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Free up your oven by making this delicious, updated Southern staple in your crock pot instead. Candied yams are the perfect complement to your holiday table spread, cutting through the richness of Thanksgiving gravy and the saltiness of the slow-roasted turkey. We've nixed the usual marshmallow toppings to let the true flavors of the seasonal veggie shine, but these yams are so buttery and decadent, you won't believe they still count as a dinner dish. This candied yams recipe is easy to master, teach your family members, and recreate for holidays to come.

Recipe by Southern Living October 2008


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

15 mins
4 hrs 2 mins
4 hrs 17 mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Microwave butter in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 30 seconds to 1 minute or until melted; stir in vanilla and salt.

  • Stir together granulated sugar and brown sugar in a medium bowl.

  • Layer potatoes and sugar mixture in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker, beginning with potatoes and ending with sugar mixture. Pour butter mixture over top. Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours or until potatoes are tender.

  • Transfer potatoes to a serving dish using a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in slow cooker. Keep potatoes warm.

  • Remove 1/3 cup liquid from slow cooker; whisk cornstarch into 1/3 cup liquid until smooth. Carefully pour remaining liquid from slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Whisk in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour over potatoes. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

The recipe name "candied yams" is a bit of a misnomer. Orange sweet potatoes are often  labeled as yams, but in truth, yams are in an entirely different family of root vegetables.  A  true yam is starchier than a sweet potato, but also sweet. Yams  come from Africa and the Caribbean, and must be cooked in order to be safe to consume. Cooking a yam is laborious: it can be difficult to peel the thick skin, and it must be pounded and boiled.