This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans is my new favorite way to serve sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. It’s lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup, has a crunchy topping, and features dried cranberries for an extra pop of flavor. The combination is addictive!
How to Make It
This healthy Sweet Potato Casserole starts with tender roasted sweet potatoes, which you can prepare ahead of time if you’d like to. You’ll need to roast the sweet potatoes until they are very tender, about 60 minutes at 400ºF, but the time will vary based on their size. (Smaller potatoes will cook faster, and larger ones may take longer than 1 hour.)
You can tell the sweet potatoes are tender by pressing on the outside with a fork. A very tender potato will easily give under the pressure, guaranteeing that the inside is naturally sweet and ready to be mashed!
Once the sweet potatoes are tender, you’ll puree them together with your favorite milk (I use almond milk), vanilla, and ginger, then top them with an easy oatmeal pecan crumble. I don’t add sugar to the sweet potatoes, as I think they are plenty sweet as-is, but you can taste this mixture as you go and add maple syrup or sugar, to taste.
Just remember that the crumble topping, and the added cranberries, will add sweetness to the final dish, too!
The Best Oatmeal Pecan Topping
The key to this unique sweet potato casserole is its crunchy crumble topping. It comes together quickly in a food processor, and stands out thanks to the combination of oatmeal, pecans, fresh rosemary (trust me on this one!), salt, and a touch of maple syrup. No added oil is needed!
Before you add the topping to the mashed sweet potatoes, scatter a layer of dried cranberries over the top. The cranberries will plump up as they cook, and the crumble topping will protect them from drying out the oven.
Having a surprise bite of cranberry, contrasted by the creamy sweet potatoes and the crunchy topping is such a treat, and will have all of your holiday guests coming back for second helpings.
Is Sweet Potato Casserole a Dessert or a Side Dish?
Since many traditional recipes are topped with marshmallows, it’s no wonder why some people might consider it a dessert, but I believe this healthy sweet potato casserole is more of a side dish. It’s topped with a crunchy pecan and oatmeal crumble, along with sweet cranberries, and pairs well with all of your other favorite Thanksgiving sides.
You can roast the sweet potatoes for this casserole up to 3 days in advance, and you can even prepare the puree and topping, if you’d like to have it all assembled a few days before a busy holiday meal. Just make sure to keep it tightly covered in the fridge.
To reheat, thaw on the counter for 1 hour to help bring it to room temperature, then bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden.
You can even freeze this assembled casserole for up to 3 months when stored in an airtight dish. You’ll want to thaw it in the fridge overnight, before baking it the next day.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
Crunchy Pecan Oat Topping
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary (unbelievably good!)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Sweet Potato Filling
- 3 pounds roasted sweet potatoes , peeled
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (look for juice-sweetened, if possible)
- 1/4 cup pecan halves , for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, add in the oats, pecans, rosemary, and salt, and process briefly to create a flour-like texture. Add in the maple syrup, and process again until crumbly.
- Pour the crumble into a small bowl and set aside. In the same food processor (no need to rinse it), add in the roasted & peeled sweet potatoes, milk, vanilla, ginger, and salt, and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the mixture to your liking. You can add maple syrup for sweetness, if you like, or extra milk to make them creamier.
- In the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish, spread the sweet potato puree into a relatively smooth layer. Scatter the dried cranberries over the top, then sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top. Add the remaining pecans over the top, for decoration and added crunch. Bake at 350ºF until the topping is golden, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, then serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- The great thing about sweet potato casserole is that you can taste each individual component and adjust the seasoning as you go. I like to keep this dish relatively low in sugar, but you can sweeten the potato puree with maple syrup or granulated sugar, if you’d rather. The overall taste is totally in your hands!
- If the crumble isn’t sweet enough for you, I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar to the topping, rather than adding any more maple syrup. (I tested this with 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, and it became almost too sticky to work with.) Just keep in mind that the cranberries will add sweetness, too!
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to prepare sweet potato casserole? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Questions and Reviews
This recipe looks absolutely delicious! Sweet Potato Casserole has always been a childhood favorite of mine.
When you say 2 quart baking dish, would that be a 9 x 13, or would I have to double it?
Also, is there a way to make this recipe grain free?
Thank you so much!
I’m curious if you have a suggestion of what I could swap for the oats? Buckwheat? Quinoa? Hmm…
Wow, I made this last night as a Thanksgiving test-run, and I could eat it all as my main course! The cranberries are genius. So much more flavor than the usual sweet potato casserole! Thank you for all the testing you do.
Yay! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!
I am going to sub pumpkin seeds for pecans! Excited to make for my work potluck!
Hope it’s a hit!
I don’t have a food processor yet, but am looking at buying an 8-cup Cuisinart. Is that large enough for this recipe?
I use an 12-cup food processor in these photos. I think an 8-cup could work, but I own a 7-cup food processor and end up using my 12-cup much more often.
Hi! Could the sweet potatoes left unpeeled for the puree?
Yes, if you don’t mind having flecks of the skins in the puree, I think that would be great! More nutrition in there, too. 🙂
I made your speedy black bean burgers. Amazing! Served it with avocado Caesar salad with crispy garlic chickpeas. Again, amazing! Thank you so very much for all the work you do developing these recipes. The only thing I did to the black bean burgers was to add a little avocado oil, the mixture seemed a little dry.
Amazing! At first I thought it wouldn’t be enough topping, but it definitely was. I personally would not add any sweetener to the sweet potatoes as I found them sweet enough. We had this for dinner but if you replaced the rosemary in the topping with cinnamon you could have it for breakfast with sliced banana and peanut butter on top!
Loved it! Made it for Thanksgiving and family polished it off! Will definitely make again
turned out delicious. The crunchy topping with the oatmeal and maple syrup was very crunchy. Due to nut allergy I roasted garbanzo beans in olive oil paprika salt and pepper and then I crunched it up in a Cuisinart. It was delicious.
I started putting sweet potatoes in my crock pot. Just wash and put them in, cook on low while I’m at work. Perfect every time.
Megan does it again!! 👏🏼
This recipe is delicious!! The perfect healthy sweet potato dish for thanksgiving. We love the added touch of ginger and crunch of the topping! Megan, you’re amazing!
Tastes like a dessert! So sweet and has great flavor. I love the fresh rosemary in the crumble topping. It gives a great savory flavor that compliments the sweetness in the potatoes.
My all time favorite for a sweet potato side dish! I baked the topping separately from the sweet potatoes for half of the baking time then layered it on top to finish out baking time. So delicious!
I forgot to add the stars!!!!