The Best Candied Sweet Potatoes on the Stovetop

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Candied yams are sweet potatoes simmered on the stovetop with butter, sugar, and spices for a mouthwatering holiday side dish! Learn how to make candied sweet potatoes the easy way with this simple stovetop recipe.

Looking for other ways to prepare sweet potatoes? Check out more sweet potato recipes like this Fluffy and Moist Sweet Potato Cornbread, Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows, and Frozen Sweet Potato Fries in Air Fryer.

a bowl of candied yams

Stovetop candied yams are incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious. They are always on the list when planning Thanksgiving dinner.

Preparing yams on the stovetop means there is more room in the oven for other dishes. (We all know the oven is prime real estate for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter!)

I encourage people who do not like sweet potatoes to give this recipe a try. Saucy, sweet, and caramelized, these candied sweet potatoes are bound to make you a fan!

Why you will love Candied Sweet Potatoes:

Great Holiday Side Dish! Is it really Thanksgiving if there are no sweet potatoes at the holiday table? This rich, decadent side is perfect for this food-centered holiday. Its sweetness balances out all those savory dishes like stuffing and turkey.

Classic Soul Food! Beyond the holidays, candied yams are a staple side dish. Place them right between mac and cheese and collard greens as the soul food trifecta!

Easy Prep! This recipe is great for beginners. Make stovetop candied sweet potatoes in advance or just before serving dinner. You can skip the baking dish and save some cooking time. It is made easy with simple ingredients and takes just 15 minutes of hands-on prep. It also stores and reheats well.

Better Than Storebought! Skip the canned sweet potatoes and opt for fresh sweet potatoes instead. This way, you can customize your dish for the best flavor.

bowl of candied sweet potatoes

Are candied yams the same as sweet potatoes?

Candied yams are technically candied sweet potatoes. Yams are not readily available in U.S. grocery stores (they are common in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean). Here in the States, we use sweet potatoes instead.

Yams and sweet potatoes are both root vegetables with similar flavor profiles and textures. So we make candied yams with sweet potatoes!

sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl

Ingredients for Candied Yams Recipe

To make candied sweet potatoes with brown sugar, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. Sweet potatoes: Peel and slice into ¼” slices.
  2. Butter: Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of sodium.
  3. Sugar: Use both brown sugar and granulated sugar (white sugar) for a more complex sweetness.
  4. Vanilla extract: The vanilla flavor complements the spices.
  5. Lemon juice: This brightens the overall taste with a pop of fresh citrus.
  6. Spices: Use a mix of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and allspice (optional but recommended).
  7. Salt: There is a lot of sweetness going on with this dish. Be sure to add salt to balance it out.
raw sweet potatoes on a cutting board

How to Make Candies Sweet Potatoes

Preheat a deep skillet with a lid over medium heat. Melt butter in the skillet, then add brown sugar and white sugar.

Stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Incorporate vanilla extract, lemon juice, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Mix thoroughly and let it simmer for at least one minute.

glaze for candied yams

Carefully introduce thinly sliced sweet potatoes into the candied sugar mixture.

preparing candied sweet potatoes on the stovetop

Gently coat the sweet potatoes with the sauce using the spoon. Ensure an even layer, cover the skillet with a lid, and bring the candied yams to a light boil for 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and spread them out evenly again.

preparing candied yams on the stovetop

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with the lid, and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

close up view of candied sweet potatoes in pan

Uncover for the last 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Serve immediately and enjoy!

a pot of candied sweet potatoes with a spoon holding some of it hovering over

Tips and variations for the Best Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe

  • When selecting sweet potatoes, opt for smaller ones because they contain less starch, are softer, and cook faster, for more tender results. They should feel firm and smooth with no cracks.
  • Add pure maple syrup to the sticky sweet glaze for even more depth. If you use this natural sweetener, reduce the amount of sugar. Swap regular brown sugar for dark brown sugar for caramel-like flavor. Considering other add-ins? Try orange zest or ground cinnamon.
  • Store leftover candied sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stovetop until warmed through.
close up view of candied sweet potatoes

FAQ

Sweet potatoes are usually peeled when making candied yams because the texture throws off the soft texture. However, you can keep the skin on for added nutrients.

True yams are starchy with rough, scaly skin. Sweet potatoes are smoother and sweeter.

This dish is made with sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, spices, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt.

Although both vegetables are nutritious, sweet potatoes are considered healthier than yams. Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are rich in beta-carotene (a pigment that the body converts into vitamin A) and an excellent source of fiber and potassium. While yams are also rich in vitamins, they are lower in beta-carotene.

There are many sweet potato varieties but the most common are: Garnet, Beauregards, Japanese, and Jewel. Garnet sweet potatoes have bright orange flesh and work best for recipes like candied sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and mashed sweet potatoes.

More Holiday Side Dishes You’ll Love

close up view of candied sweet potatoes
Yield: 6 servings

The Best Candied Sweet Potatoes on the Stovetop

Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Candied yams are sweet potatoes simmered on the stovetop with butter, sugar, and spices for a mouthwatering holiday side dish! Learn how to make candied sweet potatoes the easy way with this simple stovetop recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole Sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼” slices
  • 1 stick Butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar, (white sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice (optional but recommended)

Instructions

Heat up a deep skillet (that has a lid), over medium heat. Place your butter into the skillet and allow it to melt. Now sprinkle in your brown sugar and white sugar. 

Use a wooden spoon to mix the sugars into the butter until they are fully incorporated. Now add in your vanilla extract, lemon juice, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Mix this up thoroughly and allow the mixture to simmer for at least one minute. 

Gently add your thinly sliced sweet potatoes into the candied sugar mixture. Use your spoon to gently stir the sweet potatoes around so that they are completely coated with the candied sauce.

Try to spread them out so they are in one even layer, and cover your skillet with a lid. Bring the candied yams to a light boil for about 5-7 minutes, remove the lid and stir them around. 

Make sure they are spread out in one even layer again, and place the lid back on the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer the potatoes for another 20 minutes, or until they are fork tender. 

Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of cooking to allow the sauce to thicken up even more. 

Serve right away, and Enjoy!

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