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Candied Yams: a classic Southern Thanksgiving dish you don’t want to sleep on

Total time: 1H10
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist

Beautifully buttery and scented with warming baking spices and the amazing flavor of caramelized sugar, candied yams are one side dish you don't want to skip at Thanksgiving dinner. This simple, easy recipe is a must-have at Thanksgiving dinner in the American South, and it's no wonder – sweet, tender, buttery yams loaded with spices like cinnamon and ginger are hard to resist.

Candied yams are a low-effort side dish that delivers big in the flavor department. You don't need to save this recipe for Thanksgiving either – candied yams go great with roasts, stews, and casseroles, too!

What Are Candied Yams?

Candied yams are made by cooking sweet potatoes or yams with a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and baking spices until they caramelize and become mouthwateringly sweet with just the right amount of savoriness. They're an essential part of any Southern Thanksgiving dinner!

How to Serve Candied Yams

Candied yams are enjoyed as a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner, especially in the American South. Serve them with roasted turkey, green bean casserole, cornbread, roasted ham, mashed potatoes, or any of your other favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

Tips for Making the Best Candied Yams

Other wonderful spices to your candied yams include allspice, cloves, and cardamom.

Make ultra-luxe candied yams by topping them with marshmallows.

While fresh yams are the go-to for many, canned or frozen yams work in this recipe.

Brown sugar will give you the richest, most complex flavor. You can also use white sugar or sweetener instead.

Make vegan, dairy-free candied yams by swapping the butter for your preferred plant-based spread.

How to Store Candied Yams

Put leftover candied yams into an airtight container and refrigerate them for between 3 and 5 days.


medium-sized sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cubed
unsalted butter, melted
1 stick
Brown sugar
1 cup
pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp
Ground cinnamon
2 tsp
Ground ginger
1/2 tsp
Kosher Salt
1 tsp

How to Make Candied Yams

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the cubed yams in a baking dish.

Whisk the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a small bowl.

Pour the butter mixture over the yams.

Toss to coat.

Bake for 55 minutes until tender. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Let the yams cool slightly, and serve.

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