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Published November 1, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These candied yams are deliciously sweet, and oven-baked to perfection for the perfect Fall and Winter side dish recipe.
We absolutely love an abundance of side dishes with every meal. What can I say, we like options. If you are looking to expand your potato side dish recipes then for sure check out how to make au gratin potatoes or sweet potato casserole.
Candied yams have been a southern recipe staple for more than 100 years. While enhancing the sweetness of sweet potatoes or yams has been around since the early days of the US, it’s now most commonly enjoyed for Thanksgiving.
Candied yams are a tasty combination of fat, sugar, and sweet potatoes that are baked until the potatoes are tender and sweet. Here are some common ingredients used:
- Yams or Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Sugar
Are Yams and Sweet Potatoes the Same Thing?
While Yams and sweet potatoes maybe a little similar in flavor, they are completely different vegetables. Sweet potatoes in America are often referred to as yams because they are indigenously grown here, while yams are native to Africa. Here are the main differences:
- Yams – dark bark-like skin with white creamy interior flesh. They tend to be on the drier side and are not nearly as sweet as sweet potatoes.
- Sweet Potatoes – these can come in a variety of colors, but the Garnett sweet potatoes are commonly used in recipes in the US. They have a pink-orange exterior and a pink-orange interior flesh. They are a little dry but are very sweet, especially after cooking.
How to Make Candied Yams
Follow these simple instructions for making these delicious, candied yams:
Peel and thickly slice the yams or sweet potatoes and place them in a very large bowl.
Heat together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until the butter is melted and the mixture is combined.
Pour the butter and brown sugar mixture over top of the hams or sweet potatoes and mix until coated.
Transfer to a 13×9 or similar-sized casserole dish and cover with foil.
Bake in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes, remove from the oven, stir and place back in the oven for another 45 minutes or until the yams or sweet potatoes are very tender.
Do You Boil Yams Before Baking?
You can absolutely bake the yams or sweet potatoes ahead of time once they are peeled and sliced. Doing this will help eliminate cooking times in the oven. Here is what you do:
- Add the sweet potatoes to a large pot of boiling salted water and boil for 4-6 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the water and completely strain them before coating them in the melted butter and brown sugar mixture.
- Bake in the oven at 375° for 25-30 minutes.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make these up to 1 hour ahead of time. Keep covered and warm before serving.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. These do not freeze all that well.
How to Reheat: Place the desired amount into a small casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake in the oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until warm. You can also heat in the microwave until warm.
chef notes + tips
- Feel free to use any color sweet potato or yam for this recipe.
- You may also add ½ teaspoon of ground ginger and ground cloves to the mix.
More Potato Recipes
Delicious Candied Yams Recipe
- 2 pounds peeled and thickly sliced yams or sweet potatoes
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Add the yams or sweet potatoes to a large bowl and set aside.
- Put the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-size pan or pot and heat over low heat while whisking until the butter is melted and the mixture is combined.
- Pour the butter-brown sugar mixture over top of the yams or sweet potatoes in the bowl and thoroughly mix until coated.
- Transfer the mixture to a 13×9 casserole or a similar sized baking dish and cover in foil or a lid.
- Bake in the oven at 375° for 45, remove from the oven, stir and place back in the oven for another 45 minutes or until the yams or sweet potatoes are very tender.