Candied Yams

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Coated in a caramel-like glaze, these Southern-influenced Candied Yams are loaded with orange juice and bourbon. Baked until fork-tender and topped with pecans, they’ll go from a holiday side to dessert in a second.

Baked candied yams without pecans in the baking dish.


Topped with crunchy pecans and mixed with a dose of bourbon, these baked Southern candied yams will win everyone over. Seasoned with my favorite festive spice combo, every bite screams cozy fall and winter vibes. Between the cinnamon’s spicy earthiness and the nutmeg’s bitterness, a bit of bourbon balances out the sweetness and gives these yams a boozy kick. Best of all, you barely have to do a thing because the oven does most of the work for you.

Candied Yams Vs Sweet Potatoes

No. Candied yams, in the USA, are a dish, whereas sweet potatoes are an ingredient. While yams and sweet potatoes are root vegetables, they’re not the same. Sweet potatoes have smoother, orange, or yellowish skin. The inside is usually a vibrant orange. On the other hand, yams have brown or black skin. Their interior is beige, reddish, and even purple. They’re also creamier, unlike sweet potatoes, which tend to be starchier like regular potatoes. But if you love sweet potatoes, you will really, really like this recipe.

Ingredients for Southern candied yams.

Candied Yams Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Orange juice – Try to use fresh juice.
  • Light brown sugar – Dark brown sugar works too.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Butter – Unsalted.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bourbon – Honey whiskey is great too.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground nutmeg – You can substitute all the dried spices for the same amount of allspice.
  • Pecans

How to Make Candied Yams

All it takes is whipping up the glaze, slicing the sweet potatoes, and popping them into the oven – voila! In no time, you’ll be savoring perfectly roasted sweet potatoes, their edges caramelized and centers tender, each bite bursting with the delightful flavors of the glaze.

  1. Prepare the baking dish. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes. Arrange the sweet potatoes in the baking dish. Set it aside.
  3. Mix the sugars. Combine the orange juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, salt, and pepper in a small pot over medium heat. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes or until the butter has melted.
  4. Add the bourbon. Stir in the bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Remove from heat.
  5. Bake. Carefully pour the sugar-juice mixture over the potatoes. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the sweet potatoes for 40 minutes.
  6. Baste them. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Baste the sweet potatoes with the mixture every 15 minutes or so.
  7. Serve. Remove them from the oven. Let them rest for 5 minutes. Top with chopped pecans and enjoy.
Baked Southern candied yams with pecans on top.

Tips for Success

  • Poke some holes. Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes to help them bake faster and more evenly.
  • Use a slurry. Mix 1-1/2 teaspoons water and 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch until well combined. Add this to the sugar-juice mixture to help the glaze thicken more.
  • Pick small ones. The longer, narrower sweet potatoes are, the more chances they have of being stringy. Smaller, plump sweet potatoes are younger and are rarely stringy. However, for this recipe, I suggest using long, narrow sweet potatoes because they are smaller and easier to cut into evenly sized slices.

Serving Ideas

Candied yams are great for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As main dishes, my Lobster Ravioli with Cream Sauce, Easy Roast Turkey, and Tender and Juicy Pork Loin Roast are great options. For sides, I prefer these Green Beans and Mushrooms in Cream Sauce, my Roasted Italian Mushrooms Recipe, or Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Dressing and Feta Cheese.

Close-up of Southern candied yams with chopped pecans.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Refrigerate any cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Reheat them by sprinkling 1 to 2 teaspoons of water over them and microwaving them for up to 2 minutes or until warm.

More Easy Side Dishes

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5 from 1 vote

Candied Yams

Make these tender Candied Yams glazed with a luscious mix of orange juice and brown sugar and topped with crunchy pecans for that golden, sweet Southern touch.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people


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  • Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  • Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes in the baking dish and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine orange juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, salt, and pepper. Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the butter is melted and everything is well combined.
  • Stir in the bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and pour the orange juice mixture over the potatoes.
  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 20 more minutes, basting the potatoes a couple of times during cooking.
  • Remove from oven and top with chopped pecans.
  • Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.


  • Sweet Potatoes: I suggest using long, thinner sweet potatoes to make candied yams. They are smaller, and almost all slices will be similar in size. FYI: Yams in USA grocery stores are called sweet potatoes. For this recipe, you want to use sweet potatoes and not yams. Yams are root vegetables from Africa and Asia with dark brown skin.
  • Glaze: If you do not want to use bourbon, you can always use whisky or don’t add any alcohol at all. 
  • Make Ahead: Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes in the baking dish, coat them with the glaze, then store them covered in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Take them out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you bake them.


Serving: 8people | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 288mg | Potassium: 686mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 24374IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    Looks absolutely fantastic! I’d love to make this!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  2. Sandra McCollum says:

    My family would love this! Can’t wait to try this!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I hope everyone loves it! Thank YOU! 🙂