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This vegan canned yams casserole is perfect for your holiday table! It’s easy to make with canned yams (or canned sweet potatoes), brown sugar, chopped pecans, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and most importantly: vegan marshmallows, the star of the show!
There are so many delicious holiday dishes that we vegans can make and enjoy that just weren’t available “back in the day”. Luckily for us, we now have more vegan food options than before and can enjoy some of the old favorites with family and friends. You’ll love these vegan candied yams – which will soon be a favorite at your holiday table.
Why you’ll love this vegan candied yams casserole
- sweet and a little savory
- easy to make
- has a delicious (vegan) marshmallow topping that the kids will love – because who doesn’t love marshmallows
- you can pretend it’s healthy (if that makes you feel better) with the lovely orange vitamin-filled and fiber-rich veggies
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Ingredients needed to make this vegan version candied yams casserole
- 40-ounce canned yams or sweet potatoes – The can might say canned yams OR it might say canned sweet potatoes. The terms are used pretty interchangeably and it’s honestly the same thing. I used a 40-ounce can because it was less expensive than buying three 15-ounce cans (which is what my original recipe was based on). The difference in weight is small so use what you can find.
- chopped pecans – I buy mine prechopped. If you buy yours whole or halved, this handy chopper is easy and helpful to use!
- vegan butter, melted – If you are not vegan then use any butter.
- brown sugar, packed – I used lite – but you can use dark brown sugar if you prefer. Aso, if you are a “sugar” vegan then use organic brown sugar.
- vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- sea salt
- 15 large vegan marshmallows. I used Dandies marshmallows. I also made this casserole with the Dandies maple-flavored vegan mini marshmallows (see below). Obviously, if you are not vegan then use the marshmallows you wish.
- You will also need a medium-sized casserole dish. You want the drained sweet potatoes to just cover the bottom of the dish. A regular cake pan or lasagna pan is going to be too large. I used the middle size of these beautiful blue casserole dishes. (They also come in other colors.)
How to make this delicious recipe for vegan candied yams casserole
The exact measurements and precise instructions are found in the recipe card below. Read on for tips and suggestions so that your sweet potato casserole will be as tasty as mine.
Step 1: preheat and prepare
- Preheat your oven to 350°
- Spritz your casserole dish with cooking spray
- chop the pecans if not purchased chopped
- open the canned yams/sweet potatoes and drain well
I check through all the yams to make sure there aren’t any browned or “weird” pieces. Nobody wants that…
Step 2: Add the sweet potatoes and pecans
After draining the canned yams, pour them into the prepared baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly on the bottom of the pan.
You should use a medium-sized baking dish – not the largest size that you’d use to bake a cake – so less than 9×13 but larger than 8×8. If you are using a round casserole dish, you should use a 2-quart size. You want the drained sweet potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan you use. You also want some room to place the large-sized marshmallows on top.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the drained sweet potato. If you are serving this dish to others, please point out and label that it contains nuts. If you are serving this dish and know that somebody has a nut allergy, simply leave them out. I made this casserole for years without nuts. It was fine:)
Step 3: prepare and add the butter/brown sugar mixture
If you are not vegan then you obviously can use your butter of choice. Do use salted butter as this recipe was developed with vegan butter which is salted.
I melt the butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds in a microwave-safe dish and then add the other ingredients and mix right in the dish.
Add the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla extract. The brown sugar is packed and can be challenging to stir in. I use a fork to break it up before whisking the ingredients together.
I know this is a lot of vegan butter and brown sugar. This is NOT a vegan health recipe! This is a recipe for special holiday events. The butter and brown sugar are just the right amount and what makes these otherwise boring plain canned yams into the vegan candied yams you’ve been craving! So no, you won’t be seeing an option to make this one more healthy. Sorry.
Now pour the melted butter/brown sugar mixture evenly over the sweet potato chunks and pecans in the baking dish, making sure that the sweet potato chunks are nicely covered.
Step 4: It’s marshmallow time!
If you are not vegan then use the marshmallows you prefer. However…HOWEVER…If you are vegan then you are in for a special treat! There are now several options for vegan marshmallows available. I’ve only tried Dandies Brand marshmallows and can only tell you about my experience with this brand.
The flavor is amazing! Just what you would expect a marshmallow to taste like. The one thing that is different with these vegan marshmallows is that when they brown, they tend to get crunchy. See below for my fix for crunchy marshmallows.
I used 15 large marshmallows. This seemed to be the right amount. You should not entirely cover the top of the candied yam dish or all you will taste is massive marshmallow! Leave a little space between the marshmallows.
Another option is to use vegan mini marshmallows. If you use mini marshmallows then it’s okay to cover the top because they are smaller. I used one five-ounce bag BUT I also used a round baking dish so there wasn’t as much surface to cover. If you plan on using a rectangle-shaped baking dish then plan for a bag and a half.
Final step: Time to cook!
Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be heated through and the marshmallows lightly browned on top.
One difference I noticed with the vegan marshmallows is that the browned part tends to dry out and get a little crunchy. Which honestly doesn’t offend me much!
I “fixed” this by turning the marshmallows so that the browned side faced the moist sweet potato side. This seemed to do the trick. If you are using large marshmallows then you can turn my hand. If you are using the mini marshmallows then use a spoon to assist.
This dish is best served right away. You’ll get six decent-sized side dish servings out of this recipe. If you are setting it on your holiday table or buffet, then be sure to time it so that it is warm from the oven.
Even though this candied yams recipe is super sweet, I don’t serve it as dessert – but rather with the side dishes. Sometimes a little savory mixed with the sweet is just what our palate needs!
You can store any extras in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat and serve. The marshmallows might change texture depending on the brand you use.
For some other delicious vegan side dishes for your holiday table try:
- Easy Vegan Herbed Buttered Corn
- Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Fresh Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed dressing
- Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts in the Air Fryer
The printable recipe card
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Vegan Candied Yams with Marshmallows and Pecans
- 40 ounce canned yams or sweet potatoes drained
- ⅔ cup pecans chopped
- ¼ cup vegan butter melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 15 large marshmallows vegan
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spritz a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Chop the pecans if they were not purchased chopped. Set aside.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and place them in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Melt the vegan butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar and pecans evenly over the top of the sweet potatoes. Pour the melted butter evenly over the sweet potato/pecan mixture.
- Top with the vegan marshmallows. See notes for using mini marshmallows or flavored maple marshmallows.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are heated through and the marshmallows are toasty and lightly browned.