Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to think about a holiday sweet potato recipe. Some people like to make their favourite dishes every year while others like to change things up. If you’re looking for a slightly different sweet potato dish for your holiday menu, I bet you’ll love this sweet potatoes with candied maple pecans recipe. Its streusel-like topping makes a change from the classic dish.
Most Southern Thanksgiving side dishes boast elements of sweet, spicy and savoury and this is one of those holiday recipes that won’t disappoint! Maple extract, brown sugar, warm spices, and sea salt really bring out that amazing yam flavour in every bite.
Thanksgiving Yams Recipe Ingredients
You can use sweet potatoes or yams here, as you prefer. If you’re wondering about the difference of yams vs sweet potatoes, that’s an interesting question.
Although the two terms are used interchangeably in the US and other places, yams are not technically the same as sweet potatoes.
A yam has a rough brown skin a bit like tree bark and starchy, dry, white potato-like flesh. A sweet potato (or what is often called a ‘yam’ here) has thin, reddish brown skin and sweet orange-coloured flesh, so use that kind in this Thanksgiving sweet potatoes dish.
Simple ingredients like butter, maple extract, brown sugar, caramel sauce, salt, and spices add amazing flavour to the sweet potatoes. The candied pecans are a blend of pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar, and white sugar.
How to Make this Thanksgiving Yams Recipe
Brown the butter in a pan and then pour the melted butter into another container. Add the maple extract to the same pan, along with the water, brown sugar, caramel, and spices, and whisk together. Add the browned butter after a couple of minutes then cook over a low heat for about ten minutes.
Cut the peeled potatoes into slices with a sharp knife on a cutting board and arrange the sweet potato rounds in a greased large casserole dish. Add the maple butter sauce mixture in an even layer on top of the sweet potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.
While they’re in the oven you can work on the candied crunchy pecans. Put the maple syrup and sugar in a pan and cook until bubbling, then add the nuts and cook a little bit more. Don’t let it burn because this pecan topping is the best part!
Pour the nuts over a baking sheet and let them set. Once the potatoes are tender, add the candied nuts on top then sprinkle over some sea salt. Serve the sweet potatoes with candied maple pecans as the perfect side dish for your holiday dinner table or for special occasions.
If you are a fan of sweet potatoes, I bet you’ll love them in this unusual sweet potato kale salad as well.
Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes Tips and Tricks
Certainly one of the most likely Thanksgiving side dishes to impress, caramel pecan sweet potatoes aren’t hard to make. You will want to make sure to cut them in even-sized chunks so all the slices are tender at the same time.
Also, use good quality maple syrup. The artificial kind is literally just sugar water or, worse, HFCS. As a food-loving Canadian, I’m biased towards the real kind and trust me, it’s worth it! Pick up the good stuff at the grocery store to ensure a tasty holiday meal!
You can change the recipe if you want. Try walnuts in place of the pecans perhaps or even add some mini marshmallows on top!
It wouldn’t be the same with different vegetables – you really do need to use sweet potato slices. They’re a typical Thanksgiving component and go so well with the turkey, green beans and all the rest.
Thanksgiving Yams Recipe FAQs
Absolutely, and that can be really handy if you have a lot of other dishes to make at once! Prepare and cook this easy side dish the day before Thanksgiving, store in an airtight container and then gently warm it back up on the day.
Another option is to bake the potatoes and prepare the topping, then keep the two separate and assemble and bake on the day. This is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals since it’s so easy to prep and cook in advance.
This recipe is written with half a cup of sweet potatoes with candied maple pecans per person in mind. It might stretch to more if you’re making a number of other sides or you might need more so you have yummy leftovers!
Also it’s Thanksgiving and that’s when everyone’s diet goes out the window and saying ‘no thanks’ to a second helping is really hard to do!
Sweet Potatoes with Candied Maple Pecans Recipe
Sweet Potatoes with Candied Maple Pecans
Candied Maple Pecans
- 1 Cup pecans chopped
- ¼ Cup maple syrup
- ¼ Cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Pinch sea salt
- Brown the butter. Add butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk often and brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a glass container to prevent burning. Return the saucepan to the stove without rinsing. Add maple extract, water, brown sugar, nutmeg, caramel, cinnamon and whisk. Cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the butter. Lower heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
- Peel sweet potatoes and slice into ½” thick rounds. Arrange in a greased casserole dish. Pour sweet maple butter sauce over the sweet potatoes and cover with foil.
- Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare candied pecans. Add everything but the pecans to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until dissolved and cook for 5 minutes, or until mixture starts to bubble.
- Next, fold in the pecans. Stir to coat and cook for 8 minutes.
- Pour the pecans onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let set until step 8.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Next, top with candied pecans and a pinch of sea salt. Serve warm.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
One of the best Thanksgiving yams recipe options, this is one holiday sweet potato recipe you will want to make every year. A Thanksgiving table just isn’t the same without candied sweet potato casserole. The great thing about this classic Thanksgiving side dish is the perfect blend of flavours, both sweet and savoury, as well as how easy it is to prepare. This recipe is a variation of a traditional sweet potato casserole and perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.