Deep South Sweet Potato Casserole (and healthier substitutions)

Is This the Best and Healthiest Sweet Potato Casserole Ever?

Growing up in the Deep South, my favorite Thanksgiving and holiday dish has always been sweet potato casserole. The recipe is delicious and every time I’ve brought it to a potluck, it’s been polished off within 20 minutes, and has always been requested by my friends. I’m sharing this special version with you—the tried and true version with marshmallow topping and a super healthy version for those of you who don’t want to fudge your diet too much during the holidays. 

Healthier Substitutions

To make the recipe healthier, you can follow the recommendations to substitute butter with ghee (which can help for those sensitive to dairy) OR even coconut oil (super healthy). Substituting brown sugar with maple syrup is a healthier substitute- you can even use agave syrup which is low glycemic. Almond or rice milk is a good substitute for dairy for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. And candied pecans can be used as a substitute for marshmallow topping.

Ingredient List

6 cups of boiled sweet potatoes 

½ cup of brown sugar OR ¼ cup of maple syrup (healthier)

3 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

½ to ¾ cup of milk (or yogurt or almond milk)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

¼ cup of butter or ghee OR 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 bag of miniature marshmallows OR pecans (see note below)

Makes 9 Servings


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2x8x11 dish with light butter, ghee, or coconut oil (healthiest),

Peel and boil 6-7 medium sized sweet potatoes or sweet yams (preferably orange colored) until soft and moderately mushy. Drain and measure out to 6 cups.

Mix it Up!

In a large mixing bowl, add ¼ cup of butter or ghee (or 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to be super,  healthy). Add ¼ cup of maple syrup (could go slightly less or more to taste) OR ½ cup of brown sugar. Add ½ to ¾ cup of dairy milk OR rice or almond milk until consistency will slowly fall off of a spoon (not too runny but not too thick and dry). Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. You may also add ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg or to taste. Crack and beat 3 eggs and pour into potato mixture. Use a mixer or food processor to blend into a smooth mixture. Pour potato mixture into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and add marshmallows. Return to oven for 5 - 10 minutes until the marshmallows are a golden brown (like roasted over a fire!). Once golden brown, remove and you should have a great tasting casserole.***

*** for a healthier alternative, you can add candied pecans to the casserole instead of marshmallows. Simply take shelled pecan halves and douse them in maple syrup. Feel free to add additional holiday spices such as cinnamon or light vanilla extract. Instead of marshmallows, add candied pecans to the top of the sweet potato casserole. Turn oven down to 325 degrees (instead of 350) and cooked the pecan covered sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes until brown (but not too dark!). Take out and enjoy.

Bon appetite!!

- Mark