roasted orange sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving

I adore sweet potatoes. But those sweet potatoes we ate when I was a kid? (And perhaps you did too?) The canned sweet potatoes baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, an ooey-gooey mess that hardly resembled the vegetable they once were?

No thank you.

These roasted orange sweet potatoes, with smoked paprika, cumin, and orange zest, still taste like sweet potatoes. They’re soft on the fork with a bit of bite. How lovely it will be to have sweet potatoes that are not mushy on your Thanksgiving table!

Take a look.


3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 400°. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Layer the sweet potatoes like shingles, in three straight lines, in the casserole pan.

Making the glaze. Set a small pot over medium heat. Put in the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the smoked paprika, cumin, and maple syrup. Swirl them around until you can smell the spices. Pour in the orange juice and add the salt and pepper. Bring the liquids to a boil and let it boil for a moment or two, stirring occasionally.

Baking the sweet potatoes. Pour the glaze over the sweet potatoes evenly. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until the sweet potatoes are soft to the fork but don’t fall apart, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Take the aluminum foil off the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the orange zest over the top of the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan loosely with the aluminum foil again until you are ready to serve the sweet potatoes.

Feeds 8.

21 comments on “roasted orange sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving

    1. shauna

      You could slice up the sweet potatoes the day before Thanksgiving and keep them soaking in water. You could also make the glaze the day before and heat it up just before roasting.

  1. Bo Roth

    These look awesome! I’m trying to avoid canola. Will try with olive or coconut oil? I usually don’t want sugar on my sweets, but am thinking that tiny bit of maple might be okay and delicious!

    1. shauna

      Of course! But we use the organic canola from spectrum, which is great. Coconut oil might be great but it has a lower smoke point so it could burn more easily. I’d use olive.

    2. Matt Walton

      I’d suggest sunflower oil – I’ve roasted many sweet potatoes (and ordinary potatoes, and a lot of other things) in it and it works well. Very popular here in the UK, right up there with vegetable oil for supermarket shelf space anyway.

      Peanut oil works extremely well, but is rather pricey over here and obviously being made of peanuts might be a problem for some people.

      Love the look of this recipe. I’ve never really got the idea of adding more sweetness to these already-sweet vegetables, but a little maple syrup and orange juice would add good flavour as well, and I know those spices are an excellent match to sweet potato. Glazed and roasted… oh yes. I think I might have to try it.

  2. Karen

    How are they as left- overs? Made some in my crockpot with OJ & they were delicious but the next day, the OJ made them bitter. Cooking the sauce, like this recipe, might help with that?

    1. shauna

      The crockpot is all about slow, slow heat, which reduces the liquids and intensifies the taste. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bitter! But cooking the sweet potatoes this way? They never turn out bitter.

  3. Elizabeth

    These potatoes look fantastic! For another easy, delicious idea, simply toss sweet potato chunks with olive oil, fresh rosemary, and a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven and then devour. Yum.

  4. CC

    Watching you two dance your way through the sweet potato recipe was sweet! And watching the ingredients mingle and cook made my mouth water….i swear i could smell it cooking!
    Since sweet potatoes are high on my list of favorite foods, I bought double the ingredients, hoping my 3 boys would leave some for leftovers.

  5. JC

    Do you think it would be ok to mostly cook them the day before then throw them in the oven with the turkey to warm up before serving?

  6. Jenny

    Made these for a work Thanksgiving potluck. Great recipe! Everyone raved. I’ll be serving this next week to my family too. Thank you!

  7. Ruth

    Would these still be great without the smoked paprika, or can you suggest a substitute. I am also nightshade intolerant so cannot eat tomatoes, potatoes (other than sweet potatoes), peppers (other than black pepper) or eggplant. It really limits my diet and I miss Mexican and Italian foods so much! I sometimes substitute horseradish or mustard for a bit of bite, but not sure what to do here or just to skip it. Sweet potatoes are so good anyway I might not miss it?
    Thanks for the great website and recipes. I have pored over a couple of your cookbooks and gotten more confidence in feeding myself this past year!

    1. shauna

      Hey Ruth, the smoked paprika is just a suggestion. We don’t want you getting sick! Try a little horseradish. It would a slightly different dish but it will be yours!

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