This Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe features soft, tender roasted sweet potatoes in a spiced, sweet sauce with crunchy, buttery pecans. This is the perfect vegetarian side dish for your holiday table!
It’s that time of year when everyone is planning comforting holiday menus. And I’m thrilled to share with you one of my must-have vegetable side dishes: a baked candied sweet potatoes recipe that’s sweet, savory and so easy to make.
This casserole features crunchy pecans, your favorite warming spices, and a touch of maple syrup sweetness.
Before you get cooking, be sure to read my tips and tricks below to learn how to make candied sweet potatoes in the oven, on the stove, air fryer, Instant Pot, or slow cooker!
I also share tips for some easy ingredient swaps to use what you have on hand or make the dish vegan. Ready to make the best Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe?
Here are all my Tips & Tricks:
How to make candied sweet potatoes in the oven – Best Tips & Tricks
1. Which ingredients can be replaced in this baked sweet potato recipe
I make my candied sweet potatoes with maple syrup. However, you can easily replace it with honey if that’s what you have on hand.
You can also use roughly chopped walnuts or even hazelnuts instead of pecans for crunch.
If you want to add a bit more natural sweetness, stir in pieces of fresh pineapple or diced, peeled apples.
And for a truly decadent American-style dish, add a layer of marshmallows on top of the casserole just before baking. Be sure to cover the baking pan with foil or a lid during baking to avoid burning. Then once the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove the foil and broil for a couple of minutes or until lightly browned.
2. What to serve with baked candied sweet potatoes?
I love the festive taste of this roasted sweet potato recipe and like to serve it with traditional holiday dishes. Roasted whole chicken, turkey, or beef roast are all excellent. Or for a lighter take, try baked fish like salmon.
If you’re following a vegetarian diet, try it with a creamy risotto, a whole cauliflower roast, or broccoli.
3. How to make this baked sweet potato recipe vegan?
You can make these baked candied sweet potatoes vegan simply by using vegan butter* for the sauce. And stick to the maple syrup, don’t use honey.
4. Can you make this baked sweet potato recipe with leftovers?
Sure! This is a great way to use leftover cooked sweet potatoes. First, prepare the sauce as you would in the air-fryer* recipe below. The sauce needs to be quite thick.
Then toss your leftover sweet potatoes with the thick sauce and reheat in the oven until hot and bubbly.
5. Can you freeze baked candied sweet potatoes and serve them later?
To freeze the baked candied sweet potatoes, let the dish cool fully to room temperature after baking. Then transfer the sweet potatoes to a sealed container and freeze for up to 3-4 weeks.
To reheat, defrost the roasted potatoes overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven until warmed through.
6. What is the best way to bake sweet potatoes?
Here is how I always roast perfect sweet potatoes in the oven:
- Start by preheating the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Peel and cut the potatoes in half lengthways, then slice into 1/2 inch thick half-moons.
- If you want to keep the roasted sweet potatoes simple, drizzle them with avocado or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to evenly coat.
- Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet*, and arrange into a single layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
7. What is the best way to cook sweet potatoes?
There are a few ways to make this easy candied sweet potatoes recipe: in the oven, on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or air-fryer.
Generally, I cook sweet potatoes in the oven as it’s almost effortless. However, the Instant Pot is also quick and easy too as I will explain below.
How to make this easy candied sweet potatoes recipe on the stovetop
- For tender sweet potatoes on the stovetop, start by combining all of the sauce ingredients in a large pot over medium to medium-low heat.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and cook, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes, or until well combined.
- Next, stir in the chopped potatoes and pecans and reduce the heat to a low.
- Cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and evenly glazes the potatoes.
How to make candied sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot
To make Instant Pot candied sweet potatoes, you’ll need to use 1 cup of water.
- Add the potatoes and 1 cup of water to your Instant Pot* or pressure cooker. Secure the lid and set the pressure valve to SEALING. Select MANUAL and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. When the cooking time ends, set the pressure valve to VENTING to quick-release any remaining pressure.
- Strain the potatoes and drain the liquid.
- Select SAUTÉ on MEDIUM and add the butter to the Instant Pot. When melted, stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.
- Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
- Add the pecans and potatoes to the pot and gently stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until coated with the glaze and hot.
How to make candied sweet potatoes in a slow cooker
While you can make this recipe in a slow cooker, I don’t recommend it because the potatoes won’t get as nicely caramelized as they will in the oven or an air-fryer. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of water for slow cooker candied sweet potatoes.
- In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and pecans with 2 tbsp cornstarch.
- Transfer the potatoes to a slow cooker*.
- Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan (remember to use 1 1/2 cups of water instead of 1/4 as stated in the original recipe) and heat over medium heat. Stir continuously until the butter has fully melted.
- Once the sauce begins to bubble, stop stirring, and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat and pour it over the sweet potatoes and pecans in the slow cooker. Give it a quick toss.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 hours.
Can you make these easy candied sweet potatoes in an air-fryer?
Yes! To make air fryer roasted sweet potato casserole, start by drizzling the sliced sweet potatoes with avocado or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to evenly coat. Then air fry the potatoes at 380°F for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir continuously until the butter has fully melted. Once the sauce begins to bubble, stop stirring and allow it to simmer until thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Allow the sauce to cool until the potatoes are done, then transfer the sweet potatoes to a large bowl and toss with the sauce.
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Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 2.5 lbs (1.1kg) Sweet potatoes - about 4 medium-large
- 2 cups (300g) whole raw pecans
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick; 57g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp orange zest - or zest of 1 medium orange
- optional for garnish: chopped fresh or dried rosemary - sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch thick half-moons. Place them into a baking dish with the pecans.
- To make the sauce, add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter is fully melted.
- When the sauce starts to bubble, stop stirring and allow it to simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat and pour it over the sweet potatoes and pecans.
- Toss well to evenly coat, then cover and place the dish in the oven.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with flaky salt and/or rosemary if you like.
- Cool a bit before serving.
- *Note that the sauce will be runny right out of the oven, but it thickens as it cools. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The sauce will be thick after refrigeration but will thin out as you warm the leftovers in the microwave.
- My recommended ingredient substitutions & swaps are in Tip #1.
- Tip #2 includes the dishes I usually serve alongside baked candied sweet potatoes.
- To make this baked sweet potato recipe vegan, see Tip #3.
- Tip #4 includes instructions for how to turn leftover sweet potatoes into this delicious dish.
- For freezing instructions, read Tip #5.
- See how to bake sweet potatoes in the oven at Tip #6.
- Tip #7 includes several more options for cooking perfect sweet potatoes: the stovetop, slow cooker, Instant Pot, and even an air fryer!
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