You'll love this Southern, old fashioned Candied Sweet Potato recipe! Make it on the stovetop, bake in the oven or put it in the slow cooker - however you make it, it only requires one pot! Easy clean up and delicious!
Simple ingredients of sweet potatoes nestled in a buttery and sugary glaze with warm spices! Perfect as a Thanksgiving side dish or any time of the year!
If you can't get anybody in your house to eat sweet potatoes, I promise you they'll eat these! They're like candy! This is my Grandmother's recipe - it's not anything fancy, but it sure is easy and delicious!
She'd start her candied sweet potatoes on the stovetop then transfer the pan to the oven so she could have more stove space. She'd let them cook low and slow in the oven and they came out perfect every time!
Why this recipe works
Versatile - make it on the stovetop or bake in the oven. This is ideal, especially around Thanksgiving when your kitchen counter, refrigerator, stovetop and oven are all being used to the max!
All-natural - better than Bruce's™ Canned Sweet potatoes and contains no artificial colorants, preservatives or fillers
Easy clean up - make the glaze for the sweet potatoes (or yams) then add the sliced potatoes to the pot. One pot clean-up! Doesn't get much easier than that!
Here's what you'll need
Sweet potatoes or yams, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and some warm spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and/or apple pie spice. (Apple pie spice contains cinnamon and nutmeg so...)
Difference between sweet potatoes and yams
Even though many Americans use these terms interchangeably, they are not the same. Chances are, unless you're from the Caribbean or been to West Africa, you've never seen a true yam. 95% of the yams are grown in West Africa.
Yam's have a dark, bark-like exterior and a dry, starchy flesh; they're much lower in beta carotene than sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes (over 50% are grown in North Carolina!) range in color from a rose color to a pale copper or tan, a dark red skin or even a purple skin.
The outer skin is smoother than that of a yam and, the sweet potato is sweeter and higher in beta carotene than a yam.
How to make it
Peel and cube sweet potatoes; melt butter in a Dutch oven; add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and Apple Pie Spice. Add water and cook until sugars dissolve
Add potatoes and cook covered until almost fork tender; remove lid, reduce heat to low and allow brown sugar glaze to thicken and potatoes to get fork tender
Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy!
Yield and cooking for a large group
Sweet potatoes are sold by the pound. Unfortunately, many recipes say "6 medium sweet potatoes" and we really have no idea what "medium" really means so, I measured everything out for you in proportion to the weight of the sweet potatoes.
4 pounds of sweet potatoes cooks down to make about two full cups of diced potatoes. If you use a large serving spoon, you'll probably get about six - eight ½ cup servings out of this recipe.
The sauce makes 2 cups, which is plenty for up to 8 pounds of potatoes.
If you're cooking for a crowd, use this formula: 4 pounds cooked sweet potatoes = 6 servings
Cooking for 30? Multiply everything by 5. So you'll need 20 pounds of sweet potatoes and you'll get 30 half-cup servings. Double the brown sugar glaze for every 8 pounds of potatoes.
Tips for making candied sweet potatoes
Use a sharp potato peeler to peel the skin and a sharp knife to slice the potatoes - they're very tough!
You can make round slices or cube the sweet potato - it's up to you - just try to keep all the pieces of a uniform size so they'll cook evenly
Don't overcook your potatoes - they'll turn to mush! Just cook until fork tender
Cook the glaze on medium heat for a few minutes to make sure all the sugar is dissolved
After you add water, if some of the sugar sticks to your pan, use a wooden spoon to scrape it up
If you're short on time, start the glaze before you begin cutting the potatoes. This will give it time to thicken a little. Also, parboil the sweet potatoes for about 5-8 minutes then transfer them to the pan with the sugary glaze.
Stir gently; use a spatula to stir the candied sweet potatoes because once they're done, they fall apart easily
If you're like me and have limited oven or stovetop space, you can easily make these ahead of time. Here's what you do - basically, make the sweet potatoes and sugary glaze and let it cook until it's not quite done.
Gently remove the sweet potatoes (I use a spider, but you can use a big slotted spoon, too) and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Let the glaze thicken on the stove a little, then pour it into a jar and refrigerate.
When you're ready to reheat to serve, you can either put the potatoes and glaze on the stovetop and cook on medium low until potatoes are tender - or -
Pour it all into a lightly oiled baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350ºF until warm throughout.
Storage and reheating
Store candied sweet potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended because the texture turns to mush.
Sweet Potato Casserole - Mash the potatoes and add ¼ cup heavy cream or milk; place in baking dish and top with a mixture of melted butter, flour, brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake uncovered at 350ºF until top is crisp.
Oven baked - place sweet potatoes in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 baking dish; make the candied glaze on the stovetop; pour the glaze over the potatoes; cover with foil and bake at 350ºF until potatoes are tender.
Marshmallows - place sweet potatoes and glaze in lightly oiled baking dish; place marshmallows on top; place under broiler for a few minutes till marshmallows are light brown.
Slow Cooker - place sweet potatoes and glaze in slowcooker. Cook on low for 1 hour or until fork tender.
This old fashioned Candied Sweet Potato recipe has been in our family for years. I hope you'll enjoy it with your Thanksgiving or Easter meal!
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If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes , peeled and cubed
- 1 stick butter , salted
- 1 cup sugar , granulated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice , (or ⅓ teaspoon each of: cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
- 1 cup light brown sugar , packed
- ½ cup water
- Peel and dice sweet potatoes4 pounds sweet potatoes
- In a large dutch oven on medium heat, melt butter; add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and apple pie spice; combine well1 stick butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice
- Add water; whisk or stir until there are no lumps; add diced potatoes½ cup water
- Coat potatoes well in glaze; cover and cook 15-20 minutes until potatoes are ALMOST fork tender
- Remove lid and continue to cook on medium low heat until glaze thickens and potatoes are fork tender
- Gently remove potatoes and place in serving bowl; drizzle glaze over potatoes; garnish lightly with chopped pecans and/or kosher salt (both optional) and serve