9 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes for Thanksgiving

Root vegetables like sweet potatoes are in season during the fall months, so healthy sweet potato recipes are perfect for Thanksgiving. That's why many sweet potato sides dishes, such as candied yams, sweet potato pie, and mashed sweet potatoes, are holiday classics.

While holiday recipes tend to be on the more indulgent side, preparing better-for-you sweet potato recipes is the perfect opportunity to satisfy those holiday cravings while getting in some nutritious veggies. Plus, sweet potatoes are naturally vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat.

Practice moderation and enjoy these 10 healthy sweet potato recipes this Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Bake

sweet potato and yukon gold bake

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Orange sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, yukon gold potatoes—oh my! This Thanksgiving side dish recipe is a potato lover’s dream come true. It’s also arranged beautifully, which is sure to impress any guests or make for a stunning Instagram photo.

This sweet potato and Yukon Gold bake from Simply Recipes is also beginner-friendly and can be adjusted so it’s fully vegan. You'll need potatoes, olive oil, butter, and seasoning. Start by caramelizing the onions, peeling the potatoes, arranging the veggies in a baking dish, and baking for a total of 60 minutes. 

You can also make the recipe dairy-free and vegan by replacing the butter with olive oil. 

Holiday Spiced Sweet Potato Yams

holiday spiced sweet potatoes (yams) from Simply Recipes

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Thanksgiving is simply not the same without a side of yams on the table. Since candied yams are traditionally made with large amounts of butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows, opt for these holiday spiced sweet potato yams from Simply Recipes, which are a little bit healthier. This recipe still contains butter and sugar, but the quantities are smaller.

This isn’t your typical yams recipe, however. It contains surprising ingredients like orange zest and lemon juice. It also includes the spices that capture the essence of autumn: nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.

Kitchens tend to be busy and crowded on Thanksgiving Day, and there never seems to be enough oven space. This is the perfect yams recipe to make a day or two ahead of time and simply reheat before serving.

Honey Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Honey Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

Looking for a healthy sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving that won’t take up precious oven space? Try these honey grilled sweet potatoes from The Spruce Eats. This recipe is perfect for families who divide and conquer the cooking. While others are baking, roasting, and boiling away, grab some chopped up sweet potatoes and head to the grill.

This is a fun take on candied sweet potatoes but with much simpler ingredients. In fact, all you’ll need to make this recipe are some sweet potatoes, honey, and butter. The grill marks on the sweet potatoes are sure to satisfy since they add a savory flavor to this otherwise sweet dish.

Vegan Coconut Milk Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk

belchonock / Getty Images

Yukon gold, red, and russet potatoes are given all the credit when it comes to mashed potatoes, but Thanksgiving is the perfect time to mix it up and swap in sweet potatoes. These vegan coconut milk mashed potatoes from The Spruce Eats are dairy-free, so this is the perfect side dish for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or allergic to milk.

If this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner, this is a beginner-friendly recipe. You only need seven simple ingredients: sweet potatoes, coconut milk, ground ginger, curry powder, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Your guests will be impressed by the flavors in this dish, and the leftovers will reheat well, too.

Lower-Calorie Sweet Potato Casserole

low-calorie sweet potato casserole
 Diana Chistruga / The Spruce Eats

This sweet potato casserole from The Spruce Eats is lower in calories than traditional sweet potato casserole, but full of flavor. The holidays are generally a time to indulge and enjoy good food with friends and family, which tends to encourage the holiday spirit but interfere with low-calorie diets.If you follow a low-calorie diet but want to fully enjoy the holidays, this is the sweet potato side dish for you. This sweet potato casserole still has all the ingredients you’d expect in a sweet potato casserole—milk, butter, sugar, and marshmallows — but in much smaller quantities. When divided among friends and family, there are only 208 calories per serving.

Sautéed Sweet Potatoes

sauteed sweet potatoes
 Cara Cormack / The Spruce Eats

You can make these sautéed sweet potatoes from The Spruce Eats any day of the week, but they’re extra special during the holiday season. This healthy sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving is also vegan and allergen-friendly, so everyone can enjoy. 

Just grab sweet potatoes, olive oil, and some spices. While there seems to be a lot to prepare on Thanksgiving Day, this is one you can prep ahead of time. Chop and store the sweet potatoes. When dinner is just about ready, pop these on a skillet for about 20 minutes. This is a side dish in a pinch!

Mashed White Sweet Potatoes

mashed white sweet potatoes
 Nita West / The Spruce Eats

There are many types of sweet potatoes, though orange ones tend to get all the attention. Since root vegetables are in season during the holiday months, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try out other types of sweet potatoes, including white sweet potatoes. An easy and nutritious way to prepare this veggie is by making these mashed white sweet potatoes from The Spruce Eats. They look like regular mashed potatoes but with an element of sweetness. 

If you like the combination of sweet and salty, then you’ll love sweet mashed potatoes. This particular recipe also has a spicy surprise since it contains minced chili pepper. 

After a big meal, you’re likely to have leftovers. Fortunately, these are easy to store and reheat. You can also freeze them and microwave for later. If you think you’ll be on a time crunch on Thanksgiving Day, simply make these ahead of time.

Sweet and Tangy Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables

maple roasted root vegetable side dish

Verywell Fit

You can’t go wrong with a side of root vegetables on Thanksgiving. This sweet and tangy maple-roasted root vegetable side dish from Verywell Fit contains all the classics: sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. It’s flavored with balsamic vinegar, garlic, maple syrup, and thyme, so it’s sure to win over any picky eater.

Since root vegetables are a good source of fiber and other nutrients, this Thanksgiving recipe is a good compromise of healthfulness and deliciousness on a special day.

Baked Vegan Sweet Potato Fries

baked sweet potato fries
 Emily Hawkes / The Spruce Eats

While not proprietary to Thanksgiving, these baked sweet potato fries from The Spruce Eats are the perfect low-fat side dish for a healthy holiday meal. 

With just a few sweet potatoes, dash of olive oil, and some spices, you’ll have crispy fries that are sure to please a crowd. Plus, this recipe is simple. Who says nutritious sweet potato recipes for Thanksgiving have to be complicated? This dish comes together in just 40 minutes from start to finish.

A Word From Verywell

Special occasions, such as the holidays, are a time to enjoy good food and be with friends and family. While it is possible to have a table full of healthy recipes, allow yourself to enjoy a variety of foods in moderation.

If you plan on having drinks and desserts on Thanksgiving, balance it out with one of these healthy sweet potato recipes for Thanksgiving. You get all the flavor and nutrients without feeling like you're missing out.

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