Smoky Spiced-Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Chipotle, cumin, and coriander add smoke, heat, and spice to these incredibly sweet roasted sweet potatoes and toasted pecans.

A bowl of smoky spiced pecan roasted sweet potatoes

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Par-cooking the potatoes in 160°F (70°C) 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, browning and crisping them better and faster.

Sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side. But if you want to go bolder, turn to your spice cabinet. I pulled together a trio of smoky chipotle powder, funky cumin, and citrusy coriander seed to create a complex seasoning. For more richness and a bit of crunch to play off all that smoky spice, I also grabbed some pecans.

Preparing this version couldn't be easier. While the potatoes are roasting, I pour some oil into a small skillet, add the spices, and heat them together until the spices have bloomed, meaning until they've developed a deep, toasty flavor that soaks into the oil. Then I crumble and add the pecans, and toss it all together to coat. A little brown sugar helps offset some of that bitter, smoky spice. Fold this spiced-nut mixture with the potatoes before serving.

For a version that’s traditional, but more sophisticated than marshmallows, try this brown butter rosemary recipe. If you prefer savory sweet potatoes, a miso scallion variation is worth a try.

October 2016

Recipe Details

Smoky Spiced-Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

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

Chipotle, cumin, and coriander add smoke, heat, and spice to these incredibly sweet roasted sweet potatoes and toasted pecans.


  • 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 seeds

  • 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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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
377 Calories
24g Fat
38g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 377
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 250mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 32mg 158%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 863mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)