Thanksgiving Pumpkin Casserole (Keto Recipe) (2024)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to post this recipe early, before Thanksgiving, in case any of you want to try it out. It is adapted from a recipe my sister-in-law gave me a few years ago for sweet potatoes.

This is a holiday casserole, so it's heavier in carbs than you'd find in a normal keto-friendly side dish, but if sweet potatoes are what makes Thanksgiving special for you, this is the recipe you'll want to make.

Yams and sweet potatoes are nutritious foods, but they come with more carbs than pumpkin does.

If you aren't on pre-maintenance or maintenance yet, you probably won't have room for sweet potatoes in your diet. However, this recipe for a sugar-free, Keto-friendly Pumpkin Casserole can easily stand in for the real thing.

I don't like calling things fake or faux, especially when low carbing, because it tends to give the brain and taste buds the wrong idea.

I can still remember getting very excited about what low carbers were calling faux potato salad back in 2000. It was made with cauliflower, instead of potatoes, and people were raving about how it tasted exactly like potato salad.

So, I gave it a try.

It only took one bite before the brain started throwing a hissy fit. It did NOT taste like potato salad. It tasted like cauliflower mixed with mayo, so I'm not going to do that to you here.

I'm going to call this what it is: a tasty, whipped pumpkin casserole with a crunchy, buttery topping.

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Can You Really Have Pumpkin on a Low-Carb Diet?

Yep. Pumpkin is on the Atkins 2002 Induction list of acceptable vegetables, so it's a great choice for any phase of the diet.

While most people think of pumpkin only in terms of pie or sweet breads for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's actually a nice winter squash that you can fit into your diet year round in a wide variety of ways.

This recipe is a bit high in carbs, but pumpkin is not.

At 6 total carbs and 1 gram of fiber per 1/2 cup serving, you can easily fit pumpkin into almost any ketogenic plan. The only exception would be a zero-carb diet.

To use canned pumpkin instead of mashed sweet potatoes, just thin it down with a bit of cream. Fresh pumpkin can be cubed with a pumpkin-carving knife and tossed into soups, stews, and casseroles.

Baked and chilled, it can also be used in salads.

Just think of it as a winter squash and treat it anyway you would normally cook squash.

What About Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

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Are sweet potatoes and yams keto-friendly?
They actually have 3 times more carbs than pumpkin!

Sweet potatoes and yams have three times as many carbs as pumpkin does, so you'll want to be careful with them if you are doing Atkins 40 or on pre-maintenance or the maintenance plan.

A single 1/2-cup serving of yams will cost you about 16 net carbs. That's more than russet potatoes even!

However, if you are on a 40-carb plan, or higher, you can certainly use yams or real sweet potatoes to make this recipe because that's what the recipe originally called for: yams and brown sugar.

I've never tried mixing the pumpkin with a small sweet potato. That is what some of the low-carb cooks over at Low Carb Friends used to do. The added sweet potato gives the pumpkin filling a potato-like taste, I'm told.

But I honestly don't know if that's true.

After the experience with cauliflower salad, I've always just used all sweet potatoes or all pumpkin in this recipe.

However, my husband really likes this made with the pumpkin.

Recipe Tips

If you use canned pumpkin, it won't be as creamy as sweet potatoes or yams would be, but it makes a very acceptable alternative to potatoes.

I have never tried it with homemade mashed pumpkin, but I think that it might work better that way, since the extra water in the pumpkin would make it creamier.

Canned pumpkin is thick and rich because manufacturers use the pumpkin peel to control the texture.

That makes a better product for pies, cakes, and breads. If you find the canned pumpkin too thick, simply thin it with a little heavy cream before tossing in the egg and other ingredients.

When I first created the recipe, I used soy flour in the topping.

Back then, I was personally grinding my own black dried soybeans, (Amazonlink), which are now available at Amazon, so the flavor was very mild and didn't taste like the yellow flour at all.

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Plus, the vanilla and cinnamon hide the taste of the soya bean flour(Amazon link) very well, anyway.

Today, I use almond flour instead.

You could also use any of these low-carb flour alternative suggestions for the topping, as well. The link leads to a post we did that included an extensive list of flour substitutes that are all low carb. Many are also gluten free and diabetic friendly.

For sweetening the whipped pumpkin, any sweetener will work nicely. A liquid, no-carb sweeter would be a good option and help to keep your carbs lower since they are not needed for bulking.

However, for the topping, you really need a bulk sweetener to make it easier to apply the crumbs, but you don't have to use Splenda if you don't want to.

Any bulk sweetener or sugar alcohol will work well in this recipe.

If you don't have the sugar-free caramel Davinci syrup, you can use any sugar-free maple syrup.

Unsweetened coconut can be found at Kroger and in health-conscious grocery stores or health food stores. It's also available online at Amazon, Netrition, and VitaCost.

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Just make sure that the shredded coconut is unsweetened. (Amazon Link) The regular coconut is high in refined sugar.

The molasses is optional but helps to give the topping a brown-sugar flavor. Alternatively, you could use a bulk brown-sugar substitute, which would cut the carbs by 1 net carb per serving.

Low-Carb Pumpkin Casserole

Serves 4 to 6


  • 16 ounces canned pumpkin (2 cups whipped)
  • Liquid sugar substitute equal to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free caramel Davinci syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup almond flouror soy flour (or soya flour)
  • 1/2 cup bulk Splenda or other bulk sweetener
  • 1/4 teaspoon molasses (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the pumpkin, liquid sweetener, sugar-free syrup, egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Stir well to evenly distribute the egg. Pile the mixture into a small greased casserole dish.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1/4 cup melted butter, molasses (if using), cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond flour, unsweetened coconut, and bulk Splenda. Stir very well, until mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle on top of the pumpkin, and bake for 45 minutes.

For 4 servings, carbs come to 12 net carbs each.
For 6 servings, carbs come to 8 net carbs each.

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Casserole (Keto Recipe) (2024)


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