This sweet potato recipe was passed onto me by my Aunt Barb and she just told me she first remembers eating it at her Aunt’s home for Thanksgiving when she was a little girl. So it’s been in our family for over 40 years. When something has been around for 40 years and people are still making it, you know it’s good! I know this recipe has already become a favorite for a lot of you out there since I first shared it last year, but I decided it needed a little make-over and some new pictures. I altered the recipe a bit based partly on your comments! It was no secret these were very sweet, so I played around with it and found I could cut down the sugar by quite a bit. (From one cup to 6 tablespoons!) I also cut down the butter by a couple of tablespoons in the sweet potatoes and a couple of tablespoons in the topping. So all in all I removed almost 2/3 cup sugar and a half a stick of butter- but it still tastes sweet and rich and perfect. Now you can spend those calories on an extra slice of pie 😉 I also used fresh sweet potatoes after shocking some of you foodies by admitting that my family has been making this with canned ones for years. Honestly folks? there’s not all that much difference in the finished product, so I say go with whatever your little heart desires.

Before we start I also have to add in a note about the infamous yam vs. sweetpotatoconundrum since I know at least one person is bound to ask. The words “yams” and “sweet potatoes” are used pretty much interchangeably in the US, but the truth is that the two things are as closely related as me and the pencil sitting to my side. Chances are most of you have never even eaten a true yam. They’re really only sold in specialty ethnic markets and even then you probably wouldn’t know what to do with it. So when you see “Yam”, it’s probably really a sweet potato. Strangely enough, some sweet potato growers still label their cans “yams” even though they’re actually sweet potatoes. Weird, eh? I heard they are legally required now to put it on the can somewhere but I don’t know if they do. So if you buy canned “Yams” you’re good, because they’re not yams at all. Clear as mud?  Just buy the orange ones :)

Fyi, if you only want to make a half-batch, like to put in n 8×8 pan or pie plate, then those mini cans of sweetened condensed milk are the exact amount you need- just one mini can. I show a picture of the mini cans in this post. Also refer to that post if you make a full batch, and you’re wondering how to use the other half of that can of sweetened condensed milk.

(If you’re looking for the previous version of this recipe, increase butter in both the topping and the sweet potatoes to 1 stick each and increase sugar in sweet potatoes to 1 C)

Candied Coconut Sweet Potatoes
Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Sara’s Family Recipe
*note, this recipe has been edited since its original posting

4 C mashed Sweet potatoes (about 4 med sweet potatoes or  two 29 ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
6 Tbs Sugar
6 Tbs butter (no margarine), softened or melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 of a 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1 t vanilla

If you’re feeling naughty you can double this part :)

1 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C sweetened coconut flakes
6 Tbs melted butter

Note: You can make these up to a day or two ahead of time, just keep them well covered in the fridge and don’t put the topping on until just before baking. If using fresh sweet potatoes, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick each sweet potato with a fork and place on foil in the oven. Cook for 40-60 minutes or until tender.

Once they’ve cooled enough to handle, slice in half and scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl.

To the mixing bowl add in sugar, butter, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Your butter should be soft enough to blend up easily so nuke it in the microwave before you add it to the bowl if you need to.

You could mash it all up by hand, but an electric mixer works great. I don’t like it completely pureed, so I mix it just until everything is incorporated but there are still some sweet potatoes in larger chunks.

Spread this mixture evenly into a 9 x 13 pan.

For the topping, combine brown sugar and coconut and then pour melted butter over and combine. Mmm…

Take a pinch of the buttery-sugary mixture and put it in your mouth. Chew. Swallow. Then sprinkle the rest evenly over the sweet potatoes in the pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes. It will be more or less depending on the size of dish you use, whether you double the topping, etc. But the top should be nice and browned and bubbly so just keep an eye on it.

The sugar and butter caramelize the coconut to create crunchy, chewy, sweet, thanksgiving-y heaven in a pan:

Did I mention kids will eat this like candy? Probably because it pretty much is candy. But who doesn’t like a side of candy with their turkey??

Make these for your holiday and be the star of the party!

Make these for your holiday and be the star of the party!Got extra sweet potatoes? Try one of the most popular recipes on our site, Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

How about sweetened condensed milk? Use part of a can for this Hot Fudge Sauce, or the equally delicious Ulitmate Hot Chocolate. Got more? Go for Key Lime Tarts or Banana Cream Pie!
Coconut on the brain? Try our Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers , Chewy Cereal Mix, or Frozen Pina Colada Pops!

Candied Coconut Sweet Potatoes from Our Best Bites

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