When I was growing up, my mom put out canned yams, so I always looked forward to the holidays when my aunt Nisha made the real-deal candied ones. Now that I’m making my own, I do them in the oven rather than on the stove, because when they bake up in that syrup, they come out even more tender and sweet.–Rosie Mayes
What You’ll Need to Make This
- Sweet potatoes or yams–You can use traditional sweet potatoes, or their starchier cousin, yams, for this dish. The cooking time will be slightly longer if you make the recipe with yams.
- Butter–If you have only unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt along with the rest of your spices when you melt the butter.
- Sugar–This candied sweet potato recipe calls for granulated and brown sugar to create a sweet caramel syrup that bathes the potatoes. I recommend using both–the flavor’s wonderful–but if you’d like the syrup to be less sweet and more buttery, feel free to reduce the amount of sugar.
How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Arrange the sweet potatoes in 2 or 3 layers in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, letting the slices overlap slightly.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add the sugars and spices and mix well to combine.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the spiced butter over the sweet potatoes. Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
- Baste the sweet potatoes with the sauce in the baking dish, then return them to the oven and bake until tender.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are different root vegetables. Yams are starchy, with a brown exterior and light-colored interior. They’re commonly grown in Latin America and Africa.
Sweet potatoes, which are what you’ll usually find at the supermarket, have a reddish-colored skin and interior and are creamier than yams.
Yes. You can slice the sweet potatoes and prepare the spiced butter up to 1 day before baking. Store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When you’re ready to bake, warm the spiced butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat.
Alternatively, you can cook the baked candied sweet potatoes, cool completely, and store them in the fridge, covered, for up to 1 day before serving. Warm in a 300°F oven until heated through.
No. I don’t recommend parboiling the sweet potatoes. The slices will soften perfectly as they bake.
- Yams will take slightly longer to cook than sweet potatoes, so I recommend using only one or the other.
- Store leftover potatoes in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a covered dish in a 300°F oven until warmed through.
More Superb Sweet Potato Recipes
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If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 5 medium (about 3 pounds) sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
- 1 stick (4 oz) salted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar, or less to taste
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish, arrange the sweet potatoes in 2 or 3 layers, overlapping them slightly.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Remove from the heat and give the spiced butter a good stir. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and turn to coat them thoroughly. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and baste them with the candied mixture in the dish. Cover again and bake until tender, 20 to 40 minutes more.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Baste them again with the spiced syrup in the pan before serving.
- Using yams for this recipe–Yams will take slightly longer to cook than sweet potatoes, so I recommend using only one or the other.
- Storage and reheating–Store leftover potatoes in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a covered dish in a 300°F oven until warmed through.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These old-fashioned candied sweet potatoes remind me of Southern candied yams, which are very sweet but so flavourful. This recipe delivered what was promised. Hands-off oven-baked sweet candied potatoes.
I made half the recipe to accommodate only 2 of us, so I used two large sweet potatoes and had lots left over. I was peeling my potatoes and was surprised to find one of them was a white one. I haven’t seen a white sweet potato in quite a few years and thought it would make a nice change.
The white potatoes are harder, less sweet, and starchier than their orange counterparts. The white took an additional 15 minutes to cook, but luckily I don’t mind potatoes that are really soft, so the orange turned out just fine for me. I removed the foil for the last 15 minutes to try and thicken the sauce.
These would be perfect served with baked country ham or a salty component to dinner, and the two colours were quite attractive together. Hopefully, I can find white sweet potatoes next time I make these.
Talk about a holiday comfort food that comes together in a snap and is…sort of healthy! This dish is fabulous and a front-runner for my go-to holiday sweet potato recipe. It’s very sweet—truly candied—so while it would be stellar on your Thanksgiving plate, it could also be a stand-alone dessert.
This is delicious as-is, although I’d consider adding some grated ginger to the candied mixture next time and perhaps serving it with some lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.
Easy and delicious. These traditional candied sweet potatoes taste like childhood and are so easy to prepare. If you like things a little less sweet, you can cut down on the sugar.
The only thing I’d change is to cut back on the granulated sugar, and I’d use 8 to 10 sweet potatoes, as my mine were swimming in the deliciously-sweet candied sauce. I personally don’t like food that sweet, but these were still delicious. I can’t see any child, or adult for that matter, turning them down.