Candied Sweet Potatoes
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Candied Sweet Potatoes is an old family favorite for the holidays. Tender sweet potatoes covered in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and topped with pecans and marshmallows. Yum!
(Post modified with new photos on 11/4/22.)
My mom never put pecans in her sweet potato dish, so the addition of the nuts came from my husband who zealously requested them after I made them the first time when we were married and he saw that they did not have nuts in them. Obviously, his side of the family loaded the dish with pecans.
The first time I shopped for the ingredients for this recipe, I ran into the problem or question of whether to buy sweet potatoes or yams. And what, exactly, is the difference, anyway?
Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
After a quick search online, I learned that what we see in the grocery stores and labeled as yams, are not actually yams. They are just a different variety of a sweet potato. Yams are darker skinned, and have a rough bark-like covering. And the inside is most often white or purple.
Apparently, long ago, prior to the 1860’s, grocers only sold white sweet potatoes. So, when sellers introduced into the market the orange variety, they needed to distinguish it from the others and called them yams. These days, you may find true yams at your larger grocery stores or specialty markets. Crazy…and confusing, right?
Ingredients for Candied Sweet Potatoes
(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)
- sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- brown sugar
- pecan halves
- ground cinnamon
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- miniature marshmallows
Instructions for Making This Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin by gathering the ingredients and placing them near at hand.
On Buying Sweet Potatoes
One helpful tip on buying sweet potatoes is to buy small narrow tubers, which are easier to cut through than those that are large and thick.
Prepare the Sweet Potato Dish
Peel the sweet potatoes. Then using a cutting board and Chef’s knife or a Santoku knife, carefully slice sweet potatoes into 2″ chunks. Your knife needs to be sharp, and please be careful, as sweet potatoes tend to be rather hard to cut into.
Place sliced sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover the vegetables with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender. Drain and place in a greased baking dish.
Top the sweet potatoes with slices of butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pecan halves, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
I like to use plenty of butter and brown sugar. And as noted above, my husband likes me to use lots of pecans. That’s easy when we’ve had a bumper pecan harvest and pecans are plentiful.
Layer the top with miniature marshmallows.
Regarding Marshmallows. In the past I’ve used both kinds of marshmallows–thick ones and miniature, and I actually like both. The large ones offer lots of marshmallowy goodness, while the smaller ones brown a bit better. In the end, use whichever you want.
Bake in a preheated oven until marshmallows are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let this dish cool for 7-10 minutes before serving.
This recipe serves 6-8 people. If you need to serve fewer or more people, simply halve or double the recipe as needed. This dish is perfect for your Thanksgiving Dinner.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin by gathering ingredients and placing near at hand.
- Peel sweet potatoes. Then using a cutting board and Chef's knife or a Santoku knife, carefully slice sweet potatoes into 2" chunks.
- Place sliced sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover the vegetables with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender. Drain and place in a greased baking dish.
- Top the sweet potatoes with slices of butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pecan halves, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Layer the top with miniature marshmallows. Bake in preheated oven until marshmallows are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serves 6-8.