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Chef John's Candied Yams

Rated as 4.71 out of 5 Stars

"Sure, everyone knows orange-fleshed sweet potatoes aren't really yams, but it makes for a shorter name. I'm not a huge sweet side dish person, but I make an exception for these candied yams that use lemon instead of orange juice as a sweetener."
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30 m servings 338
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Stir salt into 2 quarts cold water in a large pot. Transfer sweet potato pieces to pot and place over high heat; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are not quite tender but still cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Use the tip of a knife to test for doneness. Drain.
  2. Place brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and pinch of salt in a skillet. Place over medium-high heat, stirring until glaze ingredients melt and start bubbling. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken up, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Transfer drained sweet potatoes to skillet. Raise heat to high and cook and stir until potatoes are coated with glaze and very tender, and glaze has thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to serving dish; garnish with chopped nuts.


  • Chef's Note:
  • If you're using fine salt instead of kosher salt, use about 5 teaspoons fine salt instead of 3 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 338 calories; 6.3 69.6 3.1 15 2294 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 26
  1. 34 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

I made it and my mom asked me if had found my grandma's recipe somewhere. And from unpeeled potato to the table was just under 30 minutes

Most helpful critical review

We really liked this recipe, but too much lemon. It overpowered everything. I would add and taste, repeat, next time.

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Most positive
Least positive

I made it and my mom asked me if had found my grandma's recipe somewhere. And from unpeeled potato to the table was just under 30 minutes

OMG!! Loved this! I'm the original "a recipe is just a guideline cook". The only thing I did was use canned sweet potato pieces, discarding the light syrup. It's what I had on hand. Anyway, I do...

Pistachios compliment it perfectly

Love this recipe. Only thing I would change is the lemon juice. The next time I’ll use less and add a little at a time. My nieces also loved it. Will definitely make again.

Oh my, wow! Loved the flavors!!! I didn't find this recipe until after I had baked my sweet potatoes ... So I made the glaze and spooned it over the cut pieces and then baked them for a while to...

Served his at “FriendsGiving” and everyone liked them. But I agree with another reviewer that it was too much lemon juice,. I’ll try it again using half the amount.

I made this for Christmas dinner. It was amazing! I'm giving 4 stars because when I make it again I will probably reduce the amount of lemon juice it was a little more tart than I would have li...

Fun to make an it was great!

I absolutely loved these! My Mamaw used to put Lemon in her sweet potatoes, and the flavor reminded me of hers. I love that these are sweet without being TOO sweet. Am going to make these every ...