Sweet Potato Casserole Boats (1 Pan!)

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Platter of Sweet Potato Casserole Boats made with pecans

Friends, I may or may not have (low key) discovered the best way to eat sweet potatoes.

  1. Halve
  2. Bake
  3. Mash a little
  4. Top with dairy-free butter, cinnamon, and delicious things
  5. Bake again
  6. Devour

Yes, dreams do come true in the form of this sweet potato casserole remake.

Fair warning, if you make these for your friends, your friends will tell their friends about how great of a cook you are, and you will inevitably make more friends because of these potatoes. These are the potential consequences, should you choose to proceed.

If yes, let us show you how it’s done!

Using a fork to mash sweet potatoes for making Sweet Potato Boats

Here’s the deal. This idea flew into my brain while driving.

I was thinking — per the usual — about food and thinking about how I love this Butternut Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole but how it admittedly takes too much effort for me on most days.

I wondered how I could remake that into a simple, minimal-effort dish without compromising on flavor. And BOOM, that’s when the idea came: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with all the fixin’s and good stuff made right on the baking sheet.

Spoiler alert: These are the type of good that makes your eyes roll back when you eat them. Like “don’t talk to me while I’m eating these potatoes” good. Not to mention, they require just 1 pan and 7 ingredients you probably have on hand right now!

Using a knife to spread vegan butter onto halved Sweet Potato Boats

It’s just as easy as it sounds.

Cut sweet potatoes or yams (we prefer organic garnet yams for best flavor and texture!) in half, lightly oil, and place cut-sides down on a baking sheet. Use a fork to poke holes in the skins. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender to the touch.

Sprinkling coconut sugar on halved, baked sweet potatoes to make Sweet Potato Casserole Boats

Then comes the good stuff: the FIXINGS.

  1. A little dairy-free butter for buttery flavor and ultra-tender potatoes
  2. A generous dash of cinnamon
  3. A spoonful of coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  4. Crushed raw pecans
  5. A drizzle of maple syrup

Then back in the oven to make your dreams come true.

Topping Sweet Potato Casserole Boats with pecans for a delicious Thanksgiving side
Platter of Sweet Potato Casserole Boats with coconut sugar, cinnamon, and pecans

We hope you LOVE these potatoes! They’re:

Tender with crisp edges
Naturally sweetened
Subtly spiced
& Incredibly delicious

These would make the perfect side dish this Thanksgiving and beyond. Personally, my favorite way to enjoy these is with a generous dollop of almond butter for a hearty snack or indulgent breakfast the next day. Major swoon!

More Sweet Potato Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Sweet Potato Casserole Boats beside cinnamon sticks and a bowl of coconut sugar

Sweet Potato Casserole Boats

An EASY approach to sweet potato casserole made with 1 pan! Twice-baked, halved sweet potatoes cook FAST and are topped with cinnamon, coconut sugar, and pecans!
Author Minimalist Baker
Baking sheet filled with Sweet Potato Casserole Boats for Thanksgiving
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 (Boats)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days



  • 4 medium-large sweet potatoes or yams (skin on, organic when possible // we prefer garnet yams)
  • 1 Tbsp oil (avocado or other neutral oil with high smoke point)


  • 2 Tbsp dairy-free butter, divided (we prefer Miyokos // or sub organic dairy butter as needed)
  • ~3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar, divided (or sub brown sugar, but it will no longer be refined sugar-free)
  • 1 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped or broken by hand, divided
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half but leave the skin on. Rub both sides with oil and arrange cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (optional) for easier clean up.
  • Use a fork to poke holes in the back sides of the potatoes to let steam escape. Then bake for 25-35 minutes or until all potatoes have some give when you press the tops (time will vary depending on size of potatoes) — you want them very tender so they mash easily.
  • Once tender, remove from oven and let cool slightly (5 minutes). Then use a spatula to carefully flip over. Use a fork to lightly mash the insides of the sweet potatoes until they’re just slightly pressed down and the surface is flat (see photo/video).
  • Swipe the top of each potato with a little dairy-free (or dairy) butter. Then shake a light dusting of cinnamon on each potato, followed by ~1 tsp coconut sugar, 2 Tbsp pecans, and a drizzle of maple syrup (focusing the syrup on the pecans) over all the sweet potato halves.
    NOTE: You could also add some mini marshmallows at this point if you're feeling sassy (but it will no longer be refined sugar-free).
  • Return to oven for 8-10 minutes or until toppings appear slightly browned and toasty (watch pecans carefully so they don't burn). They should smell amazing!
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately. These are amazing on their own, but would also pair well with almond (or other nut) butter, additional butter or maple syrup, or coconut whipped cream.
  • Best when fresh. Store cooled leftovers covered in the fridge up to 2-3 days. Not freezer friendly once topped. Reheat in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven until hot.
  • NOTE: You could also prep these up to the point of adding the toppings, then refrigerate the halved, partially cooked potatoes until ready to bake. Just bake longer — about 10-15 minutes — as they will be cold. Watch pecans to ensure they don’t burn.



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of coconut sugar and maple syrup.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 213 Carbohydrates: 21.5 g Protein: 2.3 g Fat: 14 g Saturated Fat: 3.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.18 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.76 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 53 mg Potassium: 286 mg Fiber: 3.4 g Sugar: 9.2 g Vitamin A: 9250 IU Vitamin C: 2.5 mg Calcium: 40 mg Iron: 0.7 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Koty says

    Really appreciate this variation on one of my family favorites! It has been especially helpful the last couple of years with a smaller group of us gathering for Thanksgiving. I prepped the sweet potatoes the evening before so that all I had to do was mix the insides with the delicious toppings and heat them up after the turkey was done cooking on Thanksgiving day. I did cheat and use candied pecans on top in place of plain pecans with maple syrup, though. So delicious as are all of your recipes! Thanks.

  2. Donna says

    These are so cute. I used 6-oz sweet potatoes and the calorie count came in about 187 for one boat. I used tongs to hold them while I smooched the insides. Thanks for the healthier version of a family favourite.

  3. Debra Anazonwu says

    I made this for a right-after-Thanksgiving potluck. I left off the nuts because a) I wanted a super-cheap recipe and b) some poor souls have an issue with nuts. Even without the nuts, they were a hit. They’re sweet, but they have enough nutrition that people don’t feel guilty about eating them, and having them in individual servings makes for an attractive presentation. I’m making them for a potluck for a different group today. I don’t think I’ve ever rated an online recipe before, but I wanted to let everyone know how good they are. These are genius, Dana!

  4. Vegancheapneasy says

    Hey I’ve always been wary of sweet potatoes because I only made them as savoury, main dishes with stuffing from different vegetables. Never has it occurred to me to make them as a sweet dish! I will make them as soon as I can and share the results.
    Is it okay to publish my variation after I make it on my blog and tag you? Thanks in advance!

  5. michaluna says

    Made these using the brown sugar and butter spread and only about 1 TBSP of pecans in total because that’s what I had on hand. Still, FABULOUS! Even my non-sweet potato eating child ate one — my child’s first time ever eating sweet potatoes!!! I will definitely be making these again.

  6. Amanda says

    This was the star of our Thanksgiving meal! I did have to bake them for a little longer than suggested, but they were pretty large. Instead of pecans, I topped with roasted chopped hazelnuts – delicious! I love the cinnamon and maple syrup, too. Easy to make, too. Thanks, Dana!

  7. Daryl says

    I think my sweet potatoes were too small for this, because they came out rather flat and dry. Love the idea, however, so will probably try it again when my producer delivery gives me something larger.

  8. Meredith says

    I’m going to make these for Thanksgiving, I’m so excited!! Hot tip to other vegans – vegan marshmallows are available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (as well as other stores that might be more local), they’d be good to throw on in the last few minutes of the second bake!! Looking SO forward to making these, Dana!! Thanks for another awesome recipe! :)

  9. Jim D says

    Does this travel well? I would like to make it for a Thanksgiving Day feast, but I’ll be going to a relatives and their oven will be busy. How does this fare if it’s made but not eaten for a hour or two?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      It should! For best results, we would recommend prepping through step 4 in advance and then continuing with the rest just prior to serving. Let us know how it goes!

  10. Anne says

    Made this for dinner tonight (along with Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages and sauteed greens with garlic) and it was delicious! It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, just enough, it’s really only a small amount of sugar. Will be making this again!

  11. Janine says

    I saw this and immediately sent it to my friend, which is a great thing because we are going to make this together for a light super! I personally don’t like sugar on my sweet potato so having coconut sugar is going to be a nice nutty flavor along with the other yummy ingredients. Or I may just omit that all together. Do you think by omitting the sugar it will still give a caramelized approach? Thanks for a sweet warm fall side dish.

  12. amy says

    Oh. My. Goodness – a pan of pure deliciousness! We made this last eve and woke up thinking about it. Your spoiler was on point… silence at the table while these were devoured. We paired with roasted veg from your sheet pan recipe (curry, garam masala etc) and it was just heavenly. Thank you!

  13. Kate says

    This looks so good I can’t wait to make it for thanksgiving! Do you think it would still be good with walnuts instead of the pecans??

  14. Anne says

    Oh look! I have all the ingredients at home! (except will have to sub walnuts for pecans because that’s what I have right now). This is going on the menu for tonight! I like the idea of cutting the potatoes in half first because normally the baking time is too long for a work night when I need a quick meal.