November 13, 2023| By

Stove Top Candied Yams

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
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Stove top candied yams are the ultimate sweet potatoes recipe! Tender sweet potatoes simmered in a spiced brown sugar glaze enhanced with butter, sugar, and warm spices - it's the ideal sunday dinner side dish. Enjoy these easy candied yams for casual weeknight dinners or a holiday meal. 

For more sweet potato side dishes, check out Old Fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes or this Sweet Potato Casserole

up close photo of candied yams covered in a brown sugar glaze.
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Preparing stovetop candied yams is a simple way to get some southern comfort into your thanksgiving dinner. I simply adore this sweet potato recipe and it is always on my holiday table!

This soul food staple and classic thanksgiving side dish is easy to prepare and truly satisfies your sweet tooth when you've got all of that savory flavor on your plate. But I don't want to limit it to just thanksgiving, christmas dinner, and special occasions.

This classic southern candied yams recipe is easy enough for casual family dinners, too. Preparing it on the stove takes less time so you can enjoy it any night of the week.

Let's make this delicious recipe together, step-by-step instructions below! I also provide a video in case you're more of a visual learner 

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Convenient! Maybe you're making a bunch of dishes for a holiday and don't have the oven space or don't want to warm up the whole house by turning it on. Making stovetop candied sweet potatoes is quicker and easier than candied yams in the oven.

Better than Storebought! Put the can of candied yams back on the shelf! We're making this candied yams recipe from scratch with fresh sweet potatoes because it has more flavor and better texture. This also allows us to control the amount of sugar in this dish.

Customizable! Make candy yams your way with your choice of sweeteners and toppings. 

a spoon pouring syrup on top of the stove top candied yams

What are Candied Yams?

Candied yams are sweet potatoes, cooked until tender and served in a sweet syrup-like sauce or glaze. It is a sweet and indulgent side dish that complements savory main courses. It has all the flavor of cooked sweet potatoes but it's enhanced with sugar, spices, and extracts.

Candied Yams vs Sweet Potatoes

Although both are root vegetables, a true yam and a sweet potato are not the same thing. Real yams are thicker and starchier, with rough skin and white flesh. Sweet potatoes are what we buy at the grocery store and have thinner, smoother skin and bright orange flesh. 

The two terms are used interchangeably in the United States because we don't have easy access to actual yams. Even most canned yams sold here have sweet potatoes listed in the ingredients. So yes, this candied yams recipe is made using sweet potatoes. 

Candied Yams Ingredients

photo of ingredients needed to make candied yams - sugar, brown sugar, sweet potatoes, vanilla extract, maple extract, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and butter

See the recipe card for full recipe information, ingredients, and quantities.

  • Sweet potatoes - Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into ½ inch slices. Try to use small sweet potatoes, they're sweeter than the larger ones. 
  • Butter - I can't imagine this recipe without some buttery goodness. I like to use salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter if that's what you have on hand!
  • Sugar - A mix of dark brown sugar and white sugar works best.
  • Spices - Use ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground allspice. It's kinda like a pumpkin pie spice blend - but better! 
  • Lemon juice - This brightens the overall flavor with a pop of citrus flavor.
  • Water - This is the liquid base of the syrup.
  • Vanilla extract & Maple extract - This adds a depth of flavor and enhances the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes and gives this dish a buttery caramel toffee flavor that's to die for!
  • Pinch of salt - This enhances the overall taste of this dish.

Substitutions

  • Candied Yams with Pecans: Want a little crunch to go with all the soft sweetness? Throw in some pecans to make this even more delicious!
  • Marshmallow Topping: Top individual servings with marshmallows and use a kitchen torch to brown them.
  • Add orange juice: some people prefer orange juice over lemon juice. Feel free to use your favorite or get creative and experiment with something new!
  • Use maple syrup in the glaze to add more flavor!

Pro Tips 

sliced sweet potatoes on a serving tray covered in syrup
  • Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes before slicing them to remove all dirt and debris. If you don't the final dish may be gritty. 
  • Slice the sweet potatoes into uniform slices. This allows them to cook at an even rate.
  • Homemade candied yams are ready when the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Don't overcook them, they'll become mushy!
  • You can make this dish 2-3 days in advance. Just store it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. 

How to Make Candied Yams

  • In a large pot over medium low heat, melt butter. Once melted, add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Whisk together, then add lemon juice, water, vanilla extract, and maple extract. Add a pinch of salt. Continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until combined and syrupy. 
sliced sweet potatoes on a cutting board
  • Add sweet potatoes to the pot and carefully mix together to ensure all of the sweet potatoes are coated. Place a lid on top, leaving it slightly open so that the sweet potatoes don't burn. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and the syrup has thickened.
sliced sweet potatoes in a large pot covered in brown sugar syrup, spices, and butter
  • Allow the sweet potatoes to sit in the syrup and cool for at least 20 minutes prior to serving. Spoon some of the syrup on top.

What to Serve with Candy Yams

This is the ultimate soul food dish so its best served with more soul food like Slow Cooker Collard GreensOld Fashioned Mac and Cheese, and Grandma's Buttermilk Cornbread or Honey Butter Cornbread. It also pairs well with pork chopsfried cabbage, and pot roast.

Don't forget the dinner rolls - make these brown and serve rolls and pop them in the oven when everything's ready! It's a must with all of that sweet syrup!

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover candied yams in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.

FAQ

What's the difference between candied yams and sweet potatoes?

Candied yams and sweet potatoes are terms often used interchangeably, but they refer to different varieties of tubers. Yams are starchy, tropical root vegetables. Whereas sweet potatoes are moist and sweet with orange flesh.

Can you cook sweet potatoes the same as yams?

You can cook them the same, whether roasting, boiling, mashing, or fried. However, the taste and texture will vary.

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

up close photo of candied yams covered in a brown sugar glaze.

Stovetop Candied Yams

Stovetop candied yams are sweet potatoes simmered until fork tender in a syrup enhanced with butter, sugar, and warm spices. Enjoy these easy candied yams for a casual weeknight dinner or a holiday meal.
Serving: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Calories: 681kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into ½ inch slices
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp maple extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  • In a large pot over medium low heat, melt butter. Once melted, add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Whisk together, then add lemon juice, water, vanilla extract, and maple extract. Add a pinch of salt. Continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until combined and syrupy.
  • Add sweet potatoes to the pot and carefully mix together to ensure all of the sweet potatoes are coated. Place a lid on top, leaving it slightly open so that the sweet potatoes don't burn. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and the syrup has thickened.
  • Allow the sweet potatoes to sit in the syrup and cool for at least 20 minutes prior to serving. Spoon some of the syrup on top.

Nutrition

Calories: 681kcal | Carbohydrates: 117g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 836mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 79g | Vitamin A: 32890IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Christmas, Comfort Food, Easter, Side Dish, Sides, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: African-American

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