When I was growing up, my mom would just put out canned yams, so I would always look forward to the holidays when my aunt Nisha would make 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

Sliced candied sweet potatoes in an oval baking dish.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

5 / 4 votes
These candied sweet potatoes are basted in a sweetly spiced butter mixture and roasted until tender. A Southern classic.
David Leite
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories431 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 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.
I Heart Soul Food Cookbook

Adapted From

I Heart Soul Food

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 431 kcalCarbohydrates: 80 gProtein: 3 gFat: 12 gSaturated Fat: 7 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.5 gCholesterol: 30 mgSodium: 109 mgPotassium: 1406 mgFiber: 7 gSugar: 33 gVitamin A: 589 IUVitamin C: 29 mgCalcium: 42 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Rosie Mayes. Photo © 2020 Michael and Danielle Kartes. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These candied sweet potatoes reminds me of the candied yams in the South 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 2 large sweet potatoes and had lots leftover. 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 a 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.

Sliced yellow and white candied sweet potatoes in an oval baking dish.

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.

Delicious as-is, though I’d consider adding some grated ginger to the candied mixture next time, and perhaps serving with some very lightly sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche.

Easy and delicious. These are traditional candied sweet potatoes that taste like childhood and are so easy to prepare. If you like things a little less sweet, you can absolutely cut down on the sugar.

The only thing I would do differently is cut back on the granulated sugar and I would use 8 to 10 sweet potatoes as my potatoes were swimming in the deliciously sweet candied sauce. I personally do not like it that sweet but they were still delicious. I can’t see any child, or adult for that matter, turning these down.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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