There is nothing more Southern than this Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe. Sweet potatoes are cooked until tender and soft in a buttery and sweet glaze filled with spices and deliciousness making the best Candied yams dish ever!!
Perks and Highlights of the Best Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe
If you’ve ever sat down for a Southern holiday meal you’ve seen your share of candied yams; sometimes topped with marshmallows and other times formed into a mash. Yams are tender and sweet, an amazing contrast to savory roast turkey and sharp, stewed mustard greens. But lets think beyond the holidays, wouldn’t you love to enjoy this Southern treasure on any given day of the week? These potatoes are the perfect comfort food that can be served as a delectable side dish or own their own by the bowl full!
Candied Yams OR Candied Sweet Potatoes?
Now you might ask yourself, are candied yams and candied sweet potatoes one in the same?
Well the answer is no. Sweet potatoes are not a type of yam, and yams are not a type of sweet potato. Yams are starchier, drier and don’t have that beautifully signature orange hue.
Now, if you’re at the grocery store and you see what appears to be a sweet potato with the label “yam” it means they are differentiating two different kinds of sweet potatoes, firm and soft. The soft variety are what we in America, especially in the South, have adopted as our version of the “yam”.
Whether you select sweet potatoes for this recipe or yams, you can pretty much use the same ingredients. Starting with the potatoes, we usually select about 6 medium sized sweet potatoes. You will begin by peeling them then thinly slicing them on a diagonal. Now this isn’t the way EVERYONE makes candied sweet potatoes but it is the way my mother makes them.
This creates hefty sized strips that are a bit more sturdy. You also get a nice amount of potato in each strip.
The following ingredients are key for making a sensational glaze.
- Butter – Butter is truly essential in creating a wonderful glaze. By melting it down, it starts the glaze liquid and also creates a delicious rich flavor. Because this recipe only has a few ingredients, you need to make sure that you use a high quality high fat butter. No margarine or substitutions will do!
- Sugar –For the sugar, my mama prefers to use granulated sugar. It provides just clean sweetness and doesn’t take away from the delicious sweet potatoes. It only serves as an enhancement.
- Vanilla – Vanilla extract is a great addition as well. Just a little will add amazing flavor to these potatoes.
- Spice – Finally, a hint of spice. My mama uses nutmeg and only nutmeg. She doesn’t believe in adding cinnamon to her sweet potatoes.
For Candied sweet potatoes, my mama really loves to use simple ingredients in a meaningful way.
Tip: If you want to personally add some depth of flavor, substitute some of the sugar for brown sugar.
How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Start with the Spuds: Haul out those sweet potatoes and give ’em a good slice. Pop ’em into a large pot and drown them in water. Crank that heat up high ’cause we’re just getting started!
- Sweeten the Deal: Now, it’s time to turn up the flavor! Toss in the butter, sugar, a splash of vanilla, and a pinch of nutmeg right into the mix. This sweet squad will bring the magic to those potatoes.
- Bubble Time: Bring that pot to a rolling boil and slap a lid on it. Let it bubble away for about 25 minutes. Those spuds should be tender and ready for their glow-up.
- Get Syrupy: Whip off that lid and keep the heat going for another 20-30 minutes. Watch as the water transforms into a thick, sweet syrup that coats those potatoes in pure deliciousness.
I know a lot of people prefer making Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes however my mama makes her candied sweet potatoes on the stove top. It is a wonderful way of really reducing the liquid into a thick glaze and being able to watch it until it creates the perfect consistency that you enjoy.
Water is a huge component in this recipe. The water, once boiling, will help to melt down the potatoes until they are perfectly soft and tender.
Tip: Before stopping your potatoes from cooking, make sure you test them with a fork to ensure that they are completely melt in your mouth tender. If they even have a hint of toughness, continue to cook them.
Another tell that will alert you to the recipe being ready is the actual glaze. It should be thickened and coating the back of a spoon. The water will evaporate until the potatoes reach this point.
Tip: if you start to see the water evaporating and almost done, check your potatoes first for doneness. If they are ready, check your glaze.
If your potatoes aren’t done, you can add more water to continue the boiling/cooking process.
If the potatoes are indeed done, then you are just waiting for the glaze to reach perfect doneness.
Do NOT OVERCOOK YOUR GLAZE! Watch carefully as you get to the end of your water evaporating.
Storage and Reheating
- Cool It: Before you tuck them away, let your candied sweet potatoes cool to room temperature. No one likes a sweaty spud.
- Seal the Deal: Shift those sweets into an airtight container. They’re precious cargo; we don’t want any air sneaking in there
- Fridge or Freeze: Pop them into the refrigerator if you’re planning a rematch in the next 3-4 days. For longer storage, the freezer’s your buddy, where they can chill for up to a month.
Reheating the Right Way:
- Thaw Thoughtfully: If they’re coming out of the freezer, let them thaw in the fridge overnight. They’re worth the wait, promise.
- Oven Lovin’: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the potatoes in a baking dish and cover with foil to keep them moist. Warm them up for 15-20 minutes or until they’re heated through.
- Microwave Moment: In a rush? Zap ’em in a microwave-safe dish covered with a damp paper towel for a quick heat. Start with 2 minutes, then check and add extra time in 30-second bursts if needed.
Want more perfect Sweet Potato Recipes?
Here are some additional recipes you should check out if you are a sweet potato fan!
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Stacked Sweet Potatoes
- Baked Candied Yams
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 6 medium sized sweet potatoes peeled and thinly to medium sliced
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Add sliced potatoes to large pot and fill with water until it completely covers the potatoes. Turn heat on stove to high.
- Next add butter, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg to potatoes and water.
- Bring mixture to a boil and cover. Cook for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender then remove lid and continue cooking for an additional 20-30 minutes or until water has evaporated leaving a sweet syrup over the potatoes.