This gluten-free sweet potato casserole is a lightened up version of a holiday classic! A rich and creamy sweet potato mash is topped with a toasted coconut pecan topping for an indulgent (but not overly sweet) side dish.
Even better, everyone at the table can enjoy this gluten-free sweet potato casserole since it's dairy-optional, sugar-free, and also includes a low-carb and vegan option!
why you'll love it
Sweet potato casserole is a must on our holiday menu (right up there with green bean casserole and pumpkin pie on our Thanksgiving table), and this lighter version is just as comforting as the kind I grew up with. Yes, even without the marshmallows (but feel free to add them, if you'd like)!
Traditional sweet potato casserole is typically loaded with sugar and often includes a crumble topping featuring more brown sugar and flour. It's not exactly the healthiest dish, which is why I'm thrilled to share this gluten-free and low-carb sweet potato casserole recipe with you.
Baked sweet potatoes are whipped with monk fruit sweetener, spices, and creamy coconut milk, then topped with an easy, gluten-free crumble.
Pop it into the oven for a bit and it gets perfectly toasted and buttery on top, adding just the right amount of crunch to go with that soft, sweet potato mixture.
My gluten-free sweet potato casserole recipe is:
- creamy, rich and flavorful
- sweet (but not too sweet) and made without any refined sugar
- completely grain free
- an easy recipe to adapt for paleo, vegan, low-carb, and dairy-free eaters
- simple to make (you can also prep it ahead of time!)
Since holiday meal prep can be a marathon, I really wanted to keep the ingredient list short and sweet, and the process quite simple.
If you're looking for a low-carb or keto sweet potato casserole, this will fit those needs too. You can reduce the number of sweet potatoes and add pumpkin and butternut squash to create a "faux sweet potato" mash that is much lower in carbs and natural sugars, and just as delicious! I've tested it several times and I've included that option in the recipe notes.
Here's what you'll need for this gluten-free sweet potato casserole recipe:
- large sweet potatoes
- butter (see below if vegan)
- full-fat coconut milk, canned
- golden monk fruit sweetener (affiliate link), see below if paleo
- vanilla extract
- egg (see below if vegan)
- unsweetened coconut flakes
healthy sweet potato casserole variations
vegan sweet potato casserole
Omit the egg. While it helps the sweet potato filling whip up nicer and adds a tad more richness, you can leave it out and add 1 tablespoon extra of the coconut milk.
And instead of butter, you can opt for coconut oil or vegan butter (I always check vegan butter labels and prefer brands made without high-inflammatory oils).
paleo sweet potato casserole
Swap the monk fruit sweetener used in the filling for pure maple syrup, agave or coconut sugar. And for the topping, coconut sugar works best.
low-carb or keto sweet potato casserole
Use only one sweet potato. Instead of roasting it whole, peel and cube it and mix it with 2 cups cubed butternut squash.
Roast until tender, then blend the potato/squash with 1 can of pumpkin purée and the remaining filling ingredients. It's nearly identical to the real thing!
Since the monk fruit sweetener has a zero glycemic index and the squash and pumpkin is low in carbs, higher in fiber and low in natural sugar, this version is a wonderful option for low-carb/keto eaters or diabetics. You can even take it a step further and replace the sweet potato entirely with an equal amount of roasted cauliflower.
a gluten-free sweet potato casserole recipe
You can prepare this gluten free sweet potato casserole a day in advance if you'd like, and refrigerate it overnight. Or simply bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time.
I recommend topping the casserole with the pecan/coconut mixture right before baking, otherwise it may lose its crispness sitting in the fridge overnight.
All in all, this healthy sweet potato casserole is really hard to mess up! And that's possibly the best part.
Here's a quick look at the process but be sure to view the full recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Bake the sweet potatoes. Roast them in the oven on a baking sheet at 425°F for about 45-50 minutes or until they're tender. Use a fork to poke holes in the potatoes before baking.
- Mix up the sweet potato mash. When the potatoes are done, slice them open and allow them to sit for a few minutes until they're cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and place in a large bowl. Add in the butter, coconut milk, sweetener and spices. Mix (using a standup or hand mixer) for 1 minute, until well-combined. Add the egg and mix another minute.
- Top and bake. Spread the mixture into a baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped pecans, coconut, sweetener, cinnamon and melted butter (or coconut oil). Spread this mixture across the top of the sweet potato mash. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and toasted.
for the best results
- Sweeten to your own taste preference. I would describe this healthy sweet potato casserole as moderately sweet, which is how my family prefers it. It has just the right amount of sweetener for a touch of extra sweetness, but not too much to where it tastes like dessert. If you are someone who prefers an extra sweet casserole, you can increase the amount of sweetener to your liking (in both the filling and the topping).
- Adjust the moisture as needed. If you feel that it could use a little bit more moisture, you can always add extra tablespoons of the coconut milk or butter. Add more as needed.
- Use dairy-free milk of choice. For this lightened up sweet potato casserole, I prefer canned coconut milk. It's thick and creamy and adds a natural sweetness. However, I've also made this with unsweetened almond milk and macadamia milk and both are fine substitutions. If you don't need a dairy-free option, you can sub in regular cream or half and half.
- Storing and reheating leftover sweet potato casserole. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or cover the dish with plastic wrap. It will keep well for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 300°F until warm.
- I use a mixer to combine the sweet potato mixture, but you can also use a potato masher or even a blender or food processor. If using the latter, make sure to pulse just until smooth. It's easy to over-process the mixture. You still want it to have some texture to it and not result in baby food consistency. 🙂
prepare this in advance
If you're looking to save some prep time on Thanksgiving Day, or if you plan to bring this over to share with friends and family, here are a few tips.
- You can roast the sweet potatoes the day before to save on oven time the day-of.
- Prepare the sweet potato casserole mash in advance and add the topping right before baking.
- Store the prepared sweet potato casserole in the fridge and remove it one hour before baking. Let it sit at room temperature to take the chill off, then add the topping and bake.
This lightened up sweet potato casserole is SO GOOD and will suit nearly any dietary restriction! For my family, it's a favorite Thanksgiving side but it also makes the perfect side dish for any special meal during the holiday season.
more healthy sweet potato recipes
- Brussels sprouts hash
- Harissa chicken thighs with roasted vegetables
- Low-carb zucchini gratin (with sweet potato)
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- 3 large sweet potatoes, approx. 3 pounds (see notes for low-carb/keto swap)
- 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
- ¼ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener (see notes if paleo)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg (optional)
pecan coconut topping
- ⅔ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons Golden Monk Fruit sweetener (see notes if paleo)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (or sub coconut oil or vegan butter)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Rinse and dry the sweet potatoes. Use a fork to poke several holes in the potatoes.
- Place them on the baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350°F.
- Slice open the potatoes and peel the skins away. Scoop out the sweet potato flesh and place it into a glass mixing bowl or bowl of a standup mixer.
- Add the butter, canned coconut milk, sweetener, spices, salt and vanilla. Mix for 1-2 minutes or until well-combined. Add the egg and mix another minute or so. Taste and adjust, adding more coconut milk for a lighter consistency or adding more sweetener if needed.
- Spread the mixture in an even layer in a casserole dish (9x13 or similar).
- In a small bowl, mix together the chopped pecans, coconut flakes, sweetener, cinnamon and melted butter. Spoon the mixture on top of the sweet potato mash.
- Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the the top is toasted and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.
- For a vegan casserole: Omit the egg entirely and substitute the butter in the mash with vegan butter of choice. Add 1 extra tablespoon of coconut milk when mixing the mash if it seems to need extra moisture. For the topping, swap the butter for vegan butter or coconut oil.
- For a paleo casserole: Substitute the monk fruit sweetener in the filling with an equal amount of agave, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. For the topping, coconut sugar is best.
- For a low-carb or keto sweet potato casserole: Preheat oven to 400°F and peel and cube 1 sweet potato. Place on a baking sheet and add 2 cups cubed butternut squash. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender. Blend the roasted potato/squash with 15 oz. (1 can) of pumpkin purée and the remaining filling ingredients. Top with the pecan coconut mixture and bake according to the main recipe.
- Adjust the sweetness and the moisture in the sweet potato filling to your preference, adding more sweetener or coconut milk as needed.
- Feel free to use a different non-dairy milk such as unsweetened almond milk or macadamia milk.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 300°F until warm.
- To prepare in advance: Make the casserole and store in the refrigerator overnight. Remove it from the fridge 1 hour before baking and let it sit at room temperature. Bake according to instructions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 17gNet Carbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.