These old fashioned candied sweet potatoes will be the star of your meal! The sweet brown sugar bourbon glaze caramelizes onto the sweet potatoes to create a bright, sweet and slightly tangy glaze that is unbeatable! Whether they’re on your holiday table or paired with a weeknight dinner, you’ll love this one pan vegetarian side dish!
I feel like sweet potato casserole is such a polarizing dish on the Thanksgiving table.
Some people love it and some people absolutely hate it and want to throw it out the window.
I don’t know if it’s the marshmallow topping or what that makes people dislike it. But I do know that there is no room for hate at our Thanksgiving table!
Instead of sweet potato casserole, my Meme used to make these candied sweet potatoes every year and they were always SO good!
They were simple and straight forward… no marshmallow topping or burnt nuts.
Just a plain ole sweet and sticky brown sugar glaze that stuck to the sweet potatoes like glue!
What’s extra funny about this recipe is that my Grandma NEVER drank… yet always had a bottle of bourbon (and schnapps) for these sweet potatoes (and her famous fruit salad).
Personally, I think the bourbon makes them but you could definitely leave it out and use apple or orange juice instead!
So let’s get to it, shall we?! Below you’ll find that I’ve shared a ton of tips and tricks but if you have more questions, you can always DM me on instagram!
What you’ll need:
(scroll down to the bottom to see the full recipe!)
- sweet potatoes
- salted butter
- white sugar
- brown sugar
How to make it:
Making these old fashioned sweet potatoes is super easy!
To begin, start by peeling 4 large sweet potatoes. Once they’re peeled, take a chefs knife and cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise.
Now put the cut side down and cut the sweet potatoes into half inch moons.
In a heavy bottomed skillet such as a cast iron or an enameled braiser (my fav!) melt a stick of salty butter over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat.
Then add white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, whiskey and salt and stir once again.
Put a lid on the pan and then turn the heat to medium/medium-low. You’ll want to simmer for 1 hour, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Once they’re tender, remove the lid and turn the heat to high to begin to caramelize the sauce.
Let the sauce bubble away and thicken for 3-5 minutes — stirring often so the sugar doesn’t burn. Once the glaze is thick and is sticking to the sweet potatoes, turn the heat off and serve!
Alterations and Substitutions
If you don’t have bourbon, you could use apple juice, orange juice or water.
If you can only find yams, you can absolutely use them instead of sweet potatoes.
If you don’t have lemons, try using orange juice or lime juice.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes, you can absolutely make these old fashioned candied sweet potatoes ahead of time!
Personally, I think it tastes better after it’s been reheated because the brown sugar bourbon sauce thickens up even more and sticks to the sweet potoates.
For the best results, do not make more than 1 day in advance. If you wait any longer, the integrity of the sweet potatoes begins to deteriorate.
What to pair it with
If I were making these old fashioned candied sweet potatoes for thanksgiving, I’d pair them with my MIL’s green bean casserole, my jiffy cornbread dressing, some creamed spinach, and maybe some white cheddar mac and cheese!
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Old Fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup whiskey
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- Peel sweet potatoes and in half lengthwise. Then cut into half inch moons.
- Melt a stick of butter in a heavy bottomed skillet and then add sweet potatoes, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, whiskey and salt and stir.
- Cover and turn the heat to medium/medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Once they’re tender, remove the lid and turn the heat to high. Let the sauce bubble and thicken for 3-5 minutes, stirring often so the sugar doesn’t burn. Once the glaze is thick and is sticking to the sweet potatoes, turn the heat off and serve.