Southern Baked Candied Yams

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Lightly spiced yet sweet, Southern baked candied yams are a delicious side dish expected on the table for a soul food Thanksgiving dinner. 

Southern Baked Candied Yams

A real delicacy for soul food enthusiasts, these soft, tender, buttery sweet potatoes are infused with a rich, caramelized syrup that cooks down to a thick, sticky, sweet glaze!

A Southern family favorite for holiday entertaining and family feasts, this baked candied yams recipe has been tested and perfected over generations. 

Southern candied yams in the oven

What are candied yams?

Candied yams are a traditional Southern and soul food holiday side dish made by coating chunks of sweet potatoes (yams) with a sweet glaze and then baking them to perfection. 

With each bite, you’ll experience the smooth texture of fork-tender sweet potatoes smothered in a cinnamon and nutmeg-infused brown sugar glaze.

What ingredients do you need for baked candied yams?


What ingredients do you need for baked candied yams?

Buttery sweet potatoes slowly baked in a sticky mixture of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and warm spices—yum! Take a look at the list of flavorful ingredients below. *See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients with measurements.

  • Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are the star ingredients of this recipe. Make sure to buy medium-large sized potatoes that have a firm texture without wrinkles.
  • Butter – The butter and sugar mixture provides a rich base for the thick liquid glaze of the candied yams. 
  • Brown Sugar – Brown sugar adds the perfect caramelized molasses sticky-sweet for the candied yams’ glossy syrup.
  • Cinnamon – Cinnamon will add a slightly sweet, spiced, and fragrant taste. 
  • Nutmeg – Nutmeg is an all-rounder spice for savory and sweet recipes, thanks to its warm and nutty flavor.
  • Clove – Clove has a distinctive flavor that is slightly sweet and bitter. Furthermore, it adds a sense of warmth to the dish.
  • Vanilla Extract – Vanilla adds a neutral vanilla-balancing flavor to this candied sweet potato dish.
  • Maple Syrup – Maple syrup is the base of the sticky sweet glaze that “candies” the yams!
  • Marshmallows – Mini marshmallows are the optional cherry on top – like a final scoop of ice cream to celebrate this African-inspired sweet side dish. Marshmallows also give the candied yams a creamier, softer consistency.
What are candied yams?

Should you use sweet potatoes or yams?

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

How to make Southern baked candied yams

How to bake candied yams

*See the recipe card below for a detailed list of instructions with guided pictures.

There are no complicated steps involved in making these Southern-baked candied yams. All you have to do is:

  1. Preheat the oven and grease the baking dish.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes. 
  3. Peel and then cut the sweet potatoes into thick round wedges.
  4. Soak in a bowl of cool water (6 quarts) to prevent browning.
  5. Melt the butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave.
  6. Add the seasonings and sugar to the melted butter.
  7. Stir to mix the ingredients to make the syrup glaze.
  8. Drain the sweet potato rounds and add them to the pre-greased baking dish.
  9. Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
  10. Cover and bake.
  11. Optionally, top with mini marshmallows before serving.

Easy enough – the yams do not require boiling or other preparation. And it only takes 30 to 40 minutes in the oven for them to turn nice and tender!

What toppings can be added to baked candied yams?

Need a different method?

Try stovetop candied yams or my famous Instant Pot Candied yams recipe!

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

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

Do you need to boil yams before baking?

There is no need to boil the potatoes before baking them for this Southern-baked candied yams recipe. The sweet potatoes will soften as they bake in the flavorful syrup.

How do you make yams peel easier?

How do you make yams peel easier?

 I stand by my KitchenAid Classic Y Peeler! You can peel your yams, fruits, and vegetables easily and quickly. 

Can you add marshmallows when baking Southern candied yams?

 Best toppings for Southern candied yams

This candied yam recipe is often finished by topping it with melt-in-the-mouth marshmallows for a heaven-on-a-plate experience! It can also be garnished with chopped pecans or walnuts, like a candied sweet potato casserole recipe.

  • Miniature marshmallows – The traditional soul food way for topping a candied yams recipe.
  • Raisins – While candied yams do not need texture variations beyond silky, syrupy, and smooth, this is a non-African American but Southern variation for topping candied yams.
  • Walnuts or pecans – Another Southern variation for topping yams with an earthy taste and bite.
  • Pecan praline – A gourmet-style, fancy addition for topping a Southern candied yams recipe.
What temperature do you bake yams at?

Can candied sweet potatoes be made ahead of time?

You can undoubtedly make candied yams ahead of time, especially to prep for busy holidays and events like soul food Sunday dinner,  Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner.

When making ahead, to prevent browning, peel, cut, and refrigerate the sweet potatoes in water in an airtight container. Then, prepare the cinnamon sugar syrup, which should be refrigerated in a separate sealed container. When ready to bake, drain the sweet potatoes and combine all the ingredients by pouring the prepared syrup over the sweet potato slices, then bake.

How long will baked candied yams last in the fridge?

You can store leftover Southern candied sweet potatoes in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. The sweet glaze will harden a bit in the fridge. But when reheated, it’ll return to its beloved sticky, sweet consistency!

From what are candied yams made?

Can you freeze candied yams?

Yes, you can freeze these yummy delights for your subsequent cravings! Ensure the yams have cooled down before placing them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container for up to 90 days.

What do you do with leftover baked candied yams?

Leftover yams can be used with leftover turkey, like this leftover pulled turkey recipe that incorporates cranberry sauce and candied yams.

What goes well with candied yams?

Candied yams are integral to many Thanksgiving menu ideassoul food sides, and Thanksgiving sides. They are also part of a traditional Southern soul food Thanksgiving feast!

They’re also tasty paired with a Southern cabbage recipe or seasoned Brussels sprouts.

What goes well with candied yams?

What meat goes with candied yams?

From a Southern whole turkey recipe to the Thanksgiving bird, smoked turkey legsoxtail, or Black folks brown-sugar glazed ham. These meats are classic compliments to many sweet potato recipes.

What do you do with leftover baked candied yams?

Did you enjoy this Southern baked easy candied yams recipe?

Comment below and lemme know. Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

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!
Check out this recipe!

Southern Baked Candied Yams

Southern Baked Candied Yams

Southern baked candied yams are a delicious side dish expected at a Southern soulful Thanksgiving dinner. They are a real delicacy for Southern food enthusiasts.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 277kcal


  • 9×13″ baking dish or  9″ round casserole dish
  • KitchenAid classic Y-peeler


  • 3 -3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups cool water for soaking the yams
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows for topping, optional


  • Spray or grease your baking or casserole dish with butter, set it aside, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Wash, peel, and cut the sweet potatoes into thick approx ½" round wedges. (You could also cut them lengthwise.)
    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 preparing the candied yam syrup.
    Set them aside to soak in a bowl of cool water to prevent browning while preparing the candied yam 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.
  • Add the sweet potatoes to the pre-greased baking dish.
  • Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
    Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
  • Cover the baking dish with its lid or foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Remove the baked candied yams from the oven and baste them with the pan syrup.
    Remove the baked candied yams from the oven and baste them with the pan syrup.
  • Then cover and bake again for another 10 minutes.
  • Once the baking time is complete, uncover the yams and, optionally, sprinkle miniature marshmallows over the cooked candied yams.
  • Once the marshmallows are melted, serve this Southern baked candied yams recipe right away, and enjoy!
    Once the marshmallows are melted, serve this Southern baked candied yams recipe right away, and enjoy!



Pro tip: Save 15 minutes by baking these Southern-baked candied yams in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven. Bake covered for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F and then for an additional 10 minutes after basting the yams with the syrup.
Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe Card


Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 4378IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe
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  1. 5 stars
    I JUST made these & they ARE GREAT! I’ve been looking for a recipe that didn’t call for boiling the potatoes first & YOUR site popped up first & BOY AM I GLAD! So good. I don’t care for the other warm spices except cinnamon. I also didn’t use the maple syrup only because we don’t like it with THIS side dish. I can not WAIT to have the time to browse through to see what I can make next. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  2. 5 stars
    I just HAD to give you an update…my oldest son LOVES your recipe! He works during the day so he didn’t eat until AFTER 11pm. I was still awake on the couch while watching him fix his 3 plates of different foods. My house is et up weird so I can see. ANYWAY…he tasted the yams SAUCE first, nodded yes, then preceded to drizzle it over the mac & cheese. That’s how I know HE liked them as well. Oh, we don’t care for marshmallows so I just added more sugar mixture. Have A Great Day!