When making my holiday menu, I can’t forget the Sweet Potato Casserole! This traditional Thanksgiving food is a favorite that you can still make without loading it down with sugar. It’s still an absolutely delicious dish! No marshmallows needed.

I like to use Japanese Sweet Potatoes since they are sweeter than other varieties, but feel free to use your favorite type of sweet potato. The Japanese Sweet Potatoes have purple skin and a light, almost white interior. Hannah yams (also white flesh), jewel or garnet yams also work well in this recipe. You might want to mix a couple of  varieties if you want the sweet starchiness of the Japanese Sweet Potatoes but the orange color of the traditional varieties.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecan Topping

Makes 4 to 6 servings


Japanese Sweet Potatoes.



2 yams or sweet potatoes, peeled
3 cups water, or enough to cover for boiling
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon orange or tangerine zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1 cup whole pecans, left whole or broken into pieces by hand
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup



Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch squares. Place in a pot with water to cover. Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.


Drain sweet potatoes, and discard cooking water. Mash the potatoes in a blender or food processor. Stir in orange zest, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour mixture into casserole dish.




Prepare topping by mixing pecans and maple syrup together in a bowl. Spoon nuts on the casserole or arrange pecan halves on top of the casserole and bake at 375° F for 1 hour.

Servings: 5
Calories: 220
Carbohydrate: 23 g
Protein: 3 g
Fat: 14 g


Is this your new favorite Sweet Potato Casserole? Let us know in the comments!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

  • Rose M.

    I have made something similar before. For the filling, I used 2-3 TBSP of coconut milk (from a can) instead of honey. I also added 1/8 tsp of pumpkin pie spice mix (from Trader Joe’s, but also available at the grocery store), & 1/8 tsp of ground ginger.

    For the topping, I used chopped pecans mixed with chopped pumpkin seeds. I used 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup, 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or avocado oil), & 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

    It was sweet enough to serve as dessert, but I served it as a side dish. The coconut flavor fades to the background with the additional spices.

  • Ruth Ames

    I made this for thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! I used some pumpkin spice seasoning in addition to the cinnamon, and use diluted honey instead of maple syrup because I was out. People raved about it, still plenty sweet!

  • Rainbow Lisa Koehl

    Can you make it ahead of time and then heat?

    • DrLudwig

      Yes, absolutely. You can even freeze it then thaw and cook. It’s so versatile and absolutely delicious!
      -Chef Dawn

  • Liz Heimerl

    My store has yams and sweet potatoes in widely varied sizes! The recipe calls for a quantity of 2, but how much is that, approximately? A measurement in pounds, or volume when cubed, would really be helpful.