Candied Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)

_MG_2321Last year I made a good candied sweet potato recipe.  However, I wanted to make an easier and better-for-you version of the side dish I grew up loving during the holidays.  This new recipe is so much simpler and contains far less sugar.  I even like the flavor better.  It’s still sweet, has a hint of orange and cinnamon flavor.  I love it. Although I prefer yams, feel free to use either yams or sweet potatoes in this recipe.  Also, this recipe can be made oil-free.  I added the oil just to give these sweet potatoes a glossy sheen.

My friend, Jasmine, and I created a bountiful feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes that will make everybody’s taste buds dance for joy! We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration! We hope you and your family love it!

Photo Credit: Jasmine Briones

Please make sure to tag us on Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan  Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

Candied Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)
Servings: 6-8
Time: 1 hour
Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, NF


4 cups sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

3/4 cup orange juice, fresh

1 ½ cup filtered water

1 cup medjool dates, pitted

¼ tsp cinnamon, ground

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp coconut oil (or grapeseed oil)



Note: Best made a day or a few hours in advance.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Wash, peel, and cut the sweet potatoes or yams. Place them in an 8”x8” or 9”x9” casserole dish, and place the casserole dish in the center of a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

3. In a blender, add the remaining ingredients: orange juice, filtered water, pitted medjool dates, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and oil. Blend well, until the dates are pulverized. If the mixture is a little chunky, that’s fine.

4. Pour the wet mixture over the sweet potatoes or yams and toss to coat. Place in the oven for about 45-55 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes, and cook until the sweet potatoes or yams are fork tender.

5. If made a day in advance, remove from the refrigerator and place in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes.



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Candied Sweet Potatoes


I have always made the sides for my family’s Thanksgiving feast.  For as long as I can remember, for candied yams, I used to use only 4 simple ingredients: yams, orange juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.  This year, we’re having a vegan feast, so I’m using coconut sugar, coconut oil, organic sweet potatoes instead of yams, and a few other ingredients to try to round out the flavor.  I am going to miss my old candied yams this year, but these are a great substitute.

I know there’s a lot of sugar, but hence the name, these are pretty much candy!  Since they are very sweet, it is recommended that they be enjoyed in moderation.  I actually only eat about two pieces with my Thanksgiving meal, but I look forward to leftovers because I can’t wait to eat more!

Here’s my recipe.  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it!


Candied Sweet Potatoes



4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and into 1/8ths

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup filtered water

2 cups of coconut sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, and beans scraped out and placed into the mixture. Will use the vanilla pod, too.

1 tsp orange zest

1  1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

4 tbsp bourbon, optional

4 tbsp coconut oil



1. In a heavy pot, add all the ingredients and make sure you add the vanilla pod as there are lots of flavorful vanilla seeds in the pod. Bring to a boil, then bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Cover and stir on occasion, ensuring the sweet potatoes are getting cooked.

2. With a slotted spoon, place the sweet potatoes in a casserole dish.

3. Add the bourbon to the sauce and cook to reduce into a syrup-y texture. It can take about 15 minutes.  You want to make sure the syrup is thick and will coat a sweet potato.

4. Very carefully, pour the syrup over the sweet potatoes and bake until browned, about 10-15 minutes.


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