Every year for Thanksgiving I’m in charge of making the Sweet Potato Casserole or Candied Yam

s. I absolutely love the taste of sweet potatoes mixed with butter, brown sugar, and don’t forget, topping it all of with gooey melted marshmallows!

This year I’ve decided to take my famous deliciously naughty recipe and tweak it a little bit to reduce the saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and total calories. After trial and error, I know I have the perfect balance of ingredients and taste! You’re going to love it too!

Sweet potatoes are my favorite! They taste great and are high in fiber and rich in B vitamins like potassium. The B vitamins in sweet potatoes help keep your arteries and blood vessels pliable, while the potassium is supports in keeping your blood pressure low.

Boiling sweet potatoes can cause them to lose their nutrition, but according to physician and author Dr. Michael Greger, of NutritionFacts.org, boiling sweet potatoes lowers their glycemic index, which means you get less insulin spike after eating them. 

To start off with this recipe, I’ve halved the amount of brown sugar in most recipes. To enhance the perception of sweetness, I added an extra tablespoon of cinnamon. I’ve also added in some extra spices such as cloves and nutmeg, and vanilla flavoring as well, to boost sweetness.

Use a hand mixer to incorporate ingredients well
The amount of butter in the original recipe is 1 cup! 1 CUP!!! I lowered this down to 1/4 cup of unsalted butter and added 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce to replace. This helped reduce the fat significantly and the applesauce helps retain moisture in the recipe as a whole. Plus the taste of apple compliments sweet potatoes beautifully!

Salt in the recipe was also cut in half as I don’t think much salt is needed after adding all the extra spices and flavorings. I am a person who loves her salt, but you know what? I didn’t even notice it was cut in half after tasting this recipe.

Pour mixture in greased glass dish
I’ve included the recipe and Nutrition Facts at the bottom of this post. By tweaking my old grandmother’s recipe full of butter and sugar, I am happy to say it tastes even better! Add in the bonus of overall nutrition being improved. A WIN-WIN!

Overall benefits from old recipe to new:

Total fat and total saturated fat reduced by over half
Lower Cholesterol
Total Sugars reduced
Total sodium cut in half

The Topping

Lastly, the original recipe has a topping of 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, plus 1/2 cup butter! WOW! I’ve decided to omit this altogether and just dust a little brown sugar on top of the casserole before putting in the oven. I usually put pecans on 1/2 or make another dish with pecans and one without because my kids are super picky about nuts!

Miniature marshmallows are also optional. You can add them or omit them altogether. Sometimes I’ll do half of the casserole with marshmallows and half without because my personality likes to make everyone happy. I do believe adding marshmallows are the whole fun of it! It makes me feel like a kid again! In reducing the amount of sugar in the actual recipe, that justifies adding the marshmallows to the top, right??? Maybe I’ll try to stick with the recipe and only add 1 cup of mini marshmallows and not the whole bag ;) Enjoy!

Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Servings: 8-10

Prep Time: 30


This delicious recipe has the perfect blend of spices and additions to make the sweet potato taste pop. It's lower in fat, sugar, salt, and calories than other typical candied yam recipes.

If adding marshmallows the last 5 minutes, put some aluminum foil on bottom oven rack in case they puff up and over pan.


5 large yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. unsalted butter
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla

TOPPING (optional):

1/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. pecans, finely chopped
1 C. miniature marshmallows


Wash and peel potatoes. Chop potatoes into 2-inch square cubes.
Cover potatoes with water in a pot. Boil until tender but still firm.
While potatoes are boiling, preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.
Once potatoes are done, drain water from potatoes and return to pot. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until chunky.
Add sugar, butter, applesauce, eggs, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until incorporated.
Pour mixture into greased glass dish.
For optional topping, sprinkle brown sugar on top of casserole. Top with pecans if desired.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover with miniature marshmallows if desired. Return to oven for 3-5 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.
Serve immediately.

NutritionPer Serving: 182 calories; 5.7 g fat; 31.3 g carbohydrates; 2.4 g protein; 45 mg cholesterol; 171 mg sodium.

Please comment below how you liked this recipe! I know it still isn’t the top on the healthiest list, but it’s better than your normal recipe for candied yams. Since we all have different tastes, I would love feedback on what you thought. Cheers!