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Candied yams are a classic holiday side dish that’s an outstanding addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but they are also terrific to serve year-round. Sweet potatoes cooked with brown sugar, butter, and warm spices are a family favorite and downright irresistible!
Candied yams are always on the top of the list when it comes to must-make recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have the best memories of spooning a big helping onto my plate and savoring every sweet, sticky bite. There’s just nothing like soft, buttery sweet potatoes alongside tender green beans and a slice of turkey or ham. It’s downright perfection.
Making this dish for my family is one of the highlights of my day when I cook during the holidays. It makes my heart full knowing I’m sharing something special that my boys will cherish for years.
What You Need To Make This Recipe
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Nutmeg
- Kosher Salt
Scroll Down For Measurements And Instructions
What’s The Difference Between Yams And Sweet Potatoes?
Even though people call yams sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes yams, there is a difference. Yams are a root vegetable found in Africa and Asia. They have brown, rough skin and white flesh. Sweet potatoes, grown in the Americas, are also root vegetables with smooth skin and orange flesh and are easily found in your local grocery store. Sweet potatoes are much sweeter and creamier, making them perfect for “candied yams.”
How To Make Southern Candied Yam
This is a three-step cooking process that’s super easy to master.
- First, scrub and peel the sweet potatoes, then cut them into rounds. Place them in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until tender on the edges but still firm in the middle.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the sugar mixture in a small saucepan with brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, spices, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
- Drain the potatoes, put them back in the pot, and pour over the syrup. Gently stir to coat the potatoes. Spoon the potatoes into a baking dish and cook in the oven until soft in the middle and the syrup has caramelized.
What? No marshmallows? It may be a bit controversial, but I don’t use mini marshmallows in my candied yams recipe. But you can! Once the candied yams are done cooking, sprinkle miniature marshmallows over the potatoes and place them under the broiler for a few seconds until browned and melted.
Often Asked Questions
Once the potatoes are coated in the sugar syrup, they need to cook in the oven until soft and tender in the middle, which takes about 30 to 35 minutes.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with minerals and Vitamins A, B and C, making them a superfood.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More Sweet Potato Recipes
- Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Soup
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries With Dipping Sauce
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Craving More Thanksgiving Classics? Try These:
- 3 pounds peeled sweet potatoes
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Slice sweet potatoes into rounds and place in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender on the edges but slightly firm in the middle. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the cooking pot.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the sugar syrup by adding the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla and salt to a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the sugar mixture over the sweet potatoes. Gently stir to coat the potatoes, then place them into a baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and carefully toss in potatoes in the syrup. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are done and the syrup has caramelized.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.