Candied Yams Recipe – The Cookie Rookie®

Becky Hardin

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This classic Candied Yams recipe is easy to prep, and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holidays feasts. Sliced sweet potato yams are coated in a rich glaze of butter, brown sugar, maple, and warm spices, then baked until they reach the best texture, and become sweet as candy!

A white baking dish filled with candied yams.

Why We Love This Candied Yams Recipe

If you haven’t tried Candied Yams, you are in for a treat! When testing this recipe, we found out just how flavorful and easy making this classic holiday side dish really is. Here are some reasons we love it:

  • Classic. Made from sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and spices, this dish is a must for your Thanksgiving table.
  • Sweet. The combination of brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract makes this dish irresistible.
  • Tender. These sweet potatoes are baked to soft perfection!

Variations on Candy Yams

You can easily change up the flavor of these baked candied yams to suit your tastes. Try swapping out the maple syrup for honey for a slightly different flavor, or toss in some chopped pecans or shredded coconut. For a hint of brightness, try adding some orange zest to the glaze, or toss in some dried cranberries or cranberry sauce for a touch of tartness.

For a savory take, fold in some crumbled cooked bacon or chopped rosemary. Or make them slightly spicy by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder!

Candied sweet potato yams in a white dish with sage.

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftover candied yams in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven covered with foil for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through.

How to Freeze

Freeze these candy yams in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Serve these baked candied yams with Thanksgiving classics, like roasted turkey, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, creamed corn, cranberry sauce, and other Thanksgiving sides.

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

There’s not much of a difference. Candied yams are actually made with sweet potatoes and not true yams, so this sweet dish is pretty similar in flavor to a sweet potato casserole.

Are candied yams just sweet potatoes?

Yes. Particularly in America, sweet potatoes are often mislabeled as yams (even in supermarkets), so this dish is intended to be made with orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

Why are candied yams called yams?

In America, the term “yam” often denotes sweeter types of sweet potatoes. However, true yams are drier and starchier. It seems that the dish got its name from the sweet potatoes being misidentified as yams. Even the name of the sweet potato we’re using in this recipe is confusing, since they’re called Red Garnet yams!

A plate of candy yams with a fork next to it.

More Sweet Potato Side Dishes To Try

How to Make Candied Yams Step by Step

Prep the Yams: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray or butter. Slice 3 pounds of sliced red garnet yams and arrange them in the baking dish.

Sliced sweet potatoes in a white baking dish.

Make the Glaze: In a small saucepan, melt ½ cup of unsalted butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of pure maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt over medium heat, stirring often. Once melted, bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.

A frying pan with brown oil on a marble countertop.

Coat the Yams: Pour the glaze mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss well to coat.

Sliced sweet potatoes in a white baking dish.

Bake the Yams: Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the yams are tender. Stir every 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, uncover and allow the yams to brown. Let sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with a bit of flaky salt, and a few sage leaves if desired and serve.

Roasted sweet potatoes in a white dish with sage.

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