Candied sweet potatoes with cinnamon and cardamom are a great addition to any holiday meal. By adding a little vanilla and bourbon these sweet potatoes will be a very welcome potluck side for any gathering.
I am pretty sure that I have had candied sweet potatoes every year for a holiday side since I can remember. These have become a staple for our family gatherings. Part of the reason why I like them is because they are like a mini dessert right in the middle of dinner and I still get dessert! Who can say no to two desserts?
In this recipe
This recipe celebrates the sweet potato. There are many different kinds which will be discussed later on. All of them can be used but take a look at the Mix it up section for some additional tips and tricks. One of the best parts of this recipe is it’s versatility. Whatever your individual tastes are this dish is very accommodating.
I choose to add cardamom and cinnamon to my sweet potatoes which is very similar to my bourbon and vanilla sweet potato pie. Like I said previously they are like a little dessert in the middle of dinner. I do love my desserts.
Sweet Potatoes vs Yams
Every wondered what the difference is between a sweet potato and a yam? One of the biggest differences is the way the outside of the tuber looks. Yams have skin that is dark, rough, and looks like tree bark. Sweet potatoes have thins and soft skin which is normally brown or lighter in color.
Another is that sweet potatoes can be eaten raw while yams cannot. Finally yams are from Africa and Asia while sweet potatoes are from Central and South America.
What you see at that store in the US are almost always sweet potatoes whether or not they are called that. There are some specialty places that sell yams. One of the biggest reasons for confusion is that originally the orange sweet potatoes were called yams to differentiate them from the white sweet potatoes.
There are normally 3 types of sweet potatoes you will see in the store.
- Orange – the most common and the ones normally called yams. Names like Jewel and Garnet yams are prevalent. These are starchy and get very soft when cooked.
- White – these are called firm sweet potatoes as they are a waxy type of sweet potato and stay firm when cooked.
- Purple – or also known as Japanese sweet potatoes are dark purple in color and are also a starchy potato.
Mix it up
Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas to make this potato dish your own.
- Add/substitute any of the following spices: nutmeg, allspice, ginger, or ground cloves.
- Substitute the bourbon for maple or increase the amount of vanilla.
- When mixing starchy and firm sweet potatoes together (as pictured on this page) keep the potatoes covered and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- The white potatoes will still be firm compared to the orange.
- If making these the day before, by keeping the white potatoes on the bottom of the pan overnight they will soften more.
- Using a mandolin for these is helpful to get even thin slices. This will help with cooking evenly.
Candied Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon
- 9 x 13 inch baking dish
- Large bowl
- 5 pounds sweet potatoes peeled
- ¾ cup butter unsalted, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons vanilla
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons bourbon or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, 190°C, or gas mark 5.
- Slice the potatoes to about a ¼" thickness and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the butter, sugars, cardamom, cinnamon, bourbon or maple syrup, vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Toss the potatoes to coat evenly and then pour the potatoes into the 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil, gently rotate the potatoes every 20 minutes replacing the foil before putting back into the oven.
- Allow to cool uncovered for 10 minutes before serving.