This healthy sweet potato casserole is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free, and so, so delicious! Perfect for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This recipe is great for potlucks because everyone can enjoy, even those with dietary restrictions.

How long it takes: 15 minutes to prep, 50 minutes to bake
Equipment you’ll need: large bowl, electric mixer, 9×13 pan, oven
Servings: 10

Slice of healthy sweet potato casserole topped with chia seeds, oats, and pepitas.
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This healthy sweet potato casserole recipe is a slightly different take on a classic dish. The creamy mashed sweet potatoes are topped with a crunchy topping made of pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chia seeds, and rolled oats.

There’s a heated debate surrounding sweet potato casserole. Are you “team marshmallow” or do you want nothing to do with the soft pillows of sweetness?

I confess that I’m no stranger to pairing marshmallows and sweet potatoes. I love decadent sweet potato bread pudding that’s piled with marshmallows. Kids think these fun hand-held sweet potato casserole boats are the greatest thing since sliced bread, especially the marshmallows on top.

Nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free. I wanted to create a recipe that my kids and everyone in my family could enjoy, not to mention all the other people out there with allergies. This recipe is also gluten-free and dairy-free (as an option). It’s not your normal sweet potato casserole.

Sweet potato casserole with an oat topping in a white casserole dish.

Even though there are no nuts, gluten, or dairy, this sweet potato casserole is not free of flavor. Are you willing to try something just a bit out of the norm? You’ll discover that you don’t really need to add a bunch of sugar, butter, and nuts to make sweet potatoes taste great.

About this healthier Casserole

It’s made with real sweet potatoes. You won’t find sugar-laden canned yams in this casserole! It has honest-to-goodness real sweet potatoes, nutritious and low in calories.

It’s rich and delicious. The filling is rich and nearly custard-like, with the addition of two eggs. Sweetened with maple syrup, it’s smooth and delicious … everything you want from sweet potato casserole.

You’ll love the topping! Instead of nuts or marshmallows, this casserole is topped with oat topping, almost like granola. It has plenty of crunch with good-for-you rolled oats, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Healthy sweet potato casserole on a wooden spoon over the rest of the casserole.
Ingredients for recipe, with labels.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Sweet Potatoes: Choose smooth-skinned potatoes that are not wrinkled, bruised, or cracked. Store uncooked sweet potatoes in a cool dark place for up to week. Don’t refrigerate them.
  • Eggs: Provide a custard-like structure and bind the casserole together.
  • Maple Syrup: A natural flavorful sweetener. Substitute brown sugar if you prefer, or make it with honey. Prefer sugar-free? Omit the sweeteners entirely. Sweet potatoes have a lot of natural sweet flavor which is enhanced by the cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Milk: For a non-dairy alternative, use unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, Salt: Simple seasonings that you won’t want to leave out.
  • Rolled Oats: The base of the topping, rolled oats provide hearty texture, much like granola. Don’t substitute instant oats or steel-cut oats
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Shelled pumpkin seeds are also called pepitas. They are dark green in color. Make sure you get unsalted raw seeds.
  • Chia Seeds: Super nutritious and widely available. Have you tried this maple cinnamon chia pudding recipe? It’s pretty amazing.
  • Coconut Oil and Maple Syrup: This team will hold the topping together and help it crisp up. Again, you can make this sugar-free but it won’t have quite the same flavor. Shredded coconut can be added for natural sweetness.

How To Make This Recipe

Cook the potatoes. Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes in the oven, microwave, or Instant Pot. The FAQ section has more about how to cook sweet potatoes.

Once the potatoes have cooked and cooled off a bit, remove the peelings and add the potatoes to a large bowl.

Make the filling. Add the eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip it together. If you prefer a coarser mash, use a potato masher.

Potatoes mixed with eggs and seasonings in a glass bowl.

Spread the mashed potatoes into a greased casserole dish and smooth the top.

Mashed sweet potatoes spread into a white casserole dish.

Make the topping. Add the topping ingredients to another bowl and mix well.

Topping ingredients including oat and pumpkin seeds in a small clear glass bowl.

Sprinkle topping evenly on top the mashed sweet potatoes.

Unbaked casserole in a white baking dish.

Bake the casserole 45 to 50 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes look set. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes or so.

Baked sweet potatoes with oat topping.

Easy peasy, right? Enjoy for a Thanksgiving side dish or any day of the week. Quite honestly, I even like eating the leftovers for breakfast.

FAQs

What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

According to North Carolina Sweet Potatoes, they are completely different but in the U.S., they are often confused. A yam has a dark brown, bark-like rough exterior and a dry white-fleshed interior. A sweet potato is smooth-skinned and orange or reddish in color on the outside, with orange flesh.

Why does sweet potato casserole need eggs?

Eggs bind the casserole together and stiffen it slightly so that it holds together.

What’s the best way to cook a sweet potato?

I like to make my sweet potatoes in my Instant Pot.
Microwave: For really fast baked sweet potatoes, use your microwave. Simply prick the potato a few times with a fork, place it on a paper towel, and microwave for five minutes, turning it over once. Check to see if it’s fork tender; if not, microwave in 30-second increments until soft. Let it set a few minutes before handling.
Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F. Prick the potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender.

Adaptations – Make It Your Own

  • To make nut-free: Use cow’s milk or coconut milk.
  • To make dairy-free: Use almond milk or coconut milk.
  • To make nut-free and dairy-free: Use coconut milk. 
  • If you don’t need to make it nut free: Try adding pecans to the topping. You can also substitute the streusel used in this recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes. Make a double batch of the streusel.
  • Don’t want to use maple syrup: I get it, it’s pricey! Use brown sugar, or even better, dark brown sugar. Coconut sugar also works well in this recipe. 
  • Allergic to coconut? No worries, you can eat this too! Use butter or ghee instead of coconut oil.
Bite of casserole on a spoon on a white plate.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Thanksgiving can be HARD. So much to do, so little time! And you 100% deserve to relax and enjoy the day, too. Here’s how to make the day a little easier:

Up to 2 days ahead: Cook the sweet potatoes two days in advance and pop them in the fridge.

One day before you want to serve this: Prep the sweet potato mixture and spread it in the pan, keep it covered in the fridge. Also, mix the dry ingredients of the topping together in a bowl. Cover that and leave it on your counter.

On Thanksgiving Day: all that’s left to do is add the maple syrup and coconut oil to the topping, stir it together, sprinkle it on top, and bake. So easy!

Recipe Tip

IMPORTANT: Make sure to let your glass pan come to room temperature before putting it in the hot oven! The abrupt temperature change could crack your dish.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Refrigerate/Freeze: Leftover sweet potato casserole will keep in the fridge for up to four days. You can freeze the casserole, too, for up to three months. Warning: the topping loses its crispness when refrigerated or frozen.

Reheat: Warm in the oven or in the microwave until heated through.

Overhead view of a square of sweet potato casserole on a round white plate.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: Looking for healthier alternatives to rich holiday foods? Take a look at my collection of 18+ healthy Thanksgiving recipes for delicious but better-for-you ideas.

More Sweet Potatoes

Recipe

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

4.75 from 12 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
This sweet potato casserole is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free, and so, so delicious! Perfect for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving!
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Ingredients 

Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (3 to 4 large potatoes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk (unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk can be substituted)
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Topping

  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray 9 x 13 inch pan (I like to use coconut oil spray).
  • In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together sweet potatoes, eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. If you prefer a coarser texture, mash the sweet potatoes by hand. Spread into an even layer in prepared pan.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, chia seeds, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Stir so that all dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Sprinkle oat mixture on top of sweet potatoes evenly.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown and sweet potatoes look set.
  • Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • To make nut-free: Use cow’s milk or coconut milk.
  • To make dairy-free: Use almond milk or coconut milk.
  • To make nut-free and dairy-free: Use coconut milk. 
  • If you don’t need to make it nut free: Try adding pecans to the topping. 
  • Instead of maple syrup: Substitute brown sugar, dark brown sugar, or coconut sugar. 
  • Allergic to coconut? Use butter or ghee instead of coconut oil.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 158mg, Potassium: 238mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 5730IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 66mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.75 from 12 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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11 Comments

  1. Tialyn says:

    5 stars
    Who knew healthy could taste so GOOD! Love this recipe! The entire family enjoyed it!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Win win! :)

  2. Renee E says:

    And I did have it for breakfast as well

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So good for breakfast!

  3. Renee E says:

    This was so so good!  My kids even liked it and it was healthy!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Yes!!! That’s amazing!

  4. Lacy Wilson says:

    I only have roasted pepitas with salt, can I use these in the topping?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I think the sweet and salty combo would be so tasty if you used those! :)

  5. denise says:

    sounds delicious

    because I’m the only one eating sweet potatoes most of the time, we never do a sweet potato casserole–shocking, I know!

  6. Anita Williams says:

    Thanks so much . Do u have diabetes friendly recipes to share? 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I have lots of different recipes on my site – if you browse my recipe index, I bet you’ll find lots to love that will suit your diet!