Whether you call them Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes or candied yams, these tender, sweet, and irresistible nuggets are the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish. They’re also super simple to prepare, which gives them a permanent spot on my Thanksgiving menu. Because when I’m trying to cook ten recipes at once, I need things to be as simple as possible! Just mix everything up in a dish, pop it in the oven, and let them do their thing while you work on the rest of the meal. Done and done!
Originally posted 11/19/11, updated 11/07/19.
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans – A Classic Thanksgiving Side
Are They Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
This has been the topic of much debate for decades. While these orange fleshed root vegetables are often labeled “yams” at the grocery store, that’s really just a slang term and true yams are a different vegetable all together. Here is a great video clip from Alton Brown’s Serious Eats that goes over the history of sweet potatoes and the controversy over the term “yam” (worth the watch just for the “man yam” bit).
But I don’t care what you call them. Language is fluid. Just make sure to buy the orange guys for this recipe. 😉
Can You Make These Roasted Sweet Potatoes Ahead?
While you can roast these the day before and reheat on Thanksgiving day, I think they have a much better presentation when prepared fresh. The appearance does change from a glassy candied appearance to sort of a darker dull color after refrigeration. Instead, go ahead and peel and cube your sweet potatoes the day before so that all you have to do on the big day is pop them in the oven.
Can I Roast The Sweet Potatoes at a Lower Temperature?
If you’re trying to do double duty and roast these sweet potatoes at the same time as your turkey, you can make it work. If your turkey is being roasted at 350ºF, you can roast the sweet potatoes at the same time, keeping in mind that they will take much longer to roast (probably an additional 20 minutes or so). Make sure to stir the sweet potatoes about every 20 minutes while roasting.
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans (aka Candied Yams) are an easy, classic Thanksgiving side dish that everyone will love.
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($3.39)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup ($1.20)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/2 cup pecans ($1.76)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the sweet potato cubes in a large casserole dish (11×15" or 5 quart).
Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is melted, then stir until combined. Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes in the casserole dish, and stir to coat.
Transfer the casserole dish to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, roughly chop the pecans. After roasting for 20 minutes, add the chopped pecans, give everything a good stir, and then roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft and the liquid in the casserole dish has reduced to a sticky candy coating. Serve hot.
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How to Make Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Step By Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. Place them in a large casserole dish (11×15″ or 5 quart).
Combine 2 Tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.
Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes and stir until they’re all evenly coated. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, roughly chop 1/2 cup pecans (or just use pre-chopped pecans).
After roasting for 20 minutes, add the chopped pecans, give everything a really good stir, and return the sweet potatoes to the oven. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Roast until the sweet potatoes are very tender and all the liquid in the bottom of the dish has reduced to a sticky candy coating.
I mean, look at those potatoes… 🤩
These Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes (or candied yams, whatever) will be a stunning addition to your Thanksgiving table!