Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)

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Candied Sweet Potatoes are a classic holiday side featuring tender sweet potatoes baked in a buttery, spiced brown sugar sauce until it crystallizes and leaves a delicate, crispy, sweet candy coating on each sweet potato bite.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

For our family, Candied sweet potatoes are just one of those dishes that HAVE to adorn the holiday table each year. They are a classic holiday side dish with bites of sweet potatoes baked in a buttery spiced brown sugar sauce that crystallizes on the sweet potato as it bakes. This creates a heavenly, delicately crispy, sweet candy coating on each sweet potato bite.

Even though the cook time is long, it's very easy to prep, uses just a few pantry ingredients, and can even be prepped ahead of time.

Growing up, candied sweet potatoes were a delicacy on our holiday table. My grandma served them in a small crystal dish, and we each got one piece to savor and enjoy. It was even better than dessert! I hope your family enjoys these candied sweet potatoes as much as we do!

Is Sweet Potato Casserole the Same as Candied Sweet Potatoes?

No, they are actually quite different. Sweet potato casserole is a casserole with sweet potatoes mashed with sugar, butter, and eggs to make a nice, fluffy, souffle texture. It's then topped with a topping such as mini marshmallows or, my favorite, brown sugar and pecan.

Candied Sweet Potatoes are whole sweet potatoes, cut down into slices, wedges, or chunks, not mashed. Then it's baked or cooked on the stovetop until sugar crystallizes and literally candies these pieces of sweet potato.

Should Sweet Potatoes Be Boiled Before Baking in this Recipe?

No, that's not necessary. In this recipe, we'll bake the potatoes to get them nice and soft and tender. Boiling sweet potatoes actually lowers their glycemic index, making them less sweet, so I don't recommend it for a recipe like these candied potatoes because we want them to be sweet!

Why Are the Spices Optional?

I grew up with my grandma making it without them, and it was delicious. It was still nostalgic, indulgent, and amazing when made this way. Spices add a little extra cozy flavor, but nothing will be taken away if you don't use them.

Candied Sweet Potato Variations and Toppings

  • Maple Syrup: You can use maple syrup instead of brown sugar. It will give it a fantastic fall flavor. However, in my experience the sauce does stay a bit runnier when you use maple syrup instead.
  • Orange Zest: Add some to the sauce for a bright citrus pop or sprinkle some on top to add some pretty color.
  • Marshmallows: Marshmallows and sweet potatoes are a classic combination, and if you love this combo, go ahead and sprinkle some on top of your candied sweet potatoes to bake for the last 10 to 15 minutes. You can also give them a super quick broil if they didn't brown enough to your liking.
  • Bacon: Add some bits of savory goodness by mixing crispy crumbled bacon in at the same time as the sweet potatoes. This way the bacon will become candied too!
  • Flaky Sea Salt: Get that salted caramel look and taste by adding some pretty flaky sea salt on top just before serving.
  • Toppings: For this recipe, the toppings are just for looks in my opinion. It's so amazing already, it's hard to make it better. You can add some crunch and pretty texture with chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or almond slices or slivers. You can also sprinkle on some of your favorite granola as a pretty finishing touch that gives a little extra flavor and crunch too.

Can You Make Candied Sweet Potatoes Ahead of Time?

Yes! Prepare the sweet potatoes and the glaze (through step 9), and combine both in the casserole dish. Then cover and refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add an additional 10-15 minutes to the cooking time to account for the cold dish.

More Sweet Potato Recipes You'll Love

  • Southern Sweet Potato Casserole - a sweet, fluffy sweet potato casserole with a crispy pecan and brown sugar topping.
  • Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes - Moist spiced cupcakes with creamy caramel frosting. A festive non-pie dessert that's perfect for the holidays.
  • Hasselback Sweet Potatoes - simple roasted hasselback sweet potatoes that are easy to make but look so elegant.
  • Southern Sweet Potato Pie - classic sweet potato pie with a crumble topping in a homemade buttery crust.
  • Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd's Pie - a great recipe to use up holiday leftovers with turkey in a creamy gravy topped with mashed sweet potatoes.

Candied Sweet Potatoes Video

Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (4)

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes are a classic holiday side featuring tender sweet potatoes baked in a buttery, spiced brown sugar sauce until it crystallizes and leaves a delicate, crispy, sweet candy coating on each sweet potato bite.

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Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Candied Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 1 hour hour 5 minutes minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 277kcal

Author: Michelle


  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Optional Spices

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.

  • Bake sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet for about 35 minutes, until almost cooked through and tender but not too soft.

  • Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Change oven temperature to 375°F.

  • Peel skins off potatoes and cut into ½-inch slices.

  • Arrange slices in a 3 quart casserole dish

  • To a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add butter, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.

  • Heat to boiling. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring often.

  • Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and/or cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, if using.

  • Pour glaze over sweet potatoes.

  • Bake for about 1 hour at 375°F, uncovered, gently stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to coat the sweet potatoes. You'll be able to tell they're done when they turn a very rich orange-ish brown. Your sugar mixture will stay runny on the bottom.

  • Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


  • Make Ahead: Prepare the sweet potatoes and the glaze (through step 9), and combine both in the casserole dish. Then cover and refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add an additional 10-15 minutes to the cooking time to account for the cold dish.
  • Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop or in individual portion in the microwave.


Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 24402IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?I love seeing your creations. Snap a quick photo and mention @TheGraciousWife or tag #thegraciouswife on Instagram! Leave a STAR rating below!

UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in November 2014. It has been updated with new pictures, tips, and video, and republished in November 2023.

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Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)


Why are my candied sweet potatoes watery? ›

Drain the syrup: This is a key move so your candied yams don't turn out runny due to too much liquid in the baking dish.

What is the difference between candied yams and candied sweet potatoes? ›

Yams and sweet potatoes differ in flavor and appearance, and they are not related. Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family, while yams belong to the lily family. Yams aren't as sweet as sweet potatoes, and they are starchier and drier. Their texture and flavor are more similar to potatoes or yuca.

Why are my candied yams hard? ›

If you are starting out with fresh, uncooked yams/sweet potatoes, your syrup may be hardening because you are leaving the dish in the oven too long a time, in order for the yams to get done.

What are the tips and tricks of sweet potatoes? ›

Selection and storage tips: Choose firm, small- to medium-sized potatoes with smooth skin. Avoid cracks, soft spots and blemishes. Choose sweet potatoes with a bright, uniform color. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place for use within two to three weeks or at room temperature for up to a week.

How do you fix runny sweet potatoes? ›

Boiling drains out flavor and also makes the sweet potatoes wet. If you bake the sweet potatoes and don't add liquid, you will not have watery sweet potato casserole. Add more potato and no liquid also you could use potato flakes to thicken them to the texture you like.

How do you keep sweet potato mash from getting watery? ›

Besides flour added to thicken mash potatoes that you have gotten too thin, you can add some instant potatoes. This is what I would do. I also add instant potatoes to thicken soup when it is too 'runny' for my taste. Not a lot, a little will do it very nicely.

Are sweet potatoes good for diabetics? ›

Sweet potatoes are known to be high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, which results in a less immediate impact on blood glucose levels. This can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in check. Sweet potatoes can be: Baked or microwaved.

Which is healthier sweet potato or yam? ›

Although both veggies are very close in fiber, protein, vitamin C, and magnesium, sweet potatoes are the healthier option because they are lower in overall calories, lower in carbohydrates, and higher in beta carotene (vitamin A).

Are sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes? ›

Though they can both be part of a healthy diet, sweet potatoes are generally healthier than regular potatoes, partly because of their incredibly high vitamin A content. Sweet potatoes are also lower on the glycemic index, meaning that they are less likely than regular potatoes to make your blood sugar spike.

What enhances flavor of sweet potato? ›

14 Ways To Add More Flavor To Sweet Potatoes
  • Slather with cinnamon butter. Siims/Getty Images. ...
  • Drizzle with tahini. ...
  • Roast with savory chili sauce. ...
  • Sprinkle on some good ol' salt and pepper. ...
  • Pan fry with ginger and orange. ...
  • Rub with garlic and rosemary. ...
  • Dip in honey mustard. ...
  • Sweeten with brown sugar and pecans.
Feb 17, 2023

Why do you soak yams in water? ›

Yams contain a lot of starch and by soaking them for a few hours some of the starch is released and washes away into the water. Just make sure to rinse them well and pat them dry before baking.

Why are my sweet potatoes still hard after baking? ›

The reason they are hard in the middle is cook them longer or on a higher temperature. Soaking will not help soften your sweet potato unless you are putting the potato and water in a pot on the stove and cooking it. If your sweet potato is still hard it's not cooked enough.

What is the healthiest way to eat sweet potatoes? ›

Boiling sweet potatoes retains more beta-carotene and makes the nutrient more absorbable than other cooking methods such as baking or frying. Up to 92% of the nutrient can be retained by limiting the cook time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.

Why do you soak sweet potatoes before baking? ›

The cold water bath helps rinse the starch off the sweet potatoes so they're a bit more crispy. That said, if you do not have the time, you can still get crispy baked sweet potato fries by using high heat and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Are candied yams supposed to be liquidy? ›

WHY ARE MY CANDIED YAMS RUNNY? The combination of brown sugar and butter should create a syrup when the yams are baking in the oven. If your syrup is consistently runny, there are a few tips you can try to thicken it up before it gets to the baking dish.

Why are my sweet potatoes thin? ›

My sweet potatoes are long and thin. Is there something wrong with my soil? Too much nitrogen in the soil causes long, thin roots. When planting next season, don't improve soil in your sweet potato patch with anything that might add nitrogen (such as compost), and don't fertilize.


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