A spoonful of creamy mashed sweet potatoes and apple chunks and dried cranberries. Topped with an oaty streusel topping.

Best Sweet Potato Crisp Side Dish (with No Refined Sugar)

In Desserts & Drinks, Sides by sarawalkenbach4 Comments

Crisps of any kind are a mouthwatering culinary treat. Typically, a dessert with apples, sugar, and cinnamon at the bottom, and a delicious oaty pecan crumble on top. This lightened up Sweet Potato Crisp side dish is made with no refined sugar and will be the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving table.

Looking for a more savory side dish, try Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing.

A spoonful of creamy mashed sweet potatoes and apple chunks and dried cranberries. Topped with an oaty streusel topping.
Creamy sweet potatoes layered with apples, cranberries, and an oaty streusel topping.

My friend, Niki, first introduced me to Oat Topped Sweet Potato Crisp. Every Groundhog Friendsgiving (yes, you read that right), Niki brings this dish. It’s heaven. I swapped out the refined sugar, and used a little less butter and flour, to make it slightly more healthy.

If you’re wondering what Groundhog Friendsgiving is, let me tell you. It’s an excuse to get together with friends, to eat, drink, and be merry. We would host it on or around Groundhog day (because, why not), and make the main dish. Our friends would bring a side or dessert. It’s been awhile since we’ve had one. Time to bring back the tradition, serving this healthier version of sweet potatoes.


Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are a complex carb. Although carbs get a bad rep, complex carbs are needed in energy production. They also make us feel fuller longer because of the amount of fiber.

According to Erica Julson’s (MS, RDN, CLT) article, 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, at Healthline.com,

Sweet potatoes contain fiber and antioxidants that promote the growth of good gut bacteria and contribute to a healthy gut.

Erica Julson MS, RDN, CLT, Healthline.com

Sweet potatoes are also:

  • High in Vitamins A, C, & B6
  • Rich in Antioxidants, reducing damage caused by free radicals
  • Have high levels of beta carotene, promoting eye health
sweet potato crisp ingredients
Fresh sweet potatoes sweetened with maple syrup, along with apples, and dried cranberries pair deliciously with lightened up oaty streusel topping.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite carbs. This recipe really makes them feel like comfort food by mashing in these ingredients with the tators:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Pure Maple Syrup or Coconut Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Yum! Doesn’t cream cheese make everything better? The maple syrup gives that great flavor & sweetness to this sweet potato crisp with no refined sugar.

Apple & Cranberries

Everyone knows apples are a good thing to work into your diet. Here are a few health benefits of eating apples:

  • High in Vitamin C
  • Contains Antioxidants like Vitamin E
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • High in Fiber
mashed sweet potatoes with diced apple and dried cranberries
Mashed sweet potatoes mixed with cream cheese, maple syrup and cinnamon. Sprinkled with apples and dried cranberries.

Dried cranberries have their fair share of health benefits as well. According to Alpa Momaya’s article, Dried Cranberries: Benefits, Nutrition, Recipes at Healthifyme.com, Dried Cranberries:

  • Prevents Respiratory Infections
  • Wards Off Tooth Decay
  • Improves Digestion
  • Prevents Urinary Tract Infection

If you are looking for more apple & cranberry recipes, I have you covered. One of my most popular recipes is this one for Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls. Or try a killer salad with apples and cranberries, Autumn Apple Salad with Cinnamon Maple Dressing. This is the perfect Thanksgiving salad…hand down.

Crisp Layer

The crisp layer is like streusel. I’ve added less butter, almond flour, whole wheat, or gluten free and swapped out the brown sugar for coconut sugar. For this layer, you will need a pastry blender or a fork to incorporate the ingredients:

  • Oats
  • Butter
  • Coconut Sugar or Maple Syrup
  • Almond, Whole Wheat, or Gluten Free Flour
  • Pecans

This tasty topping takes this sweet potato crisp with no refined sugar over the top.

sweet potato crisp with oaty streusel layer on top
Oats, almond flour, maple syrup or coconut sugar, cinnamon and pecans cut together with butter for a delicious streusel topping

How to Make the Crisp

Boil & Mash the Tators

This part you can do in your sleep. Peel, and cut sweet potatoes into 2″ pieces. Place in pot, cover with water, and boil for 12-15 minutes or until a fork pokes through easily. Drain water.

In the same pot, add in cream cheese, coconut sugar (or maple syrup), cinnamon, and a little salt. Use whatever tool you typically use to mash the tators. I have a potato masher. Mom always uses a handheld mixer. Mash until the sweet potatoes are smooth.

Spread into a 7×11 or 10″ round baking dish.

Layer on the Fruit

This is the surprise filling. The part that brings in a little natural sweetness. When you first start to make this recipe, place the dried cranberries in a bowl of warm water. This helps hydrate them, so they don’t pull moisture from the sweet potatoes.

Once the water is boiling for the potatoes, ladle out some of the water into a bowl and drop in your dried cranberries.

Peel and dice your favorite variety of apple. Sprinkle on top of the mashed sweet potatoes. Drain the water from the cranberries and sprinkle on the cranberries with the apple.

Top with Streusel & Bake

To make the crisp topping, place oats, flour, coconut sugar (or maple syrup), a little bit of salt into a medium size bowl. Cut butter into small cubes, place in bowl with oats. Cut together with a pastry blender or fork, producing pea-size crumbs. Add in pecans and gently mix.

Sprinkle the topping on top of the apple and cranberries. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. You will know it’s done when the top is golden brown.

sweet potato crisp with no refined sugar
Oh the smells! This Sweet Potato Crisp not only tastes incredible, but smells amazing coming out of the oven too.

Can It Be Made Ahead?

Yes! You can make the sweet potato mash (unbaked) ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. Or freeze it! Just make sure you allow it to come to room temperature before topping and baking.

What to Serve the Crisp With?

This is the bee’s knees with traditional Thanksgiving grub. It’s also great with steak, chicken, pork loin… you name it. Have it for dessert if you want!


Canned Yams

Yes, you can sub canned yams for fresh sweet potatoes. The original recipe calls for this. Just make sure you get them packed in water, with no added sugar.


This recipe only calls for 1/3 cup of flour. I like to use whole wheat flour, but you can sub it for any type of flour. Gluten free flour, almond, oat, they all work. If subbing coconut flour, only use 1 tablespoon, as it absorbs more than other flours.


Don’t have coconut sugar? You can use sugar in the raw or turbinado. The original recipe calls for brown sugar. If you don’t use coconut sugar or raw sugar on the regular, just use brown sugar. It’s only a 1/4 cup.

I’ve tried this recipe with maple syrup in the topping as well as coconut sugar. Both work great!


Use any variety of apple. Not an apple fan? Try it with a pear.

Dried Cranberries

Not a cranberry fan? Try golden raisins instead.

thyme branch

Thanks for reading along. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you love it, please consider giving me a 5-star rating.

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A spoonful of creamy mashed sweet potatoes and apple chunks and dried cranberries. Topped with an oaty streusel topping.

Sweet Potato Crisp with No Refined Sugar

Sara Walkenbach
This is the dish that everyone will ask you to make at Thanksgiving, or any get together. It's layered with creamy mashed sweet potato, apples, dried cranberries, and a heavenly streusel oat topping.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 278 kcal


  • 1 Pastry Blender optional
  • 1 Potato Masher or Hand-held Mixer


Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 2.5 lbs. Sweet Potatoes 3-5 depending on size
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

Middle Layer

  • 1 Apple Granny Smith, or your favorite variety
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries soaked in warm water

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup Oats quick or old fashion
  • 1/3 cup Flour whole wheat, gluten free, or your go to, see note
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup or Coconut Sugar or Raw Turbinado Sugar, see note
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup Butter cold
  • 1/3 cup Pecans chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Place dried cranberries in small bowl. Ladle out boiling water over dried cranberries until just covered. Set aside.
  • Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 2" chunks. Put in boiling water for 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain water. In same pot mash potatoes, cream cheese, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt together with potato masher or hand-held mixer. Mash until smooth in texture. Spray 10" round or 7×11 baking dish, spread mashed sweet potatoes into the dish.
  • Peel and dice apple, sprinkle on top of sweet potato mash. Drain cranberries (discard water), sprinkle on top of apples.
  • Make the streusel. In a medium size bowl, put oats, flour, coconut sugar (or maple syrup), cinnamon, salt. Stir together. Cut butter into small pieces and place in bowl. Using a pastry blender of fork, cut together until you have pea size crumbs. Add in pecans and stir. Crumble on top of apple layer and sweet potatoes.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!



Use any type of flour in this recipe. If using Coconut Flour, only use 1 Tablespoon instead of 1/3 cup.
If wanting to keep this recipe with no refined sugars, choose coconut sugar or sugar in the raw (turbinado). If you don’t have these types of sugars in your pantry, subbing brown sugar is fine.
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 398mgPotassium: 484mgFiber: 5gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 16306IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 1mg
Keyword healthier side dish, layered goodness, no refined sugar, streusel topping, sweet potato crisp, sweet potato dessert, Thanksgiving side
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. 5 stars
    For the love of Thanksgiving side dishes!!!! This one belongs on your table this year and a tradition every year after!!!!

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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