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Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar

October 16, 2023

A lightened up, dressed up, sophisticated riff on classic candied yams, this simple side dish recipe is all honey-sweetness and spice, and not a marshmallow to be seen.


sliced and roasted Candied Yams with Honey, Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon

Looking for more recipes to make with those sweet potatoes?

Starchy and Sweet, These Candied Yams Can’t Be Beat

This deliciously sweet, warmly-spiced candied yam recipe is sort of a hybrid of a few different, beloved Thanksgiving classics. Take a classic Southern candied yam recipe, and a rich, Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole recipe. Then, cherry pick the best bits of each—and toss the rest out—and put the best of both together and you end up with this lovely side dish. Looking for something a little more classic? Try our Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecan Streusel or any of our 40 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl, chopped pecans, olive oil, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, brown sugar and honey

Sweet Potatoes Or Yams? And What’s The Difference?

You could make this candied yam recipe with either sweet potatoes or yams. Sweet potatoes can be either white or orange on the inside—sometimes you’ll even find purple ones—and are much, much more widely available than yams. Maybe you’ve seen bright orange root veggies labeled “garnet yams” at the grocery store before? Yeah, those are actually sweet potatoes. True story! Yams are much larger, and have white flesh and brown skin reminiscent of a russet potato. They’re a bit tougher than sweet potatoes, and more fibrous. Even in the South, where candied yams originated, it’s often made using sweet potatoes. Why the confusion? Well, as Mary-Frances Heck, a food writer who has written an entire book about sweet potatoes, explains: “Louisiana sweet potato growers marketed their orange-fleshed as “yams” to distinguish from other states' produce in the 1930s—and it stuck.”

sliced yams on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with olive oil
brown sugar, honey, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg being melted in a skillet, stirred with a spoon
slices of sweet potatoes brushed with brown sugar and honey sauce on a parchment paper lined sheet pan
slices of yams on a baking sheet drizzled with honey, brown sugar and chopped pecans

Everything You’ll Need To Make The Best Yam (or Sweet Potato) Recipe Ever.

In addition to salt, olive oil, and pepper, here’s everything you’ll need to make this candied sweet potato recipe:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Pecans
candied yams with brown sugar and honey sprinkled with pecans

How To Make Candied Yams From Scratch

Roasting the rounds of sweet potatoes before you toss them with the honey-brown sugar syrup will give them an extra depth of flavor and texture that many candied yam recipes lack. In other words, this is the very best candied yam—well, probably candied sweet potato—recipe ever, in our humble opinion. Here’s how easy it is to make:

  1. Roast the sweet potato rounds!
  2. Make the candying syrup by warming honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Brush both sides of the roasted sweet potatoes with the honey syrup.
  4. Sprinkle the whole thing with pecans, and roast it until everything is lovely and browned and caramelized.
  5. Serve!
sliced candied yams with Honey and Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Sweet Potato Side Dish Recipes

Even more sweet potato recipes!

sliced Candied Yams with Honey, Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon
sliced Candied sweet potatoes with Honey, Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon

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Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 137


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • Flaky salt, for serving (we like maldon)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F with a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  2. Toss the sweet potatoes on the prepared sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the sweet potatoes out in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are starting to brown.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the brown sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

  4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, then brush the sweet potatoes with half of the honey mixture. Flip the sweet potatoes and brush with the remaining honey mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans and return the sweet potatoes to the oven. Roast for another 8-10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are browned and caramelized. Sprinkle with flaky salt to serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories137
  • Protein1 g
  • Carbohydrates34 g
  • Total Fat7 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium207 mg
  • Total Sugars11 g

Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Donna

    Can you make these ahead of time and serve on thanksgiving?I like that they are lighter than all that butter and sugar

    Yes, you can just reheat in the oven day of. Hope you enjoy!

  • Jennifer

    Can I baked the sweet potatoes before and put the sauce on and finish baking them

    We haven't tried it but you might risk over cooking them. You don't want to remove them only half cooked.

  • Kathleen

    I love pecans and recipe looks delicious, but family members have nut allergy. Will this be as good if I make without the pecans? Can you suggest a substitute that would add the crunch factor? Thanks.

    You could just have the pecans in a bowl on the side for those that would like to use them. Perhaps pepita seeds could be a crunch for those that can't have nuts. Hope you enjoy Kathleen!

  • Micaela

    Hi! Can these be made ahead of time and reheated in the oven prior to serving?

    Yes. I would suggest putting the pecans on during the reheating process only. That way they stay crispy.

  • Lanette

    Loved This Recipe! It will definitely be on our table again!

    This is so great to hear, thank you Lanette!

  • Jenn

    These were so so good! Reminds me a bit of sweet potato casserole (which I love) but I loved the texture of these and prefer it over casserole.

    Thank you so much, we are so happy that you loved it!