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. 

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. 

What toppings can be added to baked candied yams?

Then what toppings can be added to baked candied yams?

Finish off the candied yam recipe by topping it with melt-in-the-mouth marshmallows for a heaven-on-a-plate experience! 

Or, garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, like a candied sweet potato casserole recipe.

Either way, Southern baked candied yams are the perfect side dish for your soul food Sunday dinner,  Thanksgiving turkey, or Christmas ham.

What are candied yams?

Candied yams are a traditional 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 are candied yams?

Why are sweet potatoes called yams?

Enslaved African Americans began calling sweet potatoes in North America “yams” because they resembled the motherland African real yams vegetable they knew. Thus, many African Americans today still call soft, cooked sweet potatoes “yams.”

I’ll use the terms sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably for this recipe.

What ingredients do you need for baked candied yams?

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.

How to make Southern baked candied yams

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

  • Peel the yams.
  • Cut them up.
  • Mix the seasonings and spices to make a sweet candied syrup.
  • Pour the mixture over the yams and bake! 

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!

How to make Southern baked candied yams

Kitchen equipment for Southern baked candied yams

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Ingredients for Southern baked candied yams

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

Instructions for Southern baked candied yams

  1. Spray or grease your baking or casserole dish with butter, set it aside, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes. (I like to use this vegetable scrubber HERE.)
  3. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into thick round wedges. (You could also cut them lengthwise.)
  4. Then, set them aside to soak in a bowl of cool water to prevent browning while preparing the candied yam syrup.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and melt the butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave.
  6. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, ginger, ground clove, and vanilla extract to the melted butter. 
  7. Mix the ingredients well to create the syrup glaze for the candied yams.
  8. Next, drain the sweet potato rounds in a colander.
  9. Add the sweet potatoes to the pre-greased baking dish.
  10. Pour the syrup glaze over the sweet potatoes.
  11. Cover the baking dish with its lid or foil and bake in the conventional oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Bake covered in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F. 
  12. Remove the baked candied yams from the oven and baste them with the pan syrup.
  13. Then cover and bake again for another 10 minutes in the conventional oven. Bake covered in the Omni Plus oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. 
  14. Once the baking time is complete, uncover the yams and, optionally, sprinkle miniature marshmallows over the cooked candied yams. 
  15. Once the marshmallows are melted, serve this Southern baked candied yams recipe right away, and enjoy!

The recipe for Instant Pot Southern candied yams is HERE.

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

What temperature do you bake yams at?

What goes well with candied yams?

Candied yams can go hand in hand with many Thanksgiving menu ideassoul food sides, or as a Thanksgiving side dish. They are part of an integral part of a Southern soul food traditional Thanksgiving feast!

And for soul food holidays, it’d be sacrilegious to serve Black folks Southern candied yams without soul food collard greens. (Uh-uh. Don’t do dat!)

You could also pair them 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 legs, oxtail, or Black folks brown-sugar glazed ham. These meats are classic compliments to many sweet potato recipes.

From what are candied yams made?

Southern baked candied yams FAQs

From what are candied yams made?

Candied yams are made from the darling of the South root vegetable sweet potatoes.

What’s the difference between candied yams and sweet potatoes?

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same? Sweet potatoes are Southern vegetables that grow in the ground and are smaller than yams. They’re closely related to the potato but have a smooth, reddish skin, softer flesh when cooked, and a much sweeter flavor than yams.

On the other hand, yams are starchy vegetables with a more rigid texture, often compared to tree bark, and their flesh is drier and more starchy than sweet potatoes. 

Can you add marshmallows when baking Southern candied yams?

Can you add marshmallows when baking Southern candied yams?

You probably want to know if the yams would be too sweet if you add a marshmallow topping in the last 5 minutes of cooking?

While adding marshmallows to this candied yams recipe is optional, if you’re adding them, be sure to do it in the last minutes of the baking process. This way, the marshmallows don’t dissolve and lose their creamy, fluffy texture. 

Can you make candied yams from canned yams?

Theoretically, it is possible to make candied yams from canned yams. 

However, you should expect different results than Southern baked candied yams made from fresh sweet potatoes. 

A canned yam can also make for a runny result because they do not require the same baking time and should not be pressure-cooked like fresh ones.

What temperature do you bake yams at?

  1. Bake Southern candied yams covered in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
  2. Then, baste them with the pan syrup.
  3. Cover and bake again for another 10-15 minutes.

Why are your candied yams runny?

If your candied yams are too runny, ensure you haven’t overcooked the baked candied sweet potatoes because they will be mushy or runny. 

Mix in a tablespoon of cornstarch with the pan syrup if you need to thicken them up.

Which is healthier sweet potato or yam?

Which is better, a sweet potato or a yam?

Both sweet potatoes and yams are good to eat as a part of a healthy diet. Neither is better compared to the other or nutritiously superior.

Do you have to boil the yams before baking them?

Sweet potatoes, just like any other vegetable, can be eaten either by boiling, roasting, baking, or pressure cooking. It’s simply a preference for how you want to cook them.

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. 

Should you boil yams before baking?

There is no need to boil the potatoes before baking them for this Southern baked candied yams recipe.

Can candied sweet potatoes be made ahead of time?

Also, asked: Can you peel and cut the sweet potatoes the day before?

You can undoubtedly make candied yams ahead of time, but you need to take care of a few things:

  1. To prevent browning, peel, cut, and refrigerate the sweet potatoes in water in an airtight container.
  2. Then, prepare the cinnamon sugar syrup, which should be refrigerated in a separate sealed container. 
  3. Drain the sweet potatoes and combine all the ingredients when ready to bake by pouring the prepared syrup over the sweet potato slices.

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!

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.

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 do you do with leftover baked candied yams?

Did you enjoy this Southern baked easy candied yams recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe
Southern Baked Candied Yams

Southern Baked Candied Yams

Southern baked candied yams are a delicious side dish expected on the table for a soul food Thanksgiving dinner. A real delicacy for soul 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

Equipment

  • 9×13″ baking dish or  9″ round casserole dish
  • KitchenAid classic Y-peeler
  • Instant Pot Omni Plus oven (optional)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Spray or grease your baking or casserole dish with butter, set it aside, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Wash the sweet potatoes. (I like to use this vegetable scrubber HERE.)
  • Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into thick 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.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and 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 conventional oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Bake covered in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 60 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 in the conventional oven. Bake covered in the Omni Plus oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • 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!

Video

Notes

Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe Card

Nutrition

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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2 Comments

  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!