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Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 137
sliced Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon

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.

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. It may be a controversial opinion to some, but we just feel like marshmallows belong smooshed between a graham cracker and a piece of chocolate and basically nowhere else. Even if you’re a diehard fan of old-fashioned sweet potato casserole, we’re pretty sure you’ll be into this candied yam (or sweet potato) recipe.

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? Does Anyone Know?

Before we dive into the differences, we’ll cut right to the chase: you could make this candied yam recipe with either sweet potatoes or yams. But, you also probably don’t need to worry much about it because what you find at the grocery store are sweet potatoes. 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. Long story short you’re probably going to make this recipe using sweet potatoes. 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 baking sheet with olive oil
brown sugar and honey being melted in a pan with a spoon
slices of sweet potatoes brushed with brown sugar and honey
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
slices of yams candied in the oven 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. Try it out and see for yourself! 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 sweet potatoes with Honey and Brown Sugar and pecans on a platter with a serving spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Even more sweet potato recipes, plus some delicious greens and a classic stuffing—we’ve got your Thanksgiving side dish line up ready to go!

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

A Sweet New Tradition

If one of our recipes earns a spot on your holiday table, well, we just can’t think of a higher honor! So, if you make these candied yams, let us know! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Candied Yams with Honey and Brown Sugar

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

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (or yams), peeled and sliced crosswise into ½” rounds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • maldon salt for finishing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then spread them out in an even layer.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bottoms are starting to brown.
  5. In a small saucepan, warm the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over medium-low heat, stirring often just until brown sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven. Use a pastry brush to coat the potatoes with the honey mixture. Flip the slices over, then brush the other side with remaining honey mixture. Sprinkle the pecans over the sweet potatoes and place back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes, or until they're browned and caramelized.

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.

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  • Jennifer herrmann

    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 Green

    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 Bisio

    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 N Reppel

    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!