These perfect candied sweet potatoes are soft, buttery, extra saucy, caramelized, and sweet. I especially love this Thanksgiving side dish because you can prepare the elements of this recipe ahead of time AND purchase the ingredients in advance, too.
- 5–6 medium sweet potatoes (3–4 lbs)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional: 2 teaspoons orange zest
- optional for garnish: chopped fresh or dried rosemary, sea salt
- Peel then slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place in a greased 9×13 inch or other 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle salt on top and toss to coat. I just use nonstick spray to grease.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
- Make the sauce: Cut stick of butter in half. (Helps it melt easier.) Combine all the butter, water, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the butter has melted. Stop stirring and bring to a gentle boil. Boil for 2 minutes without stirring. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (And orange zest, if using.)
- Pour sauce over potatoes and toss to coat.
- Bake for 1 hour, stopping and stirring the sweet potatoes every 20 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, I cover the dish with aluminum foil so the potatoes bake evenly.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt (if using), then cool uncovered for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce is thin right out of the oven but thickens as it cools.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Sauce will be thick after refrigeration, but thins out as you warm the leftovers up. Simply warm in the microwave.
- Make ahead tip: You can peel & slice the sweet potatoes 1 day ahead of time. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. You can prepare the sauce on the stove (step 3) 1-2 days ahead of time. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave until thin and liquid-y, then continue with step 4. Dish can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then cover with aluminum foil and warm in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 25 minutes or until warm throughout.
Keywords: sweet potato, thanksgiving, side dish