Sweet potato casserole is beloved (by some) as a classic holiday recipe. If I’m being honest, I’m more of a plain baked sweet potato kind of gal, but since some of our extended family prefer the marshmallow-topped type, I decided to concoct a healthy version.
Homemade Sweet Potato Casserole
To make the sweet potato part of the sweet potato casserole, you need cooked sweet potatoes. If I’m making the casserole for a crowd, I like to roast them ahead of time so I don’t have so much to do on a busy cooking day.
You can absolutely boil them if you prefer, but I like the deeper flavor from roasting.
Most recipes for sweet potato casserole include sugar mixed into the sweet potatoes. I’m not taking that advice! Sweet potatoes are already plenty sweet enough, so there’s no need for adding even more sugar! Some recipes also add eggs and milk, but since they don’t really change the flavor or texture and are allergens for some, I leave them out.
Important Note: If you make the sweet potato part of the casserole ahead of time, make sure you heat it up prior to putting on the topping.
To Marshmallow or Not to Marshmallow?
Sweet potato casseroles are usually topped with something sweet like marshmallow or strudel. I do make my own marshmallows, and I’ve found that if I reduce the amount of gelatin in the recipe I can make a marshmallow fluff topping. (Mom Hack: The “marshmallow” topping also makes a great cake icing on coconut flour cakes for kids’ birthdays!)
Another option is to make a Swiss meringue with egg whites and honey. I heat and whisk it over a double boiler until it’s thick and fluffy. If you’re really feeling fancy you can even put the finished meringue in a piping bag and pipe pretty designs on top of the sweet potatoes. As a final step, broil the casserole for a few minutes before serving to brown the meringue just a little.
Important Note: Since the casserole is only in the oven for a couple of minutes, it’s important to make sure that the sweet potatoes are already nice and hot.
If you prefer the streusel-topped sweet potato casseroles, you could try combining the nut and oat topping from this casserole with the topping from my berry cobbler recipe.
Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
"Marshmallow" Topping (optional)
- 5 egg whites
- ⅓ cup honey
- In a 425°F oven, bake the sweet potatoes about 40-50 minutes or until soft.
- Cool slightly.
- Remove peels and mash with butter or coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Spread evenly into a 9x13 baking dish.
For the "Marshmallow" Topping (optional)
- In a double boiler or small pan with water and a glass bowl on top, whip the egg whites with a hand blender until fluffy.
- Add the honey to the egg whites and place the double boiler on the stove, turning on the heat to medium.
- Using a hand mixer or whisk, whisk the egg white and honey mix as it heats until thick and fluffy.
- Spread the topping over the sweet potatoes and put in the oven and broil for a minute or two to brown.
Every time I’ve made this sweet potato casserole for family and friends, it’s been a huge hit. This is still pretty high in starch so it shouldn’t be eaten every day, but it is definitely a healthier alternative to the traditional version!
How does your family cook sweet potatoes? Are you a butter and salt purist or a marshmallow junkie? Share below!
Discussion (23 Comments)
Growing up, the only time sweet potatoes were even prepared was during Thanksgiving and Christmas. At that time, they were only served up “candied.” I didn’t like them as a child and never realized there was any other way to eat yams or sweet potatoes. When I went to my husband’s family’s Thanksgiving meal and saw something topped with marshmallows I had to try it! I had never seen sweet potatoes look so good. LOL I know now that it is full of chemicals and HFCS, but at least marshmallows introduced me to my favorite potato. We love them baked, plain with nothing at all or with some butter and a little salt if I’m in the mood. Although, every time the holidays come around, we all crave the sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. This will be a healthier version to satisfy that tradition. Thanks so much, I can’t wait to try it!
We don’t do the marshmallow sweet potatoes. We do candied sweet potatoes. You cook the peeled and quartered sweet potatoes in brown sugar and butter on the stovetop in a cast iron frypan on low heat for a long time. The other non thanksgiving way we eat sweet potatoes is like a baked potato and topped with butter and cinnamon sugar. I recently cubed and roasted sweet potatoes in coconut oil and butter and topped with some sea salt and I was surprised at how yummy it was! We are sugar fiends but we are slowly switching over to healthier and cleaner eating. And discovering I need to eat GF has helped push us along toward Paleo/Primal stuff. It is so much to learn and figure out. But we are trying!
I just read your post on eating gelatin. Have you considered making honey marshmallows to put on top? I just made them for the first time and they were great 🙂
Actually, I prefer roasted sweet potatoes. I take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest in a foil jacket, and crank the heat in the oven up to 425. I have already prepared the sweet potatoes — I take chunks of peeled raw sweet potatoes and chunks of onion and put them in a big zip lock plastic bag. I add olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (I like Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle) and smush the bag around until everything is evenly incorporated. I also have prepared a large baking pan by covering the bottom with parchment paper. I pour the coated sweet potatoes and onions into the parchment covered pan and roast them while the turkey is resting. The turkey is juicier after it rests, and if – by the time it is cut and out on the platter – the meat is slightly above room temperature it doesn’t matter – as long as the gravy is nice and hot. The sweet potatoes and onions take around 30 minutes or more to roast – I don’t keep track of the time, I just poke a fork in a sweet potato chunk to make sure it is done. This is an awesome, healthy sweet potato side dish!
This is ABSOLUTELY my favorite way to make sweet potatoes! It only takes a tiny bit of olive oil, and I also add red or green bell peppers and bacon 🙂 I keep the skin on, and roast the potatoes with the peppers first, then half-way through I add the bacon and onions (i’ve found that they will burn since I like to cook my potatoes longer I guess!)
This sounds delicious! Thank you both for sharing – I am definitely going to make this soon!
Hi, I’m Ali’s mom (above post). Normally I favor baked with lots of butter and sprinkled with cinnamon 😉 We have those in the family that have asweet tooth though and really like it when I’m willing to add marshmallows … I’m going to surprise them this year and try this recipe. Hopefully they will enjoy the honey as much as the marshmallows;-)
I prefer my sweet potatoes more plain, but my Mom and older sister’s family can’t do Thankgiving without them topped with marshmallows. Will send them this recipe and see if it’s an acceptable compromise. Sounds great!
I like mine with chopped nuts on top. This year I’m going to try chopped pistachios for something different. I keep bees so I’m definitely going to use the honey idea.
Wow, I am going to do this for my husband’s large family. I am volunteering to make most of the food, since that’s the only way I can ensure it will be gluten free and mostly paleo.
This sounds great! I’m going to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving, but I’m sending her this link and suggesting this much healthier option. Thank you! 8)
I’m excited to try this. Since my family’s eating habits have changed over the last year, the traditional marshmallow version ( which we’ve done in the past) will be way too sweet ( among other negatives). It looks to be delicious!
You could also try just topping with lots of pecans (or other nuts like walnuts) as well.