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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Mash with a potato masher and stir with a spoon until well combined. You could also use a hand or stand mixer.
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.
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.
Want more vegan holiday side dishes?
- The Best Vegan Stuffing
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Vegan Cornbread Stuffing
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Festive Kale Salad
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Gluten free: Easy! Just substitute gluten free flour for the regular flour. Almond flour would work here as well.
- May use coconut oil in place of the vegan butter. Use softened, but not melted coconut oil for best results.
- May substitute full fat coconut milk for almond, cashew or soy milk for a lighter dish.
*This recipe was first published in November 2018 and has been reposted with improved photos and writing. The recipe is the same.
Does this have a coconut taste at all to it?
No, not at all.
So easy but so delicious – and unusual. Went down a treat.
I’m super excited to make this. I got vegan marshmallows and think they would be a luxury add-on. Do you think a layer of marshmallow on top of the sweet potato and beneath the crumble would work? Marshmallow on top would take away from the crispy pecan topping, so
I was thinking 3 layers.
Yes, I think that would work well. I’d put them between the sweet potatoes and pecan topping. Enjoy!
I’ve also seen it done in diagonal stripes alternating the marshmallow and nut topping. It looks pretty impressive when served.
Love this. Just in time for Thanksgiving. We have 3 vegans, 1 vegeterian and 4 carnivores for Thanksgiving so I love to make dishes all can enjoy ?
What type of meal is it, main or dessert? I’m from The UK so a little confused!
It’s technically a side dish for Thanksgiving in the US, but it’s very much like a dessert. It is kind of confusing, honestly, but most people serve it as a side dish.
Thank you, I’m still confused though ? So serve it with a roast type of dinner rather than a dessert?
Yes, exactly. It is typically served with a Thanksgiving or holiday meal. 🙂 Not as a dessert.
this was fabulous! And different! And easy! Saving this recipe for sure – thanks much!!
Just perfect!! My sis is vegan so this was on our Thanksgiving menu. She thanks you, I thank you, and everybody else does too! I’m making it again tonight because there were no leftovers and now I’m craving it again. Keeping it all to myself this time!! Lol
That’s wonderful! Thanks for commenting.
This turned out really well! My family always has this style of sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, and I was going to try to swap out ingredients to make it vegan this year until I found your recipe. I was a little nervous about telling people it was vegan (lots of carnivores present who scoff at the concept and look for reasons to criticize it), but I was really happy when I got compliments on it. This will now be my go-to recipe!
That’s wonderful to hear! Thanks for the nice comment.
This was a complete hit at the dinner table! All the meat and dairy lovers were fighting over it. Thank you so much for another outstanding recipe!
You’re welcome! I love to hear when the meat and dairy lovers love a vegan recipe! 🙂
Made with chilled coconut oil and almond flour for the topping and it was out of this world!
Nora- do you think I could make this in a crock pot? Low for 4 hours and add topping final 30-ish minutes?
I imagine it would work, yes. That sounds like a good idea to me, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure but I don’t see why it would be a problem.
It was delicious! My first time making it and I took it to a fellowship and every body loved it!!
I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
I really want to use this recipe, but have kids who are insisting that marshmallows (vegan, of course) are the proper topping…! Would I need to bake it differently to prevent the marshmallows from burning?
I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it would be yummy! I don’t think you would need to adjust the cooking time, but if they are looking like they are going to burn just take it out sooner. Thanks!
Can I omit the pecans in the topping? My daughters have nut allergies. Will it turn out ok or is there a substitute?
You can probably just leave them out, I think the topping will still be good without it. Thanks!
Hi Nora! This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing with the world! Would you happen to have a substitute for the all purpose flour? I’m gluten-free.
For best results, use a quality gluten free all purpose flour instead. Thanks and enjoy!
Hi Nora! I made this last year for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful!! I made it day of but things got hectic that morning 🙂 We travels out of town and I’m wondering now if I made the sweet potato part but kept the topping separate, the day before, so you think it would be ok for Thanksgiving dinner?! Any tips would be great…thanks!!
I am so glad you enjoyed it last year! Yes, you could make it and keep the topping separate. Put the topping on before you bake it and you’ll be good to go!
This looks really good. I am going to be traveling out of town, so I am wondering if I could heat it up on high in a crock pot and put the topping on towards the end?
Yes, that would work well!
I’m making this recipe for my father birthday’s because he absolutely loves sweet potatoes/yams. I’m changing it up in that I made it layered!
Sounds wonderful, enjoy!
Have you tried this in a pie crust?
I never have, it would probably be good though!
I followed this recipe exactly (except I roasted the potatoes in the oven) and it turned out wonderfully! Everyone ate it happily and no one knew or suspected it was vegan. Thanks for the great recipe! I will make this again and again.
I’m so happy everyone enjoyed the casserole and didn’t suspect it was vegan! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m going to roast my yams in the oven and then scoop out the inside, how many cups mashed do you think this converts to? I’m guess the chopped yams take up more space, so it would be more cups of mashed. Sorry for the weird question.
Hi there! Let’s see, mashed you probably want 6-7 cups. I usually use about 4 large sweet potatoes. It is a bit forgiving though, it doesn’t have to be exact, just close. Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for replying so quickly. The casserole came out lovely. I think I will omit some or all of the spices next time, only to make it a little less dessert-y, but their were compliments all around. Thank you for sharing!
This is the best sweet potato casserole I’ve ever made, and it’s not even baked, yet! I can’t wait to serve it to the carnivores tomorrow. Thank you!
I’m so glad, I think they will love it! Enjoy!
Hi there! Just wondering if you think the solid cream from coconut milk would work as a butter substitute for the crumble?
I keep mine in the fridge, so it’s solid like butter…??
(I’m WFPB- so vegan butter is out.)
Hi Amy! Hmm, I’m not sure but I think it may work pretty well! If you try it, let me know how it turns out. 🙂
Wish me luck!
Thank you for sharing all these great recipes. I plan on trying several of them during the Holidays, and serve them without saying they are vegan.
Great idea Maria! I doubt anyone would guess they’re vegan. 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!
Thank you !!! Happy Holidays to you too! Do you have courses on vegan food?
🙂 I don’t have any courses on vegan food, what sort of course would you be interested in? Great idea!
Your sweet potatoes look like yams
The sweet potato versus yam is a very confusing topic! 🙂 Mine were sweet potatoes, but honestly you could use yams or sweet potatoes, orange or white flesh and it would still be delicious. Have a great day!