This healthy Gluten Free Sweet Potato Casserole is made with an oatmeal topping. It’s a lighter version of classic holiday sweet potatoes that your guests will love! Info on how to make this vegan or nut-free is also included.
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If you have celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, then you know that we adore sweet potato casserole! My mom makes the same recipe every year, from a newspaper clipping that was published in the early ’90s. It’s a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth treat that has become a treasured staple in our Thanksgiving spread.
This lighter, gluten free sweet potato casserole isn’t meant to compete with my mom’s tried-and-true recipe. After all, the sweet potato casserole the big thing on our table.
But for others, every Thanksgiving dish may be pretty darn decadent. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s usually room to make a few dishes a little lighter without sacrificing taste and tradition.
This idea is exactly what inspired me to create a healthy sweet potato casserole. When we tried the final product, Will and I both agreed that it was still downright delicious but just overall felt “lighter” as it went down, hence the name.
A Healthy, Gluten Free Sweet Potato Casserole
This dish has a lot going for it, including:
- OATMEAL TOPPING. This is what makes it gluten free – a delicious oat-based crumble that features pecans and pumpkin seeds too. Hello, extra fiber! Plus, I only needed to use a couple tablespoons of maple syrup and butter to keep the crumble topping together, instead of the typical amounts. It is rich enough from the healthy fats in the nuts and seeds.
- It’s a great companion to other Thanksgiving sides, like the Healthier Green Bean Casserole with Almonds and the Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Parsnips.
- You can make it ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready to cook it!
This recipe also features full-fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream. If you’re not a big coconut fan, don’t worry; the taste is very subtle. But if you do love coconut, Will suggested that you add shredded coconut to the topping for this casserole.
Sounds like he should get a pay raise, huh? (And by pay, I mean more leftovers from recipe testing).
How to Make Gluten Free Sweet Potato Casserole
Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It’s so easy! (More info in the recipe card…)
- Scrub and chop the sweet potatoes. You can leave the skins on for extra fiber or peel them if you want. Add them to a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
- Remove from heat, drain the water, and add the rest of the filling ingredients.
- Blend with a hand mixer.
- Transfer to a greased 9×13 baking dish. Spread out evenly.
- Make the topping by combining oats, pecans, and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulsing until chopped. Mix with butter and maple syrup and “crumble” on top of the casserole.
Then, of course, put it in the oven to bake!!!
FAQ and Expert Tips – Substitutions, Storing, Serving
- To make vegan: use coconut oil instead of butter and a flax egg in place of the egg (1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoon water, let it sit for a few minutes to gel together).
- To make nut-free: eliminate the pecans and add ¼ cup more oats and ¼ cup more pumpkin seeds instead. Or add ½ cup shredded coconut in place of the pecans.
- To make ahead: prepare the filling and spread it in the baking dish, cover with foil and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours before you want to bake it. Make the topping right before you put it in the oven. If you need more oven space, on Thanksgiving day for example, you can make this up to 2 hours before serving. Store on top of the oven or counter, covered with foil. It keeps its heat very well.
- Can you freeze this gluten free sweet potato casserole? Sure can. Prepare the filling and spread it into a baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and then with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months, or use a throw-away freezable baking dish and cover. Take it out to thaw in the fridge the day before you want to make it. Make the topping and put it on the casserole right before you put it in the oven.
- How long will sweet potato casserole keep? Leftovers will last about 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave.
Not sure what else to serve with gluten free sweet potato casserole? Check out the Healthy Tater Tot Casserole, Turnip and Beet Gratin with Gruyere, Vegan Mushroom and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf, Roasted Pumpkin Salad, and Slow Cooker Arugula Mashed Potatoes.
If you make this recipe, be sure to let me know how you like it by rating and reviewing! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram.
Gluten Free Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Oatmeal Topping
- cutting board + knife
- large pot
- hand mixer
- 9x13 baking dish
For the filling:
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- ½ cup coconut milk - full-fat, from the can
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg - optional
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the topping:
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon butter - melted
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 3 qt baking dish, like a French Corningware, or 9x13 baking dish.
- Prepare the sweet potatoes by scrubbing them and roughly chopping into large pieces. You can peel them if desired, but I left the skin on for added fiber. Add them to a large pot and cover with a few inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes on medium-high heat for ~15 minutes or until they are tender.
- Remove the cooked sweet potatoes from heat and drain the excess water. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the pot. Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth. Transfer the filling to the greased baking dish and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
- To make the topping, add the pumpkin seeds, pecans, and oats to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, you can roughly chop the seeds and pecans with a knife and leave the oats intact. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped seeds, pecans, and oats with the cinnamon, sea salt, maple syrup, and melted butter.
- Crumble the topping on top of the filling. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is slightly browned. Enjoy warm!
- To make vegan: use coconut oil in place of butter and a flax egg in place of egg (mix 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoon water).
- To make nut-free: eliminate the pecans and add ¼ cup more oats and ¼ cup more pumpkin seeds or ½ cup shredded coconut in their place.
- Make ahead/freezing and storage instructions: Prepare the filling and spread it into the baking dish, cover tightly with foil and store in the fridge up to 24 hours before you plan to bake it. Make the topping right before you put it in the oven. If you want to freeze this instead, cover with foil and then with plastic wrap (or use a throw-away baking dish). Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge the day before you want to make it. Make the topping right before you put it in the oven.
- If you need more oven space, you can make this up to 2 hours before serving it and then store it on top of the oven or counter, covered with foil. It keeps its heat very well.
- Leftovers will last 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
This post was originally published in November 2018. It was updated with new photos and expert tips in November 2019.
Cheers to family traditions!
This is delicious. Our new go to for serving sweet potatoes to a group
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
That’s great! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.