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Easy Candied Yams is a delicious side dish that combines sweet yams, with butter, sugar, and spices. Rich, tender, and full of flavor. Sure to be popular with everyone at the table.
This recipe pairs well with your favorite protein and side dish of green or Garlic Green Beans for a complete meal. Also, if you love the flavor of sweet potato, then you should try making an Easy Sweet Potato Pie.
Candied yams are a southern staple and soul food classic. They are the perfect combination of sweet potato, butter, sugar, and spices.
Sweet, buttery, caramelized goodness.
For years I avoided making these because my mom makes the best version and so I didn’t feel it was necessary for me to take on the task of making this dish. I didn’t even bother to learn. It just wasn’t important. That is until recently when I was craving them and didn’t want to bother asking my mom to whip up a batch.
I chose to give her a call and ask her how to make them and was floored when she told me how easy it is to make them. Her version requires making the syrup separately and pouring it on top of the cooked sweet potatoes. However, this is the lazy gal version and it turns out just as delicious.
Let’s get started!
What is a Candied Yam?
A candied yam is a southern classic dish that is actually made using sweet potato. The sweet potato is cut into pieces and covered with butter and two different types of sugar. Once heated the mixture combines to create a sweet and buttery syrup that carmelizes the sweet potato pieces to make candied yams.
Do yams and sweet potatoes taste the same?
No, they do not. Real yams are native to Africa and are a root vegetable that looks similar to the bark of a tree. It has a more starchy flavor, similar to a regular potato. Yams can be purchased in speciality markets.
Sweet potatoes are more commonly found in grocery stores. They are sweet and have a reddish-brown outer skin with an orange sweet flesh in the center. It is not uncommon for sweet potatoes to be labeled as yams in supermarkets.
What ingredients are needed for Candied Yams?
- Yams – These are most commonly referred to as sweet potatoes in the produce section at most grocery stores. They may also be labeled as Mississippi red sweet potatoes or yams. Again, if yams, make sure that it looks like an orange potato with a red outer skin and not tree bark, which is actually a yam and is not sweet.
- Ground Cinnamon – Make sure it is pure ground cinnamon without any additional ingredients added to it.
- Ground Nutmeg – This spice certaily makes a difference, so definitely do not omit.
- Brown Sugar – For this ingredient, you can use light or dark brown sugar. The dark brown sugar contains more molasses and adds a richer flavor. The light brown sugar is sweet and similar to cane sugar. Either is fine, I have used them both to make this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar – As called white or cane sugar, works well to balance out the sweet flavors in this recipe.
- Butter – Use salted or unsalted butter in your favorite brand.
See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities.
How to Make the Best Candied Yams:
Place the cut yams into a pot and cover with water. Bring the yams to a low rolling boil and cook until they have a bite and can be pierced with a fork.
Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and grab a square baking dish. Drain the water off the yams and carefully pour evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
Sprinkle the top of the cooked yams evenly with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Spread the granulated sugar and brown sugar over the yams to evenly distribute.
Top with the cubes of butter evenly over the top.
Place the yams into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. The butter should be melted and the candied mixture at the bottom of the baking dish. Remove the baking dish from the oven and gently toss the candied yams to evenly cover the mixture.
Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the yams are fork-tender. Serve while still warm as a side dish to compliment any meal.
The yams (sweet potatoes) can be cooked/boiled 1 day ahead and refrigerated overnight to use the next day.
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The butter may solidify, but it will melt upon reheating. Simply stir to incorporate before serving.
Easy Candied Yams
- 5 large yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut in large chunks
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, cubed
- Place the cut yams into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil and cook until they have a bite and can be pierced with a fork. Careful not to over-cook, they should not be fully cooked, just enough to soften. Approximately 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Drain the water off the yams and carefully pour into a square baking dish.
- Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Spread the granulated sugar and brown sugar over the yams evenly to distribute.
- Top with the cubes of butter evenly over the top.
- Place in the oven to bake 10 minutes. The butter should be melted and the candied mixture at the bottom of the baking dish. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and gently toss the candied yams to evenly cover in the mixture.
- Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the yams are fork-tender. Remove from the oven and spoon the candied mixture evenly over the top. Serve warm and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
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Have any comments, questions, or other delicious ideas for these Easy Candied Yams? Please share them in the comments below!