Say hello to my favorite side dish to make on Thanksgiving Day: gluten-free sweet potato casserole with fresh sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and the most amazing almond flour and pecan crumble topping. This healthy take on traditional sweet potato casserole is sure to have everyone at your holiday table asking for seconds.

Holding a white, rectangular baking dish with sweet potato casserole inside.
Fresh from the oven, this casserole is the most requested side dish at our Thanksgiving gathering.

Sweet potato casserole is the perfect side dish for the Thanksgiving table.

As a kid, I was never a fan when this classic side was served at our holiday table.

Something about that classic recipe with mashed (canned) sweet potatoes and a marshmallow topping never sat well with me. I know, it’s a classic and a lot of people love this combo. No hard feelings if you’re a fan.

This all changed a few years ago, when a friend asked me to recreate her family’s favorite recipe using real-food ingredients, like fresh sweet potatoes and maple syrup.

That recreation has turned into my favorite Fall/Thanksgiving recipe. It’s also become the most requested side dish at our family gathering. It’s a winning recipe that I’m excited to share with you.


  • Fresh Ingredients: Roasting fresh sweet potatoes brings out their natural sweetness, giving this recipe fresh, AMAZING flavor!
  • Delicious Gluten-Free Topping: The almond flour and pecan topping that sits on top of the casserole adds a naturally sweet, nutty, and salty flavor that compliments the baked sweet potatoes perfectly.
  • AMAZING Flavor – This is the most highly requested side dish at our Thanksgiving gathering. The flavor of this casserole is amazing and everyone loves it, no matter if they eat gluten or not. Trust me, it’s a major winner and needs to be part of your Thanksgiving plans.
Spooning sweet potato casserole from a white baking dish.
Fresh sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and a gluten-free topping make this recipe one incredible casserole!

Ingredients Needed

This easy sweet potato casserole is made with real-food ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. Let’s take a look at what you need to make this favorite thanksgiving side.

Casserole:

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 medium-large sweet potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil) for cooking the sweet potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk, such as: whole milk, almond milk, or coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch salt

Equipment Needed:

  • 1 large sheet pan for baking the fresh sweet potatoes
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper (optional) for lining the sheet pan
  • 1 large mixing bowl for mixing the casserole and topping ingredients (use the same bowl for both)
  • 1 baking dish for baking the casserole (I use a 10.5×7.5 baking dish)

How to Make, Step by Step

First, preheat the oven to 400F. 

"Real Food" Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas
First, roast the sweet potatoes to bring out their incredible flavor and natural sweetness.

Step 1: Halve and Bake the Sweet Potatoes

  • Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Place the potatoes on a rimmed sheet pan that’s lined with parchment paper (for easy cleanup). 
  • Drizzle the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil, then rub the oil on the flesh of each potato. 
  • Flip the potatoes over, flesh-side down on the baking sheet. Some oil will spill over on the sheet pan–that’s normal and okay. 
  • Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes (this will depend on the size of the potatoes), until the skins begin to look shriveled and soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
  • Set the potatoes aside, on the sheet pan, to cool for 10-15 minutes until they’re easy to handle. 
  • Reduce the oven to 375F. 

Step 2: Combine the Casserole Ingredients

  • Scoop the cooked sweet potato flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes using a fork or potato masher. They should be very easy to mash. 
  • Add the remaining casserole ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes (not the topping ingredients) and stir to combine: melted butter, maple syrup, milk of choice (dairy-free or dairy milk), salt, egg, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and vanilla extract.
  • Spoon the casserole filling into a casserole dish or baking dish.

Step 3: Combine the Topping Ingredients

  • Wipe out the large bowl used to mix the sweet potato casserole ingredients. Use this same bowl to combine the topping ingredients. (No one needs extra dirty dishes on Thanksgiving Day.)
  • Using a fork or whisk, whisk the topping ingredients: pecans, almond flour, starch, maple syrup, melted butter, and a pinch of the seasonings (salt and nutmeg). 
Spooning the mixed pecan and almond flour topping over the top of the sweet potato mixture.
Spoon the tasty topping over the top of the sweet potato mixture. I like to use my fingers to crumble the mixture evenly.

Step 4: Spoon the Topping Over the Sweet Potato Filling

Spoon the pecan topping over the sweet potato filling. If you find this is hard to do with a spoon, use your fingers.

Holding a white, rectangular baking dish with sweet potato casserole inside.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, allowing time for the topping to crisp up and the sweet potato mixture to thicken and set.

Step 5: Bake the Casserole for 30 Minutes

Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, in the center of the oven, until the top is golden brown. You don’t want the almond flour topping to burn, so if you find it’s getting too brown, change the position of your casserole in the oven or reduce the oven temperature to 350F.

Serve warm. This casserole is even delicious at room temperature.

Store any leftovers in an air-tight container. Reheat in the oven or microwave. Enjoy the leftovers within 4-5 days.

How to Prep This Recipe in Advance

Thanksgiving is a busy time, and one of the best ways to reduce the stress of the day is to start making some food a couple of days in advance. This recipe is a great one to make in advance. There are a couple of options for how to make this recipe in advance.

Option 1: The night before or morning of thanksgiving

  • Bake the sweet potatoes and mix the casserole ingredients to make the sweet potato filling.
  • Add the filling to the the casserole pan, then top with the almond flour/pecan topping.
  • Cover the casserole with plastic wrap, parchment paper (secured with a rubber band on the sides), or foil. Store in the fridge until ready to bake.
  • When ready, preheat the oven and remove the casserole from the fridge. Allow the casserole to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.
  • Bake as directed.

Option 2: Days in Advance

I don’t recommend making the entire casserole this far in advance, but you can still save time and prep the sweet potatoes. Doing so shaves off the 45 minutes required to bake and cool the potatoes.

  • Bake the sweet potatoes 2-3 days in advance.
  • Once cool, spoon the sweet potato flesh into an airtight container.
  • Store in the fridge, then when ready to prep the casserole, add the remaining casserole ingredients and add the topping.
  • Bake as directed.

Substitutions and Variations

All the ingredients in this casserole recipe are naturally gluten free. If you need to make this recipe dairy-free or egg-free, here are my suggestions…

  • Egg Replacer: The egg in the sweet potato casserole acts as a binder, which sets the filling and gives it a thicker consistency. If you need to make an egg-free casserole, try using your favorite egg-replacer. The goal is to use something that will bind the casserole filling.
  • Dairy-Free Option: Use a plant-based milk to make the casserole, like almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk. For the butter, you’ll get the best results if you use your favorite vegan butter. You could try coconut oil; however, I haven’t tried this substitution so I can’t speak to the results or taste.
  • A Different Way to Cook the Sweet Potatoes: I highly recommend baking the sweet potatoes, as this brings out their sweetness in a way that no other method can. But if you’d like to use a different cooking method, the second best option is to use the instant Pot. Here’s how to cook sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot. After cooking, scoop the flesh from the skins.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q: What’s the best way to cook the sweet potatoes?

A: The best way to cook the sweet potatoes is to first halve the potatoes and then bake for 30-35 minutes, flesh-side down, on a sheet pan. This method brings out the natural sugars in the potatoes and creates a delicious, caramelized flavor. If you don’t want to bake the sweet potatoes, using the Instant Pot to cook the potatoes is the next best option.

Q: How do you keep sweet potato casserole from being runny?

A: Sweet potato casserole should be fluffy and light, but also thick; NOT runny. To get the best results, don’t boil the sweet potatoes or use canned sweet potatoes. Boiling the potatoes will add more water to the potatoes and may result in a runny sweet potato mixture. Using an egg in the sweet potato casserole binds the sweet potato filling, which results in a thicker casserole (without weighing it down).

Q: Can you use canned sweet potatoes or yams in this recipe?

A: You can, but I don’t recommend using canned sweet potatoes or yams. Trust me, take the extra 30 minutes to roast fresh sweet potatoes (or cook them in the Instant Pot). There’s a huge difference in flavor and your guests will thank you!

More Thanksgiving Recipes

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make during the holiday season. They pair perfectly with this classic recipe. Along with these recipes, download my free holiday cookbook with over 33 timeless recipes.

5 from 5 votes

Delicious Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole

A delicious, naturally-sweetened sweet potato casserole made with a gluten-free topping. The most-requested Thanksgiving side dish at our family gathering.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 462 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large sheet pan for baking the potatoes
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper for lining the sheet pan (makes for easy cleanup)
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 casserole dish or baking dish, I use a 10.5X7.5 rectangular baking dish

Ingredients

Casserole:

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes about 5 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • 1 TB oil such as: extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 TB unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk such as: whole milk, almond milk, or coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Topping:

Instructions

Roast the Sweet Potatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. 
  • Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Place the potatoes on a rimmed sheet pan that's been lined with parchment paper (for easy cleanup, the parchment paper is optional). 
  • Drizzle the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil, then rub the oil on the flesh of each potato. 
  • Flip the potatoes over, flesh-side down on the baking sheet.
  • Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes (this will depend on the size of the potatoes), until the skins begin to look shriveled and soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven. 
  • Set the potatoes aside, on the sheet pan, to cool for 10-15 minutes until they're easy to handle. 

Make the Casserole:

  • Reduce the oven to 375F. 
  • Scoop the sweet potato flesh from the skins into a large bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes using a fork or potato masher. They should be very easy to mash. 
    Spooning the baked sweet potato into a white bowl.
  • Add the remaining casserole ingredients (not the topping ingredients) and stir to combine: butter, maple syrup, milk, egg, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla.
  • Spoon the casserole filling into a casserole dish or baking dish.
    Spooning the sweet potato casserole mix from a large bowl into a rectangular baking dish.
  • Wipe out the large mixing bowl and add the topping ingredients: pecans, almond flour, starch (optional*), maple syrup, melted butter, and a pinch of the seasonings (salt and nutmeg). Whisk to combine.
    Pouring butter over the pecans and almond flour to make the topping.
  • Spoon the topping over the sweet potato filling. If you find this is hard to do with a spoon, try using your fingers.
    Spooning the mixed pecan and almond flour topping over the top of the sweet potato mixture.
  • Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, in the center of the oven, until the top is golden brown. You don't want the almond flour topping to burn, so if you find it's getting too brown, change the position of your casserole in the oven or reduce the oven temperature to 350F. 
    Holding a white, rectangular baking dish with sweet potato casserole inside.
  • Serve warm. 

Notes

Starch: Without the arrowroot starch or cornstarch, the topping is moist in spots, even after baking, due to the almond flour. I personally don’t mind this. I actually like the texture. If you’d like a crispier topping, add the starch as this will absorb the moisture.
Thicker Topping Option: If you want more topping (a thicker layer) make 1.5-2 times the topping recipe provided. This will provide a very thick layer for the casserole. 

Nutrition

Calories: 462kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 7gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 252mgPotassium: 686mgFiber: 8gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 24445IUVitamin C: 4.2mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Every single one of your recipes turns out perfectly. I’ve never found another blog/site that was so reliable for recipes.

  2. Hey Kristen,
    I’m so excited to try this recipe! My sister n law is gluten free and dairy free, what butter would you recommend to keep it dairy free? Thanks! I’m not familiar with dairy free butters!

  3. I know this isn’t as healthy but could you sub the almond flour for regular flour or whole wheat flour to keep costs down?

  4. Love this as well!! Why do people make these perfectly sweet potatoes into candy and something unhealthy? I have always liked the plain roasted version and this is perfect for Thanksgiving.

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Kristin! I am going to try it this week for Thanksgiving! I always love your recipes – I swear our tastebuds must be the same because everything is always perfect for me! Anyways, quick question – I am making this for a larger group and plan to use a 9×13 glass dish. Do you recommend a straight doubling of the recipe or…? Also, since my dish is glass, not ceramic, what are your suggestions on potentially needing to adjust the cooking temperature and time? Many advance thanks!

    1. Hey Deirdre, I’m so glad you’re loving the recipes :). I haven’t tried doubling this recipe, but my thought is it should work. Another option would be to double the recipe, but just make two separate casseroles (hopefully that makes sense–trying to think how best to word that). For this recipe, I don’t think you’ll need to adjust the time for the glass, but I would keep an eye on it while cooking through the oven door, just to make sure it doesn’t look like it’s cooking too quickly. If that’s the case, pull it out when the top is brown and the sauce is bubbly.

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