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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

Let me introduce you to something amazing. Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes with savory cider caramel. There’s butternut squash in there, too. You probably haven’t had sweet potatoes or butternut squash like this. I’ve never been a fan of overly-candied sweet potatoes (or candied yams) because I’ve always found them to be too sweet! I never saw the point in dumping multiple cups of sugar, syrup, and marshmallows on top of already-sweet sweet potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to add additional sweetness, but it needs balance. So here we are.

Balance is key. Root vegetables such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc. can really be somewhat blank slates. Giving them robust flavors is just what they’re begging for. Point is, if you’re going to add some sweetness, also add some savory. Not just salt and pepper. Give them garlic, onion, heat, etc. It’s a wonderful depth of flavor, one you’ll love and lust for every Holiday season.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

Savory Cider Caramel

This stuff is a game-changer. Don’t read the word “caramel” and run for the hills. This is fool-proof caramel, you don’t even need a thermometer or any other nifty necessary kitchen gadgets. The hardest part? Reducing the apple cider. Dassit. Because after that, all you’re doing is dumping everything else in and bringing it to a fluffy boil. Then, when it’s thickened up, you turn off the heat and add the vanilla. Boom. Did I mention that it’s goddamn delicious?!

Be warned, there’s a lot of spices in this stuff. I promise that 90% of it is already laying up in your spice cabinet. Maybe you don’t have pink peppercorns, and that’s fine — leave them out. Maybe you don’t have star anise…well, get some. But if you don’t have it or can’t find it, just leave it out. Everything else though? Use it.

spices and seasonings

Whole lotta gang sh*t! This is our bounty of spices and seasonings. All necessary, all delicious.

apple cider

Pour in the apple cider.

apple cider boiling

Bring it to a boil over medium heat.

stirring boiling apple cider

Stir it often to prevent it from scorching.

reducing apple cider

Almost there.

reduced apple cider

We’re nearly there!

reduced apple cider

Now we’ve got 1/4 cup of reduced apple cider. Yay.


Add the butter.

making savory caramel

Pour in the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, balsamic vinegar.

making savory caramel

Stir until smooth.

adding spices to savory caramel

Now, add all of the spices!

making savory caramel

Stir stir stir until everything is dissolved and blended.

making savory caramel

Keep stirring, and let it slowly come to a simmer over medium heat.

adding cream to savory caramel

When the butter is melted, add the heavy cream.

making savory caramel

Stir stir stir.

adding garlic to savory caramel

Add the garlic!

boiling savory caramel

Now we have boil’age. Adjust heat if you need to, but this is exactly how we want it to simmer. Again, medium heat, but if you need to go to medium-low, do that!

adding herbs to savory caramel

Add the rosemary and sage.

adding herbs to savory caramel

And the thyme.

thickened up savory caramel

About 8 to 12 minutes later, it’s thickened up and even darkened a bit.

turn off savory caramel

Turn off the heat.

adding vanilla to savory caramel

Add the vanilla extract.

removing thyme stems from savory caramel

Remove the thyme stem. Let this mixture cool. You should have about 2 cups of caramel.

sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Sweet potatoes and butternut squash. You can use all sweet potato, or all butternut. Or, add carrot to this mixture. It’s up to you.

adding olive oil to sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Lube it up good, drizzle with olive oil. Not too much, just enough so every piece is shiny and coated.

adding salt and pepper to sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

adding salt and pepper to sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Toss to coat.

adding salt and pepper to sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Now, either cover your baking dish tightly with foil, or use a lid that fits your baking dish. Put this in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

fork tender sweet potatoes and butternut squash

After 25 to 30 minutes, the veggies should be fork tender, but not mushy.

adding savory caramel to sweet potatoes and butternut squash

Pour over about a cup or so of caramel. You won’t use it all…unless you have more veggies than I’m using here.

tossing roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash with savory caramel

Gently toss to coat. Don’t be too rough. Roast uncovered for an additional 35-40 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

40 minutes later…my god. these are CRACK!!!

Caramelsweetpotatoes33 Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

What happens during the second roast? Well, I’ll tell you. The caramel bubbles and soaks into the sweet potatoes and butternut squash. It hugs and glazes each piece, and the heat turns the sugars into darkened bits of charred caramel. They get candied, but not hurt-your-teeth-candied. Perfection is what happens. Aromas invade your nostrils as it goes down, and you’ll find yourself gazing into the oven as it roasts, praying for it to hurry up so you can finally taste it.

I can’t wrap my head around how incredibly delicious this side dish is. It’s addicting, perfectly balanced, sweet, savory, spicy, warm…whew! My sweet and savory lovers — you’re really going to enjoy this one.

Make Ahead?

You can totally make this caramel in advance. Store it in a quart container and keep it on your counter for up to 2 days, or in your fridge for up to a week. Need to make this dish in full a few days ahead? Simply freeze it. Take it out of the freezer the night before you plan on eating, and put it in your fridge. Then, remove it from your fridge at least one full hour before you’re ready to reheat it in the oven. A good reheating temp would be 350 degrees.

*Bringing cold things to room temperature so they can be reheated evenly always smart.

Want more cider caramel? Try these Dutch Apple Cheesecake Blondies. They’re unreal AF!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Savory Cider Caramel

  • Author: Chef Resha
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 - 10 servings


Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash glazed with a rich savory cider caramel. For all of you who love savory sweet potatoes, this one is for you.


  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/22 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2lbs), cut into 1-inch pieces (SEE NOTE)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Big pinch salt and pepper, to taste

For the savory caramel

  • 1 cup apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown sugar is fine)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (SEE NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 star anise (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Don’t be intimidated by this caramel. It doesn’t require any thermometers, and after you reduce the apple cider, all you do is pretty much dump everything in and let it reduce and thicken. You got this!

  1. In a medium or large pot with high sides, reduce the apple cider to 1/4 to 1/3 cup over medium heat, stirring occasionally — about 8-10 minutes. 
  2. When it’s reduced, add the butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and molasses. Stir to combine until smooth. Add the minced garlic, the fresh herbs, and all of the seasonings/spices. Pour in the heavy cream. Allow this mixture to simmer over medium-heat to reduce and thicken, about 10-12 minutes, stirring often. You’re looking for a darkened and visibly thicker caramel, but not gloopy thick. When it coats your rubber spatula nicely, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. The caramel will thicken even more as it stands. Let it cool slightly while you proceed with the root vegetables. 
  3. In a large baking dish, add the sweet potato and butternut squash pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough so each piece is lubricated — it shouldn’t be swimming in oil. Sprinkle evenly with a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Cover with foil or a lid that fits your baking dish, and bake for about 30 minutes, or just until fork tender but not mushy.
  5. Remove from oven, and drizzle with a good amount of the caramel. Gently toss to coat. Return to oven uncovered, and let it roast for an additional 40 minutes, or until lightly charred and caramelized in spots. 
  6. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired. Remove and discard the star anise!
  7. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.


Kosher salt has a larger flake, and doesn’t taste as harshly salty as a finer table salt. You can use any salt you have, but use less of it if it’s not a large flake like Kosher salt.

You can leave out the butternut squash and swap it for more sweet potato if you desire.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: sides, thanksgiving

Keywords: roasted sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash, savory caramel

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Recipe rating

  1. Michelle says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    This dish is a sweet and savory delight and I am obsessed. Extremely flavorful; I cannot fathom going back to “basic” candied yams that I usually make each year. I’ve always tried to ‘doctor them up’ with ginger and some citrus juice, etc., but Chef Resha has come to the rescue with this recipe that is unparalleled. The true test – my family was super skeptical when I told them that I wasn’t making the traditional candied yams last Thanksgiving, but they ended up being super impressed! We have a winner! ★★★★★
  2. Tiffani says:

    I am so mad at myself for not making this for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but, a pre-birthday dinner was just as good. This will be the only way I make candied yams from now on. And glad to know I can make the caramel in advance.

  3. LauraMC says:

    Best best best sweet potatoes and butternut squash recipe I’ve ever had!! A true winner. The only thing I am adjusting next time I make this for my four year old daughter is to either remove or reduce the amount of cayenne and red pepper flakes because she won’t eat anything spicy. However, I like having some kick in my food. Followed everything to a T and it was divine. There’s like 50 ingredients and you can taste each and every one of them 🙂

  4. Solace Armah says:

    Hi Chef!
    I’m cooking this dish this weekend – but I am struggling to find apple cider. I’m from London and apart from cider vinegar the other cider we have is an alcoholic beverage. Any recommendations?


  5. Helen Lymburner says:

    I had to make this recipe a day ahead because not enough room in my oven for everything. When I reheat I assume I reheat it uncovered? I love your recipes. I copy almost every one I get in the email.

  6. Gerria says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    I made this for Thanksgiving and loved it! Other than sweet potatoes and butternut squash, I’m wondering what else I could pair with the leftover savory caramel ?
  7. Erica says:

    Resha, you said see note about the butternut squash but I don’t aee one. Am I missing it?