Candied Sweet Potatoes

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These Candied Sweet Potatoes are the perfect balance of sweet and savory, with warm spices, plenty of butter and a dose of bourbon to make them truly special. They’re baked until tender and perfect for serving at the holidays or for an elegant side dish.

Love sweet potatoes? Don’t forget to buy a few extras to make our delicious sweet potato fries! Or give our stuffed sweet potatoes a try next!

Candied sweet potatoes in a cast iron skillet with fresh thyme.

Why this Recipe is Best

It’s no secret we love our sweet potato casserole for the holidays. Whether we serve it like Ruth’s Chris or our easy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, they both rank high for holiday favorites.

Today’s candied sweet potatoes are a new favorite!

This simple but sophisticated side dish brings tons of heavy hitting ingredients together to coat the sliced sweet potatoes as they bake.

This results in tender slices that are coated in a thickened butter, brown sugar and bourbon mixture perfectly spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and thyme.

  • Candied Sweet Potatoes look gorgeous with the sliced potatoes and the buttery coating, and they require basic, on-hand ingredients.
  • The combination of the butter, brown sugar and bourbon baking with the potatoes in the oven results in a sticky, syrupy mixture to coat each piece. It’s irresistible!
  • The spices and the fresh herbs help balance out the sweetness and bring the right amount of savoriness to the dish.
  • You can even make this all in one pan! Just use a large 12-inch oven-safe skillet or a cast-iron skillet instead of transferring everything to a casserole dish.

This side dish makes a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving or holiday table, and it’s also a stand-out for serving company anytime of year.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make candied sweet potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes – You’ll need 4 large sweet potatoes. They need to be scrubbed, peeled and sliced, so try to go for round, evenly sized potatoes. The slices should be about 1/4-inch thick to allow for even cooking. If you slice them thicker, be prepared to cook a little longer.
  • Bourbon – Any decent bourbon you have on hand will work for this recipe. You can also substitute brandy, if you prefer. Need this recipe to be alcohol-free? Just use apple juice or orange juice instead of the bourbon.
  • Thyme – Fresh thyme adds a light, herby flavor to the sweet potatoes. You could also use fresh rosemary, either in place of the thyme or in addition to it.
  • Marshmallows {optional} – This recipe doesn’t call for using marshmallows, but if you are a fan of marshmallows on your candied sweet potatoes, just sprinkle some on at the end of the cooking time. Broil for 2-3 minutes and then let sit before serving.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make candied sweet potatoes.

We love that today’s sweet potatoes are easy to make and prep ahead.

  1. Make the sauce. Combine the butter, brown sugar, bourbon and spices in a skillet. Heat over medium until the butter melts, then stir well and heat for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Assemble the sweet potatoes. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish, add the buttery mixture and toss well to get everything coated. Sprinkle the thyme over the potatoes.
  3. Bake the sweet potatoes. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes, until tender. Let sit for 10-15 minutes then serve.

Tips and Tricks

  • Slice the sweet potatoes evenly so they all cook at the same time. Each round should be about 1/4-inch thick.
  • This recipe is gluten-free as is, so it works for people with dietary restrictions or gluten intolerances.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
Candied sweet potatoes served on a white plate.

Recipe FAQs

Can candied sweet potatoes be made in advance?

Yes, you can assemble this recipe ahead of time. Make the buttery mixture, toss with the sweet potatoes in the pan, then cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven is preheating and add about 10 minutes to the bake time.

Can I make this recipe without alcohol?

Yes. Instead of using bourbon or brandy for these sweet potatoes, just substitute apple juice or orange juice.

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

No, yams and sweet potatoes are different. Yams have a darker, brown skin and their flesh is dry and starchy, more like a regular potato. Sweet potatoes have a smoother, more red or orange looking skin and flesh that is softer and sweeter when cooked.

Candied sweet potatoes in a skillet with wooden spoon to serve.

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Candied Sweet Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
By: Aimee
These Candied Sweet Potatoes are the perfect balance of sweet and savory, with warm spices, plenty of butter and a dose of bourbon to make them truly special. They're baked until tender and perfect for serving at the holidays or for an elegant side dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced
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  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a skillet, combine butter, brown sugar, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper. Heat over medium heat for about 2 minutes after the butter has melted, stirring once.
  • In a large 13×9 baking dish, or skillet, add sliced potatoes. Pour melted butter mixture over the top and stir to combine. Sprinkle with fresh thyme. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil, stir potatoes, and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Allow dish to cool about 10-15 minutes before serving.


  • Brandy could also be used in place of bourbon. Or swap out the alcohol and use orange juice or apple juice instead.
  • A large 12-inch oven safe skillet or cast-iron skillet can be used to keep it as a one-pan meal.
  • If you like marshmallows on your candied potatoes, sprinkle at the end of the baking period. Broil for 2-3 minutes and allow to set.
  • Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Rosemary can be used in addition (or to replace) the fresh thyme.


Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 174mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 37g
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 24, 2022

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