If you’re looking for a classic Thanksgiving dish that’s always a crowd-pleaser, candied yams are the way to go. This dish is the perfect blend of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, sugar, and a touch of cream. Candied yams are easy to prepare and can be served as a side dish or even as a dessert.
There are many different recipes for candied yams, but they all have a few things in common. First and foremost, you’ll need some sweet potatoes or yams. You can use canned yams or sweet potatoes if you’re short on time, or you can cook fresh ones if you have the time. The sweet potatoes are then par-cooked in boiling water before being placed in a baking dish and topped with a mixture of butter, sugar, and spice. They’re then baked until tender and the sweet sauce mixture has thickened and is rich in color.
When it comes to making candied yams, the ingredients you choose can make all the difference in the final dish. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make a delicious batch of candied yams:
Yams and Sweet Potatoes
The star of the dish is, of course, the yams or sweet potatoes. While the terms are often used interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are actually two different vegetables. Sweet potatoes are more commonly found in the United States, and have a softer texture and sweeter flavor than yams. Yams, on the other hand, are more commonly found in Africa and Asia and have a drier texture and less sweet flavor than sweet potatoes. For this recipe, you can use either yams or sweet potatoes, depending on your preference.
To sweeten the yams, you’ll need a combination of brown sugar and white sugar. Brown sugar adds a rich caramel flavor to the dish, while white sugar provides sweetness. You can use either dark brown sugar or light brown sugar, depending on your preference.
Spices and Flavorings
To give the dish its signature flavor, you’ll need a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Cinnamon adds warmth and spice, while nutmeg adds a nutty, earthy flavor. Vanilla extract adds a sweet, floral note to the dish.
While the basic recipe for candied yams calls for only a few ingredients, there are several optional additions you can include to customize the dish to your liking. For example, you can add mini marshmallows to the top of the dish for a gooey, sweet topping. You can also add orange juice for a citrusy flavor, or chopped walnuts or pecans for crunch.
Overall, the key to a delicious batch of candied yams is to use high-quality ingredients and to balance the sweetness with warm, earthy spices. With the right ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create a dish that is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
When it comes to making the perfect candied yams, choosing the right ingredients is key. From selecting the right type of sweet potato to picking the perfect spices, each ingredient plays an important role in the final dish. Here are some tips for selecting the best ingredients for your candied yams recipe.
Selecting Yams and Sweet Potatoes
The first step in making candied yams is selecting the right type of sweet potato. While the terms “yam” and “sweet potato” are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different types of starchy root vegetables. For this recipe, you will want to use sweet potatoes, specifically the garnet variety. Garnet sweet potatoes have a deep orange flesh that is perfect for making candied yams.
When selecting sweet potatoes, look for ones that are firm and free of blemishes or soft spots. The skin should be smooth and without any cracks. Sweet potatoes that are too large may be tough and woody, so it’s best to choose ones that are medium-sized.
Sugar is an essential ingredient in candied yams, but there are many different types of sugar to choose from. For this recipe, you will need both granulated sugar and brown sugar. Granulated sugar will be used to sweeten the sweet potatoes, while brown sugar will be used to create the caramel-like sauce that coats the potatoes.
When selecting sugars, look for high-quality brands that are free of any additives or fillers. Organic sugars are a great option if you want to avoid any chemicals or pesticides.
Spices are what give candied yams their signature flavor. The most common spices used in this recipe are cinnamon and nutmeg, but you can also add other spices like ginger or allspice for an extra kick.
When selecting spices, look for high-quality brands that are fresh and fragrant. Whole spices are often more flavorful than pre-ground spices, so consider grinding your own spices for the best flavor.
While candied yams are delicious on their own, you can also add other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dish. Some popular add-ons include butter, vanilla extract, and marshmallows.
When selecting add-ons, choose high-quality ingredients that complement the flavors of the sweet potatoes and spices. For example, if you are adding marshmallows, choose ones that are made with natural ingredients and free of any artificial flavors or colors.
Preparing candied yams is a simple process that involves a few key steps. In this section, we will guide you through the steps you need to follow to make a delicious candied yams recipe.
Peeling and Slicing
Start by peeling and slicing your sweet potatoes or yams. You can use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the potatoes. Once you have peeled the potatoes, slice them into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
Next, you need to boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and let the potatoes simmer for about 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the potatoes and set them aside.
Mixing and Coating
In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the bowl and toss them in the mixture until they are well-coated.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Transfer the coated sweet potatoes to a baking dish and spread them out in an even layer. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are caramelized and tender.
That’s it! Your candied yams are now ready to serve. You can also refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Remember, you can customize your candied yams recipe by adding marshmallows or pecans to the top before baking, or by using mashed potatoes instead of sliced sweet potatoes. Use a measuring cup to ensure that you are adding the right amount of ingredients to your recipe. Enjoy!
When it comes to serving candied yams, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your dish is a hit. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your candied yams:
Candied yams make a great addition to any holiday meal, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. They pair well with a variety of other dishes and can be served alongside turkey, baked ham, green beans, collard greens, and other side dishes.
One popular way to serve candied yams is to top them with marshmallows and bake them until the marshmallows are golden brown and toasted. This adds an extra layer of sweetness and texture to the dish. You can also sprinkle chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, on top for added crunch.
Another way to serve candied yams is to mix them with other ingredients, such as apples, cranberries, or raisins, to create a unique flavor profile. You can also experiment with different spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice, to add depth and complexity to the dish.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
If you want to make the dish ahead of time, you can prepare it up to 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Simply cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through and fork-tender.
Overall, candied yams are a delicious and versatile side dish that can be served in a variety of ways. With a little creativity and experimentation, you can make this classic holiday dish your own.
When it comes to candied yams, it’s important to consider the nutritional information. While this dish is delicious and a staple of many holiday meals, it’s also high in sugar and calories. Here’s what you need to know about the nutritional content of candied yams.
Candied yams are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They’re high in vitamin A, which is important for eye health, and vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system. They also contain potassium, which is important for heart health, and iron, which is important for healthy blood.
Potential Health Concerns
Candied yams are high in sugar and calories, so it’s important to enjoy them in moderation. One serving of candied yams (1/2 cup) contains around 150 calories and 25 grams of sugar. They’re also high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fiber, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
It’s also important to note that candied yams often contain added fat, usually in the form of butter. This can contribute to the overall calorie and fat content of the dish. Some recipes also call for marshmallows, which are high in sugar and can add even more calories to the dish.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional information for one serving of candied yams (1/2 cup):
Overall, while candied yams can be a tasty addition to your holiday meal, it’s important to be mindful of the nutritional content and enjoy them in moderation.
Tips and Tricks
To make the perfect candied yams, there are a few tips and tricks that you should keep in mind. Here are some useful tips to help you make the best candied sweet potatoes:
- Tender sweet potatoes: To ensure that your sweet potatoes are tender, it is important to cook them until they are soft before adding the syrup. You can do this by boiling them for 15-20 minutes or until they are fork-tender.
- Rich syrup: A rich and buttery syrup is the key to making delicious candied yams. To achieve this, use a combination of butter, brown sugar, and spices. You can also add a splash of cream to make the syrup smooth and creamy.
- Simmer the syrup: To reduce the syrup and make it thick and caramel-like, simmer it for a few minutes after adding all the ingredients. This will also help to infuse the sweet potatoes with flavor.
- Cool before serving: Let the candied yams cool for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the syrup to thicken and coat the sweet potatoes evenly.
- Substitute canned sweet potatoes: If you are short on time, you can use canned sweet potatoes instead of fresh ones. Just be sure to drain and rinse them before using them in the recipe.
- Prep time: To save time on Thanksgiving day, you can prepare the candied yams a day or two in advance. Just store them in the fridge and reheat them in the oven before serving.
Candied yams are a southern staple and a delicious homemade side dish for Thanksgiving. With these tips and tricks, you can make the perfect candied yams that are tender, coated in a rich syrup, and warm and caramel-like.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you make candied yams on the stovetop?
To make candied yams on the stovetop, you need to peel and slice the yams into rounds or cubes and place them in a large pot. Add water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the yams simmer until they are tender. Drain the water and add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Cook the yams over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the yams are coated with a shiny glaze.
What are the ingredients needed for candied yams?
The ingredients needed for candied yams are yams or sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and optionally, marshmallows or pecans for topping.
What is the recipe for soul food candied yams?
The recipe for soul food candied yams is similar to the regular candied yams recipe, but it uses more spices and often includes marshmallows or pecans for topping. To make soul food candied yams, you need to peel and slice the yams and place them in a large pot. Add water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the yams simmer until they are tender. Drain the water and add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and vanilla extract. Cook the yams over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the yams are coated with a shiny glaze. Top with marshmallows or pecans and bake in the oven until the topping is golden brown.
How do you make candied yams with condensed milk?
To make candied yams with condensed milk, you can use the regular candied yams recipe but substitute part of the brown sugar with condensed milk. In a large pot, combine sliced yams, water, butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the yams are tender and the sauce thickens. Serve hot.
What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
Although often used interchangeably, sweet potatoes and yams are two different vegetables. Sweet potatoes are usually lighter in color, have a thin skin, and a sweet, moist flesh. Yams, on the other hand, have a rough, scaly skin, and a dry, starchy flesh. Yams are more commonly found in African, Caribbean, and Asian cuisine, while sweet potatoes are more popular in American and European cuisine.
Can you make candied yams with molasses instead of brown sugar?
Yes, you can make candied yams with molasses instead of brown sugar. Molasses will give the yams a darker color and a richer, more complex flavor. To make candied yams with molasses, you can use the regular candied yams recipe but substitute part of the brown sugar with molasses. In a large pot, combine sliced yams, water, butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the yams are tender and the sauce thickens. Serve hot.