Candied Yams/Candied Sweet Potatoes are made with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter and plenty of warm spices and are the PERFECT holiday side dish!
Perfect for any holiday dinner, and so easy to make! With several different cooking options, you’ll find one that fits your cooking timeline, and your tastes. We love holiday sides like my Classic Green Bean Casserole and this is one of my Side Dishes you’ll definitely want in your dinner rotation!
CANDIED YAMS RECIPE
Candied yams and sweet potatoes are almost certainly a staple at holiday dinners like Thanksgiving. For us, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them!
While sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, the right combination of butter and brown sugar, along with warm spices and some cider and bourbon transform the humble potato into a syrupy, creamy, magical side dish.
HOW TO MAKE CANDIED YAMS
- Peel and dice sweet potatoes, add to baking dish
- Combine melted butter with sugar, spices, cider and bourbon
- Pour over sweet potatoes and toss to coat
- Bake until tender and caramelized
WHAT IS A YAM
Oddly enough, those orange-fleshed potatoes at the grocery store that they sometimes call “yams”, especially around the holidays, aren’t actually yams at all! They’re regular sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes can come in various sizes and colors, but the classic orange sweet potato, at least here in the United States, is synonymous with yams. So don’t be fooled by the grocery stores!
Actual yams have a rougher, dark brown exterior and the flesh inside can be white, red or purple-ish. A true yam is very hard to find here in the US, although some specialty stores may have them.
COOKING TIPS FOR MAKING CANDIED YAMS
- Pick longer, skinnier sweet potatoes. They’ll be easier to dice.
- Speaking of dicing, try to keep the potatoes all roughly the same size. Those little slivers from the ends of the sweet potato? Don’t use those, they’ll cook wayyy too fast.
- Don’t cover the sweet potatoes when baking. It’s tempting, as it seems like it would help the potatoes cook faster, but it’ll actually leave you with a lot of liquid left in your baking dish after they’re done cooking.
- Stir the sweet potatoes every 20 minutes or so. This way all the potatoes are evenly cooked.
VARIATIONS OF CANDIED SWEET POTATO YAMS
- Orange – replace the apple cider with orange juice for a classic candied yam flavor.
- Marshmallows – grab some mini marshmallows and toss them over the top of the yams after they’re done baking. Broil for just a minute, and watch it closely so it doesn’t burn!
- Maple – omit the brown sugar and replace it with maple syrup.
- Canned yams – if you’re pressed for time or prefer using canned sweet potatoes/yams, they can be used. Buy enough cans to equal the 3 lbs for this recipe, and drain any liquid from the cans. Prepare as directed, but they’ll probably only need to bake about 25-30 minutes.
MAKING YAMS AHEAD OF TIME
Pressed for time? No worries!
Complete steps 1 – 3, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Let the dish sit on the counter 20 minutes or so before baking as directed.
Leftovers should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT USED IN THIS RECIPE
Nothing fancy here, just a trusty 9×13″ baking dish!
HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES
- Classic Green Bean Casserole
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Ultimate Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cheesy Brussels Sprouts
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Ultimate Dinner Rolls
HOLIDAY MAIN DISHES
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- 3 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and diced into about 1 - 1 1/2" pieces
- 5 Tbsp butter melted
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 2 - 3 Tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees and grease a 9x13" baking dish (or other 3 quart baking dish). Add diced sweet potatoes to prepared dish.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, apple cider, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves (if using). Stir together until mixed.
- Add sugar mixture to sweet potatoes and toss to make sure all the sweet potatoes are coated.
- Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and caramelized.
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TO MAKE AHEAD:Complete steps 1 – 3, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Let the dish sit on the counter 20 minutes or so before baking as directed.
USING CANNED YAMS/SWEET POTATOES:Buy enough cans to equal the 3 lbs for this recipe, and drain any liquid from the cans. Prepare as directed, but they’ll probably only need to bake about 25-30 minutes.