Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.
They’re full of fiber and potassium and taste delicious – especially when we’re talking about soul food sweet potato recipes!
There are many ways to prepare sweet potatoes beyond just roasting them in the oven or boiling them in water.
That’s why I’ve gathered this collection of soul food sweet potato recipes to get you inspired!
Sweet potatoes can be used in breakfast dishes like pancakes, French toast, and hash browns.
You can add them to salads for a burst of flavor or add them to casseroles for a fun twist.
And don’t forget about dessert!
Sweet potatoes make great pies, cakes, muffins, and cookies – and their natural sweetness makes them perfect for dessert recipes.
Easy-to-prepare, nutritious, and delicious sweet potato recipes are a great way to add variety to your meals.
What are sweet potatoes?
Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a perennial, herbaceous vine that produces orange-fleshed tubers in the ground.
Sweet potatoes are a group of perennial vines in the morning glory family, which grows in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.
The flesh is soft, and they have a sweet taste to them.
With a sweet, nutty flavor and a buttery texture, sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables you can use in recipes.
11 Southern soul food sweet potato recipes
Whether you’re looking for a new way to enjoy sweet potatoes or are simply looking for more ways to incorporate veggies into your diet.
This list of sweet potato soul food recipes is here to help!
Black folks sweet potato pie
One bite of this Southern sweet potato pie, and you’ll be transported back in time to grandma’s kitchen!
Sweet potato pie may be the best way to serve a taste of African American culture!
Old-fashioned sweet potato recipes like Black folks’ soul food sweet potato pie may be single-handedly responsible for generations of nostalgic memories – especially in the Black community.
Southern sweet potato pie
Southern cooking at its finest! No Thanksgiving or Christmas meal is complete without a slice of warm, spiced, and decadent sweet potato pie!
This traditional Southern dessert is a comfort food staple, especially for the holidays. It’s economical, easy to make, and downright delicious!
And this homemade Southern luxury has a tasty twist by way of a fine top layer of cream cheese frosting. A North Carolina family tradition passed down through generations.
Purple sweet potato pie
Are you ready for a beautiful twist on a soul food delicacy?
Purple mashed sweet potatoes form a light, creamy filling. Meanwhile, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and silky evaporated milk provide a not-too-sweet filling for a flakey pie crust.
Top with a yummy cloud of whipped cream, and get ready to taste one of the most delicious best pies you’ve ever sunk your teeth into.
It’s almost too pretty to eat!
Soul food candied yams
What are Black folks’ Southern candied yams?
Candied yams are an old-fashioned African-American recipe. A sweet potato side dish cooked to perfection in a brown sugar-glaze syrup.
Now, you might ask yourself, are candied yams and candied sweet potatoes one in the same?
Yes, the names are used interchangeably.
However, you are likely to eat Southern candied sweet potatoes in the US. But they’ll still be referred to as a candied yams recipe!
Can you add marshmallows when baking Southern candied yams?
Candied yams are often topped with marshmallows after cooking in a buttery mix of seasonings and spices that elevate this soul food dish to divine perfection!
Southern sweet potato casserole
You’ll usually find sweet potato casserole at a fancy holiday gathering in the South.
It’s not necessarily a Southern tradition to eat sweet potato casserole.
It’s more of an American tradition. Once again elevated to a soul food specialty when seasoned with flavors and spices akin to African American sweet potato recipes.
—The Soul Food Pot recipe coming soon!
Sweet potato soup
Sweet potato soup is a North African Moroccan food delicacy.
You can enjoy this soup as a whole entrée meal or savory side dish.
Of course, it’s comprised of mashed fresh sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato soup is infused with traditional soul food seasonings like red pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and African-inspired spices like cumin and coriander.
—The Soul Food Pot recipe coming soon!
Are these soul food sweet potato recipes vegan?
Use a dairy substitute instead of milk and butter to make any one of these a vegan soul food recipe.
Can you use canned sweet potato?
A sweet potato recipe like candied yams or sweet potato pie can be made with canned sweet potatoes. But fresh ones are ideal.
Simply remove the skin of the sweet potatoes, then cut them into slices. After that, pressure cook or boil them until tender. You can also bake the potatoes for this recipe.
You may also consider other Southern sweet potato recipes like sweet potato cake, sweet potato bread, or sweet potato salad.
Soul food sweet potato recipes FAQs
What do Africans call sweet potatoes?
Yams are a vegetable similar to sweet potatoes but come from the motherland in Africa.
We get the word ‘yam’ because Africans call yams ‘nyami.’
Why do you call sweet potatoes yams?
Although the vegetable used in most candied yams recipes in the US is often a sweet potato, African Americans call this dish candied yams.
Netflix’s soul food docu-series High on The Hog illustrates how enslaved Africans recognized sweet potatoes in the Southern US as similar to West African yams.
Are candied yams a Black thing?
Africans were used to cooking with yams. So when they were brought to the American South as enslaved persons, the next best thing available was a sweet potato, which they called yams.
True to Black folks’ nature, they took something from nothing and elevated yams to the soul food delicacy so many people love and crave today.
What is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?
One of the most significant differences between sweet potatoes and yams is their appearance.
Yams are typically larger, while sweet potatoes come in smaller sizes.
Both vegetables have brownish-reddish skin ranging from light to dark color shades.
Sweet potato roots are tapered at one end, whereas yam roots are more circular or boxy shaped. Furthermore, yams contain more starch and are tougher than sweet potatoes.
Can you substitute yams for sweet potatoes?
Yes, but sweet potatoes are more versatile than yams because they can be used in both savory dishes and desserts.
For this reason, many people prefer them when making candied yams.
Sweet potatoes contain more natural sugar. Therefore, they offer a sweeter flavor than yams.
Which is healthier sweet potatoes or yams?
Although sweet potatoes and yams look pretty similar. And both are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.
Sweet potatoes contain fewer calories.
Sweet potatoes also contain a higher concentration of most nutrients, including fiber.
How do you make Black folks candied yams?
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!
Love easy Instant Pot recipes? And who doesn’t love a soul food seasoned side dish?
What are purple sweet potatoes?
Purple sweet potatoes just might be one of the prettiest vegetables on the planet!
They are indeed purple – skin and flesh, and they don’t lose their color when cooked. Thus, making for a beautiful purple pie filling!
Are purple sweet potatoes natural?
Yep! Purple sweet potatoes are not genetically modified to look purple. (No GMOs here!)
They originated in North Carolina and are purple because of their rich nutrient value. In fact, they’re so organic that you could grow these purple potatoes in your own backyard garden!
Why are purple sweet potatoes called Stokes?
A North Carolina company, Stokes Foods, was the first to grow these potatoes. That’s why they’re called Stokes purple sweet potatoes.
What are Japanese sweet potatoes called?
Japanese sweet potatoes are called Satsumaimo.
They have a distinct purple/reddish color skin. On the inside is a creamy white flesh that turns yellow after cooking.
Is batata a Japanese sweet potato?
The batata potato is a root crop, also known as a tropical sweet potato. A vegetable commonly found in the Caribbean.
It’s known for its sweet and starchy flavor, which makes it an excellent substitution for sweet potatoes in any recipe.
What is the white stuff that comes out when you cut a sweet potato?
The milky white liquid you sometimes see when a sweet potato is cut is starch and sugar. It’s completely normal and OK to eat!
What flavors go with sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes have a lovely buttery taste and a hint of nuttiness from their starchy flesh.
Fresh fruit like a peach salad or tomato watermelon salad pairs well with a sweet potato recipe.
What can you put on a sweet potato?
From granulated sugar and brown sugar to cinnamon or butter. Chopped pecans or walnuts. Even a simple drizzle of olive oil is delicious on a sweet potato.
A favorite sweet potato topping is marshmallows, especially when making candied yams.
You add a top layer of miniature marshmallows while the yams are in the baking dish.
What meat goes well with sweet potato?
The fact is, almost any type of meat will taste great with sweet potatoes. Pork, chicken, and beef are all great options for combining candied sweet potatoes with meat.
For Black folks’ Southern candied yams, it’d be sacrilegious to serve this dish without soul food collard greens. (Uh-uh. Don’t do dat!)
Is sweet potato pie a Black thing?
Where did sweet potato pie come from?
Sweet potato pie was made by Black folks back in Africa when they used the native-grown vegetable, yams. It’s a legacy of the best holiday traditions handed down from generation to generation as part of sweet potato pie Black history.
So sweet potato pie is a Black thing – easy enough for anyone to make and everyone to love!
African-Americans today have continued the tradition of sweet potato pie with holiday dinners.
What goes into sweet potato pie?
Here are three integral spices that belong in a delicious soul food sweet potato pie recipe.
- Ground cinnamon is a versatile spice for savory and sweet dishes for an extra burst of flavor while adding more color. It’s a favorite ingredient in sweet potato recipes.
- Ground nutmeg is often found in pumpkin pies, but it goes exceptionally well with sweet potato pie. This spice gives the dish a wonderful flavor and provides some warmth to your palate.
- Ground cloves are that secret ingredient that gives your finished recipes a beautiful aroma, a spicy kick, and the perfect sweetness without going overboard with sugar.
Do you eat sweet potato pie warm or cold?
Like most soul food sweet potato recipes, sweet potato pie is best served warm.
Did you enjoy these soul food sweet potato recipes?
Have you had it?
Would you make it?
Comment below and lemme know.
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
- 9×13 baking dish (if not using an Instant Pot)
- KitchenAid classic Y-peeler
- 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
- Wash the sweet potatoes. (I like to use this vegetable scrubber HERE.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once the marshmallows are melted, turn off the Instant Pot and transfer your Black folks’ Southern candied yams recipe to a serving dish.
- Serve right away and enjoy!
- Use the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker to quickly and easily make Southern candied sweet potatoes in only 5 minutes!