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These Sweet Potato Bars pack a buttery crust, a gooey sweet potato filling, and a crumbly streusel-like topping into one heavenly treat. They’re the best make-ahead dessert for the holidays or a year-round healthy-ish sweet treat. Easy to make paleo and vegan!
If you look forward to homemade sweet potato casserole and sweet potato pie during the holiday season, then these Sweet Potato Bars will blow you away! They capture the essence of both of these traditional dishes into one tasty holiday snack or dessert.
These sweet potato dessert bars are made with a moist, grain free, and gluten free crust that doubles as a sweet and comforting streusel topping. The middle is made with real sweet potato, maple syrup, and cinnamon. As a result, the filling is super soft and sweet, just like sweet potato pie!
While they’re already gluten and egg free, the bars can easily be made dairy free, vegan, and paleo as well. They’re made with mostly healthy ingredients, making these bars a deceptively nutritious alternative to classic Thanksgiving or Christmas sweets.
- They’re a perfect make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving and the holidays. They taste even better chilled overnight!
- The sweet potato packs extra nutrients into each bite while still tasting just as scrumptious as classic fall and holiday desserts.
- Naturally gluten free, dairy free, and egg free, and easy to make vegan and paleo.
Flour – The crust and topping are made with almond and coconut flour. You can use all purpose flour or a 1:1 gluten-free flour instead, but it won’t be as rich and nutty.
Dark brown sugar – To sweeten the crust and topping. To make paleo bars, use coconut sugar (just know it’s not as sweet).
Flax eggs – Mixing ground flaxseed and water to make vegan-friendly flax eggs. They’re mixed in with the crust to prevent it from falling apart.
Sweet potato – You’ll need 2 large sweet potatoes or 3 smaller ones for the filling. You can cook them in the microwave, on the stove, in the oven, or in the air fryer before mashing and adding them to the filling.
Maple syrup and cane sugar - The maple syrup helps loosen up the mashed sweet potato and adds flavor, while cane sugar helps the entire dessert taste sweet and balanced. To make paleo bars, swap the cane sugar for stevia or coconut sugar.
Pecans – For an extra layer of crunch and sweetness. You can also use chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, or pistachios.
Step 1: Cook and mash the sweet potatoes. If you haven’t already, peel and cook the sweet potatoes until they’re easy to pierce with a fork. I like to microwave them because it’s the fastest. Once cooked, mash the sweet potato with a fork, potato masher, or in a food processor.
Step 2: Make the crust and topping. Stir almond flour, coconut flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and flax eggs, and stir to combine.
Step 3: Make the filling. Combine the mashed sweet potato, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.
Step 5: Assemble the bars. Spoon some of the crust mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and use your hands to press it into an even layer. Next, spread the filling over the top. Finally, top with the remaining crust mixture and pecans.
Step 6: Bake. Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool completely, then slice into squares and enjoy.
Tips and FAQs
- Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Feel free to replace it with cooked and mashed pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata squash, acorn squash, etc.
- You may find it helpful to add a splash of milk to the bowl when mashing the sweet potato.
- To make dairy free sweet potato bars, substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for the melted butter.
Can I use canned sweet potato instead of fresh sweet potato?
I have only tested this recipe with fresh sweet potato, but a can of pureed sweet potato should still work. The filling will most likely be thinner, but you can add a few minutes to the baking time to help them set properly.
Are these bars paleo?
The ingredients are almost entirely grain and dairy free, so making these into paleo sweet potato bars is simple. Swap the refined sugars (brown sugar and cane sugar) for coconut sugar or stevia and melted butter for coconut oil, and you’re good to go.
What toppings are good on sweet potato bars?
The simple crumble on the bars is truly divine just the way it is, but feel free to finish them with vanilla glaze, maple tahini syrup, white chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce. Afterward, add some whipped cream, dairy free or coconut whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
What else can I make with mashed sweet potato?
Refrigerator: Keep the potato bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They taste great chilled or at room temperature.
Freezer: To keep these sweet potato bars longer, freeze them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge before serving.
More healthy dessert bars
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Sweet Potato Bars
for the crust & crumb topping:
- If you haven't already, cook the sweet potatoes. I like to microwave them because it's fastest.
- Preheat oven to 350° and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang. Spray the sides with nonstick spray. Also, make the flax eggs: stir the ground flaxseed and water together in a small bowl, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Start by making the crust/topping: stir almond flour, coconut flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Then, pour in the butter and flax eggs and stir to combine. The mixture should be somewhat crumbly, but stick together when you pinch it.
- Spoon about ¾ of the mixture into the prepared pan, using your hands to press it down.
- Next, make the filling: spoon the cooked sweet potato into a medium sized bowl, then use a potato masher to mash it, removing as many lumps as possible. Then, spoon it into a measuring cup to make sure it measures 1 ¼ cups.
- Place the mashed sweet potatoes back into the bowl, then add the maple syrup, cane sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine.
- Spoon the filling over the crust, using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Then use your hands to sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture overtop, along with the pecans if using.
- Place the bars in the oven and bake them for 25 minutes. Remove them and place the pan on a cooling rack. Allow the bars to cool in the pan, then pull on the parchment paper to remove them. Slice and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in November 2018. It was updated with new text and photos in October 2022.