Dive into Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole for a lightened version of the Thanksgiving classic. Made with oats, pecans, and maple syrup, it’s complete with a crispy crumble topping and flavors that are to die for!
The ultimate sweet potato recipe
I remember it like it was yesterday: the Thanksgiving when my mom proposed making sweet potato casserole with a crunchy, pecan topping instead of the traditional marshmallows.
My family was reluctant, as we all doubted that this would live up to the marshmallow version we’d grown accustomed to. If our assumptions were correct, Thanksgiving dessert would be ruined!
Yeah, yeah. We were dramatic. But guess what. We were also very wrong, because my mom’s new and improved casserole rendition turned out to be an absolute crowd favorite!
So for this recipe, you can dive into the dish that changed our Thanksgiving many years ago. I’ve swapped the heavy cream and white sugar for a bit of butter and maple syrup, making this dish the perfect combo of savory, sweet, and crunchy. I know you’ll love it!
Ingredients in healthier sweet potato casserole
For this dish we’re using two groups of ingredients: those for the base, and those for the topping! Though, a few of the ingredients (maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon) will be used in both portions.
Sweet Potato Base:
- Sweet potatoes: It’s no surprise that this recipe features a whopping four cups of mashed sweet potatoes! You can’t have the casserole without this star ingredient.
- Egg: One egg will be used as part of the base. It works as a binding agent and contributes to the texture.
- Maple syrup: All-natural ingredients for the win! This sweetener adds the perfect amount of flavor to the sweet potato base.
- Vanilla: Use a dash of vanilla for taste.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is the perfect ingredient for this sweet potato casserole recipe! Plus, it fits right in with the whole “fall dish” thing.
- Salt: Finally, add a pinch of salt, because obviously.
- Rolled oats: We’re adding protein, fiber, and healthy carbs to this dish by using rolled oats as one of our topping ingredients!
- Pecans: For a sweet, nutty flavor, chop some pecans into very small pieces. Use 3/4 of a cup for all of the nutty goodness.
- Oat flour: Next up, oat flour will help bring all of the topping ingredients together.
- Cinnamon: Whip that cinnamon back out, because we need some for the top layer too!
- Salt: Add another dash of salt!
- Butter: We’ll use 3 tbsp of melted butter in the topping mix. You can also use coconut oil or vegan butter if that’s more your thing!
- Maple syrup: Finally, we’ll use maple syrup again to add a bit of sweet flavor.
Tools used to make this casserole
For this dish you’ll need a number of kitchen tools. Gather your items, and let’s get to baking!
- Baking sheet (optional for baking the potatoes)
- Large mixing bowl
- Stirring utensil
- Food processor
- Baking dish
- For measuring: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 3/4 cup
The low-down on cooking sweet potatoes and making a casserole
Get ready for the ultimate autumn dish, perfect for enjoying at Thanksgiving celebrations this year. This casserole will totally transform the idea of “sweet potato casserole” in your mind, as everything from the maple syrup to the oats is new, improved, and über delicious!
To begin, use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes, and then bake them at 425F. Bake for 30 minutes, flip, and bake for another 15-30 minutes depending on size. They should be completely soft to the touch when finished.
Once the baked sweet potatoes are removed from the oven, cut them open and let them cool completely.
Begin working on the topping while the potatoes cool.
In a bowl, mix the oats, pecans, oat flour, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the melted butter and maple syrup and mix until completely combined.
Once the potatoes have cooled, peek the skin off, discard, and place the flesh in a food processor.
Add the egg, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes until it covers the dish in a flat layer.
Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.
Preparing sweet potato casserole ahead of time
Prepping for Thanksgiving is busy. I get it. And even if you’re not cooking this for Thanksgiving and are simply enjoying it as a Saturday meal, time remains of the essence!
Well, what’s great about this recipe is that there are three ways to prepare it ahead of time.
- First, you can bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time to cut down on day-of baking and cooling prep.
- Second, you can prepare the base early, and then making the toppings and bake the day-of.
- Third, you can just finish things up and bake the entire recipe early! Bake as directed, and allow the casserole to completely cool before placing it in the fridge.
To reheat, cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven for 10-20 minutes until warm. Check it periodically to ensure that the topping doesn’t burn.
A healthier casserole option
This is one of my favorite sweet potato recipes for multiple reasons, but one of those reasons is because of all the nutrients it provides.
Traditional sweet potato casserole recipes are made with condensed milk or heavy cream, a cup of refined sugar, and half a stick (or more) of butter. But, sweet potatoes are so rich and delicious on their own that they don’t need all of the added ingredients to make a perfect casserole.
The sweet potatoes provide you a healthy dose of Vitamin A, and the entire recipe is sweetened with only maple syrup, which eliminates the need for added sugar. The entire recipe uses 10 ingredients and can also be made dairy-free if you replace the butter with coconut oil!
For the crunchy topping, the rolled oats, oat flour, and pecans provide immense flavor, healthy fats, and fiber. It’s a better alternative to the traditional marshmallow and cornflake topping, and one that you’ll be happy you chose!
Can’t get enough sweet potato?
Then you’re in luck! Below are some more of my signature sweet potato recipes, which are perfect for enjoying during this season along side your favorite coffee (muffins) or apple cider (fries and casserole).
- Healthy Sweet Potato Muffins
- Crispy Baked Chili Lime Sweet Potato Fries
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole
- Paleo Sweet Potato Muffins
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by The Mindful Hapa
Sweet potato base:
- 3lbs sweet potatoes, about 4 cups mashed.
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped very small
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter, melted (feel free to use coconut oil or vegan butter if dairy free)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Bake sweet potatoes at 425 with holes poked in them for 30 minutes, flip, then bake
for another 15-30 depending on size. They should be completely soft to the touch.
- Cut open and let cool completely.
- Begin working on the topping while sweet potatoes cool.
- In a bowl, mix together oats, pecans, oat flour, cinnamon, and salt.
- Mix in melted butter and maple syrup until completely combined.
- Once potatoes are cooled, peel skin off, discard, and place flesh food processor.
- Add egg, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
- Pour sweet potato mixture into a 3 qt baking dish.
- Sprinkle crumble picture over top of the sweet potatoes until almost all the way covered in a flat layer.
- Bake at 350 for 45-50 or until golden brown on top.
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