Thanksgiving Basics: Candied Sweet Potatoes

I've now looked at maybe every candied sweet potato recipe on the internet and what I learned from them is that it's almost impossible to take an attractive picture of candied sweet potatoes. Candied sweet potatoes weren't really a fixture on my Thanksgiving table growing up (we mostly just went with mashed potatoes and also more mashed potatoes) but we've been getting a fair amount of sweet potatoes in our CSA and I've been making a much (much) lazier, much more haphazard version of this recipe on an almost weekly basis. When one of my Thanksgiving guests requested sweet potatoes on the menu, I figured it was time to fine tune it. This version is still incredibly easy to make but a little more decadent than what I usually make for myself.

Recipe serves 5-7


  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) Salted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup (Grade B if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes (2 is quite spicy, which I'm into, but I'll be making it with 1 for my guests)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. While the water is coming to a boil, peel and chop your sweet potatoes into roughly one inch cubes. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender and can be pierced with a fork and then drain.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are boiling, combine butter, brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, salt and red pepper flakes in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted, the brown sugar is dissolved and the emulsification comes to a simmer.
  4. Evenly distribute the sweet potatoes in a 9 by 13 glass baking dish and pour the syrup over them. Stir to make sure the sweet potatoes are evenly coated.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes. Give the sweet potatoes another stir to coat them evenly and bake an additional ten minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve as soon as they're cool enough to eat.

Protip: I'll be making these one day in advance, cooling completely at room temperature, wrapping well and refrigerating overnight. In an ideal world, I'd have to space to reheat them in the oven but my oven is only big by Korean standards, so I'll probably be reheating them in the microwave.