This delicious Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble topping is a traditional side dish at our family Thanksgiving gatherings. I can’t remember a single Thanksgiving without it. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory with a hint of warming Fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
And, the added crunch from the pecan crumble topping just sets this Thanksgiving side dish over the top! Best of all, with one simple swap, I’ll show you how to make this popular dish gluten free. And, I’ve even listed ingredient alternatives if you want to make this dish paleo-friendly.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish
I know, I know – many people like their sweet potato casserole with the marshmallow topping, but after you try it with the pecan crumble topping, you may just change your mind!
Of all the Thanksgiving side dishes, sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble is my absolutely favorite! And, now that I’m older, I appreciate this recipe even more because it can be prepped in advanced and even frozen saving me loads of time with Thanksgiving prep.
And, even though this Thanksgiving side dish tastes like a dessert, it’s actually packed with health-benefiting compounds as well, including beta-carotene, potassium, Vitamin C, and some fiber (mostly thanks to the sweet potatoes!).
Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients
The ingredients in this sweet potato casserole are simple yet delicious. No long ingredient’s list or elaborate cooking techniques needed.
For the Sweet Potato Filling:
- Sweet Potatoes – The heart of this recipe! This recipe calls for 5-6 sweet potatoes or about 5 cups cubed.
- Brown Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar – I prefer light brown sugar instead of dark, but both work just fine. To keep this recipe paleo friendly, you can swap out the brown sugar for coconut palm sugar.
- Maple Syrup – Many recipes for sweet potato casserole only call for brown sugar, but I like to add a touch of maple syrup to add that maple-y flavor to this dish (trust me, it makes a difference!)
- Butter – This gives the casserole more depth of flavor and adds more savoriness to it. For paleo, you can swap the butter out with coconut oil. Ghee is also a great alternative for those who are sensitive to casein.
- Milk – I’ll be using whole milk but feel free to use full fat coconut milk for a dairy free, paleo alternative.
- Flavoring – It wouldn’t be a proper sweet potato casserole without the flavorings. Add a touch of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt to compliment the sweet potatoes and give it those Fall flavors.
- Eggs – This helps to thicken and bind the sweet potato mixture.
For the Pecan Crumble Topping:
- Pecans – Make sure the pecans are raw, not roasted, and give them a rough chop, not too small or they’ll lose their crunch factor.
- Brown Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar – To coat and sweetened the pecans
- Flour (gluten free) – This gives the pecans an even crunchier texture and helps the butter and sugar stick to the pecans while baking. I’m using an all purpose gluten free baking flour.
- Sea Salt – To balance the sweetness.
- Butter – Make sure the butter is softened, not melted. You can also use softened coconut oil for a dairy free, paleo friendly option.
How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Crumble
Making sweet potato casserole is a lot easier than you may think. You only have two layer to prep and they come together very quickly after you’ve cooked the sweet potatoes.
- Step 1: Boil the cubed sweet potatoes until fork tender. You can also bake them just make sure you remove the skin after baking.
- Step 2: Add all sweet potato filling ingredients to a bowl and mix. Spread this layer evenly into a 9×13 baking dish.
- Step 3: Prep the pecan crumble mixture and layer it on top of the sweet potato mixture.
- Step 4: Bake and serve!
Can You Prep Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can prep this casserole up to 1-2 days in advance. I do this almost every year to save time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Simply, prep the sweet potato filling and pecan crumble mixture separately and store them in separate containers.
To speed things up even more, you can go ahead and add the sweet potato filling to the 9×13 baking dish and cover with saran wrap, foil, or add a lid. On Thanksgiving day, sprinkle the pecan crumble on top and bake according to the instructions. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time to account for the cold temperature.
How to Store Sweet Potato Casserole?
After baking the sweet potato casserole, allow it to cool completely. Then, add it to an airtight container with a lid. It’ll last in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Can I Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole?
Yes! Prep the sweet potato filling and pecan crumble topping separately and store in separate airtight freezer-friendly containers. If you want to freeze leftovers (with the pecan topping already added), just tightly wrap the dish with foil and freeze it that way. The pecan crumble may not be as crunchy, but it’s still delicious.
It’ll stay fresh in the freezer for up to two months. When ready to consume, defrost in the fridge overnight and heat in the oven as listed below.
How do I Reheat Sweet Potato Casserole?
The best way to reheat sweet potato casserole without losing any flavor or texture is in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. and heat for 20-30 minutes or until it’s fully heated through.
Other Thanksgiving Dishes You May Enjoy
Here’s a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes that are both healthy and delicious. All of these recipes are gluten free and some are also dairy free and grain free.
- Honey Butter Glazed Carrots
- Ultimate Winter Salad With Pecans and Goat Cheese
- Cranberry Cheesecake Squares
- Perfect Fall-Apart Pot Roast and Veggies
- Paleo Pecan Pie
- Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dressing and Gravy
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble
For the Sweet Potato Filling:
- 3 lbs Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)
- 1/2 C. Whole Milk or Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 1/2 C. Light Brown Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar (feel free to only use 1/4 C. if you want to cut the sugar)
- 1/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/4 C. Butter or Ghee, softened
- 1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (feel free to add more, if desired)
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg or All Spice
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with oil.
- Peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes. Place the cubed sweet potatoes into a large pot. Add water to the pot (cover potatoes by about 3 inches). Boil potatoes for 15-25 minutes or until fork tender. Once done, drain the water and let the potatoes cool down.
- While the potatoes are cooling, lets prep the pecan crumble topping. In a mixing bowl, add all pecan crumble ingredients (except the butter). Mix until everything is fully combined. Then, add in the softened butter and continue mixing until pecans are well coated (I like to use my hands for this). Set bowl aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the cooked sweet potatoes. Roughly mash them up with a fork or potato masher. Then, add in all remaining sweet potato filling ingredients. Whisk ingredients together with an electric hand mixer until extra smooth.
- Transfer the sweet potato filling to the baking dish and spread it out evenly with a spoon or spatula.
- Sprinkle the pecan crumble mixture evenly on top of the sweet potato layer.
- Bake casserole for 45-50 minutes or until topping is slightly browned and sweet potato filling is set. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.