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Southern Candied Yams Recipe

May 8, 2024
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Get ready to indulge in a Southern classic with our Candied Yams Recipe! These sweet, buttery yams are a must-have for any holiday table or cozy family dinner.

Southern Candied Yams Recipe


No Southern spread is complete without this Southern Candied Yams recipe. These tender yams are soaked in a sweet, buttery syrup infused with warm spices, bringing a perfect balance of sweetness and vibrant color to your plate. Whether it's a holiday feast or a casual family dinner, these candied yams are guaranteed to be the star of the show! Vegan + Make ahead option.

Up close shot of sweet potatoes on a platter with a spoon.

Candied yams have been a staple at every family gathering since I was a kid, and I always looked forward to their sweet, buttery goodness—it was like having candy on the table! Adding more of my beloved Southern recipes to the site has been so fun, and including this Southern Candied Yams recipe was a no-brainer!

Let me tell you, the flavor of these candied yams is out of this world! They're seriously amazing and add such a delightful sweetness to any big table spread. They're the perfect balance to all the savory, salty goodness I usually serve up, like crispy chicken, flaky honey buttermilk biscuits, along with potato salad and some greens to round it all out.

Overall, this candied yams recipe is super easy to makecan be prepped and made ahead for greater ease, only uses a handful of ingredientscomes with a vegan option --- it's one that the entire family will love (kids + adults alike)! If you're ever in need of more Southern food inspiration, I've got you covered with our lineup of 21 Soul-Satisfying Southern Comfort Food Recipes!

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What's To LOVE About This Southern Candied Yams Recipe?

  • Sweet, buttery syrup infused with warm spices
  • Tender yams bathed in comforting flavors
  • Adds a perfect balance of sweetness and color to your plate
  • Complements salty, smoky, and savory flavors
  • Guaranteed to steal the spotlight at any gathering
Ingredients on a brown wood table.

What Are Candied Yams?

Candied yams are basically sweet potatoes or yams cooked up in a cozy syrup made with butter, sugar + warm spices. Think tender, caramelized goodness that's perfect for bringing some extra comfort to your table, especially during holidays or family gatherings.

Chopped sweet potatoes on a cutting board with a knife.

Ingredients For Southern Candied Yams

The ingredients for this recipe are incredibly basic, and chances are, you already have most of them in your kitchen!

CANDIED YAMS:

  • Organic sweet potatoes (Yams). Peeled + chopped into ½-inch chunks.
  • Organic brown sugar. For sweetness + caramelization.
  • Pure maple syrup. Adds another level of sweetness and warm flavor.
  • Warming spices. Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg + ground allspice.
  • Sea salt. Salt helps bring out all the flavors and make them pop!
  • Vanilla extract. Use pure vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor. 
  • Unsalted butter. You can use dairy-free butter if you want to make this recipe vegan!
  • Orange. Freshly-squeezed.

How To Make Southern Candied Yams

Here is a breakdown of how to make this Southern Candied Yams recipe:

COOK THE SWEET POTATOES:

  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter, orange juice, salt, + spices, stirring everything together until the sweet potatoes are coated fully.
  • Let everything come to a boil and cover the pot. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 40-45 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the sweet potatoes are tender when slightly pierced with a fork or knife. NOTE: If the sweet potatoes (aka yams) are still a bit hard---continue to let it cook a bit longer until softened.

LET EVERYTHING CARAMELIZE:

  • Once softened, remove the top from the pot and increase the heat to medium heat. Let everything come to a boil again and continue to stir occasionally until the liquid reduces----about 5-10 minutes or until the yams become more "caramelized". Remove from the heat and serve immediately!

SHOP MY FAVORITE BAKEWARE ITEMS AND ACCESSORIES FOR CANDIED YAMS!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Southern Candied Yams recipe. Everything from my fave dutch pot/oven, wooden spoons, immersion hand-blender, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Yams in a white pot with a wooden spoon.

Are Yams + Sweet Potatoes The Same?

Yams + sweet potatoes, while often confused, are actually two distinct root vegetables. Yams typically have rough, dark brown skin and a starchy, dry flesh that is less sweet compared to sweet potatoes. On the other hand, sweet potatoes come in various colors, including orange, white, and purple, with smoother skin and a sweeter taste and moist texture.

Despite their differences, both yams and sweet potatoes can be used interchangeably in many recipes, including this one! So feel free to use whichever you prefer or have on hand for this delicious dish.

Cooked yams in a white platter with a spoon.

What To Serve Southern Candied Yams With?

Candied yams are perfect on a Southern table spread for holidays, or any weeknight honestly—they add a touch of sweet Southern comfort to any meal.

Here are some of my favorite Southern dishes that go perfectly alongside candied yams for a delicious spread:

Around the holiday season, I usually enjoy pairing candied yams with cranberry sauce for a festive touch, and of course, ending the night with a slice of pecan pie is a must!

Can I Reduce The Amount Of Sugar?

Yes! If you'd like to reduce the amount of sugar used, you can easily do so and substitute with a bit of water or extra butter to ensure that the yams are caramelized and saucy well! You can also substitute the maple syrup with raw honey, brown sugar, or Agave.

Cooked yams in a white platter with a spoon on a brown wood table.

Common Q + A's For Southern Candied Yams

How To Store?

Place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, add the sweet potatoes over the stovetop over medium-high heat and stir until warmed through. You can also heat them in the microwave for a few seconds.

Can I make candied yams ahead of time?

You can whip together these candied yams up to 3 days in advance. Once cooled, just refrigerate in an airtight container until the day of. 

What size should I cut the yams?

You can cut your sweet potatoes or yams into ½-inch rounds (more traditional) or into chunks---you're preference. The smaller you cut them, the quicker they'll cook through. 

How do I know when the yams are cooked through?

You'll know the yams are cooked through when they are tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Can I use canned yams instead of fresh yams for this recipe?

No, I wouldn't recommend it---- it's best to use fresh yams for this recipe to achieve the desired texture and flavor. Canned yams may be too soft and could result in a mushy dish.

How can I make this recipe vegan + dairy-free?

Simply use a dairy-free butter instead of traditional butter and your good to go!

More Of My Favorite Southern Recipes To Try

If you're looking for more yummy Southern recipes to add to your table and loved these Southern Candied Yams try these recipes next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Southern Candied Yams Recipe recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Cooked yams in a white platter with a spoon on a brown wood table.

Southern Candied Yams Recipe

May 8, 2024
5 from 1 vote
No Southern spread is complete without this Southern Candied Yams recipe. These tender yams are bathed in a sweet, buttery syrup with warm spices. They add a perfect balance of sweetness + beautiful color to your plate, balancing out other salty, smokey + savory flavors. Whether it's a holiday feast or a casual family dinner, these candied yams are guaranteed to be the star of the show! Vegan + Make ahead option.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

CANDIED YAMS:

  • 2 lbs. organic sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ orange, freshly-squeezed

Instructions

COOK THE SWEET POTATOES:

  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter, orange juice, salt, + spices, stirring everything together until the sweet potatoes are coated fully.
  • Let everything come to a boil and cover the pot. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 40-45 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the sweet potatoes are tender when slightly pierced with a fork or knife. NOTE: If the sweet potatoes (aka yams) are still a bit hard---continue to let it cook a bit longer until softened.

LET EVERYTHING CARAMELIZE:

  • Once softened, remove the top from the pot and increase the heat to medium heat. Let everything come to a boil again and continue to stir occasionally until the liquid reduces----about 5-10 minutes or until the yams become more "caramelized". Remove from the heat and serve immediately!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, add the sweet potatoes over the stovetop over medium-high heat and stir until warmed through. You can also heat them in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • SWEETENER: You can always substitute the maple syrup with raw honey, brown sugar, or Agave.
  • MAKE AHEAD: You can whip together these candied yams up to 3 days in advance. Once cooled, just refrigerate in an airtight container until the day of. 
  • CHUNK SIZES: You can cut your sweet potatoes or yams into ½-inch rounds (more traditional) or into chunks---you're preference. The smaller you cut them, the quicker they'll cook through. 
  • SUGAR: If you'd like to reduce the amount of sugar used, you can easily do so and substitute with a bit of water or extra butter to ensure that the yams are caramelized and saucy well!

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 92g | Vitamin A: 750IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 1mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Xx, Shanika in script writing

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