These candied sweet potatoes are a colorful and delicious side dish that looks, smells, and tastes just like the Holidays.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Candied sweet potatoes (yams) are a must on my holiday menu.

The taste and smell of this recipe takes me back to when I was a kid at my grandma’s house for Holiday dinners.

I’ve changed this recipe slightly from how I remember my grandma making it by adding walnuts (instead of pecans) and by adding some honey into the mix.

One thing that hasn’t changed since I was a kid is that I make sure to get as much of the roasted marshmallow part on my plate as possible.

The delicious sweet crunch of the roasted marshmallows on top tastes so good.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Although technically, this recipe is made with sweet potatoes, since yams and sweet potatoes are terms that are often used interchangeably, in this recipe I refer to them as both sweet potatoes and yams.

 

For more details about yams vs. sweet potatoes, here’s a great short video from the Food Network with Alton Brown about the Difference Between a Sweet Potato and a Yam.

Canned vs. Fresh Sweet Potatoes

I’ve been making candied yams for years and it’s always a hit as a side dish with my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Although I prefer to make candied sweet potatoes (yams) with fresh sweet potatoes, sometimes if I’m short on time, I use canned sweet potatoes like in this recipe.

Here’s the recipe for making candied yams with fresh sweet potatoes (one of the most popular recipes on this blog)Candied Yams with Pecans and Marshmallows“.  

I’ve found that the fresh sweet potatoes have a more vibrant orange color than the canned ones do, and also tend to hold their shape better (after boiling them) as opposed to the canned ones that are sometimes soft and mushy.

Size and Type of Canned Sweet Potatoes

Size of the Can to Use for this Recipe – After trying out various sized cans of cut sweet potatoes, I’ve found that the large 40-ounce size can seems to have less soft and mushy pieces than the smaller cans do.  

I should knock-on-wood after mentioning this, or the next 40-ounce can of sweet potatoes I buy will be soft and mushy!

In this recipe a 2-quart baking dish is used because the capacity works well with two 40-ounce cans of sweet potatoes.

Type of Canned Sweet Potatoes – It’s best to get canned sweet potatoes with “No Sugar Added” since brown sugar and honey are ingredients in this recipe.

If the no-sugar-added canned sweet potatoes aren’t available, the version with “Light Syrup” should be fine too.

More Holiday recipes you may like “How to Barbecue a Turkey on a Weber Grill“, “How to make Turkey Gravy from Pan Drippings” and “Easy Macaroni and Cheese with Cavatappi Pasta“.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Making Candied Yams Partially Ahead of Time

When making candied yams with fresh sweet potatoes, I’ve had good luck with making them partially ahead of time.

But with canned yams, I don’t recommend making them ahead of time because I’ve found that:

  • The color of the sweet potato mixture gets darker when its sits for a while (not a particularly appetizing color)
  • Some liquid accumulates in the bottom of the baking dish when it sits for a while (may be from the salt added within the layers)
  • The partially made recipe would need to be stirred after being stored in the refrigerator, and some of the canned yams don’t appear to be firm enough to stand up to stirring (they get mushy)

Let’s check out the ingredients.

Candied Yams Ingredients

For the Candied Sweet Potatoes (Yams) – Canned Cut Sweet Potatoes (two 40-ounce cans are best, no sugar added or in light syrup is okay), brown sugar, butter, honey, ground cinnamon, cut walnuts (halves and pieces), and miniature marshmallows

For the Baking Dish – A 2-quart oval (or other shape if preferred) baking dish.  The dimensions for the one used in this recipe are 13.1″ x 8.3″ x 2.2 H

printable recipe with the measurements and instructions is located at the bottom of this post.

Here’s how to make it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease baking dish with butter

Preparing the Baking Dish – Using a baking or cooking brush

Grease baking dish with butter

…generously grease the inside (bottom and sides) of the baking dish with softened butter.

Set aside for a moment.

Cut sweet potatoes in can

For the Canned Yams – Strain the canned sweet potatoes…

Cut yams in colander

…in a colander.

TIP – Some of the cut yams in the can will likely be soft so don’t stir the potatoes around.  

Try to be as gentle with them as possible so that the sweet potatoes don’t get mushy.

Cut yams in colander

Drain and discard all of the liquid in the canned yams.

Baking dish for candied yams

For the First Layer of Sweet Potatoes – To the greased baking dish

Cut yams in baking dish

…using a spoon or tongs, start adding the sweet potatoes to the baking dish.

Cut yams in baking dish

If there are any particularly large pieces, cut them in half with a knife.

Cut yams in baking dish

Add enough of the yams to form a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish.

Add salt on yams in baking dish

Then, sprinkle half (1/8 teaspoon) of the salt evenly on the yams

Add honey on yams in dish

…drizzle half (1-1/2 tablespoons) of the honey evenly on the yams, and…

Add cinnamon on yams

sprinkle half (1/2 teaspoon) of the cinnamon evenly on top of the yams.

Add butter on yams

Next, cut the butter into small cubes

Add butter on yams

…and add half (2 tablespoons) of them

Add butter on yams

Butter on yams in baking dish

evenly on top of the yams.

Brown sugar in bowl

To a small bowl, add 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar (light colored), and cut it in half.

Add brown sugar on yams

Sprinkle half of the brown sugar evenly on top of the yams.

Add walnuts on yams

Last but not least, top the yams with half (1/4 cup) of the cut walnuts (halves and pieces).

Walnuts and sugar on yams

For the Second (Top) Layer of Sweet Potatoes – starting with another layer of the sweet potatoes…

Unbaked yams in dish

repeat the same process for the second (top) layer.

Foil on baking dish

Baking Just the Sweet Potato Layers – Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees F.) until the sweet potatoes are heated through (about 20 minutes).

Warmed yams in baking dish

Baking the Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows – Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven (keep the oven on), set the baking dish onto a cookie sheet or large pizza pan (in case some of the marshmallows come off of the baking dish in the oven), and discard the foil.

Add marshmallows on cut yams

Carefully (the baking dish will be hot) add miniature marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes.

Marshmallows on top of yams

Add as many marshmallows as possible to cover the sweet potatoes.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Bake in the oven (at 350 degrees F.) UNCOVERED until the marshmallows turn a light brown color (about 15 minutes).

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Serve right away while warm…

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

…either from the baking dish (with a warning to guests of course that the baking dish is hot)

Candied yams with walnuts marshmallows

…or transfer the candied sweet potatoes to a serving bowl.

Candied yams with walnuts marshmallows

If serving from a separate dish or bowl

Candied yams with walnuts marshmallows

garnish the candied sweet potatoes with additional walnuts (halves and pieces).

Candied yams with walnuts marshmallows

Time to eat, and..

Bite of candied yams

…enjoy each and every bite.

Candied Sweet Potatoes in Bowl

Thank you so much for stopping by CCC!

More Side Dish Recipes You May Like:

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Maple and Pecans

Easy Baked Beans with Bacon

Buttery Make-Ahead Corn Off the Cob

Easy Potato Salad with Egg

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Candied Yams with Marshmallows

Candied Sweet Potatoes (Canned Yams) with Walnuts and Marshmallows

These candied sweet potatoes are a colorful and delicious side dish that looks, smells and tastes just like the Holidays.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons butter, softened (for greasing the baking dish)
  • 2 cans (40 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes (yams), no sugar added preferred, or in light syrup is okay drained in colander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter cut into small cubes (for the sweet potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar light colored
  • 1/2 cup halves and pieces-walnuts for the sweet potatoes
  • 3-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows (more or less of this amount; enough to cover the sweet potatoes after cooking them covered in foil)
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) halves and pieces-walnuts for garnish when serving from a separate dish or bowl

Equipment

  • 2 Quart Oval Baking Dish (13.1" x 8.3" x 2.2" H)
  • Foil

Instructions

  • Please note that the terms "sweet potatoes" and "yams" are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Preparing the Baking Dish - Using a baking or cooking brush, generously grease the inside (bottom and sides) of the baking dish with softened butter. Set aside for a moment.
  • For the Canned Yams - Strain the canned sweet potatoes in a colander. Some of the cut yams in the can will likely be soft so don't stir the potatoes around. Drain and discard all of the liquid in the canned yams.
  • For the First Layer of Sweet Potatoes - To the greased baking dish, using a spoon or tongs, start adding the sweet potatoes to the baking dish. If there are any particularly large pieces, cut them in half with a knife.
  • Add enough of the yams to form a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Then, sprinkle half (1/8 teaspoon) of the salt evenly on the yams, drizzle half (1-1/2 tablespoons) of the honey evenly on the yams, and sprinkle half (1/2 teaspoon) of the cinnamon evenly on top of the yams.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and add half (2 tablespoons) of them evenly on top of the yams.
  • To a small bowl, add 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar (light colored), and cut it in half. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar evenly on top of the yams.
  • Last but not least, top the yams with half (1/4 cup) of the cut walnuts (halves and pieces).
  • For the Second (Top) Layer of Sweet Potatoes - starting with another layer of the sweet potatoes repeat the same process for the second (top) layer.
  • Baking Just the Sweet Potato Layers Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees F.) until the sweet potatoes are heated through (about 20 minutes).
  • Baking the Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows - Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven (keep the oven on), set the baking dish onto a cookie sheet or large pizza pan (in case some of the marshmallows come off of the baking dish in the oven), and discard the foil.
  • Carefully (the baking dish will be hot) add miniature marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Add as many marshmallows as possible to cover the sweet potatoes.
  • Bake in the oven (at 350 degrees F.) UNCOVERED until the marshmallows turn a light brown color (about 15 minutes).
  • Serve right away while warm either from the baking dish (with a warning to guests of course that the baking dish is hot) or transfer the candied sweet potatoes to a serving bowl.
  • If serving from a separate dish or bowl, garnish the candied sweet potatoes with additional walnuts (halves and pieces).

Notes

TIPS:

  1. Some of the cut yams in the can will likely be soft so don't stir the potatoes around.  
  2. Try to be as gentle with them as possible so that the sweet potatoes don't get mushy.