This Candied Yams recipe is made in a delicious brown sugar mixture, toasted pecans, vanilla extract, warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, and cooked n a baking dish until they become softened and sweet.
Candied Yams is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. I love the sweetness of the yams and sweetened flavors made from brown sugar, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans. To me, sweet potatoes are an underdog of the entire meal. It may not be the dish that people always ask about, but it is the dish that everyone will notice if it is not at the table. It took me years to create my own way to make Candied Yams and now that I have come up with a recipe and technique, I will be sharing this recipe with my kids and grandchildren too.
How to make Candied Yams
I started off by peeling and cutting fresh sweet potatoes and putting them in a baking dish. I coat them in some oil and bake them in the oven alone. This will make them soft. While I am baking the yams, I then make a simple caramel mixture that I then pour over the yams once they have baked. This caramel mixture is made with brown sugar and butter and I pour that over the yams. Somewhere in that method is vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon. But all of those flavors come together and make the best candied sweet potatoes you’ll ever have
Candied Yams and my grandma
I use to think my grandma Daisy made the best sweet potatoes and as much as I love and miss her, I think she would find that my recipe will come as a close second to her.
All week I have told stories and shared family memories about Thanksgiving. I have told you how horrible of a cook I use to be; I told you how my grandfather uses to make two turkeys for Thanksgiving, and I told you how much I love my Aunt Valerie’s Homemade Cornbread Dressing. What I have not shared with you is the heart of what Thanksgiving means to me.
The heart of Thanksgiving starts with my Grandma Daisy. My grandma (I’m going to try to type this without crying) was everything to me. She practically raised me! My mother had me at 19 and she was trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. My father enlisted in the Army and thus creating a non-existent relationship between him and me. The person who gave me love and nurturing was my grandmother. She taught me how to cook, be polite, and be respectful. She taught me how to clean, clean myself, and did I say clean (she was a clean freak)?
I truly believe that she has somehow reincarnated her spirit and it landed right in the center of my heart. I find myself becoming more and more like her and wanting to do things that I know she would want to do and love! My grandmother was BIG in creating traditions. Between her and her two sisters, Rosetta and Lela, those three women kept all of their families, who are my cousins, together. Every year, we could count on spending the 4th of July together at Aunt Lela’s house, Christmas Eve we would get together at Aunt Lela’s house, and just random holidays and celebrations at… Aunt Lela’s house. We looked forward to it every year.
Those three pillars of women kept us together and the idea of the generation after them, which would be my mother and older first cousins passing on without re-establishing the family the way it uses to be, haunts me, to be honest. I want my children to know who their Great Grandmother Daisy was and still is.
As life continues to move and history continues to depreciate, I fear that traditional family values will get lost in the world of trendy movies and social media that is inspired by top beauty trends, Pokemon Go, and celebrity gossip. Establishing strong and healthy family values is something that isn’t glorified or appreciated as it once was. It is something that I honestly fear will get lost as time progress.
I know that was a lot of “soap” when you’re only interested in my Candied Yams Recipe. What I am hoping is that you understand that a childhood recipe, particularly, a childhood favorite for any occasion, often stems from a special person. The thoughts of that person trigger special memories and feelings that hopefully bring happiness and joy.
Every single Thanksgiving my grandmother made sure there were two dishes waiting for me and those were Candied Yams and canned Cranberry Sauce. To this DAY, Thanksgiving is not Every single thanksgiving my grandmother made sure there were two dishes waiting for me and those were Candied Yams and canned Cranberry Sauce. To this DAY, Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving for me, without those two dishes. Enjoying these dishes around the holidays pays homage to their memory and recognizing them as a part of my life. That is what food is all about people! Making memories, bringing families together, and keeping culture and history alive.
If you like recipes like this, you will love the ones below:
- Grandma Daisy’s Fried Apples
- Homemade Cornbread Dressing
- Apple Bacon and Herb Stuffing
- Leftover Thanksgiving Balls
Commonly Asked Questions
Yes! You can add any unique ingredient that you and your family love to this recipe. Some of those toppings are chopped pecans, miniature marshmallows, or chopped candied ginger.
No. You can add the mixture to the raw sweet potatoes and bake. It may take a little longer to bake. I like this method because it ensures that the potatoes are soft perfectly. If you do it this way, cover it with aluminum while cooking.
Candied Yams Recipe
- Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Deliciously sweet Candied Yams Recipe that will make your holiday dinner amazing! Just roast fresh sweet potatoes and roast in candied topping!
- 8 large sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 2 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tbsp. Unsulfured molasses
- 1/4 c. Bourbon
- 1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. All spice
- 1/3 c. pecan pieces
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in medium chunks and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with canola oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread in a 9X13 rectangle casserole dish. Baked for 45 minutes to an hour. Potatoes should be fork tender.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, sugar, and molasses. Whisk on medium heat until well mixed. The mixture will begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Next add, the bourbon, cinnamon, and allspice, whisk for another 3 minutes. Once the sauce begins to bubble slightly, pour on top of the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the sweet potatoes and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 25 minutes. Leave the aluminum foil over the dish until ready to serve.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 90 mins
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