Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)

Recipe from George H. Foster and Peter C. Weiglin

Adapted by Melissa Clark

Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
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When Fred Harvey opened his first Harvey House restaurant in 1876 on the railway line in Topeka, Kan., his idea was radical for the time: Railroad passengers would be fed good food in a pleasant environment. His concept was so successful that it spawned 84 restaurants, a Hollywood movie and an official cookbook. And it was in “The Harvey House Cookbook” that we found this excellent recipe for sweet potatoes candied with confectioners’ sugar and butter. It is best served warm rather than piping hot, which makes it convenient for big meals like Thanksgiving. Bake it before you roast your turkey, then reheat it briefly just before serving. —Melissa Clark

Featured in: The United States of Thanksgiving

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Yield:10 to 12 servings

  • 3pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • ½cup/1 stick butter
  • 1cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

204 calories; 8 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 15 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 76 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a large pot, boil sweet potatoes in their jackets in water to cover until fork-tender, 20 to 45 minutes depending upon their size. Drain and cool.

  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Peel potatoes and slice into ½-inch-thick rounds. Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 2-quart gratin dish, overlapping slices to fit in one layer.

  3. Step


    In a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth. Pour evenly over the potatoes. Bake until potatoes look shiny and glazed, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot or warm.



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Cooking Notes


Every list of sweet potato recipes that include these old fashioned dishes that use sugar or god forbid, marshmallows I know I will soon be reading a series of comments filled with all kinds of foodie judgement. Maybe people like them. Maybe they eat them roasted with olive oil and thyme the rest of the year but they like them candied on Thanksgiving because it brings back memories of childhood. People acting like their likes and styles are superior to other people's. Now that is to laugh.


I used half brown sugar, half confectioner's sugar, then added a splash of vanilla. Really nice flavor and so easy!


Because they enjoy eating it?

Ann G

Instead of boiling, microwave, it is quicker, and after cooling, the jackets almost slip off.


I love adding a touch of Grand Marnier to the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg. Winner every year!


No one mentioned baking sweet potatoes with the jackets on. They come out wonderfully caramelized and retain much more flavor than boiling.I have made them many different ways over the years and my crowd is all over the place as far as preferences go. Nostalgia is not a bad thing for those who love them candied. In the south you find them with tons of butter, brown sugar or molasses and a big dose of toasted pecans.Long love sweet potatoes, however you like them.Happy Thanksgiving.


hl asked why turn a sweet potato into a dessert? Well, hl, when I was young, dessert was not an everyday occurrence so when my grandmother made candied sweet potatoes for special occasions like Thanksgiving, I was in seventh heaven. Following in her footsteps, I rarely make this sweet treat, but for sure it is on my family's Thanksgiving menu.


I'm going to alter the recipe a bit and reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup. I also enjoy the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes unaltered.

Pat Rowe

I also bake them, but do it the day before. I let them cool overnight in the jackets and they are very easy to peel and slice when chilled.


I guess this is okay, but why, oh why, do people take this wonderfully flavorful vegetable and turn it into dessert, if not even candy?

Julia Childless

Do not understand this American perchant for sweet things served in the savory part of a meal - hams glazed with sugar, these wonderful sweet potatoes needlessly drenched in two kinds of sweetness, and that famous hors d'ouevre, bacon covered with brown sugar. All served of course with a big glass of high fructose corn syrup. And everything else low-fat. It is to laugh. Try sweet potatoes with olive oil and thyme, crisped in a hot oven. of course then you would taste the vegetable.


Candied yams is a tradition for our family. My mother taught me to make the sauce with a tablespoon or so of condensed orange juice, brown sugar, and butter for the sauce.


The original Harvey House recipe as it appears in the cookbook just sprinkles some confectioners sugar on the sweet potatoes before baking. So I think it called for a lot less sugar.


This is easy and delicious. it is such a pleasant change from the usualy sweet potato dish. I cooked for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. I only added a tspn of lemon juice

NYT Cooking

You could go to the end of step 2 (without preheating the oven), let the potatoes cool, then cover and refrigerate. When you're ready to finish the dish, let the potatoes get to room temp and proceed with step 3.


Made these a day ahead and reheated in the oven while the turkey was resting. Delicious!


Tried it to see how it was. Nothing special. I will make my mashed sweet potatoes with butter from now on. It was too sweet for our tastes.


Be sure not to overcook sweet potatoes when you boil them. They can get too mushy to cut slices well.


These were delicious, I roasted the sweet potatoes the day before, held them in the fridge and removed the skins easily the next day. My potatoes were irregular sizes so the dish wasn’t as pretty at the photo, I added chopped pecans to the top, 6 mins before time was up to cover the ugliness but they tasted great and will be added to the regular TDay rotation.


Good3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar(=1/4 brown 1/4 confectioners)


I was looking for something easy for New Year's that would remind me of holidays long ago and this fit the bill. I was actually a little skeptical but they were great. For the food critics (to whom I would say, if you know this isn't your thing, why not just move on, why do you feel the need to criticize?) I can go back to just roasting the sweet potatoes the rest of the year. :-) They are pretty decadent so I will reduce the butter/ sugar next time... maybe.

Lal B., New Orleans

Reduce 1 cup of satsuma or mandarin or clementine juice to about half a cup. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (freshly ground if possible). Allow to steep off the burner for about 30 minutes. Add the stick of butter (cultured is best), melt, and pour the juice-butter sauce evenly over the slices. Then sprinkle 3/4 cup powdered sugar over the slices and proceed with the rest of the recipe.


I made a test recipe yesterday thinking I might substitute this for regular mashed up sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. I kept re-checking this very simple recipe for where I went wrong. I didn’t! It’s tasteless. I even added some cinnamon later. Still tasteless. I don’t recommend. Would rather just have a baked sweet potato than this bland, not even very pretty, dish.


My family loves this recipe. I use 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 of confectioners' sugar and love the flavor!


These were so light and fluffy when you bite into them! They packed a punch in sweetness too. I was floored. i subbed the sugar for about half the amount in maple syrup and added some bourbon, nutmeg and, cinnamon. And... truth be told.... I added some fresh thyme sprigs to get a touch of savory. You can have it all.


Most notes are from four years ago - thought I'd mention a presentation switch. I cooked the dark sweet potatoes and the lighter colored ones, then alternated rows of the two colors. We've spent years with healthy variations. This one was adored by all!


I used half brown sugar, half confectioner's sugar, then added a splash of vanilla. Really nice flavor and so easy!

Coquina Beach

Giving this a whirl this year. Using brown sugar instead and adding the zest of one orange. This is one day of the year when I don't think about fiber, cholesterol or whether I could make this or that healthier. It's about feelings and family and traditions, no matter what group you're in #everydaypeople

Sue-Anne S

To cut down on time, the day before, I scrub the sweet potatoes, leaving the skins on. Slice them into approximately 3/4” rounds, steam (and bake) the sweet potatoes or yams with the skins on following the recipe instructions as directed otherwise. Bake the next day. I use approximately 2 Tbsp both maple syrup and brown sugar and butter as directed. Reserve steam water for gravy.A must have traditional family feast dish passed on to me through my mother and her mother before.


I slice the sweet potatoes about 1/2" thick after microwaving them and peeling the jackets. Then I melt some butter and add some maple syrup and pour it over, then put it in the oven, also added some pecans, divine!

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Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)


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