Instant Pot Candied Yams The Soul Food Way

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Instant Pot proves an ingenious solution, especially for preparing robust holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. This favorite modern cooking appliance is a liberated option, giving back valuable oven space for other holiday cooking. 

The resulting yams, infused with a fine blend of brown sugar, cinnamon, and other soul food spices for a fragrant flavor, will truly elevate your family meal. The ease of using the Instant Pot for such an autumn classic will reimagine how you approach holiday cooking.

Instant Pot Candied Yams The Soul Food Way
Can you make candied yams in the Instant Pot? 

Can you make candied yams in the Instant Pot? 

I love to make this classic Black folks’ recipe with a contemporary twist in my Instant Pot! You use the same soul food ingredients, and then Instant Pot pressure cooks the yams just right. So tender, sweet, and citrusy with buttery caramel toffee flavor – yum!

Instant Pot cooks Southern yams in a fraction of the time (only 5 minutes!), so you can get back to al ll those other side dishes to pair with your Thanksgiving yams or Christmas ham

Instant Pot Candied Yams the Black folks way

Ingredients 

You’ll use the same ingredients as traditional soul food candied yams made in the oven or on the stovetop (sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon). However, thanks to the Instant Pot, you’re saving over an hour in cook time!

  • Sweet potatoes – Use Jewel, Beauregard, or Garnet sweet potatoes for smooth candied yams with a silky texture. Look for medium-large sized potatoes that have a firm texture without wrinkles.
  • Unsalted butter (or vegan butter) – Adds a rich flavor that complements the natural sweet potatoes.
  • Brown sugar – Adds sweetness with a maple caramel-like flavor.
  • Granulated sugar – For variation in sweetness to create the perfect candied syrup.
  • Ground cinnamon – Adds a comforting warmth and heat with an earthy flavor. 
  • Nutmeg – Adds a warm, nutty, and earthy balance to the dish’s sweetness. 
  • Maple syrup – Necessary to create the candied sweet syrupy flavor and smooth, silky texture.
  • Ground ginger (or minced) – Adds a hint of spiciness and a subtle warm kick.
  • Ground cloves – Contribute to the syrup’s overall soulful spiciness.
  • Vanilla extract – Creates a warm and comforting balance in the flavor profile.
  • Miniature marshmallows (optional topping) – Add a soft, sticky texture on top with a lightly sweet taste and texture variation.

Should you use sweet potatoes or yams?

I’ll use the terms sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably for this recipe. However, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same in texture or taste and should not be swapped. Although the vegetable used in most candied yams recipes in the US is often a sweet potato, African Americans still call this Black-originated dish candied yams.

How to make Southern candied yams in the Instant Pot

How to make Southern candied yams in the Instant Pot

  1. Wash, peel, and cut the sweet potatoes into rounds.
  2. Set them aside to soak in a bowl of cool water to prevent browning.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the butter: brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, ginger, ground clove, and vanilla extract.
  5. Mix the ingredients to create the syrup glaze.
  6. Drain the sweet potato rounds in a colander.
  7. Open the Instant Pot lid and add ½ a cup of water and the sweet potato rounds.
  8. Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
  9. Pressure cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Optionally, sprinkle the miniature marshmallows over the cooked candied yams. 
  11. Once the marshmallows are melted, serve and enjoy!
Is the candied yam texture different in the Instant Pot?

🎙 Listen to The Soul Food Pod episode: Black Folks Southern Candied Yams

Watch the video to see how to make Instant Pot candied yams step-by-step with key moments.

Do you have to boil yams before cooking?

Not when you’re using an Instant Pot! The beauty of making candied yams in the Instant Pot is an easy and efficient one-pot drop with no pre-cooking or pre-working needed.

Is the candied yam texture different in the Instant Pot?

Soul food candied yams are pressure-cooked to tender, flavorful perfection just like using traditional cooking methods. Yet made quicker in 5 minutes instead of an hour and 25 minutes baking yams or cooking yams on the stovetop.

How to top Instant Pot candied yams 

How to top Instant Pot candied yams 

It’s easy to top soul food candied yams made in the Instant Pot with classic miniature marshmallows. Easily and almost effortlessly, with the same results as if you’d done this the traditional way in the oven or stovetop. Here’s how you do it:

When the yams are finished pressure cooking, open the Instant Pot lid and sprinkle the miniature marshmallows over the cooked, candied yams. With the lid placed not entirely on the Instant Pot (in a resting position, so it doesn’t lock back into position on the pot), continue with the setting on ‘keep warm.’

How Do You Make Black Folks Soul Food Candied Yams in the Instant Pot?

In about five minutes after the marshmallows are melted, turn off the Instant Pot and transfer the candied yams recipe to a serving dish.

Avoiding runny candied yams

To avoid a dish that’s too runny, ensure that you follow the recipe instructions when making the candied yam syrup. If you mistakenly oversaturate the syrup, a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch will thicken it back up.

How to serve candied yams 

How to serve candied yams 

Candied yams are served with soul food Sunday dinners and holiday feasts, often with other favorite African American side dishes like collard greens, Southern cabbage, and baked macaroni and cheese.

Candied yams pair well with any protein, from fried chicken to brown sugar-glazed ham or a Southern turkey recipe.

Easy Instant Pot candied yams recipe

Did you enjoy this easy Instant Pot candied yams recipe?

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The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
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Instant Pot Candied Yams The Soul Food Way

Instant Pot Candied Yams The Soul Food Way

Candied yams, a traditional Southern African-American dish, can now be cooked to perfection in just 5 minutes with the Instant Pot with no compromise to the dish's iconic tender texture and soul food cinnamon-brown sugar glaze!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Pressure Release Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 321kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
  • KitchenAid classic Y-peeler

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes 3 -3 ½ pounds
  • 6 cups water cool water
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter unsalted butter, or vegan butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar granulated
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon of ground
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger ground or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves ground
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups marshmallows *Optional – miniature marshmallows for topping

Instructions

  • Wash the sweet potatoes. (I like to use this vegetable scrubber HERE.)
  • Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into thick round wedges.
    Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into thick round wedges.
  • Then set them aside to soak in a bowl of cool water to prevent browning while you’re preparing the candied yams syrup.
  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave.
  • Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, ginger, ground clove, and vanilla extract to the melted butter.
    Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, ginger, ground clove, and vanilla extract to the melted butter.
  • Mix the ingredients well to create the syrup glaze for the candied yams.
    Mix the ingredients well to create the syrup glaze for the candied yams.
  • Next, Drain the sweet potato rounds in a colander.
  • Open the Instant Pot lid and add ½ a cup of water and the sweet potato rounds to the stainless-steel inner pot.
    Add ½ a cup of water and the sweet potato rounds to the stainless-steel inner pot.
  • Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
    Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 5 minutes.
  • To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
  • Optional – Open the Instant Pot lid and sprinkle the miniature marshmallows over the cooked, candied yams.
    Open the Instant Pot lid and sprinkle the miniature marshmallows over the cooked, candied yams.
  • With the lid placed not entirely on the Instant Pot (in a resting position, so it doesn’t lock back into position on the pot) continue with the setting on ‘keep warm.’
  • After about 5 minutes, check to see if the marshmallows have melted.
    After about 5 minutes, check to see if the marshmallows have melted.
  • Once the marshmallows are melted, turn off the Instant Pot and transfer your Black folks’ Southern candied yams recipe to a serving dish.
  • Serve Southern candied yams right away and enjoy!
    Serve Southern candied yams right away and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Black Folks Southern Candied Yams Recipe Card
 

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 630mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 24158IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg
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Soul Food Instant Pot Candied Yams

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