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Candied Yams

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This Candied Yams Recipe is perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner side or for any time of year. Yams and sweet potatoes cooked with sugar and bourbon make for an absolutely delicious side dish that you can make sweet or savory.

candied sweet potatoes on a blue serving spoon with toasted marshmallows

Confession: I am that person in restaurants who always wants to upgrade to sweet potato fries instead of regular. Freshly cracked salt and black pepper adds the perfect hint of savory spice to a sweeter root vegetable and pairs perfectly with nearly any dinner.

Candied Sweet Potatoes are just another way to enjoy one of my favorite sides! Sweet potato casseroles and green beans are always good, but something about these sliced yams cooked down with bourbon and sugar just perfectly hits the spot. Try with toasted marshmallows for another level of flavor and texture!

close up of sweet potatoes on a white plate that shows the sugar sauce

For another great Thanksgiving side, try my Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes.

What do I need to get started?

ingredients needed for candied yams
  • Sweet Potatoes.
  • Dark brown sugar. Light will work as well, but dark brings all the rich molasses flavor.
  • Salted butter. I always use salted when I’m cooking for a flavor enhancer.
  • Bourbon. This can be replaced with apple juice or cider, but the alcohol will be cooked out.
  • Cinnamon, cloves, and apple pie spice.
  • Freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Optional toppings: fresh thyme or toasted marshmallows.

How to make Candied Yams

After preheating the oven, get started on the sauce. Place the butter, sugar, bourbon, spices, and black pepper on a skillet over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the butter has melted, stirring the entire time. Once the butter has melted, allow the mixture to cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes.

Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a large bowl and toss with the sugar mixture. Mix with a spatula so you don’t burn your hands!

Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish and sprinkle on fresh thyme. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, remove the foil and mix together the potatoes, then bake for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Serve with more thyme and freshly cracked black pepper, or sprinkle on mini marshmallows and place under broiler until toasted.

sweet potatoes in a skillet with some missing and on a spoon


Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before reheating.

fork holding up sweet potatoes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is candied yams a dessert or a side?

Candied yams are a side dish that can add some sweetness to the heavy and savory dinner. You can serve as a dessert as well, but it does have some spice that some might not like in a dessert.

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

Technically, they are not the same. But if you see “yams” at a grocery store in many countries, it is a sweet potato. So you can call this recipe Candied Yams or Candied Sweet Potatoes!

What goes good with Candied Yams?

Candied Yams are a fantastic Thanksgiving dish and match up well with all Thanksgiving foods – turkey, green beans, stuffing, etc.

Tips and Tricks

close up of toasted marshmallows on sweet potatoes
  • To amp up the spices, add a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can replace the bourbon with an equal amount of apple juice.
  • This recipe calls for fresh thyme, but fresh rosemary matches up very well with it too!
  • Make this with a 10in baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
pin for candied sweet potatoes
Candied Yams

Candied Yams

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Candied Yams are a great side dish with sweet potato, spices, butter, and brown sugar!


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and spiced
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Add butter, brown sugar, bourbon, spices, and black pepper to a skillet and place over medium heat.
  3. Cook the butter and sugar mixture until the butter has melted, stirring all the time. Once the butter has melted, allow to cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring, then remove from the heat.
  4. Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl, then toss together with the butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Transfer potatoes to a baking dish along or cast iron skillet and sprinkle on fresh thyme leaves. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove foil and stir the potatoes again, then bake for another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. If using marshmallows, remove from the pan and sprinkle marshmallows on top and put under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until marshmallows have browned.
  6. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with more thyme and black pepper.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 small plate
Amount Per Serving Calories 556Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 61mgSodium 254mgCarbohydrates 81gFiber 5gSugar 57gProtein 3g

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