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Homemade Candied Yams, made with fresh sweet potatoes and a sweet and sticky citrus sauce browned to perfection, is a fantastic fall inspired side dish.

white oval dish with candied sweet potatoes

Honestly, I’m a firm believer that sweet potatoes deserve to be covered in toasted marshmallows. It’s how I ate them growing up. Call it muscle memory or nostalgia… I have a hard time eating them any other way.

BUT, if what you’re craving are tender sweet potatoes tossed in a sweet citrus candied sauce, then this recipe is perfect!

How to make candied yams:

My recipe involves mostly cooked sweet potatoes that are covered in a sweet citrus sauce and then broiled to a chewy perfection!

  1. First step is to peel and chop the sweet potatoes (photo 1). Try to make them the same size so they cook at the same rate.
  2. You might notice a milky white substance oozing out. This is starch. For this reason, I like to soak and rinse my sweet potatoes in cold water before cooking them (photo 2). Then boil or pressure cook them just until they’re tender but still firm.
  3. Next step is to make the sauce (photo 3) from orange zest and juice, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt and butter. Cook until it’s a thick syrup and you can see the bottom of the pan when scraped (photo 4).
  4. For the final step when making candied yams, coat the sweet potatoes with the sauce (photo 5) and broil until the tops get golden brown and chewy (photo 6).
step by step photos on how to make Candied Yams

Modifications to the recipe:

If you want to change things up a bit and make them more interesting, you can try a few things.

  • Add nuts. Pecans or walnuts would add a great crunch.
  • Shredded coconut would give some great texture and would taste great with the candied citrus sauce.
  • Candied yams would taste great with some crushed pineapple, either cooked into the sauce or mixed in with the sweet potatoes.
  • Throw a handful of marshmallows on top before sticking in the oven. I couldn’t resist that suggestion!
close up photo of homemade Candied Yams

Candied Yams

Prep20 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Total50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Homemade Candied Yams, made with fresh sweet potatoes and a sweet and sticky citrus sauce browned to perfection, is a fantastic fall inspired side dish.


  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 oranges valencia or cara cara
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter


  • As soon as you peel and cut the sweet potatoes, soak them in a bowl of cold water. After a few minutes, drain and refill with fresh water. Allow them to continue soaking until you're ready to cook. This will eliminate some of the starch and results in softer, more moist and tender sweet potato bites.
  • Par cook the sweet potatoes. If using the cook top, place the cut sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Boil the sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes, or until you can just pierce them with a fork, but not fully cooked. Drain and set aside. If using an Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water and set the sweet potatoes on the rack. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes and quick release the pressure when done. (see note)
  • Zest one of the oranges and add to a sauce pan (see note). Slice the oranges in half, juice, and add to the sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to the lowest it will go while maintaining a simmer. Continue to cook while stirring occasionally until the mixture reduces to a syrup. You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pan with a flat wooden spoon and will be able to see the pan for about a second before the syrup covers it back up.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and coat well with the sauce. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish and broil until the top gets candied and the sweet potatoes are tender, 5-15 minutes.


  • You want your sweet potatoes to be mostly cooked from the boiling process. This means that they will be tender but firm. You don’t want them to turn into mush. They will continue to cook slightly when broiled.
  • Cooking times will vary drastically depending on the size of your cut pieces. Use my cooking times as a guide but determine how long to cook them based on their firmness.
  • You will have much more control over the sweet potatoes if you use a pot with water versus the Instant Pot. If using the pressure cooker, you may have to continue cooking longer or you may accidentally over do it. 
  • This recipe is heavy on the citrus. If you want the citrus flavor to be mild, reduce or omit the zest.
  • Recipe inspired by Simply Recipes


Calories: 358kcal, Carbohydrates: 75g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 458mg, Potassium: 824mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 28478IU, Vitamin C: 40mg, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. Is it necessary to boil the yams first? Would this recipe work if the yams were baked in the sauce in the oven, and then broiled?

    1. Yes – I think that would work as well. I wanted to soften them first to be sure, but they would definitely soften up if baked in the sauce. I’ll try that next time!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m the same way, grew up with only ever having marshmallows on top! These look so delicious, I need to make them ASAP!

  3. 5 stars
    LOVE these candied yams. I always feel any side dish of sweet potatoes or yams just help to balance out savory meals so these are perfect!

  4. 5 stars
    This looks yamtastic! Growing up I was never a fan of yams, but I love them now! This recipe is on point! Thanks for sharing. 🙂