Alma’s Candied Yams Recipe
Alma’s Candied Yams
This is our Chef Dan’s favorite family recipe. Slow-roasting is the key to chewy, caramel-y edges and rich, fudgy centers. Don’t hold back on the butter and brown sugar – this recipe is meant to be indulgent! Yams can be made ahead and are excellent reheated.
- 4 pounds red garnet yams
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices, divided use
- 3 cups light brown sugar, packed divided use
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided use
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Butter two 9 x 12-inch casserole dishes.
- Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Place on high heat. Once at a simmer, lower heat. Cook until potatoes are soft and they can easily be pierced with a knife. Transfer potatoes to a large plate until cool enough to handle.
- Use a paring knife to scrape off skins. They should come off quite easily. Cut peeled sweet potatoes lengthwise into 3/4-inch planks. Arrange in a single layer in prepared casserole dishes.
- Dust potatoes with half the cinnamon and lightly season with salt. Scatter half the butter over top, placing 1 to 2 pieces on each slice. Sprinkle liberally with half the brown sugar, leaving uneven mounds here and there.
- Bake 1 hour. Remove from oven. Use a spatula to flip each slice. Dot again with remaining butter. Sprinkle again with cinnamon and salt. Top with remaining sugar.
- Bake another 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until edges of sweet potatoes are brown, sticky, and caramelized.
- Remove from oven. Use a slotted spatula to lift potatoes out of melted butter and onto a warm platter. Brush with melted butter from pan, just before serving.
- Cook's Tip:
- Red garnet is the classic for candied yams, but any sweet potato will work. Try it with a mix of yellow, orange, and purple-fleshed sweet potatoes for a colorful presentation!
- What’s the difference between a yam and a sweet potato anyway? They are often confused because they look similar and are used interchangeably in some recipes, but they are botanically distinct and come from different plant families. True “yams” are typically large, starchy, and not at all sweet, with a brown, hairy exterior. In the United States, what is often labeled as a "yam" is typically a type of sweet potato.