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Every Thanksgiving, I call dibs on bringing the sweet potatoes. It’s not out of the kindness of my heart, though I will always willingly and enthusiastically contribute to a meal, nor is it because sweet potato casserole is showiest. It’s because sweet potatoes are my favorite, and I am rather, erm, particular about them. This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is the one! It’s the ideal balance of sweet and savory, the oatmeal topping maintains a traditional feel but is refreshingly unexpected, and it’s both vegan and gluten free, meaning everyone at the table can have a giant scoop.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Topping. This will be your new favorite sweet potato recipe! Creamy, decadent, vegan, and gluten free!

Truth be told, when I first made this healthy sweet potato casserole, I was not in the market for a new sweet potato recipe.

For years, I’d made and loved my mom’s Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans. It, Butternut Squash Casserole, and Rosemary Bacon Mushroom Stuffing are my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes to the extent that after the meal, I hide a container of them in an undisclosed location for my own personal consumption.

I really am selfish when it comes to the sweet potatoes, it seems!

Fortunately, just like my Sweet Potato Souffle, this healthy sweet potato casserole can easily serve a crowd, so there’s plenty to go around and fill a secret container or two. You will love it just as much at the feast itself as you will leftover the next day.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. The best vegan, gluten free holiday side dish!

About This Next-Level Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

My two tricks to setting this healthy sweet potato dish apart from others you’ve tried are vanilla beans and a crunchy pecan oatmeal topping. The vanilla flavor is subtle but surprising. Guests might not be able to guess what it is, but they will absolutely go back for more.

In the topping department, marshmallows are not my thing at dinner (sorry if you were hoping for a healthy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows!), but I do solemnly believe that every good casserole deserves a special topping, and this pecan oatmeal one is superb.

The savory crunch of the oats and pecans is an ideal counterpoint to the velvety vanilla sweet potatoes. It vaults this healthy sweet potato casserole straight into the holiday side dish stratosphere.

Creamy Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. Vegan and gluten free, but still decadent!

As I mentioned, in addition to being gluten free (just make sure you used certified gluten free oats like these in the oatmeal topping), this healthy sweet potato casserole is vegan. Instead of using butter and heavy cream, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk and coconut oil, along with a light touch of maple syrup for extra flavor.

With the additional flavor dimension from the vanilla and maple, I didn’t miss the butter. The filling is still plenty creamy and decadent.

(If making the recipe vegan isn’t a priority, you could try this healthy sweet potato casserole with honey instead, and yes, it works with butter too.)

Vegan Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. Flavored with vanilla beans and topped with a delicious oatmeal crumble!

I’ll be hosting Friendsgiving again this year, our first “official” party in our new home! In addition to the turkey, I’ll be continuing my tradition of making this sweet potato casserole. Now you know why.

Last year’s record: I ate two servings of the casserole at dinner and one the next morning (if you’re looking for a healthy sweet potato breakfast casserole, try this one with a extra maple syrup and vanilla Greek yogurt). In a final act of self preservation, I moved what little remained to our garage refrigerator, hoping the distance would encourage me to eat something besides sweet potato casserole for a meal. It didn’t work.

Since our move, we no longer have a garage refrigerator, so guess who’s eating this healthy sweet potato casserole for dinner, breakfast, and lunch? She’s pretty excited about it. Try this recipe, and you will be too!

If you’re looking for other holiday side dishes, this dish is just one of the many healthy Thanksgiving sides on my site (like this Mashed Butternut Squash recipe!).

How to Make Your Own Almond Meal

  • Making your own almond meal is quick and easy! To make your own almond meal, pulse whole, raw almonds in the food processor until they form fine crumbs.
  • Be careful to not over process the almond, or you will end up with almond butter instead.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. Your new favorite vegan, gluten free side for the holidays.

Recommended Tools to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

4.89 from 18 votes
This will be your new favorite sweet potato casserole recipe! Creamy and decadent, flecked with vanilla beans and topped with crispy oats.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Servings: 10 servings (1 9×13-inch casserole)


For the Sweet Potatoes:

For the Pecan Oat Topping:


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or other 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  • Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, then place them on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat mat. Bake until the potatoes are fork tender, about 1 hour or so, depending upon the size of your potatoes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Peel and discard the skins (they should come off easily with your fingers), break the potatoes in large chunks with a fork, then place the chunks into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl.
  • While the potatoes bake, pour the almond milk in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla beans, scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the empty pods to the pan too. Bring to a very gentle simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let the almond milk boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla steep while the potatoes continue baking.
  • Remove the vanilla bean pods from the saucepan, then pour the almond milk and vanilla bean specs into the bowl with the sweet potato chunks. Add the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper.
  • Mash the potatoes together with the milk and spices (or beat gently with a mixer or your paddle attachment or run though a food mill) until fairly smooth with some texture remaining. Taste and add additional salt/pepper as desired. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. With the back of a rubber spatula, press and smooth into a single layer.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients—oats, pecans, almond meal, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, and maple syrup—until moist and evenly mixed. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.
  • Bake until the topping is toasted and fragrant and casserole is warmed through, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.



  • *You can substitute 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract for the vanilla beans, but the flavor will not be as rich and you lose the pretty specks.
  • **To make your own almond meal, pulse whole, raw almonds in the food processor until they form fine crumbs. Do not over process, or you will have almond butter instead.
  • MAKE IT AHEAD: Casserole can be prepared up through Step 5 one day in advance. Store refrigerated with plastic wrap over the top of the dish. Let come to room temperature prior to baking.
  • TO STORE. Let the sweet potato casserole come to room temperature, then place it in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT. Heat up leftovers in a 350 degree oven F until warmed through, or warm in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE. To freeze sweet potato casserole, wrap it in the casserole dish with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, or freeze leftovers in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
Pecan oat topping adapted from my Cherry Blackberry Crisp


Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 422kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 7gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gPotassium: 778mgFiber: 9gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 28965IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 121mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Erin, I made the sweet potato casserole but with the vanilla extract and it turned out really good! I plan to make it again for Thanksgiving and use the real vanilla beans!!5 stars

  2. This was delicious. Thank you.
    FYI, I used skim milk in place of almond milk and vanilla in place of vanilla beans, simply because I didn’t have those items. It was still delicious. I did use fresh nutmeg.
    This casserole was sweet, but not too sweet, just right.5 stars

  3. Hi Erin!

    I am interested in making this for family over the holiday, however we have a few tree nut allergies. Coconut oil is not a problem, pecans can be left out of the topping, and I assume I could use any other milk as a substitute for the almond milk (?)…I’m just not sure about a substitute for almond meal. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sue! I’ve only tested this recipe as written so I wouldn’t be able to advise what you could substitute for almond meal. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  4. This looks really good. Except… Oats are not well tolerated in our house. What do you suggest to use instead? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sunshine! I’ve only tested this recipe as written so I wouldn’t be able to advise what you could substitute for oat. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  5. i don’t have vanilla beans right now, how much vanilla extract should I try? Making this for Easter and will be cutting it half only 4 of us. I am making a mayo potato salad for others and this for myself.

    1. Hi Nana, just want to make sure you are seeing the recipe card on your end because I had already made a note of this substitution in the notes of the recipe card? It’s 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract for the original recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

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