These decadent Candied Sweet Potatoes are an easy side dish that is perfect for the holidays. Everyone will love this classic Thanksgiving side dish that is full of flavor from the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange zest and crunchy toasted pecans!
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Candied Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a staple at most Thanksgiving or even Christmas dinner tables. They add an elegance to the meal and have a uniquely distinct flavor that everyone loves. These candied sweet potatoes are a simple dish to make with common ingredients. You probably have most of what you need in your pantry already!
Once you have all your ingredients, you will need about 15 minutes of prep time to get the sweet potatoes ready and sliced into rounds. Then they will bake for an hour in the oven until they are tender and infused with flavor from the maple syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. These candied sweet potatoes are baked in a large casserole dish making them perfect for a crowd!
There are a few different ways to prepare sweet potatoes, but our family loves this candied version. The brown sugar caramelizes and makes the potatoes taste almost candy like when they are done baking and the toasted pecans on top add a nice crunch to these tender sweet potatoes.
If you love sweet potatoes, make sure and don’t miss our Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes that are loaded with marshmallows!
Candied Sweet Potato Ingredients
The great thing about these sweet potatoes is that you only need a handful of common ingredients to make this sought after side dish.
- Sweet Potatoes – Try to grab sweet potatoes that are the same size. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
- Orange Juice – You can use fresh orange juice or store bought, both work great.
- Maple Syrup – Honey can also be used in place of maple syrup. Both add a great depth of flavor.
- Orange Zest – Fresh orange zest will add a ton of bright and fresh flavor to your candied sweet potatoes.
- Brown Sugar – You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Brown sugar is what helps candy the sweet potatoes when they cook.
- Seasonings: Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper
- Pecans – Walnuts can be substituted for pecans in this recipe. Both work great!
- Butter – Use unsalted butter or omit the salt if you use salted butter.
How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes
These sweet potatoes come together quick and then bake to perfection in the oven. You can even make them ahead of time for a super easy holiday side dish! Follow the instructions below to make the best candied sweet potatoes:
Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare your baking dish. You will want to use either butter, oil or baking spray to grease your baking dish to ensure your sweet potatoes don’t stick.
Slice the sweet potatoes: Wash and dry your sweet potatoes. After they are clean, remove the skin using a potato peeler. Slice the peeled sweet potatoes into ¼ inch slices using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Layer the sweet potato slices in your prepared casserole dish.
Prepare the sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, maple syrup, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper until smooth. You can use a whisk or a fork to mix everything together.
Assemble the dish: Pour the brown sugar sauce over the layered sweet potatoes. Tap the dish gently on the counter to evenly distribute it. Add the pecans on top of the sweet potatoes and then dot the top with slices of butter.
Bake the sweet potatoes: Cover the sweet potatoes with foil and bake for 50 minutes. This will allow the sweet potatoes to soften and start to caramelize. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to crisp up the top a bit. Remove and serve.
Candied Sweet Potatoes Tips
- Use a mandolin. To make the same sized sweet potatoes slices, use a mandolin to slice them after you have washed and peeled them. We have this Oxo Mandolin and it’s great for recipes like this!
- Test your potatoes. After you remove the foil, check and see if your sweet potatoes are tender with a fork or knife. If they are not tender, bake for another 10 minutes and check again.
- Store in the refrigerator. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Cover your cooled baking dish with cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
- Fresh orange zest. Using freshly grated orange zest makes all the difference in the flavor of these candied sweet potatoes. It brings a light and bright flavor to the dish! If you don’t already have a greater/zester, we love this Oxo Zester and use it for everything from grating up parmesan cheese to making citrus zest! It’s a cheap handy tool to have around.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
Yes! You sure can. This is a perfect make ahead side dish that you can easily prep the day before.
Prepare the dish as directed but instead of baking it, cover it with foil and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Allow the baking dish to warm up on the counter for 30 minutes before baking. Then bake as directed in the recipe below!
What size sweet potatoes do I need?
You can use any size sweet potatoes, but I do suggest getting sweet potatoes that are similar in size. This will help them layer and cook evenly!
Can I use walnuts instead?
You can use whatever nut you prefer or have on hand for these candied sweet potatoes. Pecans and walnuts do work the best, but you can easily substitute them out for your favorite nut.
These sweet potatoes make an amazing side dish at any dinner table. They add an elegance along with a familiar taste that everyone loves. Some of my favorite main dishes to pair these sweet potatoes with are:
- Pan Fried Pork Chops
- Crock Pot Turkey Breast
- Air Fryer Ham
- Stuffing Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- Roasted Citrus Chicken
- Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs
How to store leftovers
Place any leftover candied sweet potato casserole in the fridge. You can put a piece of cling wrap right over the top of the baking dish before placing it in the fridge.
To reheat leftovers, we recommend reheating them in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until warmed through. Or you can also quickly reheat them in the microwave!
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup, or honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 stick of butter, sliced into thin slices
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Butter or spray a 9×13 casserole pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Peel and then slice the sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Layer the sliced sweet potatoes in the baking dish.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk the orange juice, maple syrup, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the sweet potatoes. Evenly spread out the slices of butter on top of the pecans.
- Loosely cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more, or until potatoes are fork tender. Serve immediately.
- Can prepare sweet potatoes the day before up until you are ready to bake the casserole. Instead, wrap it with foil or saran wrap and store it in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Before baking, be sure to let the casserole dish sit on counter for 30 minutes before putting the casserole into the hot oven so the glass doesn’t crack.
- Bake as directed in step 5.
Other side dishes to try
Looking for other holiday side dishes to try? Here are a few more reader favorites we think you will love too: