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southern candied yams in small white bowl with gold fork on the side

Damn Good Southern Candied Yams (Stovetop!)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern


Whew, these Southern Candied Yams are so good, y’all! Sweet potatoes are cooked until they’re fork-tender in a warmly spiced, buttery, extra saucy + sweet, caramelized glaze. This side dish can be served for a proper Southern dinner and around the holidays like Thanksgiving and more. You’ll love this soul food staple!


  • 3 1/24 lbs sweet potatoes, garnet yams preferred– peeled & then sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds- see notes
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into cubes


  1. Prep the yams. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel the skin off the sweet potatoes. Then use a sharp knife to slice the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick rounds and set aside.
  2. Bring ingredients together. In a deep, medium-sized skillet or pot over medium heat, add the sweet potatoes, orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger (if using), packed brown sugar, granulated sugar, and half of the cubed butter. Stir the ingredients together until the potatoes are coated well in the mixture. Then add the remaining cubed butter on top and let those pieces nestle into the mixture.
  3. Slow simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the yams simmer for 45-50 minutes; or until the yams are fork-tender.
  4. Finish the yams. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. At this point, when checking on the yams, handle/stir them as little as possible, they will be very tender. I like to use the handle of the skillet/pot to swish them around in the syrup as opposed to stirring to avoid breaking. Let the syrup come to a boil, carefully stirring/swishing every so often, until the liquid reduces some, about 7-10 minutes or until the yams are nicely coated and “candied” to perfection.
  5. Serve these candied yams immediately while nice and hot, they’re best this way. Otherwise, you can transfer the yams into a preheated oven set to 200-250°F to keep warm until ready to serve. Enjoy!


  1. Sweet potatoes: For the best candied yams, aim for grabbing sweet potatoes that are *thin and long* and not thick/fat. That way the yams are more uniform in size and cook better.
  2. Adjusting syrup sauce: If you find your sauce too thick, you can add water to thin, as needed. Alternatively, to help thicken, you can add a cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water, mixed together) while simmering.
  3. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning.

Keywords: candied yams, candied sweet potatoes, sweet potato, southern yams, thanksgiving, holiday food, yams