This easy Candied Sweet Potato Casserole recipe combines tender sliced sweet potatoes with a homemade candied sauce and pecans. Serve as a comforting Christmas or Thanksgiving side dish or enjoy during the week with your favorite meals during the cooler months! Gluten-free and easily vegan. No marshmallows!
Candied sweet potato casserole is a classic dish during the holidays.
What’s not to like about tender sweet potatoes smothered in a decadent sauce and baked with a crunchy topping?
This easy holiday side dish is made with sliced sweet potatoes and a candied sauce that is a mixture of maple syrup, butter, and orange juice.
Orange juice adds a bright citrus flavor and natural sweetness that enhances the flavor of sweet potatoes and takes them to the next level.
It’s then topped with a mixture of brown sugar and chopped pecans for a nutty sweet crunch in every bite!
While this dish is traditionally served during the holidays, you can also serve it on a weeknight paired with your favorite protein or side, or even serve it as a warm decadent dessert!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
The entire dish is made with less than 10 ingredients that are simple and can be found anywhere.
The candied “sauce” is made with orange juice which gives it a bright citrusy flavor that pairs well with sweet potatoes.
No need to pre-cook or boil the sweet potatoes as they cook right in the baking dish with the rest of the ingredients.
This is a no-marshmallow recipe, making it all-natural and healthier.
You’ll love the sweet tender flavor of the sweet potatoes that contrasts well with the nutty crunch of pecans.
This candied side dish can be served as a side on your holiday table or can easily be transformed into a dessert with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.
This is a gluten-free side dish.
Make it vegan by simply swapping the butter for vegan butter.
You may love Pioneer Woman's version or the Ruth Chris sweet potato casserole. Well, you'll love just how simple and tasty this version is too!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this easy-to-prepare holiday side dish!
- Sweet Potatoes - Tender naturally sweet potatoes make up the base of this casserole and add bright orange color to the dish.
- Orange Juice - The candied sauce is made with orange juice which adds a bright and fresh citrus flavor to the sweet potatoes and also helps naturally sweeten them with a slight tang to balance the flavors.
- Butter - Gives the candied sauce a rich buttery flavor that adds a dense texture and hearty flavor to the dish. Use dairy free butter to make this a vegan sweet potato casserole.
- Brown Sugar - Adds a caramel-like sweetness to the sweet potatoes when added on top before baking.
- Maple Syrup - Gives the entire dish a light maple flavor while adding a naturally sweet layer of flavor.
- Pecans - Chopped pecans are sprinkled on top to add a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to the top. Leave them out for a nut-free casserole.
- Cinnamon - Brings the dish together giving it a warming flavor that is perfect for the cooler months. Try swapping to pumpkin spice blend.
- Salt - Balances the sweet flavors in the dish which enhances the natural flavors.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350f (175C). Grab a casserole or baking dish and set it aside.
Prepare the sweet potatoes: Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, then slice them into ⅛ inch thick rounds using a sharp knife.
Place the sweet potatoes in an overlapping layer on the bottom of the baking dish until it is completely covered on the bottom.
Make the candied sauce: In a small saucepan, add the orange juice, butter, and maple syrup. Turn the heat to medium and continuously stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are well combined.
Pour the sauce mixture over the layered sweet potatoes
Assemble the sweet potato casserole: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and chopped pecans, then distribute it over the top of the sweet potatoes along with the salt.
Bake and serve: Bake the dish uncovered for 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and fork-tender. The top should be lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
When preparing the sweet potatoes, make sure you use a sharp knife for safety.
The sweet potato rounds should be cut into even slices to make sure they all cook at the same time in the oven.
During the cooking, you can ‘baste’ the sweet potatoes by spooning some of the liquid back over the sweet potatoes.
Makes a great side dish for a holiday meal next to a hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash.
Enjoy as a dessert by serving warm with a scoop of homemade ice cream.
If you’re using a fresh orange to make the juice, add some orange zest to the sauce mixture for an even brighter citrus flavor.
Top this candied casserole with sweet melty marshmallows to enhance the comforting fall vibes.
Swap the sweet potatoes for yams to make a traditional candied yams recipe.
Pecans make a great crunchy topping to this casserole, but feel free to use chopped walnuts, almonds, or cashews instead.
Purple or white sweet potatoes give this candied side dish a great variation in flavor and natural color.
Instead of cinnamon, try using homemade pumpkin pie spice for a delightful warm flavor to match the season.
Gluten Free: This recipe contains naturally gluten-free ingredients, however, be sure to check the labels on any spices or seasonings for any wheat ingredients.
Vegan: To make this recipe suitable for a vegan lifestyle, use a vegan butter substitute in place of the dairy milk butter. Also double-check that your brown sugar is vegan.
Storing: Any leftover candied sweet potato casserole can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through.
Freezing: The best way to freeze this dish is to make it without the pecan and brown sugar topping. Then, wrap the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap and then in a layer of foil. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months before heating and serving with the topping added before baking.
Sweet potatoes are much sweeter than yams and usually have softer flesh. Yams taste similar but are a bit milder. Both can be used for this recipe depending on personal preference.
While the skin is completely edible and soft after cooking, it does create a variation in texture that may not be desirable to others. For best results, peel the sweet potato before making this recipe.
This depends on your individual goals. Both potatoes are healthy because they are whole food, however, sweet potatoes do contain a bit more nutrient density.
More Holiday Side Dish Recipes
If you're looking for more vegetarian or vegan holiday side dish recipes, then be sure to try these!
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Candied Sweet Potato Casserole
- 1 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 1 cup (235ml) orange juice
- 4 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup (40g) pecans chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into round slices ⅛ inch thick. Place them in overlapping layers in a baking dish.
- Add the orange juice, butter, and maple syrup to a small pot over a medium heat and melt it all together, stirring often.
- Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes, then sprinkle with the salt.
- Cover the dish with foil, then place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Mix the chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle it over the sweet potatoes. Return the baking dish to the oven (without the foil) and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is lightly browned.
Tip: During the cooking, you can ‘baste’ the sweet potatoes by spooning some of the liquid back over the sweet potatoes.
- When preparing the sweet potatoes, make sure you use a sharp knife for safety.
- The sweet potato rounds should be cut into even slices to make sure they all cook at the same time in the oven.
- During the cooking, you can ‘baste’ the sweet potatoes by spooning some of the liquid back over the sweet potatoes.
- If you’re using a fresh orange to make the juice, add some orange zest to the sauce mixture for an even brighter citrus flavor.
- Top this candied casserole with sweet melty marshmallows to enhance the comforting fall vibes.
- Pecans make a great crunchy topping to this casserole, but feel free to use chopped walnuts, almonds, or cashews instead.
- Purple or white sweet potatoes, or yams, give this candied side dish a great variation in flavor and natural color.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.