Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

by on December 11, 2006
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I’m going to be honest with you and admit that I’m not a big fan of holidays. Stressing over some arbitrary date on the calendar–to cook certain foods, travel long distances, buy token gifts, and so on–has never been my idea of fun. For a long time, I felt the same way about the traditional holiday meals, too. Every year when I was growing up, I’d beg my mother, “Why do we have to have turkey? Can’t we have spaghetti instead?” I wasn’t a vegetarian back then, just a budding iconoclast who never did care for traditions–or turkey. (Today, I get the same argument from E., though she’s arguing to substitute lasagna for dressing. I’m sure my mother is happy to see me get a dose of my own rebellion.)

Something strange happened, and as I became older, I developed a real love for some of the traditional dishes of the winter holidays. Maybe without the dead bird as centerpiece, I finally felt free to celebrate the holidays as a sort of Festival of Starches. Let’s face it, what’s not to love? To a carb addict like me, cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are pretty close to the perfect meal!

This sweet potato casserole is one of the highlights of any holiday meal for me. A word of caution, though: In my family, sweet potatoes are dessert, so if you’re expecting a savory side dish, look elsewhere. I always serve this after the meal, along with some coffee to fight off the post-feast sleepiness!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joanna F. October 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Hi Susan! I was wondering, if I were to make this recipe using canned sweet potatoes, how many cans (or cups) what I need?

Thanks and all best,
Joanna

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2 SusanV October 31, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Joanna–It's just a guess, but I would say about 5 cups of sweet potato, or 3-4 cans. But like I said, that's just a guess because I've never used canned sweet potatoes. Good luck!

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3 Lizzy November 23, 2009 at 8:15 am

Oh my God, I made this dish for a party this weekend and it was so amazing I can't even believe it! The dish was empty in no time and everyone was raving about it! I toasted the pecans first, and the topping was so delicious that I could hardly keep myself from eating it all before I put it on the sweet potatoes ;-) Thank you so much for this incredible recipe!

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4 kim g. November 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe! I did a post about it for my blog today as it's my favorite holiday side dish. I made it last year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and plan to make it again this year. It's so delicious!

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5 Rosetta from California November 25, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I tried it on the folks at work! it was such a smash hit that I'm doing it for friends tomorrow for Thanksgiving and again on Saturday for my family's get together…It is a wonderful recipe. Very easy and fun!

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6 sandi November 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

Susan–thank you so much for this recipe. I made it last night for Thanksgiving and it was heaven–the hit of the party. Note–I only had chocolate soymilk but decided to go with it–no problems. I will be making this every year–with chocolate soymilk!

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7 Cindy S. December 3, 2009 at 7:23 am

I, unfortunately, did not make this myself for my family's vegan dinner on Thanksgiving, though it looks amazing!
HOWEVER, when going to various family gatherings for my boyfriend's extensive family, someone had made sweet potato casserole with coconut milk and sugar and candied pecans.. and… wow! It was absolutely delicious, though I am sure your version is much healthier!!
I ended up making a majority of our dinner based on your website. :) We ate pot pie, tofu quiche (my non vegan family loved it! I am currently passing around links to your site like hotcakes :D) and your crustless pumpkin pie. It was a melancholy dinner since it's the first without my dad, but it was also an excuse to get my family to eat vegan food since I am usually the one that cooks dinner. :) Thanks for all the awesome recipes!! And I can't believe no one has heard of Pearl soymilk!! >.<

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8 Foodeater December 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I just made this for my post-Thanksgiving dinner party and it was a huge hit! So easy to make for something so incredibly delicious :)

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9 Anonymous December 14, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Hi!! I'm so excited to have found this recipe!! I originally found it on: http://www.cestlavegan.com/?p=2464

My mom makes something that looks like this but with more topping that I'm addicted to! I have a dairy allergy though =(

I will try this sooN!

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10 Julie September 13, 2010 at 7:56 am

WHOA! I had an abundance of sweet potatoes from our CSA delivery and decided to splurge and make something a little less than healthy (hey, it’s ok every once in awhile, right?) on Saturday. My husband about died at how good this was. We will definitely be letting our families know that we are bringing this for the holidays this year. It was truly amazing!

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11 Nora November 12, 2010 at 3:28 am

Susan! Think I can make this subbing coconut milk and coconut oil for the soy creamer and margarine? Thanks!

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12 SusanV November 12, 2010 at 7:42 am

Sure, I don’t see why not. Enjoy!

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13 Kim November 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Just had this for early Thanksgiving dinner in my dorm before break! I loved it and will def be making for my family!

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14 Anna November 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Do you think this could be made ahead of time and heated just before serving?

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15 SusanV November 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Yes, I usually do that.

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16 Anna November 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Thanks! I’m looking forward to making it this week!

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17 judee@glutenfreeA-Z November 23, 2010 at 7:53 am

I was looking for a good sweet potato recipe and after all the incredible comment raves .. this is the one..
thanks for all your wonderful recipes. I made the bean and tofu meatloaf last week and it was great. Happy Thanksgiving!

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18 Kandiss Powell November 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I just had some sweet candied smoked pecans in a salad at Millennium last weekend….so good. has me wondering if i should put a pinch of smoked sea salt in the topping mixture? or would that ruin it…i have no idea. ill be topping this with vegan vanilla bean whipped cream.

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19 Maas November 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Would this work to make ahead of time and serve chilled?

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20 SusanV November 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

You can definitely make it ahead, and I’m sure you COULD serve it chilled, but I really think it’s best warm.

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21 Missy November 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hey, what about making it up the night before and then baking the next day? Think that would be ok? Thanks. :-)

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22 Susan Voisin November 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

That works just fine. Hope you enjoy it!

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23 Alexis Castro November 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hey Susan can I substitute the margarine with Olive oil?

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24 Susan Voisin November 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I wouldn’t use a very flavorful olive oil because it would clash with the flavors of the sweet potatoes.

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25 Mac November 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I LOVE this recipe and have cooked it before! So yummy! However I have recently been diagnosed as a celiac, and was wondering if rice or potato flour would work in place of the white flour?

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26 Susan Voisin November 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see any reason why a gluten-free flour wouldn’t work.

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27 Karen November 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

I realize this is a couple of years late. I make this with sorghum flour or brown rice flour and it works great.

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28 Tina Edwards November 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Hi! I love this site..as a new Vegan, it’s been so fun to come and try the recipes. I have just made the sweet potato casserole and can’t wait for it to come out of the oven. Thank you so much!

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29 Zach November 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Since when did margarine become vegan? While margarine is not dairy-based, like butter, is often does contain trace amounts of animal products- usually in the form of whey or lactose…Earth Balance is a 100% vegan alternative to margarine.

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30 gj January 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Zach, just for your info- there are MANY margarines that are vegan. any margerine that is kosher and says “parve” on it- has no trace of animal products in it- meat or dairy.

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31 Wendy T. October 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

So, I haven’t cooked this yet….well, it is assembled, but not cooked. However, the fact that my 3 year old and 5 year old are in a HUGE fight over who gets to lick the bowl is a testament to this recipe! It is sooooo good cold, so it will be fabulous warmed! I have a Cooking Light recipe that was always my go-to, but since we are doing as many vegan dishes as possible, this will be a great one to do at Thanksgiving with my non-veggie family members! Thank you!

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32 Andrea R November 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Any guidence on how I could make this without the margarine?

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33 Susan Voisin November 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Leave it out of the potatoes, and in the topping use apple sauce instead. It won’t be quite as good, but it will work.

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34 Alison November 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

How would this be without the pecans? I am allergic.

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35 Susan Voisin November 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You can leave them off or substitute walnuts, if you’re not allergic to them.

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36 Kimberly November 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

How did you prepare your sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker. I looked on line for the method, but there are so many ways & I don’t want to mess up the recipe. Thanks!

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37 Aimee November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

I’m so excited to try this recipe! I HAVE to have sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving or it’s just not Thanksgiving. How would you adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. I’m running out of oven space!

Thanks for giving us such wonderful recipes! Everything I’ve made has been outstanding – it makes it easy to be vegan when you have these recipes in your arsenal! :)

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38 Karen November 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I made these last year for Thanksgiving and they have been requested again this year. I made them gluten/wheat free by using 1/4 cup sorghum flour instead of the white flour. Also didn’t use the maple syrup in the topping and cut the Earth Balance margarine down to 2 Tablespoons, it was still nice and crumbly and yummy.

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39 Jessica November 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hi Susan! Any idea how many lbs/oz of sweet potatoes this calls for? I feel like the only ones in my store are huge. Thank you!

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40 Susan Voisin November 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I’m sorry–I didn’t weigh them at the time. But I’m pretty sure that 4 of your huge ones will be about right. This is a very forgiving recipe. The worst that could happen is you have too much and have to make a second small casserole.

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41 Arwen November 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I made this last year for Thanksgiving, and it is just SO delicious. It tastes exactly like the sweet potato casserole my grandmother used to make for Thanksgiving when I was a kid, and I can’t thank you enough for it! I’m in the process of making it again now for tomorrow’s dinner.

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42 Patrice Keating November 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I made this for Thanksgiving dinner. Mega hit! Roasted the sweet potatoes in the oven (pressure cooker had turnip in it). Beautiful presentation…even the kids tried it. Thanks again.

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43 Wendy November 23, 2012 at 8:34 am

This was great!!!! I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and my whole family loved it, even my sister who doesn’t normally eat sweet potatoes. My mom wasn’t going to try it until I told her it didn’t have any tofu in it! I find many omnis just assume everything I make somehow has tofu, even if it would make no logical sense to add it in! Thanks for another winner-I make your Ribz often too.

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44 gillian November 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

Is this good cold?

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45 Susan Voisin November 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

I like it better warm, but it’s good at room temperature or cold.

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46 annr November 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm

This was amazing! I forgot to buy orange juice so I subbed a little cider and used ground oats in place of the flour in the topping for a gluten free relative. It still turned out really well. Nobody believed it was vegan and gluten free. Before this, I think my family thought I ate leaves and twigs. Now they realize that vegan can be delicious. Thank you Susan for helping me make it through my first vegan Thanksgiving! I’m already planning the Christmas Eve meal!

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47 Natalie September 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I’ve been trying to replace butter with coconut oil. Sometimes vegetable shortening works, but for the sweetness that butter would add I try coconut oil. Hmmmm….
This looks amazing! Although I’m not vegan, I appreciate vegan dishes and adore them.
One day maybe…

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48 Mayra October 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

You are a lifesaver! All your recipes look delicious, Ive tried some so far and the few Ive tried I loved. Ive noticed that sometimes you use very specific flour though, like whole wheat flour (banana bread), or in this case unbleached white flour. Is it absolutely necessary to use the specified flour? can i just use the garden variety all purpose flour?

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49 Susan Voisin October 18, 2013 at 10:23 am

All purpose flour will work anywhere unbleached is called for, but whole wheat flour is heavier and it may take a little more unbleached to make up for that.

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50 Usha November 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hi Susan,
I made a mini version today to check it out for Thanksgiving and think it’s a winner! I have 2 questions:
1) What brand of margarine did you use in this recipe?
2) Can this be a make ahead?
Thanks so much for all the wonderful recipes…by the way, my new favorite for fall/winter is black bean and quinoa chili, topped with ripe avocado! Just sharing…unless you have this somewhere in your formidable database already. I was inspired by a pop up called Broadway Bites outside Macys last weekend. Made it again at home and it’s so good!
Usha

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51 jen November 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

What can i use instead of margarine? Thanks!

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52 Susan Voisin November 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

You can leave out the margarine in the filling and try using applesauce in the topping. I can’t guarantee good results for the topping, though.

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53 Usha November 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Just wondering how far ahead it can be made, Susan?

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54 Susan Voisin November 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm

You could make this several days in advance, if necessary. It’s very sturdy. :-)

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55 katgru November 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

if i make this the day before, do i bake it right away and then reheat or assemble day one and bake day two?

56 Faith November 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Cooking my sweet potatoes for this now! Just realized I only have a 2.5-qt casserole dish. Will that work, and what adjustments should I make?

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57 Susan Voisin November 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm

It should work fine with no adjustments.

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58 jen November 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

i have made this recipe every year for the past 3 thanksgivings. my family loves it!

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59 lulu November 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm

There’s a key hint in this recipe that leads me (native New Orleanian vegan) to suspect that your recipe is based off of the same recipe my grandmother uses for her sweet potato pone ;) My hack is almost identical but maple syrup is a rad idea. Great vegans think alike.

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60 Lindsey November 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Another 5-star review :) I made this for the first time for a vegan pre-Thanksgiving potluck, and everyone loved it! It’s perhaps a bit too sweet for my preference, so I may decrease the sugar in the potato mash next time, but notably my boyfriend and everyone else thought it was perfect and I should leave it be. So I think I’m the crazy one! :) Thanks, Susan!

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61 Kathleen P November 26, 2014 at 5:09 am

OMG!! This is the BEST sweet potato casserole EVER!! Everyone raved about this dish so much at Thanksgiving last year that I have officially replaced my old standard marsh mallow sweet potato casserole with this one. Thank you!

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62 Cara November 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday because my brother in law is vegan and I try my best to put out as many dishes possible for him to eat. This recipe is DELICIOUS! Everyone in the family raved about it. I just wanted to comment and let you know! Thanks!

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63 Mary November 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Made this casserole yesterday for our first ‘vegan’ Thanksgiving. Was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend this recipe. Due to nut allergies, we had to substitute chopped up cashews for the pecans but it turned out great anyway! Looking forward to eating leftovers! Thank you.

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64 Susan Voisin November 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Either way will work so do whichever is easier for you.

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65 Faith November 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Thank you!!

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