Ultra tender, extra sweet, and served up Southern style, these Candied Sweet Potatoes are a welcome addition to any holiday table. Baked with a spiced maple syrup glaze and caramelized to perfection, you KNOW they’re going to be delectable!
Why You’ll Love This Old-Fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- Sweet But Not Cloying. I adore sweet potatoes (evidenced by my Sweet Potato Casserole and Sweet Potato Soufflé), but I’m not a fan of the recipes that overwhelm sweet potatoes’ natural flavor with heaps of brown sugar and marshmallows. Like my Glazed Sweet Potatoes, this recipe for candied sweet potatoes is just sweet enough, without overdoing it.
- Melt in Your Mouth Tender. These potatoes bake for an hour, so they’re tender as can be, short of making Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
- All the Cozy Flavor. They’re buttery, sweetened with maple syrup, and the blend of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg is the culinary equivalent of cozying up with a warm blanket. (If you love this flavor combination, be sure to add Sweet Potato Pie to your menu too!)
- Make-Ahead Option. When you’re cooking for a holiday get-together, having a mix of make-ahead dishes like Cranberry Orange Sauce and things that need to be made the day of, like Turkey Gravy, is key to dinner success. You can assemble and par-bake these candied sweet potatoes to free up some time!
How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes. I much prefer red or orange sweet potatoes to white or purple, which are starchier and less sweet. Go with the classic!
- Unsalted Butter. If you only have salted butter on hand (or accidentally buy it at the grocery store—we’ve all done that!), just dial back on the added kosher salt.
- Maple Syrup. Pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup.
- Kosher Salt. Essential for balancing the flavors in these candied sweet potatoes.
- Spices. Ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; use freshly grated nutmeg if at all possible for the best flavor.
- Fresh Rosemary or Thyme. These add a pop of color and nice, fresh contrast to everything else we’ve got going on in this recipe.
Candied Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes
In the South, sweet potatoes are often referred to as yams, but they are indeed sweet potatoes. Yams are starchy, earthy, and much less sweet; they have a bark-like skin and the flesh is white or purple. They’re also hard to find in the US!
- Layer. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer in a baking dish.
- Make the Sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the maple syrup and spices. Simmer a few minutes.
- Pour the Sauce Over the Potatoes. Could this be any easier?!
- Bake. Cover the dish with foil and bake the candied sweet potatoes at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the foil, stir again, and cook until the candied sweet potatoes are tender.
- Finish. Sprinkle with herbs. Cool for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce, then serve. ENJOY!
- Candied Sweet Potatoes With Pecans. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with chopped salted roasted pecans prior to baking.
- Candied Sweet Potatoes With Orange. Add orange zest to the sauce mixture for some citrus flavor, or add some sliced oranges in with the potatoes.
- Candied Sweet Potatoes With Marshmallows. If marshmallows are your tradition, you can add some mini marshmallows to the top of the candied sweet potatoes after they’re done cooking and toast them under the broiler.
- To Store. Refrigerate candied sweet potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F, or microwave single servings.
- To Freeze. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture of the sweet potatoes will become mushy.
Meal Prep Tip
If you’d like to get a head start on this recipe, you can par-bake the sweet potatoes. Cook them for 40 minutes covered, let them cool, then refrigerate for up to 4 days. Before serving, remove the dish from the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 375 degrees F. Cook the dish uncovered for 30 minutes to finish.
What to Serve with Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Holiday Mains. Sure there’s Thanksgiving Turkey and Spatchcock Turkey, but don’t sleep on Crockpot Ham either!
- Regular Potatoes. Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are the yin and yang of the holiday table. Balance that sweetness with savory Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, or Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.
- Veggie Sides. Serve these Southern candied sweet potatoes alongside Crockpot Green Bean Casserole, Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, or Corn Casserole.
- Stuffing. From Chestnut Stuffing to Cornbread Stuffing and Sausage Stuffing, I have lots of options!
- Other Holiday Favorites. Don’t forget the Cranberry Orange Relish, Homemade Dinner Rolls, and Pumpkin Pecan Pie!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. This one has a cover that doubles as a platter, which comes in handy for holiday get-togethers!
- Chef’s Knife. You need a good one for cutting sweet potatoes.
- Measuring Spoons. These are stackable and magnetic, so you’ll never lose them in the drawer!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cut the Potatoes Evenly. If some slices are thin and others are thick, you’ll end up with some sweet potatoes that are falling apart and others that are still hard when your candied sweet potatoes are finished baking.
- Peel the Sweet Potatoes. I always like leaving the skin on regular potatoes whenever I can, and even on Grilled Sweet Potato Fries, but sweet potato skin can be tough, which makes it unpleasant in this candied sweet potato recipe.
- Don’t Skip the Resting Time. Not only does this let the potatoes cool a bit, but more importantly, it lets the sauce thicken so it’s delightfully syrupy.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375°F.
- Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish (no greasing needed).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes to combine the flavors; it will only reduce a little bit.
- Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes in the baking dish and stir to coat.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake the candied sweet potatoes for 40 minutes, stirring at the 20-minute mark. Uncover, stir once more, then continue baking for 20 minutes more, until the potatoes are glazed and fork-tender.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with herbs. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken up as it cools.
- For extra pizzaz, sprinkle the sweet potatoes with chopped salted roasted pecans prior to baking.
- DO-AHEAD: Par-bake the dish: Cook covered for 40 minutes. Let cool, then chill. Before serving, remove the dish from the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 375°F. Cook the dish uncovered for 30 minutes to finish. I do not recommend chopping sweet potatoes ahead as they tend to turn brown and spotty.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate candied sweet potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F, or microwave single servings.
- TO FREEZE: I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the texture of the sweet potatoes will become mushy.
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