Kitchn Love Letters

These Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes Are My New Favorite Thanksgiving Side

published Nov 6, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Taylor Kocher

When I was growing up, my grandpa’s candied sweet potatoes were always the star of our Thanksgiving table. I’ve missed them immensely since moving halfway across the country, but honestly, I’ve never made them myself — mostly because I don’t feel like babysitting them on the stovetop like he did. Then, I stumbled upon my saving grace: Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Candied Sweet Potatoes.

Sally’s recipe requires a fraction of the effort while still satisfying my candied sweet potato cravings. Most of the cooking time is spent in the oven, and you can prep the ingredients ahead of time. Want to really get a jumpstart on holiday cooking? Make the entire dish and freeze it! Here’s how to make my new favorite Thanksgiving side.

Get the recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Candied Sweet Potatoes

Credit: Taylor Kocher

How to Make Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Candied Sweet Potatoes

This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes, place in a 9×13-inch baking dish, and toss with salt. Next, make the sauce: Combine butter, water, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil (this is the only step you’ll need the stove for). I’d recommend boiling for two to three minutes longer than Sally suggests — just to make sure the sauce really comes together.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in vanilla and the optional (but highly recommended) orange zest. Next, toss the sauce with the sweet potatoes. It will look like an excessive amount of sauce (the potatoes will be sitting in a pool of it), but you’ll want plenty of it to dunk into later on.

Bake for about one hour, stirring every 20 minutes to help properly caramelize the sweet potatoes. While it bakes, sit back and enjoy the smell of the holidays filling up your kitchen! Sprinkle on some fresh or dried rosemary and flaky sea salt, then let cool for about 10 minutes to give the sauce time to thicken before digging in.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

Why I Love Sally’s Candied Sweet Potatoes

These sweet potatoes remind me of everything I loved about Thanksgiving when I was growing up. They come out melt-in-your-mouth soft with caramelized edges, all covered in that gooey brown sugar-maple sauce. But the real showstoppers are Sally’s optional suggestions of adding orange zest to the sauce and fresh rosemary on top at the end. One bite and I’m thinking about sipping mulled wine around the fire. Plus, the pine-like smell of rosemary instantly transports me to putting up our Christmas tree every year over Thanksgiving weekend.

And I really can’t overstate how incredible the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger is when the sweet potatoes are baking. It’s that reminder that the holidays are finally here! Trust me — you’ll have a hard time not eating the whole dish in one sitting.

A Few Tips When Making Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Candied Sweet Potatoes

1. Slice the sweet potato into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or slightly larger. If you slice them too thin, they’ll soften in the oven too quickly, before they have a chance to caramelize.
2. Don’t skip the orange zest, rosemary and flaky sea salt. The orange zest and rosemary add freshness to the sauce, while the salt helps balance out the sweetness.
3. Keep an eye on the sweet potatoes when they’re baking. Sally calls for baking for 1 hour, but I find they’re sometimes done sooner.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.