Candied Yams

Candied yams, garnet sweet potatoes, glazed with a brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, orange sauce.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish.


  • 3 pounds garnet or ruby sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1-1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp butter


1 Get a large pot of water boiling and add a generous pinch of salt. Boil the sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes, or until they are not longer crunchy; you will finish cooking them in a moment. Drain and set aside.

2 Mix the remaining ingredients in a shallow, wide sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and coat well with the sauce. Boil on high heat until the sauce reduces to a syrup, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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  1. Ricky Warwick

    I’m from the South so this wonderful recipe is missing one small twist! You have to keep frying them till they develop the slight black crunchy edges. Ohhhhh, that makes-um soooo good!

  2. Zvi

    Hank, excellent looking recipe and welcome here! I read your blog every time you update and love your work.

    Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams, and are there any domestic producers of true yams?

  3. Mike

    My grocery store carries white yams, ruby yams, and sweet potatoes. Is this recipe not distinguishing among them? The pictures look like ruby yams.

    I made the pork stew from your recipe of a few weeks ago and used a sweet potato about the size of a softball, not yams–the ones about the size of pork tenderloins.

    • Foodjunkie

      These are all varieties of sweet potatoes. Yams are a large tropical tuber and almost never show up in the US or Canada. The grocery store yam is a misnomer. You can probably use any of these in the recipe with success.

  4. georgia

    Yes, Ricky Warwick, they have to have the slightly “burned” edges to be really good. My mom always fried them that way with only granulated white sugar. I have tried for years to make them like she did but they never taste as good as hers did. Is this a mom thing that mom’s food tasted better?

  5. Jayne

    Over in my mom’s Chinese kitchen, we make a soupy dessert with sweet potatoes. Peeled sweet potatoes boiled with rock sugar, ginger, pandan leaves and sago. Just the best warm comfort food. :-)

  6. Penny Weiss

    I’m interested in the browning.. the recipe calls for boiling.. are you saying to cook in a pan until blackened a bit, rather than boiling? If so.. use oil? Olive oil? And yes to the pineapple!

    • Elise

      No, you are just boiling the yams in a liquid that reduces to a syrup. If you want browning, at this point you could scoop them out and lay them on a foil lined baking sheet and broil them for a minute or until the sugars start to caramelize.

  7. Elizabeth

    Made these for Thanksgiving yesterday and they were a hit. The only thing I did different was the addition of toasted pecans and cranberries added at the very last few minutes of cooking. Made a nice tart bite to the sweet deliciousness of the candied yams. And the candied sauce was excellent for dipping the ham. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  8. Phylis

    I do like this recipe however, instead of all water in the sauté pan I add about a half of cup of amber rum with butter, brown sugar and orange juice.