Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


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This healthy sweet potato casserole with pecan topping is a lighter version of the classic southern recipe. You’d never guess that this easy sweet potato casserole is healthy – the creamy sweet potatoes and crunchy pecan topping are irresistible!

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Every year one of my contributions to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner is the sweet potato casserole. I love that I get the job of making the sweet potatoes for our holiday meal. Yes, sweet potato casserole is one of my favorite parts of the meal. But the real reason that it’s my favorite dish to prep is that it’s so easy!

You won’t believe how simple it is to make this healthy sweet potato casserole with pecan topping. You also won’t believe how yummy this healthy casserole is!

The sweet potatoes are mashed with honey and flavored with warm spices and vanilla. The whipped sweet potatoes are extra creamy thanks to an egg and some milk. I don’t add any butter to my homemade sweet potato casserole. The sweet potatoes are rich enough on their own so you don’t need it.

Instead of the traditional marshmallow topping, a cinnamon, brown sugar and pecan topping is the perfect finishing touch. When the casserole is baked in the oven, the pecans get toasty and the brown sugar caramelizes on top of the sweet potatoes. Needless to say, your house will smell amazing as this sweet potato pecan casserole bakes!

This healthy sweet potato casserole is so easy to make, and so delicious, that you’ll want to include it at all of your holiday meals. It’s a favorite side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

How to cook sweet potatoes for casserole

I always steam my sweet potatoes when I make sweet potato casserole. Peel them, cut them into 1-inch pieces, and steam over a pot of boiling water. This method is easy and faster than boiling the potatoes whole or cooking them in the oven.

If you want to amp up the caramelized sweet potato flavor in your sweet potato casserole you could roast the chopped sweet potatoes in the oven. Or, bake the sweet potatoes whole and then scoop out the soft flesh from the skin.

Once your sweet potatoes are cooked, you can prep the casserole in just minutes. This recipe for sweet potato casserole really is so easy!

How to make sweet potato casserole

  1. Steam your peeled, chopped sweet potatoes until soft.
  2. Use a mixer to mash the sweet potatoes with honey, milk, egg, and spices.
  3. Spread the smooth, creamy sweet potato mixture in a baking dish.
  4. Combine chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake the casserole and enjoy!

Some readers have wondered if they can make this sweet potato casserole ahead of time. I usually make this the day before Thanksgiving, so the answer is yes. Here’s how to make it ahead:

To make sweet potato casserole ahead

  1. Prepare the casserole, keeping the topping separate. I usually put the topping in a small, covered bowl or small zip-top bag. Refrigerate for up to two days.
  2. When you are ready to bake the casserole, sprinkle on the topping. I recommend letting the casserole sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking to take the chill off. You may need to add 15-20 minutes to the covered bake time if baking a chilled casserole.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Tips for making sweet potato casserole

  • You can double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch baking dish if you are feeding a lot of people. If you’re making this for your family for a weeknight dinner you can halve the recipe.
  • To make this sweet potato casserole dairy-free, use a dairy-free milk such as almond milk. I’ve also omitted the milk completely with success.
  • To make vegan sweet potato casserole, use dairy-free milk and omit the egg. Use pure maple syrup, not honey.
  • This healthy sweet potato casserole is a gluten-free side dish.
  • Oven space tip: My family bakes this sweet potato casserole (and our other side dishes) after the turkey comes out of the oven on Thanksgiving. The turkey rests for 45 minutes while the side dishes bake.

This is the best recipe for sweet potato casserole. I’ve been making it for 8 years and it always gets rave reviews! If you try it, leave a comment below to let me know.

Also try these favorite side dish recipes:

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

This healthy sweet potato casserole with pecan topping is a lighter version of the classic southern recipe. You’d never guess that this easy sweet potato casserole is healthy – the creamy sweet potatoes and crunchy pecan topping are irresistible!

Ingredients:

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 4 pounds (about 5 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place the chopped sweet potatoes in a steamer basket over a pot of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Allow the sweet potatoes to steam for 15-20 minutes, until they are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly and then transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the sweet potatoes until smooth. Add the milk, honey or pure maple syrup, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  5. Spread the sweet potato mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle topping over the top of the casserole.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 20-25 minutes more, until the pecans are lightly toasted and the casserole is hot.

To make ahead:

  1. Prepare the casserole, keeping the topping separate. I usually put the topping in a small, covered bowl or small zip-top bag. Refrigerate for up to two days.
  2. When you are ready to bake the casserole, sprinkle on the topping. I recommend letting the casserole sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking to take the chill off. You may need to add 15-20 minutes to the covered bake time if baking a chilled casserole.

 

Nutrition information was calculated using an online calculator and is meant to be an estimate only. The exact numbers will vary based on quantities, ingredients and brands used.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 10 servings, Serving Size: 1/10 recipe

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 161 Calories
  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 152mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Protein: 3g
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Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

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