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southern candied yams in a white baking dish with a serving spoon in the right corner.
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4.85 from 113 votes

Southern Candied Yams (Soul Food Recipe!)

Get ready for some seriously delicious Southern candied yams! We're talking sweet potatoes slow-cooked in a buttery, sweet syrup until they're tender and glazed to perfection. This is an authentic soul food recipe, and you'll be making it for all your holidays and Sunday dinners!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 419kcal
Author: Ashley Boyd



  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set it aside.
  • Thoroughly wash, peel, and slice the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick rounds. Place the sweet potatoes in the buttered baking dish and set them aside.
  • Heat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts and the ingredients come together. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove the pan from the heat. The sauce will be thick and the sugar will not be fully dissolved.
  • Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the sweet potatoes in the baking dish and use a wooden spoon or your hands to stir the sweet potatoes and make sure each potato slice is coated in the syrup. This takes some effort but is worth it to avoid dry spots and clumped sweet potatoes. Cover the pan with foil and bake the yams in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, remove the foil from the pan and carefully toss the sweet potatoes, rotating the ones on the bottom and top. This helps make sure all of the potatoes are able to thoroughly absorb that delectable cooking liquid. Continue cooking the yams, uncovered, for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork and the cooking liquid is syrupy. The yams should be very tender but not falling apart.
  • Allow the candied yams to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then serve with a slotted spoon. Spoon some additional cooking liquid over top and enjoy!



  • Try to slice your sweet potatoes as uniformly as possible for even cooking.
  • Because there is no added liquid in the syrup such as water or orange juice, it would harden like candy once poured over the sweet potatoes if cooked until the sugar fully dissolved. Be sure to only cook the syrup until the butter melts and the ingredients are combined. The syrup should be thick.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your liking for a less or more sweet dish.
  • This is the perfect make-ahead recipe for Thanksgiving! Make this dish 1 to 2 days in advance and reheat the yams in the oven until warmed through. Alternatively, assemble the dish, store the uncooked yams in the refrigerator, and cook completely the day you plan to serve.
  • To test the yams for doneness, carefully use a fork to take one out of the pan and take a bite of it. If the sweet potato is not very tender and easy to bite through, the yams need more time.
  • Leftover candied yams can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat yams in the microwave or oven.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 68.6g | Protein: 3.2g | Fat: 10.5g | Saturated Fat: 6.9g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 1142mg | Fiber: 6.9g | Sugar: 30.8g | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg