Candied yams, with or without marshmallows, are a must for Thanksgiving! With an easy to make sweet syrup, cinnamon, and a hint of vanilla, these sweet potatoes are a classic holiday side. Add mini marshmallows and bake for a melty holiday favorite everyone will love.
Why we love this recipe
These candied yams can be made with or without marshmallows. As a child, the marshmallows were my daughter’s favorite part. The charred, melted gooey topping was irresistible! She’s now 26 and still insists on the marshmallows.
This classic side dish is a staple on any Thanksgiving or Christmas table, we can’t go without it!
We’ve also served this decadent Oatmeal Cookie Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. We love sweet potatoes so much, that when it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas, we make Sweet Potato Fries!
How to make candied yams
These step by step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make this recipe. Please scroll down to simply print out the instructions!
- To start, scrub the sweet potatoes and carefully score a line around the entire circumference of the potato (see our video!) and place in a large pot of boiling water.
- Cover the pot and boil over medium-high heat until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.
- Plunge the hot potatoes into a bowl of ice water. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the sweet potatoes and cut them into slices or cubes.
- Place cut sweet potatoes into a square baking dish if you will be topping with marshmallows.
- For the syrup, simply bring all the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Pour over the sweet potatoes, top with marshmallows and bake until golden brown.
- If you do not want to use marshmallows, combine the syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Carefully add the sweet potatoes and then simmer until thickened.
- A note about yams or sweet potatoes: In the USA the terms are used interchangeably. My candied yams are actually sweet potatoes. In the grocery store, sweet potatoes are commonly labeled as yams, even if they aren’t true yams, which is confusing. Either way, you’ll want sweet potatoes for this recipe!
- You can use white or brown sugar for this recipe. I have used both and prefer brown sugar.
- Either water or orange juice works, but I prefer the juice. If you don’t have any, water works great!
- You’ll also need butter (salted or unsalted), pure vanilla extract, salt, and ground cinnamon.
- I always top my candied yams with miniature marshmallows. They are completely optional, but it’s how my family prefers them.
More Thanksgiving Ideas
- Roasted Broccoli
- Perfect Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Pumpkin Brownie Trifle – Kitchen Gidget
- Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Rice Dressing – Kitchen Gidget
- Melting Sweet Potatoes – Foodie with Family
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- 2 lbs sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup white or brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons water or orange juice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups mini marshmallows optional
Things You’ll Need
- Scrub and score the sweet potatoes around the center and place in a large pot of boiling water. Cover and gently boil for 20-30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain potatoes and place in a bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle then slip the skins off (see our video for this method). Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch slices or cubes.
Preparation with marshmallows:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- For the syrup, combine the sugar, water, butter, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil.
- Place sweet potatoes in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and drizzle with syrup.
- Top with marshmallows and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Preparation without marshmallows:
- In a large skillet, combine the sugar, water, butter, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Add the sweet potatoes, stirring to coat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy.
Expert Tips & FAQs
- Calorie count includes marshmallows.
- A note about yams or sweet potatoes: In the USA these terms are used interchangeably. My candied yams are actually sweet potatoes. In the grocery store, sweet potatoes are commonly labeled as yams, even if they aren’t true yams, which is confusing. Either way, you’ll want sweet potatoes for this recipe!
- Be sure to watch the video to learn how to easily peel sweet potatoes with just one cut of the knife!
This post was originally published on this blog on Nov 3, 2017.
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Dawn Erick says
After 20 years of struggling to peel and cube sweet potatoes, I now learn it wasn’t necessary after all? Just lightly score them, boil as usual, and the skins will slip right off!! (Who’d-a thunk it?) 🤪
You’re an angel my friend.
Thanks for sharing.❤️