Y’all know anything with the word candied is going to be good right? Well for me, that’s usually the case. So today we are talking about how to make some really GOOD Southern candied yams! They’re so tender and they’ll literally melt in your mouth. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.
I grew up eating them every holiday. Despite having them abagillion times, I’m still in love with them.
ARE SWEET POTATOES THE SAME AS YAMS?
I’ve had to answer this question a few times. The answer is no. Although they look alike and are marketed a like, they’re two different root vegetables. Yams have are cylinder shaped with thicker and darker rough skin and whiter meat.
Yams can grow way bigger than sweet potatoes. Don’t believe me then look at this and this! Ginormous huh? Yams also contain more starch than sweet potatoes. So they require more butter when cooked. And lastly, they have more calories than sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are a darker orange color, smoother skin and a tubular shape with tapered ends. Also, if you don’t live in Africa, Asia, South America or Oceania you’re most likely buying sweet potatoes and not yams.
So, if you see a “yam” in the grocery store, it’s most likely a sweet potato. But no worries, you can probably find yams at specialty stores or international markets.
FYI, In this post you’ll notice that I call sweet potatoes yams, just know I’m referring to sweet potatoes lol. So candied sweet potatoes are basically the same as candied yams. Now that their differences are cleared up, let’s get back to the recipe.
My mom used to make her candied yams on the stove-top with lemon and they were great! There were even times, during busy weekdays when she’d come home after a long day of work and doctored up the canned version served with mac and cheese and fried chicken.
It was the best. However, I prefer mine homemade that’s the ONLY way I make them.
So my inspiration for this candied yams recipe comes from my momma but I don’t use lemons. I love to use orange juice concentrate. If you make this recipe, do not skip the concentrated oj. You can find it in the frozen food aisle at most stores. The yams will taste just fine without the frozen oj but a 100 times better with it!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
This is what I love about these southern candied yams:
- I buy smaller slimmer sweet potatoes. Also, the smaller sweet potatoes are usually uniform in size. From personal experience, bigger sweet potatoes or yams take more time to peel and cut. But If you can’t find them at Aldi’s or another store, you can use the larger sweet potatoes to make this as well.
- It’s a simple well seasoned candied sweet potato recipe. Basically just add all of the ingredient to a pot. Let it come to a boil then simmer and cover. Until the yams are nice, sweet and tender. Then uncover to let the liquid reduce.
- They’re rich, sweet and buttery with warm spices and orange flavor. Definitely not diet food but perfect to eat once a year for Thanksgiving.
- It cooks on the stovetop. This way you can keep an eye on it and occasionally stir to prevent the candied sweet potatoes s and the cooking liquid from burning. You can even adjust the flavors to your liking when your making it this way.
- Lastly, candied yams are a wonderful inexpensive side dish.
HOW TO MAKE CANDIED YAMS
My mom and grandmother used to make these the old fashioned way, by boiling the potatoes first but that’s not necessary. Here’s my recipe:
Scrub, peel and slice your yams into 1/2 inch rounds. In a medium pot combine the yams and the rest of the ingredients. Stir the sweet potatoes until coated in the sugar and butter mixture. Let it come to a boil. Cover then simmer for about 50 minutes or until the yams are nice and tender. To test their doneness, take one out and taste it. If it’s still a bit hard. Let it cook a bit longer.
Remove the cover and set stove to medium. Let the cooking liquid come to a boil. Stirring occasionally until the cooking liquid reduces about 10 minute or until the syrup coats the yams.
Remove the pot with the candied yams from the stovetop. Next place the pot of sweet potatoes into the oven until you are ready to serve them. These taste best warm.
TIPS TO MAKE STOVETOP CANDIED YAMS
- This can be made up to 3 days in advance. The flavors will be even better! Store with an airtight lid in the refrigerator. Heat it up on the stove-top until warmed through.
- Look for long small thinner sweet potatoes. They’re easier to peel and cut. I get mine from Aldi’s.
- Try to cut the yams the same size into 1/2 inch slices.
- Once the candied yams are done, carefully stir them into the sauce. If you stir to roughly the yams may break apart but no worries. They’ll still be super tasty!
- To test their doneness, take one out and taste it. If it’s still a bit hard. Let it cook a bit longer.
- This dish is best served warm.
Candied yams is a old fashioned side dish that's slow cooked in a candied mixture on the stove-top with warm spices, sugar and butter.
- 2lb sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar or light brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter
- 4 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate thawed
Scrub, peel and slice your yams into 1/2 inch rounds. In a medium pot over medium high heat, combine the sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Stir the sweet potatoes until coated in the sugar and butter mixture.
Let it come to a boil. Cover then simmer for about 50 minutes or until the yams are nice and tender when slightly pierced with the tines of a fork or taste. If the yam is still a bit hard. Let it cook a bit longer.
Remove the top then set stove to medium. Let the cooking liquid come to a boil. Stirring occasionally until the cooking liquid reduces about 10 minute or until the syrup coats the yams. Remove the pot with the candied yams from the stove and place them into the oven until you are ready to serve them. These taste best warm.
- Double or triple the recipe if you like.
- I always add a bit more vanilla extract to the candied yams once they're almost done cooking.
- These aren't too sweet in my opinion but you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, since everyones taste is different. Start off using less sugar, taste then add more if needed. If you end up adding too much sugar, balance it out by adding a bit of water or even butter.
- If the syrup becomes too thick, you can thin it out with a bit of water.
- You can assemble this in advance. Up to 3 days. The flavors will be even better! Store it with an airtight lid in the refrigerator. Heat it up on your stove-top until warmed through.
- Look for small sweet potatoes. They're easier to peel and cut. You can usually find them at Walmart. If you can't find them medium or larger sweet potatoes will work.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds. If you slice them any thinner they may break apart as they cook.
- Once they're done, carefully stir them into the sauce. If you stir to roughly the yams may break apart.
- To test their doneness, take one out and taste it. If it's still a bit hard.
Let it cook a bit longer. when the tines of fork can pierce the sweet potato easily, it's done.
- This dish is best served warm.
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