Candied yams have always been something of a mystery to me. Growing up, we only ever ate them on Thanksgiving, which was strange because they are such a perfect kid food: sweet, rich, and tangy from the orange juice. And even on Thanksgiving, its sweetness was befuddling.
Why Candied Yams are The Best Thanksgiving Side Dish
Candied yams are like a little preview of dessert, a treat for the sweet tooth before the serious business of pies and ice creams begin in earnest.
As an adult, I now realize that candied yams properly occupy the middle position between the mashed potatoes and the cranberry sauce. Potatoes are starchy and rich with butter and cream, while the cranberry sauce is sweet and intensely tart. The yams borrow from each and by so doing bind the traditional Thanksgiving plate together.
Know that with a dish so classic as candied yams, there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks! If you have a favorite way to make candied yams, please let us know about it in the comments.
Yams Vs. Sweet Potatoes
Grocery stores in the U.S. tend to use the terms yams and sweet potatoes interchangeably, but they are not. True yams aren't usually found in grocery stores and they're very starchy and white inside — they won't work in this recipe.
Sweet potatoes are orange inside (or purple, and yes, sometimes white — and that can confuse things). There's a good possibility that what your store marks "yams" are actually sweet potatoes, and they would work in this recipe. If you're unsure, ask someone in the produce department for assistance.
How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerate leftovers, tightly covered, for 3 to 5 days. Reheat them covered in foil in the oven at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, just until they start bubbling. Or, reheat individual portions in the microwave.
We don't recommend freezing these candied yams. Their consistency will be mushy when defrosted.
What to Serve With Candied Yams
- Mom’s Roast Turkey
- Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
- Green Beans With Almond and Thyme
- Festive Beet Citrus Salad With Kale and Pistachios
- Glazed Baked Ham
More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try!
- Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecans
- Sweet Potato Pie With Pecan Topping
- Classic Sweet Potato Pie
- Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallows
- Cranberry Sweet Potatoes
3 pounds garnet or ruby sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 cups orange juice
1 to 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
Boil the sweet potatoes:
Place the cut sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt.
Boil the sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes, or until you can just pierce them with the tines of a fork, but not fully cooked (you will continue to cook in the next step). Drain and set aside.
Simmer the remaining ingredients:
Mix the remaining ingredients (orange juice, brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, butter) in a shallow, wide sauté pan and bring to a boil on high heat.
Add sweet potatoes, cook until sauce reduces to a syrup:
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.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||19%|
|Total Carbohydrate 70g||25%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||21%|
|Total Sugars 44g|
|Vitamin C 64mg||322%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|