Simple Candied Yams Recipe - Easy to Make! (2024)

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When the holiday season arrives, our local grocery store shelves stocked with vibrant and versatile sweet potatoes. These bright orange-fleshed root vegetables are the key ingredient in candied yams!

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This easy candied yams recipe is a perfect holiday side dish or for special occasions.... The brown sugar glaze, warm spices like ground cinnamon and nutmeg, and a touch of real vanilla extract, make these yams the perfect addition to your holiday meal.

Whether you're a seasoned food writer or a home cook with a sweet tooth, this classic southern side dish is sure to please. With its mouthwatering combination of sweet potatoes, a delicious sauce, and the convenience of preparation, it's the only way to enjoy candied yams. So, grab your casserole dish, aluminum foil, and those fresh yams or sweet potatoes from the grocery store and make the perfect holiday side dish... It will be a family favorite for years to come!

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  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Recipe Card
  • Candied Yams
  • Notes
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Sweet Potatoes:The star of the show, sweet potatoes, provide the base for this candied yams recipe. Their bright orange flesh adds natural sweetness and texture, make them the perfect root vegetable.

Brown Sugar:The dark brown sugar, in particular, enhances the depth of the glaze, making it the best part of the dish.

Butter:Butter is the vehicle for flavor in this recipe. It's used to create a luscious caramelized mixture. The richness of salted or unsalted butter can be chosen based on personal preference.

Cinnamon & Nutmeg:These warm spices infuse the candied yams sweetness and depth, and a hint of earthy warmth.

Vanilla Extract:Real vanilla extract contributes a touch of sophistication to the candied yams, enhancing the overall flavor profile with its aromatic notes.

Salt:A pinch of salt balances the sweetness of the dish, accentuating the other flavors while preventing it from becoming overly sugary.

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Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Step 2: Select the Best Sweet Potatoes at the Grocery Store

Before diving into preparation, visit your local grocery store to pick up fresh sweet potatoes, the bright orange-fleshed gems that are synonymous with classic southern cuisine.

Step 3: Preparing the Sweet Potatoes

Begin by washing and carefully peeling them. These root vegetables are essential for achieving the sweet, hearty goodness of candied yams. After peeling, slice the sweet potatoes into pieces that are approximately ¼ - ½ inch thick.

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Step 4: Creating the Brown Sugar Glaze

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, you'll craft the essential component of your candied yams: the brown sugar glaze.

  • Butter:Butter, whether salted or unsalted, will be the foundation of your glaze. It will melt and create a luscious base to coat the sweet potatoes, imparting a rich, buttery goodness to every bite.
  • Brown Sugar:Brown sugar, especially dark brown sugar, is the superstar here. It's what imparts the desired sweetness and depth, elevating your candied yams to perfection.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg:These warm spices, whether ground or as a cinnamon stick, add a comforting, aromatic touch to the glaze. Cinnamon introduces sweetness and a hint of spiciness, while nutmeg brings earthy warmth.
  • Vanilla Extract:Real vanilla extract contributes sophistication to your candied yams, enhancing the overall flavor profile with its sweet and aromatic notes.
  • Salt:A pinch of salt is essential for balance. It amplifies the other flavors while preventing the dish from becoming overly sugary. It's the secret to a harmonious taste.
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Step 5: Coating the Sweet Potatoes

Pour the caramel-like glaze over the sliced sweet potatoes, aiming to coat every piece with the buttery, syrupy sauce. This combination will create a delightful balance of flavors, thanks to the dark brown sugar and the sweet potatoes' natural goodness.

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Step 6: Bake Candied Yams

To ensure that your yams cook to perfection, cover your baking dish with aluminum foil, ensuring you cut good 1 inch vent holes in all four corners. This crucial step prevents excess moisture from turning your dish soupy and guarantees that the sweet potatoes become beautifully candied:

  • Bake your candied yams in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. This duration allows the flavors to meld, and the sweet potatoes to absorb the sumptuous glaze.

Step 7: Turning

After the first 30 minutes of baking, remove the baking dish from the oven. Turn the yams to ensure they are evenly coated with the luscious candied sauce:

  • This step is vital, as it guarantees that every piece of sweet potato is consistently coated with the caramelized mixture, ensuring a uniform flavor throughout.
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Step 8: Finish Baking Process

Re-cover the yams with the vented aluminum foil and set the timer for an additional 25 minutes: then remove foil for 10 minutes of uncovered baking.

  • This second round of baking allows the glaze to penetrate deeper, creating a delectably candied exterior and a tender.

Step 9: Let Candied Yams Cool

Remove the candied yams from the oven, and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before serving:

Recipe Card

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Candied Yams

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Additional Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Heavenly caramelized candied yams are sticky and good and so easy to make!


  • 6 medium-sized "red yams" or sweet potatoes peeled and sliced.
  • 8tbspsalted butter (If you are watching your salt intake, You can also use unsalted butter. I just like the flavor of salted butter better!)
  • 1teaspoonground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick broke in half.
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼cupgranulated white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (Don't skimp on the dark brown sugar, it makes the best part of this dish!)
  • 1tbspreal vanilla extract


  1. First Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Then wash your yams.
  • Peel, then chop yams into about ¼ - ½ inch thick slices.
  • Place your yams into a 9x13 casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan:

  • Place the butter into a medium-sized pot, and melt it over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted, add white & brown sugar, ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick, and ground nutmeg.
  • Let it come to a simmer to melt sugar, stir while simmering for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the stove off and give it a good mix, then add the vanilla extract.


  • Pour the candied caramel sauce over the "yams", trying to coat all the yams with the sauce.
  • Cover your baking dish with aluminum foil, and cut good 1 inch vent holes on the top in all 4 corners. (If you don't cut vent the holes there is too much moisture in the pan and it becomes soupy instead of candied.)
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove your baking dish from the oven after 30 minutes, and turn the yams to coat them all again in the candied sauce.
  • Cover your yams with the same vented aluminum foil again, and set your timer to bake for another 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil, and bake 10 more minutes.
  • Remove candied yams from the oven, and let them cool on the counter for 10 mins before your serve.
  • And Enjoy this perfect side dish!

Did you make this recipe?

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Leftovers:If you find yourself with leftover candied yams, store them in an airtight container. They can be enjoyed the next day and make a great addition to a variety of meals.

Pairing:Candied yams are a classic side dish often enjoyed during holiday dinners, but they're versatile and pair well with a variety of meats like ham or green beans.

True Yams:In the United States, the term "yams" is often used interchangeably with sweet potatoes, but true yams can be found at international markets. For this recipe, we use the more commonly available sweet potatoes.


Medium-Sized Pot:A medium pot is essential for creating the brown sugar glaze. It's where the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract come together to form the luscious candied mixture.

Aluminum Foil:Use aluminum foil to cover the baking dish. Be sure to cut vent holes in the foil to regulate the moisture levels during baking. This ensures your candied yams are perfectly textured and not overly soupy.

Airtight Container:If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for the next day.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Sweet Potato side dishes grace Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. From sweet potato pies to sweet potato casserole, these delicious recipes are a big part of holiday traditions. Serve Candied yams with:

How to Roast A Turkey

Smoked Turkey

How to Cook a 30 pound Turkey

Old Fashioned Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole

Old Fashioned Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Gravy From Scratch

Candied Yams

Pecan Pie

Candied Yams SOURCES

Culinary Institute of America


What's the difference between candied yams and sweet potatoes?

The main difference is that true yams are starchy tubers with rough, dark skin, while sweet potatoes are a type of root vegetable with orange or white flesh and a different flavor and texture.

Are candied yams just sweet potatoes?

"candied yams" in the U.S. refers to a sweet potato dish, not true yams.

Do I have to boil yams before baking?

No you don't! Wash, peel and slice them ¼ inch thick. Then pour glaze over top, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, give them a turn, cover with foil and continue baking for 25-30 more minutes.

Can you cook sweet potatoes the same as yams?

You can cook sweet potatoes and yams in similar ways because they have similar textures and flavors, but they may require slight adjustments in cooking times based on their specific size and moisture content. "Candied yams" in the U.S. refers to a sweet potato dish, not true yams.

Simple Candied Yams Recipe - Easy to Make! (2024)


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