candied yams

Southern Style Candied Yams Recipe

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Nearly every time I hit the grocery store, I purchase fresh sweet potatoes for a variety of sweet potato recipes, but the one that I myself, as well as a lot of people, cook for only a special occasion like a holiday meal would be easy candied yams. This yams recipe has been a delicious side dish at the

Thanksgiving table in my family for a long time, with its roots in America starting a classic southern side dish. Admittedly, I have altered my mom’s recipe to my own liking over time, so this recipe card doesn’t quite match the dish I’m still grateful to enjoy at a holiday dinner with my mom present.

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My grandma was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, so southern genes run deep and til this day, no one has even come close to cooking these candied yams like my grandma did, besides my mom, who gets a perfect 10 🙂

Sweet yams (actually sweet potatoes) mixed with a blend of spices, vanilla extract and dark brown sugar all make for a delicious recipe that may traditionally be served as a casserole dish for a holiday dinner, but I totally get it if you’ve got that sweet tooth sensation and can’t get this yams recipe out of your head!

That’s actually why I ended up crafting this buttery, caramelized sweet potato recipe in the first place.

Yams Vs. Sweet Potatoes?

True yams, a starchy root vegetable with brown skin and white flesh, are actually native to Africa and resemble the bark of a tree, and you also can’t usually find real yams at a local grocery store.

However, the sweet potato is often labeled as fresh yams at markets in the United States, but they are sweet in taste and have reddish-brown skin and an orange interior. Due to their flavor being closer to that of a regular potato, real yams are never used to make any candied yam recipe or sweet potato casserole recipe.

Canned Yams Vs. Fresh Yams?

In the event where you didn’t get the chance to make this yams recipe ahead of time or prefer to make the cooking process for homemade candied yams go a little bit faster than “homemade” requires, I have great news: it is perfectly fine to use canned yams.

Some first time chefs on Thanksgiving definitely prefer to use a 29 ounce can of yams instead, too; it’s still a great recipe for cooked yams you’ll love, so it doesn’t matter! Drain the sweet potatoes and then spread them on the bottom of the baking dish.

If you’ll be using fresh sweet potatoes for this classic holiday side dish (as I do), be certain to wash, peel, and cut them and place them into a covered, large pot on the stove and submerge them with several tablespoons of water, setting for a rolling boil over medium heat until they become tender enough to be pierced with a fork.

Substitute the can for 3 to 4 medium sized sweet potatoes. Drain in a colliander and then add to the bottom of the baking dish.

Make This Yams Recipe Ahead

The fresh sweet potatoes can be boiled one day ahead of when you’re planning to cook your southern candied yams, so if you’d like to go that route, just be sure to keep them in an airtight container.

As far as the other ingredients go, everything can be added to the casserole dish except the mini marshmallows so they do not dissolve, plus, this will still pop out of the oven being the best candied yams ever. Cover with aluminum foil for up to two days, tossing the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes only as soon as you’re ready to begin baking.

What Ingredients Are Used To Make Candied Yams?

Nearly every sweet potatoes recipe I have come across has been different in some way, but they all start with a similar, simple recipe.

Other than the sweet potatoes or a can of yams we have already mentioned above, other ingredients are:

While I was growing up and living with my mom and grandma, walnuts weren’t part of this perfect holiday side dish, but sometimes I like to add a slight crunch, so this was a great addition!

Candied Yams Recipe

Cooking this classic southern dish is quick and painless in the kitchen, which is likely another great reason why it is so popular around the bustling holiday season for serving at family get-togethers.

It pairs well with literally anyone’s favorite protein, along with other Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner favorites like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, and cranberry sauce.

  1. If you’re using sweet potatoes, wash them well, peel, and cut. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat until fork tender. Drain. Also drain any liquids from the can of yams.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the yams out evenly in a medium baking dish. Sprinkle the yams with a little nutmeg and cinnamon.
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the white sugar, pure vanilla extract, orange juice and brown sugar until well combined and a golden brown color. Evenly coat the yams with your brown sugar mixture, adding a pinch of salt.
  1. Drop walnuts into the baking dish and place the pieces of butter about the dish, ensuring no corner is left empty. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  1. Remove the baking dish and stir to combine your yams in the candied mixture and buttery syrup. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  1. If using marshmallows, toss room temperature mini marshmallows on top of the casserole and bake for another 5 minutes, removing when the marshmallows have begun to toast.

There are many individuals who prefer making this candied yams recipe in a cast iron skillet, utilizing either olive oil or vegetable oil to lightly saute the yams first.

In a separate small saucepan, they’ll separately concoct the brown sugar glaze, turning it into a lovely, delicious sauce with maple syrup or even a bit of orange juice.

Pour the sugar syrup onto the caramelized yams and pop it into the oven for 25 minutes, topping with marshmallows is optional. If you do decide to use marshmallows in this recipe, add them 5 minutes before the yams come out of the oven.

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At the end of the day, I still fully believe the best way I like to enjoy homemade candied yams is this very southern style yams recipe, and for good reason, too! Anytime I’ve been the one to bring a sweet potato casserole to the table, everyone wants seconds, deeming it good enough to come back a second time.

Leaving that positive impact on guests leaves you feeling good as well, plus, you get to enjoy a meal with a classic southern side dish while being surrounded by those you love.

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candied yams

Southern Style Candied Yams Recipe

Chloe
These sweet and yummy southern styled candied yams are perfect for your holiday dinner or the perfect side dish to complement your meal.
4.97 from 61 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 251 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • If using fresh sweet potatoes, wash, peel and cut into ¼-inch thick pieces. Boil the sweet potatoes in large pot on medium heat until fork tender.
  • Spread the yams out evenly in a medium baking dish. Sprinkle the yams with a little nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • In a medium glass bowl, mix together the white sugar, pure vanilla extract, orange juice and brown sugar until well combined. Evenly coat the yams with your brown sugar mixture, adding a pinch of salt.
  • If using walnuts, add walnuts into the baking dish and place the pieces of butter about the dish, ensuring no corner is left empty. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the baking dish and stir to combine the yams in the candied mixture and buttery syrup. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • If using marshmallows, toss room temperature mini marshmallows on top of the casserole and bake for another 5 minutes, removing when the marshmallows have begun to toast.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Note: These candied yams are sweet! If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can use less sugar for this recipe. These candied yams are sweet, just like they’re known for in the southern United States.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.05gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 99mgPotassium: 574mgFiber: 5gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 21416IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 1mg
Keyword candied yams, southern style candied yams
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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These yams were really good. I omitted the orange juice because I’ve never tried oj before in yams and they were just as tasty. Delicious!