Candied Yams

Candied yams, garnet sweet potatoes, glazed with a brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, orange sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving and the holidays!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 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 Boil the sweet potatoes 5 to 10 min: 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.

2 Simmer 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.

3 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.

candied-yams-method-2 candied-yams-method-3

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  • Nina Olesen

    This recipe was a hit!! Everyone loved it!! Very easy !! I did make one change I only used 1/2 of the Orange juice. I am putting it on my list for the future.


  • Beth

    Really good, one of the family’s favorites. It was a bit soupy but they may be because I prepped it the night before? Not sure, but the flavor was excellent. Will definitely make again, it was very easy.


  • Shirley

    I think I will try this candied Yams recipe tomorrow. I am cooking a couple of weeks early for us. I enjoy looking at the yams because minor sauce surrounds them.

  • Laymond Radford

    That’s good

  • Jimmy Lawrence

    I only used the butter, 2 cups Brown Sugar, and 1 cup Egg Nog. Sauce came out creamy, sweet, and just enough spice. Topped of with chopped pecans. Delicious!

  • Karen

    I made these last year and followed the receipt to a T, and to be honest, 2 cups of OJ was way too much and they tasted more like orange juice than candied yams. Everyone complained, lol, and said what did you do to the candied yams this year? I would try this again with 1 cup of OJ and a bit more brown sugar perhaps.

  • Kate

    Bless you for including orange juice and not adding marshmallows. This is how candied yams should be made!

  • old school cook

    Traditionally we use carnation milk as the liquid instead of O.J. the juice has a more citrus taste to the potatoes when you want more of a sweet creamy

  • Mark

    All you really need is butter and brown sugar. If you want, the “eggnog spices” work well with this…allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon. With the ginger and orange juice, it’s starting to sound like General Tsao’s sweet potatoes. I can see the ginger but I would not have thought to try orange juice. I might try a touch of peanut butter but like I said, butter and brown sugar is all you need. You could also do orange zest instead of the juice.

  • trevor

    I would cut the orange juice by a cup and maybe add a cup of water or apple juice.

  • Susie

    I make a similar version of this recipe!!!!!! I bake the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them, and i use orange juice frozen concentrate to make it more syrupy (no water) and a little butter, and pour it over the potatoes, sprinkle some chunky pecan pieces on top and bake it for about 15 minutes! BUT the point is the orange juice flavor really makes this recipe regardless of the how its made!!!!! i will be saving your recipe and continue peruse your site!! p.s. i came to your site for the Pozole recipe which I will trying soon!

  • Julian

    There are two types of brown sugar, the recipe should articulate which was used.

  • SR

    Wow!!! I love this recipe. Now I’m on the right track for thanksgiving.

  • takeyah

    Can you make it with regular sugar

  • Erin

    Can these be made ahead of time?

    • Elise Bauer

      I don’t see why not. Sweet potatoes reheat beautifully.

  • craig

    I also add nutmeg,and vanilla to my candied sweets,,for even more sweetness!!!

  • chezbrissie

    Awesome recipe. Best yams I ever made.


  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Azzemoto

    Step 1 says to boil so at what point to you brown?

    • Hank Shaw

      You don’t. There is no browning in my recipe. Other commenters say they like it browned, but I don’t. Sorry!

  • 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 Bauer

      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.

  • Alisha

    My family adds chunks of pineapple to our candied yams.

  • 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?

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

    I love the addition of ginger to this classic dish. Delish.

  • 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.

      • Hank Shaw

        Yep, what foodjunkie says. Typical American supermarkets have garnet yams and sweet potatoes, which are both technically sweet potatoes. Either works great. Just don’t use the white yams, which are starchy and not very sweet.

        • Mike

          Got it–thanks!

  • 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?

  • Elise Bauer

    That’s why they are called “candied” yams. They’re supposed to be extra sweet. You can adjust down the added sugar to taste.

  • florence friedman

    I cook mine in the pressure cooker with maple syrup. Always on Thanksgiving and only on Thanksgiving.

  • 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!