Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

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If you are starting to plan out your Thanksgiving menu then this one is for you. I “real foodinized” an old family sweet potato casserole Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food recipe that called for 2 cups of brown sugar…yikes! Why would sweet potatoes even need that much sugar when they’re already naturally sweet? Well, once you try this dish I think you’ll agree this “better for you” version is actually quite delicious and would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving Day spread. If you have the pleasure of serving an extra big crowd this holiday season then double the recipe!


4.5 from 2 reviews

Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves: 6-7 (as a side item)
  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Topping Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • ⅓ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel, cube and boil sweet potatoes until tender. If you cut the cubes small enough (1 ½” to 2”) they shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Drain potatoes.
  3. Add the butter, vanilla, milk, egg and syrup to potatoes and mash/mix together by hand with a potato masher or fork or you can use an electric mixer.
  4. Transfer mashed potato mixture to a square casserole dish.
  5. Mix together the pecans and flour for the topping. Melt the butter and syrup together and stir into the pecan mixture.
  6. Evenly spread pecan topping on top of the potatoes in casserole dish.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until bubbly.

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89 comments to Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

  • My “real” sweet potato casserole recipe for Easter was very similar to this. I find that it’s easier to bake the washed whole sweet potatoes first. Then, the skins just slide off and it’s so much quicker. Then, I always run them through my mixer to get all of the “strings” out and make them very smooth. Then, I proceed.
    Also, the topping and the filling both freeze well (separately). So, I make this ahead of time and then freeze it. Once it thaws, I cook the filling until it’s hot and almost done and then I add the topping so it doesn’t burn.
    I love thanksgiving!

  • Looks fantastic – I agree, sweet potatoes are already very sweet and don’t need a bunch more sugar!

  • kitchenwench

    Sweet potatoes have such a delicate flavor. I find that boiling them makes them tasteless. Just throw them in the oven and bake them. I know you have to factor that into the prep time, but it is hands off time you can use to do something else. Lisa, I love your site and follow it religiously!

  • Alyssa

    This sounds great! Question…could you use coconut oil in place of the butter or do you think it would change things too much?

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      It would definitely change the flavor, but you could try it! If you are dealing with a dairy intolerance you could try ghee (a.k.a. clarified butter) as well. Good luck!

  • Julie

    I’ve been trying lots of your recipes and really enjoying them. I will definitely try this soon. Thank you!

  • Michelle

    Mark Bittman from How to Cook Everything also has a super-simple (and real) version of sweet potatoes that’s awesome. He grates the sweet potatoes first, then stir fries everything. It’s simple and quick, and my kids like it a lot. I don’t think they’d go for “potatoes” with marshmallows and tons of brown sugar. They’d wonder how they were even potatoes!

  • Jayna

    This looks great! I agree that sweet potatoes don’t need a whole lot of sugar added, none most of the time, in fact. Maple syrup here seems like a good substitute for sugar. I’m not all the way “real” so this following part may raise some eyebrows… I got canned sweet potatoes that were packed in…get this…water! No sugar added! I did that for two years to make for my twin babies which saved a lot of time. But now they no longer make that variety. They are ALL packed in light syrup. :o( Bummy. But I think I’ll be trying this one with the real deal REAL soon! Trying to watch carbs, though, so I may toast the pecans in a pan and lightly drizzle with maple syrup instead of doing a crumble.

  • Stacy

    I’ve been leaving the skins on for mashed sweet potatoes and I think I will for this casserole, too. I hardly notice them! I’m so glad you posted this; I was just really sad last week thinking about all the terrible stuff in sweet potato casserole, but now I don’t have to be!

  • julie

    This sweet potatoe casserole looks amazing!! I am trying it tomorrow!

  • Carolyn

    This looks great. I love sweet potatoes, I often wonder why I don’t make stuff like this great casserole more often! I mean how is this that different than my other go-to side dishes? This would be especially nice for a Sunday supper!

  • I love that you guys are doing this! We just did a 30-day Challenge with no processed foods! You are definitely inspiring me to continue the trend though!

  • mandy

    Thanks! I am doing the cooking for Thanksgiving this year and am trying to stick to healthier and organic options. This blog is a godsend.

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for posting this! I just completed the October Unprocessed challenge, and it’s really changed the way I am feeding my family. This looks like a fantastic side for Thanksgiving, and I plan to try it then! I’ve been following your site since you did the first 100 day challenge. I always find great information and inspiration here. Thank you!

  • Jessica Lea, RD

    Love this variation! Our family recipe does not have quite the sugar content as your original, but it certainly has more than enough fat and sugar. Can’t wait to try this one out :)

  • Debbie

    Yum! I made this a few nights ago, and it is great! I really felt good after eating it, too. I don’t know how to discribe it, but it’s something that I definitely noticed. Thank you so much for all of the fabulous recipes and Real Food tips!

  • Thanks for this recipe…I plan on making it for our Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Ashli

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I look forward to trying it. Do you have any replacement ideas for the pecans? I (unfortunately) am allergic to all nuts.

  • Brandi

    I have some sweet potatoes that need to be used and was thinking of making this tonight along with the crockpot chicken recipe… you think I can sub almonds for the pecans so I can avoid a trip to the store?? Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  • Leslie

    I tried this today for a work potluck with lots of dishes and lots of people. It was half finished. I asked for honest feedback (from folks not committed to a “real foods” lifestyle) and got “not sweet enough.” So not sure it will work for the big holiday. My hubby will pronounce final judgement tonight. I do like it since it’s not overpoweringly sweet.

  • Kerrie

    I wonder if honey would work as well as the maple syrup?

  • Danyelle

    I make something similar to this but my topping is more of a streusal topping with whole wheat flour and oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. I usually do my potatoes whipped, peel, boil and whip with half n half or whole milk, butter and whatever sweetner you would like (maple, brown sugar or honey or a combo!)

    • Elizabeth

      Danyelle – I plan on making this for my son’s Thanksgiving lunch at his school tomorrow. I just found out that I couldn’t use the pecan topping because of kids with peanut allergies. Your streusal topping will be a perfect substitute! That’s so much!

      • Danyelle

        Awesome! I haven’t made it since last year, but the inlaws devoured it! Along with the fried (very very bad but very good lol) turkey that I injected with crushed garlic, beer, butter and little honey and rubbed it inside with a turkey rub :)

  • Joylene

    Making this tonight using spelt flour in place of wheat. Yum! I already have the sweet potatoes baked.

  • Aimee

    This recipe is awesome! I didn’t have unsalted butter, so I subbed one TB of the butter with olive oil in both the potatoes and the topping (and reduced topping butter/oil to 3 TB). Also, I couldn’t find organic sweet potatoes at my grocery store, so I used organic yams instead. My 14-month-old very enthusiastically ate this. Next time I make it, I’ll try honey instead of maple syrup. Thank you for all the great real food!

  • Allison

    I just made this today, it was soooooo good. I’m not doing wheat flour so I just threw some whole raw pecans, maple syrup and melted butter in my food processor and pulsed until the nuts were chopped then spread it over the top. It was really good, thanks!

  • Lindsay

    I made this tonight for our church Thanksgiving tomorrow. I found out I was lactose intolerant (after lots of stomach problems) so I made this dairy free. I used Lactaid milk and Earth Balance spread. Not as “real” as butter, but I have no other choice. I think the majority of my problem was butter. But it turned out amazing! And I know I will have at least 1 thing I can eat tomorrow with no worries. Love it!!

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