Retro Rose’s Legendary Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes

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Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes

I am republishing this post in honor of Retro Rose, who passed away this week. I wish I could have one more day, and one more time to see her make her signature dish.

I don’t usually eat food dripping in buttery, browned sugar, but I make exceptions and my mom’s Candied Sweet Potatoes are one of those. Once you’ve eaten these (even if you don’t have a sweet tooth), you’ll be hooked.

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes from Retro Rose by Angela Roberts

Retro Rose was and still is my mother. She cooked very differently from me. She cooked more old school, and while I take notes from the past, I tend to go a slightly more modern, healthier route. There are exceptions. There are holidays, Sundays and just because I need retro food to feel good days.

I named her Retro Rose, because she loved antiques, especially vintage pictures. I named her Retro Rose because she is/was a retro cook, and I mean that in a good way. She cooked from scratch , and it was her dishes that people wanted the recipe. There never was a recipe. I have one here for the Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes because she came over one year before Thanksgiving and made them so I could post them here.

I remember oranges and maple syrup flying and no shortage of brown sugar. The cinnamon stick always made me feel nostalgic, guaranteeing this dish to be one with many layers of flavor and sweet, while still being balanced.

It’s only been a few days, and I can’t fathom that she is not here. She loved to talk about recipes, especially starting a month before any holiday. I think she liked the food conversation and planning better than the eating.

Retro Rose passed away at age 84. She drove and made her own meals right up to the last week. She touched people in an unusual way. I had friends break down and deeply cry, even friends that knew her briefly. The lady behind the cash register broke down, and we are still concerned about how to tell her nail guy and hair dresser. Her doctor was grief stricken and said over and over how he will miss her. Her neighbors are young as she lived in an apartment and not senior living. They are crushed.

We will be celebrating her life the week before Thanksgiving, and I have to grapple with how to handle this. She liked spaghetti and meatballs, cheeseburgers, donuts and bagels.

I hope you make these candied sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving and make these sweet potato biscuits with the leftovers. She will be smiling down.

More Thanksgiving Food

The fresh turkey is dry brined, and then roasted in cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth Roasted Turkey from Spinach Tiger

Retro Rose will bring the Pennsylvania Dutch Corn Pudding.

Baked Corn Pudding with a Shallots by Angela Roberts

I’ll be making roasted brussels sprouts and a pear and pomegranate salad and sweet potato biscuits. I’ve already made a medley of pies, blackberry, apple and pumpkin. Corn bread stuffing will arrive with cranberry sauce and wine. Retro Rose’s friend Eleanor will bring her violin.

Candied Sweet Potato Biscuits by Angela Roberts

A lot of fuss for one day, but we revel in this. It’s the one day of the year we indulge in making memories.

The Process for Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes

When you have leftovers, use them to make biscuits and sweet potato pie.

Two Ways to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie by Angela Roberts

Thanksgiving is the best holiday for material for family movies. Families that are a little kooky, (who’s isn’t), and there are always reminders of harsh family moments along with the best family moments. I think food is the cushion for the drama, the disappointments, the broken hearts.

Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes by Angela Robert

If we can connect a loving moment with a taste of stuffing, we fare better, because it’s been my experience that even when a person has disappointed me, I am a lot more forgiving when there is food as a peace offering.

We all have moments in our life we wish never happened, but a good meal is not one of them. When I ate Retro Rose’s stove top candied sweet potatoes, all I saw was a sweet Italian mama, cooking with love (which she is good at).

Thanksgiving Recipes

Print Recipe
4.22 from 14 votes

Retro Rose's Legendary Stove Top Candied Sweet Potatoes

My Mom's Legendary Candied Sweet Potatoes with brown sugar, butter, orange and cinnamon.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar see notes
  • 8 sweet potatoes peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks order here
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 large naval orange cut into 4 pieces


  • Cut sweet potatoes across into 1/2 discs.
  • In a dutch oven (large enough to fit all sweet potatoes), melt the butter with brown sugar. Add cinnamon, ground cloves.
  • Add in sweet potatoes.
  • Squeeze oranges over potatoes. Put orange skins in pot.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add in cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and apple juice, (can add water or orange juice). You will need to judge how necessary adding liquid is.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes or so.


substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar with 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

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  2. When a great city, we learned a lot of lessons from life. There are lessons fun and excitement, but besides that we also have to accept the face of things that did not desire itself. But the life that never gives us what choice?

  3. Hi Angela!

    This recipe, looks amazing! I am trying it now. The recipe calls for apple juice, but the directions never say when to use it! Can you clarify at what point in the process the apple juice should be added?

    Thank you!!!

  4. Oh my heavens these look good! Angela, old school or new school, I love this recipe. As a sweet potato addict this is being added to my recipe file. Just beautiful. Happy, happy Thanksgiving week my friend.

    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Teresa. My mom is thrilled. She’s says she’s now famous. So thankful to have good blogging friends like you.

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  6. Boy can I did into these. My mom had a similar version. I think what I like the most of thanksgiving outside of family and friends is my sweet potatoes…I take this time to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving…

  7. 5 stars
    Mmm, sounds like your mom and my mom are twins, separated at birth! She cooks with lots of butter and sugar and lard and all the goodies . . . this recipe does look yummy!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Angela. The table will be groaning with delicious foods no doubt. Plenty to be thankful about.

  9. Love it!!! I bet this is amazing! Adding this to my Thanksgiving menu. Tell your mom, thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.

4.22 from 14 votes (11 ratings without comment)