This is by far the BEST Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole, ever! The crunchy butter pecan topping is to die for, and no one would guess it’s vegan. Gluten free option.

spoon in sweet potato casserole, close up

Meet my favorite Thanksgiving food: Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping. It’s a classic, must-have dish for any holiday table just like The Best Dang Vegan Mashed Potatoes. It’s basically a dessert that passes as a side dish!

A total crowd pleaser, this sweet potato casserole is perfectly sweet with an irresistible crunchy, buttery pecan topping. Everyone will want this recipe!

It’s easy to make, can be prepped ahead of time and is so versatile. You can adjust the sweetness to your preference, make it gluten free or lighten it up as needed.

If you love sweet potatoes as much as I do, make sure to check out this Vegan Sweet Potato Pie, Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

For the sweet potato filling:

  • Sweet potatoes – Make sure to use orange flesh sweet potatoes.
  • Full-fat coconut milk – This makes the filling extra rich and delicious. You can substitute almond, cashew or even soy milk to lighten it up a bit.
  • Brown sugar – Feel free to cut the sugar in half or decrease as desired, but I think it’s perfectly sweet as is. You could substitute pure maple syrup, but add less coconut milk to make up for the extra liquid. I would only use 1/2 cup maple syrup.
  • Vanilla
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg

For the pecan topping:

  • Brown sugar 
  • Softened vegan butter – You could substitute coconut oil, but I like vegan butter best here.
  • Flour – I used regular flour, but if needed switch it out for gluten free all purpose or even almond flour.
  • Salt
  • Pecans, chopped – If you have a pecan allergy, feel free to substitute walnuts or another nut/seed you can have. Or simply leave out the nuts entirely, it will still be good. I’d probably double the topping if leaving out the nuts altogether.

close up of scooped out sweet potatoes from casserole dish

How to make vegan sweet potato casserole

First, peel and chop your sweet potatoes, and add them to a large pot. Cover with water and cook for 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Drain and then add to a large bowl, along with the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

bowl of ingredients - sweet potatoes cooked, cream, sugar

Mash with a potato masher and stir with a spoon until well combined. You could also use a hand or stand mixer.

mixed up sweet potato casserole filling in a bowl

Spread the potato mixture evenly in a casserole dish. In a medium bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients, then sprinkle over the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly on the edges and the topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.

 

vegan sweet potato casserole ready to go in oven

Make ahead option

If you want to make it ahead for Thanksgiving or another occasion, the day before you can make the sweet potato filling. Spread it in the casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge. You could also make the topping ahead of time and chill in the fridge until ready to bake.

When you are ready to bake it, simply sprinkle the topping evenly over the top and bake until bubbly and the topping is golden brown. It may take a little longer to cook if you are baking it from the fridge, more like 45-55 minutes.

Leftovers + freezing

Leftover vegan sweet potato casserole will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You could bake the leftover in an oven safe dish to crisp up the topping again, or simply microwave it (but the topping will be soft, I never mind). I like eating the leftovers for breakfast or dessert.

It’s possible to freeze the casserole before baking. Do not add the topping though, keep it separate if you plan on freezing. It will taste better if made fresh though, I don’t recommend freezing unless you really need to.

baked crispy casserole in white dish

Want more vegan holiday side dishes?

spoon lifting vegan sweet potato casserole

square image of casserole dish with sweet potatoes and pecan topping
4.84 stars (25 ratings)

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

This is by far the BEST Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole, ever! The crunchy butter pecan topping is to die for, and no one would guess it's vegan.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 9 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, about 4 large
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Butter Pecan Topping

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour or gluten free all purpose
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions 

  • Add the sweet potatoes to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain, then add them back to the pot or a large bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  • To the large pot or bowl with the cooked sweet potatoes, add the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mash with a potato masher. Continue to mash or stir with a spoon until well combined. You can also use a hand mixer.
  • Spread the potato mixture in the prepared dish, and smooth it out evenly with a spatula.
  • Make the topping: In a medium bowl, stir all the topping ingredients, except the pecans, together with a spoon. Use your hands if necessary until moist crumbs form. Now mix in the pecans.
  • Evenly sprinkle the topping on the sweet potato filling and bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly on the edges and the topping is golden brown. Serve immediately!

Notes

  1. Make ahead: The casserole is best served right away, or the crunchy topping will soften. You could prep earlier by making the filling, spreading it in the pan, cover and chill until you are ready to bake it. Then simply make and add the topping, and bake until done.
  2. Less sweet: While I think this casserole is perfectly sweetened, feel free to cut the sugar in half in the sweet potato mixture, if desired. Or sub 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, and decrease the coconut milk by 1/2 cup.
  3. Gluten free: Easy! Just substitute gluten free flour for the regular flour. Almond flour would work here as well.
  4. May use coconut oil in place of the vegan butter. Use softened, but not melted coconut oil for best results.
  5. May substitute full fat coconut milk for almond, cashew or soy milk for a lighter dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12 serving | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 14379IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was first published in November 2018 and has been reposted with improved photos and writing. The recipe is the same.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the recipe. When we made it according to the directions, it was very soupy. So we added 2 more sweet potatoes; this had the added benefit of making it less sweet.

  2. This is at least my third year making this as part our our Thanksgiving feast. This recipe is INCREDIBLE. I always half the sugar in the filling and vegan and non-vegans rave about this dish. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    1. You are welcome, Missy! Thanks for using my recipe as part of your feast! I’m thrilled everyone loves the casserole!

  3. I made this today as an alternative due to food sensitivity. I used gluten free flour and alternative sugar (monkfruit blend). DELICIOUS. I am SO excited I get to still have some holiday favorites! Seriously a keeper! Thank you!

    1. Hi Brea. I’m so glad you loved the casserole! I’m glad you get to enjoy some holiday favorites! Thanks for sharing your ideas, and your great feedback!

  4. I just made this for a Friendsgiving gathering and it was THE DISH of the entire night. Everyone absolutely loved it — even the non-vegans! It is DELICIOUS. The perfect amount of sweet, with that touch of texture from the pecans. I made a double batch, and hardly had any leftovers at all!

    1. Alright! I’m thrilled the casserole was a hit! This is one of my personal favorites! Thanks for sharing your fun and wonderful feedback!

  5. Absolutely delish!! Huge hit at our Thanksgiving dinner. If you have the time bake the sweet potatoes. Adds another layer of richness. The coconut milk makes it creamy with no discernible coconut taste. Easy recipe that tastes like you slaved all day on it. Thanks Nora!!

    1. Hi Jen! I’m thrilled that you loved the sweet potato casserole! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments!

  6. I made the casserole and it was delicious! I have a question about the Coconut milk. When I opened the milk, all the cream was at the top and liquid underneath. Was I suppose to stir it all together or just take the cream off the top?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the casserole! For this recipe, it doesn’t much matter. I would use mostly the creamy stuff because it’s the rich part, but you could also shake the can first and then use a cup of the stuff, or some clear liquid and some cream.

  7. This is tasty with far less sugar in it.  I made it the first time as per the recipe, and just made it a second time with 1/2 the sugar in the mix and 1/3 less sugar for the topping.  I thought it was much, much better with less sugar, and also cut down on the calories.

  8. This is such an amazing recipe! My holiday memories always include my mom’s sweet potato casserole, so I’m beyond thrilled to be able to make a vegan version that is just as good (if not better!). The coconut milk adds such a great flavor profile! Thanks so much! It was a hit!

  9. I halved this recipe and used almond milk instead of full fat coconut; absolutely amazing. Thanks Nora, hope you had a great thanksgiving!

  10. I made this since my husband is used to eating sweet potatoes vs. sweet potato pie. He insisted on having marshmellows so we layered the marshmellow on half of the sweet potatoes. Then, I put the crumble on top of the entire thing. It was delicious. The only thing missing for me traditionally is the graham cracker crust at the bottom. So, I plan to put the rest of it in pre-made mini pie graham cracker crusts and then put it back in the oven. Any tips on oven time? I am guessing 350 degrees…

    Again, thanks Nora!

    1. Oooh I’ve never heard of a graham cracker bottom sweet potato casserole. I’m really not sure how it will turn out as I haven’t tried anything like that! But I’m sure it will be fine, just bake them until warm at 350.

      1. It just stayed like graham crackers. Nothing special lol. I wish I would’ve made it similar to how you make the crumble top.

  11. This was really good! But I made a bunch of adjustments. First of all I didn’t make the pecan topping and used marshmallows instead. I get really good, sweet potatoes, so I halved the brown sugar, but honestly I think I should have skipped it all together. I would have also skipped out on the coconut milk. It was good but really rich. Next time I might add some apple cider with the sweet potatoes and put marshmallows on top. 

  12. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was absolutely exceptional! Just what I was looking for. The casserole was perfectly sweet with lots of great flavors from the seasonings. I loved this kind of topping on it. I didn’t get any strong coconut taste from the coconut milk, but it made it very nice and creamy.

    I made it a day ahead of time, and then just made the topping a little bit before I put it in the oven the next day. Look forward to making this again!

    1. It will certainly change the texture and taste quite a bit, but it could be done. About 9 cups chopped sweet potatoes.

  13. Absolutely delicious! Love this recipe! And I agree with Laura, roasting the potatoes instead of boiling makes a huge difference!

  14. I love this recipe for thanksgiving and I also make for postpartum moms who are non-dairy. I personally roast the potatoes whole and then take off the skins. Love the depth of flavor. Thanks for this recipe!

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