Smoky Spiced-Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Par-cooking the potatoes in 160°F water enhances the development of simple sugars, leading to sweeter and more flavorful roast potatoes.
  • Roasting the potatoes on aluminum baking sheets conducts more heat to them, browning and crisping them better and faster.

A combination of chipotle powder, cumin, and ground coriander seed adds smoke, heat, and spice to these incredibly sweet roasted sweet potatoes and toasted pecans.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • 3 pounds (1.4kg) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 5 tablespoons (75ml) vegetable or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) chipotle powder
  • 1 cup crushed pecans (6 ounces; 170g)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced sage leaves (about 5 leaves)


  1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat water to 160°F (70°C) as registered on an instant-read thermometer. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.

  2. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drain sweet potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 3 tablespoons (45ml) oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread sweet potatoes on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast until bottom sides are browned, about 30 minutes. Carefully flip potatoes with a thin spatula and roast until second side is browned and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes longer.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil with cumin, coriander, and chipotle powder and cook over medium-high heat, stirring and swirling, until spices are fragrant and toasty, 1 minute. Add pecans and toss to coat with spiced oil. Continue cooking until pecans are lightly toasted, 1 minute. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and stir until well combined and melted, about 1 minute. Season with salt.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, spiced pecans and their oil, and minced sage and toss to combine. Serve right away, or set aside until ready to serve and reheat before serving.

Special equipment

Aluminum rimmed baking sheets, instant-read thermometer

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