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.
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
- 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.