This vegan sweet potato casserole is a simple and delicious make-ahead Thanksgiving classic side dish or dessert. The sweet potato bake is topped with a delicious pecan streusel topping which is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free (without sacrificing flavor!).
I have to admit; for years, sweet potatoes only ever ended up on my table as part of hearty, savory dishes. Until I discovered how amazing this ingredient works within vegan bakes like these Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies or Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins.
Then, when I tried my first sweet potato casserole, I was immediately won over! This Thanksgiving classic plays on the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes but enhances it further with a delicious combination of spices, sweetener, and a delicious pecan streusel topping.
There are traditionally two ways of serving this dish. One uses marshmallow and the other, my preferred option, uses this streusel topping. I love this less sweet version; Especially when serving as a side dish to a large Holiday dinner.
Healthier Sweet Potato Bake
This healthy sweet potato casserole manages to reduce the sugar content, relying more on the natural sweetness of the potatoes, without losing its decadent quality. In fact, you can even reduce the sugar content further – check out my recipe notes section for some tips!
Plus, as a vegan version, I’ve omitted all eggs and dairy for a delicious sweet potato casserole without eggs. In fact, it’s so creamy and decadent that no-one would guess that it’s vegan and gluten-free. I’ve rarely been left with any leftovers after serving up a big dish of this- no matter what diet my guests have. So, I’ll take that as a win!
Here you can see which ingredients I used for the pecan streusel topping:
How To Make Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s super simple to make and only requires a few steps. Plus, it’s make-ahead friendly (read the how-to store section for tips!).
Step One: First, peel and chop the potatoes into 1” (2.5cm) equal-sized chunks.
Step Two: Add them to a large pot and cover with water, then bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until fork-tender. When ready, drain and transfer them to a large bowl.
Step Three: Then, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and grease a 2-quart casserole dish with oil.
Step Four: Add the sugar, canned coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the bowl with the potatoes and mash with a potato masher or electric hand mixer. Taste the mixture and adjust the spices and sweetener, to taste.
Step Five: Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to the casserole dish and even out the top with a spoon or spatula.
Step Six: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and stir with a spoon then add the maple syrup and vegan butter. Use your hands or a fork to toss/mix until crumbs form, then stir in the chopped pecans.
Step Seven: Sprinkle the sweet potato mixture with the pecan streusel topping and bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes or until the crumbs begin turning golden-brown. Then serve and enjoy!
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
How To Serve
Serve this gluten-free sweet potato casserole as a side dish for your Thanksgiving/Christmas spread, or as a dessert.
For even more decadence, you can top each portion with a little extra vegan butter.
Additionally, if serving as a dessert, then you could add a small dollop of sweetened whipped coconut cream to this dairy-free sweet potato casserole – it’s delish and still vegan!
Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for between 3-5 days. It can be reheated in the microwave or oven.
You can also make this dish ahead with two methods:
- Prepare the sweet potato mix in advance and leave overnight in the fridge then simply prepare the topping just before baking.
- Prepare both elements in advance but keep them separate. Otherwise, the topping will go ‘soggy’ if left on top of the sweet potato.
When baking the sweet potato bake straight from the fridge, it’s best to give it a few extra minutes.
Useful Recipe Notes
- Coconut Milk: You can substitute this with another dairy-free milk, but then it’s best to add 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter or coconut oil to the filling for a super creamy sweet potato souffle.
- Flour: Most gluten-free flours will work (I wouldn’t recommend coconut flour though), or you can use regular all-purpose flour or spelt flour if you aren’t gluten-free.
- Maple syrup: Or a liquid sweetener of your choice (i.e., agave, sugar-free keto syrup, etc.)
- For a nut-free version: You can use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts or simply omit them entirely.
- The Sweet Potatoes: This vegan sweet potato casserole is like ‘candied yams’ casserole. Feel free to use yams in place of sweet potato, if preferred. Pumpkin would be another option if you want to make a delicious pumpkin casserole.
- You can mash the sweet potato with a masher, hand mixer, food processor, or blender/immersion blender. However, be aware that the texture of sweet potato will change if over-processed and can become slightly ‘gummy’/gluey. Some people prefer it this way. But if you want light and fluffy spuds, then avoid the machines and stick to hand mashing.
- If you want a sweet dish while reducing the sugar content, then baking the sweet potatoes instead of boiling can help. The natural sugars in the spuds will caramelize as they bake, for super-sweet natural sweetness.
- You can use canned sweet potato puree to save time.
- If you want a slightly thicker, cohesive mash for this sweet potato bake then you can either add less liquid to the mash or add an egg substitute to help bind the mixture. I prefer mine slightly looser, with fewer ingredients.
- Feel free to reduce some spices and sugar for more of a savory dish.
Other Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
- Easy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Perfect Vegan Gravy
- Easy Apple Strudel
- The Best Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Pecan Pie
- Vegan Apple Pie with Streusel
If you give this vegan sweet potato casserole recipe a try, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- First, peel and chop sweet potatoes into equal-sized chunks, about 1" (2.5 cm). Add them to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes (or until fork-tender). Drain, then and add them to a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) and grease a 2-quart casserole dish with oil.
- Add, sugar, canned coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the large bowl. Mash with either a potato masher or use an electric hand mixer. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
- Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a casserole dish and smooth it out evenly with a spoon or spatula.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir with a spoon, then add maple syrup, and vegan butter. Use a fork (or your hands) to combine the mixture until crumbs form. Also, stir in the chopped pecans.
- Top the sweet potato mixture with the streusel and bake uncovered for 30-35 min or until the crumbs start to turn golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
Video Of The Recipe:
- Coconut milk: If you want to use any other milk, I would suggest adding 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter or oil to the filling.
- Flour: You can use regular all-purpose flour if you aren't gluten-free.
- Maple syrup: Any other liquid sweetener is fine.
- Make it in advance: Prepare the filling and add it to the casserole dish. Cover and store in the fridge (e.g. overnight). You can prep the topping right before baking. Or prep both but keep it in separate bowls.
- You can use canned sweet potato puree to save time.
- If you want a slightly thicker, cohesive mash then you can either add less liquid to the mash or add an egg substitute to help bind the mixture. If you prefer it creamier, add more milk or vegan butter.
- Recipe serves 6. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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