Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping

Sliced, baked sweet potato yam recipe, with maple syrup, brown sugar, and pecans.

  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish.


  • 3 lbs of yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans


1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a large pot of salted water (add a tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of water) until boiling. Add the yam rounds. Cook the yams until the water starts to simmer again, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, then rinse in cold water.

2 Butter a baking dish. Arrange the yam rounds in the baking dish, overlapping the pieces, layering the yam rounds to fill up the dish. Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle the yam rounds with orange zest if using. Pour maple syrup over yams. Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until yams are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

3 Put 3/4 cup pecans in a blender or spice grinder and grind into a coarse meal. Coarsely chop the other 3/4 cup of pecans.

4 Mix the ground pecans and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix in the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped pecans.

5 Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the yams. Bake the yams, uncovered, until the topping browns, about 15 minutes.

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  1. Georgie Fear

    That crust looks delightful! I’ve been known to over-orange the holiday foods myself and worry I’ll turn us all into oompa-loompas. :)

    I also think this might be a fabulous dessert with apples instead of the yams. But with only 15 minutes bake time in your recipe, I’d try baking the apples first until tender, then adding the topping and returning to the oven for 15 minutes more. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for all the fabulous eats and gorgeous photos you always provide!

    Hi Georgie, Hmm, I haven’t thought about trying this with apples. But if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  2. bureaucrat

    Interesting recipe – but is this meant to be a savoury side dish or more of a dessert (am confused with the addition of salt and sugar)?

    It’s considered a savory side dish, but it is also quite sweet. ~Elise

  3. alexxiscat

    Yummmm! I made this recipe and it was great! I really loved the pecan topping. The orange zest made it taste even better!

  4. Angela

    My boyfriend always makes yams for Thanksgiving and last year his feelings were hurt when they weren’t so popular at dinner. I sent him this recipe and he made it yesterday. It was so delicious! He even got a few votes for the “best recipe at the table” contest! Thanks for sharing!

  5. tobias cooks!

    I have never eaten Yams. Amazing recipe.

  6. 00hmai0.0

    Yummy. I tried making it but, I tweaked it a bit, ok a lot. I cut it in thick slices and baked it since I didn’t want to use the salt (on a low salt diet). I also cut down a bit on the sugar (for diabetes runs in the family). I covered it with cookie cutters and sprinkled the sugar/pecan mix around the cookie cutters to make patterns (and to have some without the mixture…like cutouts. It came out really pretty but didn’t last long. Everyone tried to cut around the shapes! Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Beth

    I made these as a side dish and they came out great. Cutting the yams into rounds helped them hold up to the sweet sauce. I added a splash of orange juice because we didn’t have any fresh oranges to zest. It added a nice hint of brightness to the flavor. This recipe will definitely find its place to our table for Thanksgiving this year.

  8. Claire

    I live in Europe, where maple syrup is hard to come by. We just celebrated Thanksgiving (because we have to work on Thursday), and I used this recipe, substituting honey for the syrup. It was fabulous! I also had to sub walnuts for pecans, but nobody complained. In fact, this was the most popular dish at the party. Thanks a mil for such a great recipe.