Indulge in these wickedly good candied sweet potatoes with pecans for your next holiday meal or celebration. The combination of pure maple syrup, zesty lime, and crunchy toasted pecans make the sweet potatoes sing. And they take only 30 minutes to make.
The beautiful colors also make it an impressive dish for special occasions or a Fall potluck.
Sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish. This one is a little off the beaten path. I love the combination of lime and maple syrup, and it’s pretty attractive too.
What to expect
This candied sweet potato recipe is not the classic sweet potato casserole dish with a marshmallow topping or a pecan streusel topping often served with Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quicker with fewer steps, less sweet and, I humbly think, delicious.
Bottom line: It’s an easy side dish made with simple ingredients, a snap to make, and can even be made ahead of time. It has a nice balance of sweet-tangy and creamy-crunchy. And there is a great shortcut too!
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Fresh sweet potatoes: I use regular sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed. Yams are fine too.
Glaze: The candied glaze is made with a mixture of butter, maple syrup, lime juice and zest, and a touch of cornstarch for thickening.
- Instead of sweet potatoes, you can use other root vegetables such as butternut squash (which has lower carbs and sugar) or carrots.
- Instead of the crunchy pecans, try toasted hazelnuts or walnuts.
- Brown sugar can be substituted for the maple syrup. You might want to add a little extra melted butter if you do this.
- Use lemon instead of lime.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg or ground cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste).
- I love lime, but the other Kook suggests you start with a little less and add more to your taste.
- Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
- For a different flavor, add some cumin or grated orange zest.
Step by step instructions
Candied sweet potatoes have fairly high carbs and sugar of course. But the dish also boasts a few significant upsides. Pecans rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants according to the USDA, not to mention a ton of vitamins, minerals and good [monosaturated] fats. According to Healthline, sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A and are a good source of antioxidants as well.
Sweet potatoes and yams are both root vegetables, but they have distinct differences. Yams, originating from Asia and Africa, feature dark brown skins, purple or white flesh, and are starchier and less nutritious. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are sweeter, come in various skin colors, and are commonly found in North America with orange or red skin and flesh. Both types are versatile for sweet potato recipes.
Here’s an article on how to toast nuts in the microwave, stove top or oven. I like toasting nuts in a dry pan on the stovetop as it’s easier to cook the nuts evenly, it’s quick and you are right there to make sure they don’t burn. The oven method is good as well, but it takes a bit longer.
Buy fresh pre-cubed and peeled sweet potatoes from the grocery store. A little more expensive, but very convenient. For quicker roasting, you can cut the cubes in half if they are large.
The great thing about this sweet potatoes recipe is that it can be assembled hours or even a day ahead. Roast the potatoes and let them cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Reheat them in the oven or microwave. Add the nuts just before serving. And sprinkle with extra lime zest if you like.
What to serve with candied sweet potatoes
This easy recipe for candied sweet potatoes is a perfect side dish for ham, turkey, roast chicken or brisket. Because they are fairly sweet, I like to serve them with a savory main dish – nothing with a sweet glaze. In our family, they’re a must for our Thanksgiving table.
A few of my favorite pairings are sous vide turkey breast, roast chicken breast, rack of pork, bone-in turkey breast and pork roast sous vide. They’re also a wonderful side dish for a savory brisket, or marinated pork chops.
More easy sweet potato recipes
- BBQ sweet potatoes and apples
- Vegetarian sweet potato hash
- Hasselback sweet potatoes (15 minutes)
- Moroccan chicken with sweet potatoes
- Oven roasted vegetables recipe
Also, check out these delicious Thanksgiving side dishes from traditional to non-traditional.
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Simple Candied Sweet Potatoes with Pecans (30 Minutes)
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 large), peeled and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch (3.8 cm) pieces, Note 1
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans, Note 2 or toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
- 6 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or brown sugar)
- 1 medium lime, juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425F/218C.
- ROAST SWEET POTATOES: Place sweet potato pieces on a pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with oil. Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning half way through, until potatoes are tender and edges begin browning.
- MAKE MAPLE-LIME GLAZE: While potatoes are roasting, combine all glaze ingredients in a microwave bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir.
- ASSEMBLE: Place roasted sweet potatoes in a serving bowl. Drizzle maple-lime glaze over potatoes. Toss to cover evenly. Sprinkle toasted pecans on top. And extra lime zest if desired. Serve.
- Sweet potato alternatives: use yams, butternut squash (less carbs and sugar) or carrots.
- To toast pecan pieces, place on baking sheet in preheated oven at 350F/177C for about 6-7 minutes until aroma is evident and nuts are lightly toasted. Let cool to crisp up. Alternatively, toast them in a dry pan on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
- To make ahead: Roast sweet potatoes and make the maple lime drizzle ahead of time. Before serving, assemble potatoes, drizzle over maple lime sauce and sprinkle with pecans. Heat in 375F/190C oven for 10-15 minutes. Or in the microwave on High for about 2 minutes.