If you like your food on the spicy side, sweet candied yams have probably been left off your Thanksgiving menu for years. It's time to bring this classic Southern side dish to your table with this new and different sweet potato recipe. Minced jalapeño adds heat and ground cumin adds earthy notes to these perfectly caramelized and tender candied yams. These potatoes have a perfect texture; they do not fall apart or become too mushy. You can assemble the dish up to 3 days in advance. Make the recipe through step 2, store it covered in the refrigerator, then bake it Thanksgiving Day. We recommend serving them straight from the oven while the syrup is still hot.

Pam Lolley


Credit: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
1 hr 25 mins
Serves 12 (serving size: about 1 cup)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Layer sweet potato slices in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium. Add jalapeño and sugars, stirring until well combined. Cook 1 minute. Stir in cream, and cook, stirring often, just until mixture comes to a simmer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cinnamon, cumin, and salt.

  • Pour sugar mixture evenly over potatoes, and cover with lightly greased aluminum foil.

  • Bake, covered, in preheated oven, about 40 minutes. Uncover and gently stir potato mixture to ensure even cooking. Bake, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 more minutes. Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, and pour syrup over potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans and serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

Reheating Option 

Prepare recipe through Step 2. Lightly coat potatoes with cooking spray, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer syrup to an airtight container, and refrigerate syrup and potatoes separately. You can make only the syrup ahead, and cut the potatoes the day you cook them to ensure that they don't oxidize. Combine syrup and potatoes in a 13-x 9-inch baking dish. Proceed with recipe as directed.