Food is a big issue during the holidays. Okay, its a big issue most days, but certainly during the holidays. And what is a holiday meal with out yams? Here’s a good old fashioned Southern recipe for Candied Yams. Yum.

candied yams 1
Candied Yams

Any recipe that is prefaced with ‘Southern’ can be trusted to be chock full of cholesterol, fat and pretty much everything else that you shouldn’t eat in today’s world. However, our ancestors did quite well living off this food. Then again, they mostly ate fresh vegetables out of the garden. That might have had something to do with the quality of their health in their lives. The good home grown vegetables they ate most of the time canceled out all the sugar and fat, I suppose.

Anyway, the following recipe for Candied Yams is one I learned from an elderly aunt. It was made the old fashioned way, which means nothing was measured. So I have tried to put measurements to it, but you might have to experiment with it a bit to get the right quantities of sugar and butter (to taste).

You start with REAL sweet potatoes. No self-respecting old fashioned cook would get it out of a can – plus it doesn’t make the nice neat slices that look so pretty on the plate. Oh, okay, you can use canned sweet potatoes, but its really not that much harder to use real ones.

Candied Yams: Old Fashioned Southern Recipe


  • About 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter (you may substitute margarine)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Melt one stick on butter in a large skillet. Wash the sweet potatoes. While the butter is melting, start slicing the sweet potatoes in thin slices. After you slice them, skin the slices and place the slices in the hot melted butter. Skin one slice at a time so the potato doesn’t darken before its placed in the butter.

sweet potato

Sliced Sweet Potato

After the potato slices are in the butter make sure they are all coated in melted butter. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might have to use more or less so that they are coated. Sprinkle a cup of granulated sugar over the top of the potato and butter mixture. Add more or less sugar depending on your taste and how sweet you want your candied yams.

Cover the skillet and let simmer. Stir occasionally being careful that you don’t mash up the potatoes and that they retain as much of their shape as possible.

When the potatoes are cooked through your Candied Yams are done. Set aside and let them cool. You can toss some pecans over them or serve them as they are.