Susie! I’m happy you loved this sweet potato casserole. And other recipes on my website as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Great recipe! Your recipes are always spot on and thoughtful in execution! You’ve made me look like a rockstar cook! :) So for the sweet potato casserole, my family will become my enemies if I leave off the marshmallows. haha. Would you recommend just broil them on top in right before servicing? Thanks for your feedback!5 stars

    1. Haha, guess you have to keep the family happy as well. ;) Yes, I’d just broil them on top before serving. Enjoy!

  6. I have made the sweet potato casserole for the last 3 Thanksgiving dinners. It’s always appreciated because most of my family doesn’t like the traditional marshmallow sweet potato dish.
    The dish is just sweet enough and it’s healthier for your body.5 stars

  7. Lisa, planning on making this as a Thanksgiving side dish ;-) Question: would you add crispy (fully rendered) bacon pieces to the topping to add a bit of a savory note, or would that mess up the dish?? Thanks!

    1. I think that would taste amazing! Sweet and savory is a great combo. And there’s a reason why people love maple bacon. ;)

  8. Just quick note, the measurements for the sweet potatoes does not change from (about 3 pounds) when you adjust to 1x, 2x or 3x serving size.  5 stars

  9. Hi Lisa! I have an abundance of garnet yams. Can I substitute them for the sweet potatoes? Maybe bake them instead of boiling.  I love the idea with the crumble!  Thank you!

  10. I made this last year and it was a amazing! It’s our new go to that is actually healthier!
    Can this be made ahead except for the topping and frozen for travelling?5 stars

  11. Like to try this recipe this year for Thanksgiving. Can I make the night before and add toppings before I put in the oven on Thanksgiving. 

  12. Looks amazing. Is it ok to use avocado oil in place of the better/ghee for the sweet potatoes? Also what can I use for the topping instead of butter/ghee? You mention nut milk subbing for these, but I would imagine that will not work for the topping? Would the same avocado oil work? Many thanks.

    1. Hi! An- I am gluten and dairy free of necessity. I use unrefined coconut oil for the potatoes and topping. Works perfectly! And all my family and friends LOVE this dish even though they are not gf nor df. It’s always asked for past 3 years.5 stars

  13. Will substituting ghee and almond milk eliminate or lower the 24 mg of cholesterol? I’m trying to be very careful. It sounds great! I’m excited to try this healthier version for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  14. This was a hit during our 2020 thanksgiving dinner. Even with my husband that is not a big fan of sweet potatoes. I also follow an AIP diet and this recipe was super easy to modify!5 stars

  15. I wanted a few healthier versions to choose from for Thanksgiving dinner my husband and I made this together. It was fun to cook something as a team and it turned out absolutely delicious. It was a little daunting dicing up the sticky dates so when I make this again I will probably buy them already packaged. Lol
    But the point is I will definitely be making it again it was very tasty and such a healthier version of a famous holiday dish. Lisa never disappoints5 stars

  16. YUM! So versatile and delicious, as are all of your recipes. I had walnuts, so I used those. This was a hit with the family, and I’ll surely be making it again. Thank you!5 stars

  17. Hi, thank you for this recipe. I wonder if I can use brown sugar or raisins in place of the dates, and oat flour OR all purpose flour for the almond flour? Also, sunflower seeds for the pepitas? I’m not on a strict diet, or any diet for that matter, so I think having nuts and seeds instead of the usual sweet potato/marshmallow recipe is already a great healthy change. I’m sorry to butcher this great sounding recipe but I don’t have these ingredients and prefer to use what I already have. Thank you so much again.

  18. Hi Lisa, Can this be made ahead of time? I have some sweet potatoes now, and would love to freeze this casserole for Thanksgiving. Would you recommend that for this recipe? Thanks!

  19. Hi Lisa! I am looking forward to trying this recipe for Thanksgiving this year. My husband is allergic to nuts — do you have a suggestion for substituting the pecans?

    Jessica5 stars

  20. My cousin is newly vegan and I’m on a low carb diet and for Christmas I wanted to make a side we could count on if nothing else followed our food guidelines. This won everyone in my family’s heart and people could not believe how delicious this was. Thank you for your easy to follow recipes that are packed with flavor! 5 stars

  21. I served this for Thanksgiving and it was a definite hit with our family. So much healthier than previous sweet potato casseroles I’ve served for the holidays. Very easy and fast to make plus the nut topping is perfect! This recipe has become a staple to our holiday meals moving forward! Thanks!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy you loved this casserole recipe Athena! I agree that it’s still packed with flavor and even though it’s healthy, it’s just as satisfying as the more traditional version.:)

  22. Made this for Thanksgiving so east and delicious. Loved the nut and seeds topping. I froze the leftovers I didn’t want it to go to waste.5 stars

  23. Made this for thanksgiving and everybody loved. A lot of “wow who made this sweet potato casserole!!!” so simple and I felt good knowing what was in it!5 stars

  24. I made this recipe at Thanksgiving and it turned out perfectly! It was so simple and easy. My family was stunned when I explained that it was a healthy spin on sweet potato casserole because it honestly tastes way yummier than the naughty version with marshmallows. I’ll definitely be making this again next year!5 stars

    1. Hi Mackenzie – It really does taste like the real thing huh :) It’s the perfect way to sneak in some healthiness to your Thanksgiving table!

  25. I made this dish for a Rio de Janeiro Thanksgiving, using organic sweet potatoes, a mixed nut milk, ghee instead of butter, and finally walnuts (because I was also making a pecan pie). The result was an impressively smooth baked purée with a crunchy granola-like topping, which everybody raved about. I will be making this again, and also sharing the recipe. Thank you!5 stars

  26. I made this for Thanksgiving dinner. It was loved by everyone and they appreciated that it was a healthy version of the casserole. I will be making this again and again. Thank you.5 stars

    1. That’s a great sub with the figs! You could use almost any dried fruit on the topping and it would taste fab. So happy you loved it!

    1. Yes, it’s the best! And this healthy version is a great option during the holidays. So happy you love it Tisha!

    1. Hi Abi – yes, I think it would still be delicious with Japanese sweet potatoes. If anything, it might be a little sweeter. :)