Candied sweet potatoes (yams) with toasted marshmallows that are easy to make, taste just like comfort food, and add such beautiful color to a holiday table.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

These candied sweet potatoes taste as good as they look.

They’re not overly sweet (at least to my taste buds) and the sweetness that they do have tastes so good alongside savory dishes that are often served during the holidays.

Candied sweet potatoes are a staple on my holiday table not only because they taste so good and are a crowd favorite

…but also, because the brilliant colors of the ingredients in this dish look so pretty and festive.

Candied Yams and Pineapple

And the combination of flavors and textures in this recipe are especially delicious together.

When each bite includes a little of every ingredient (including my favorite…toasted marshmallows), the taste is divine.

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

This recipe is made with canned cut sweet potatoes, canned pineapple “tidbits” (a slightly smaller size than the “chunks”), brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, macadamia nuts and marshmallows.

And this dish is baked twice.

It’s first covered with foil and pre-baked (without the macadamia nuts and marshmallows) to heat up just the sweet potato mixture.

After its pre-baked, the macadamia nuts and marshmallows are added and then it’s baked uncovered to toast the marshmallows.

ABOUT THE SWEET POTATOES

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 may refer to them as both sweet potatoes and yams.

For more details about yams vs. sweet potatoes, there’s a great short video on the Food Network with Alton Brown about the “Difference Between a Sweet Potato and a Yam”.  A link to this article is at the bottom of this post.

Candied Sweet Potatoes in Bowl

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.

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 Cut Sweet Potatoes

Size of the Can of Cut Sweet Potatoes – 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 2.6-quart baking dish is used because the capacity works well with two 40-ounce cans of cut sweet potatoes and a can of pineapple “tidbits”.

Type of Canned Cut Sweet Potatoes – It’s best to get canned sweet potatoes with “No Sugar Added”.

Since this recipe already has brown sugar in it, any additional sweetness may change the flavor of this dish.

If the no-sugar-added canned sweet potatoes aren’t available, the version with “Light Syrup” should be fine if the cut potatoes are rinsed off in a colander before using them. 

Candied Yams with Pineapple

About the Macadamia Nuts

In this recipe I used coarsely chopped macadamia nuts that are for baking (unsalted).

They’re generally located in the baking section of the grocery store by where the bags of chopped nuts are.

As much as I would love to add the macadamia nuts within each layer of this dish, I’ve found that they get soggy and turn translucent when the dish is pre-baked (when covered in foil).

So, the macadamia nuts are added after the dish is pre-baked, as a layer under the marshmallows.

Then back into the oven the sweet potatoes go for a short time to toast the marshmallows.

About the Brown Sugar

In this recipe I used light brown sugar to keep the dish as colorful and bright as possible.

Light brown sugar has less molasses in it and is a lighter color than the dark brown sugar which is made with more molasses.

About Partially Making These Candied Yams 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 (like in this recipe), 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 as a result of 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 Sweet Potatoes Ingredients

Canned Cut Sweet Potatoes (40-ounce cans are best, no sugar added, or in light syrup is okay), canned pineapple “tidbits”, salt, brown sugar (light colored), ground cinnamon, butter, coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (or halves and pieces), and miniature marshmallows

Baking Dish – A 2.6 – quart oval (or other shape if preferred) baking dish.

The dimensions for the baking dish used in this recipe are 13.5 L x 9.25 W x 2.75 H

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

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

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Baking Dish

Greased baking dish with butter

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

Set aside for a moment.

Canned Pineapple and Canned Cut Sweet Potatoes

Cut pineapple in colander

Strain the canned pineapple tidbits in a colander.

Drain and discard all of the liquid.

Set aside.

Cut Sweet Potatoes in Colander

Strain the canned sweet potatoes in a colander.

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

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.

ASSEMBLY

For the First Layer:

Cut sweet potatoes in baking dish

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.

Add salt on sweet potatoes in dish

Salt – Sprinkle half (1/8 teaspoon) of the salt evenly on the sweet potatoes.

Add pineapple on yams in dish

Pineapple – Add an even layer of half of the strained pineapple tidbits.

Add cinnamon on yams in dish

Cinnamon – Sprinkle half (1/2 teaspoon) of the cinnamon evenly on top of the potatoes and pineapple.

Add butter on yams in dish

Butter – Cut the butter into small cubes and add half of them (2 tablespoons) evenly on top.

Brown sugar in bowl

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

Add brown sugar on yams in dish

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

For the Second Layer:

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 as was done in the first layer.

PRE-BAKE

Baking dish covered with foil

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

COARSELY CHOP MACADAMIA NUTS

While the sweet potatoes are pre-baking…

Chopped macadamia nuts on board

…coarsely chop the macadamia nuts.

TIP – Try to keep the size of the macadamia nuts to about half or a third of the actual whole nut size (don’t chop them too small).

Set aside.

AFTER PRE-BAKING THE SWEET POTATOES

Once the sweet potatoes are heated through, remove them from the oven (keep the oven on).

Using hot mitts, 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 remove and discard the foil.

ADD MACADAMIA NUTS AND MARSHMALLOWS

Marshmallows on top of yams in dish

Carefully (the baking dish will be hot) add an even layer of the macadamia nuts on top of the sweet potatoes.

And then carefully add the miniature marshmallows on top.

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

BAKE

Baking dish on cookie sheet pan

Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 degrees F.) UNCOVERED until…

Toasted marshmallows in baking dish

…the marshmallows turn a light brown color (about 20 minutes).

FOR SERVING

Candied sweet potatoes in dish

Serve right away while warm in either the baking dish (with a warning to guests of course that the baking dish is hot)

Candied Yams with Marshmallows

…or…

Candied Yams with Marshmallows

transfer the candied sweet potatoes…

Candied Sweet Potatoes in Bowl

to a serving bowl.

Candied yams with marshmallows

And enjoy each delicious bite.

Candied Yams with Pineapple

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Candied Yams with Marshmallows

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple & Macadamia Nuts

These candied sweet potatoes (yams) with toasted marshmallows are easy to make, taste just like comfort food, and add such beautiful color to the holiday table.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

For the Baking Dish:

  • 2 teaspoons butter (salted) to grease the baking dish

For the Sweet Potatoes:

  • 2 cans (40 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes no sugar added preferred, or in light syrup is ok if drained in a colander.
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple "tidbits" (smaller size than the "chunks")
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter (salted) cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows more or less of this amount to cover as much as the sweet potatoes as possible
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) coarsely cut unsalted macadamia nuts (or halves and pieces)

Equipment

  • 2.6-quart Oval (or other shape) Baking Dish (approx. size 13.50" L x 9.25" W x 2.75" H)

Instructions

  • Please note that the terms "sweet potatoes" and "yams" may be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing.

Baking Dish:

  • Generously grease the inside (bottom and sides) of the baking dish with softened butter. Set aside for a moment.

Canned Pineapple and Canned Cut Sweet Potatoes:

  • Strain the canned pineapple tidbits in a colander. Drain and discard all of the liquid. Set aside.
  • Strain the canned sweet potatoes in a colander. Drain and discard all of the liquid.
    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.

ASSEMBLY

    For the First Layer:

    • 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.
    • Salt - Sprinkle half (1/8 teaspoon) of the salt evenly on the sweet potatoes.
    • Pineapple - Add an even layer of half of the strained pineapple tidbits.
    • Cinnamon - Sprinkle half (1/2 teaspoon) of the cinnamon evenly on top of the potatoes and pineapple.
    • Butter - Cut the butter into small cubes and add half of them (2 tablespoons) evenly on top.
    • Light Brown Sugar - 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.

    For the Second Layer:

    • 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 as was done in the first layer.

    PRE-BAKE

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

    COARSELY CHOP MACADAMIA NUTS

    • While the sweet potatoes are pre-baking, coarsely chop the macadamia nuts. Set aside.
      Try to keep the size of the macadamia nuts to about half or a third of the actual whole nut size (don't chop them too small).

    AFTER PRE-BAKING THE SWEET POTATOES

    • Once the sweet potatoes are heated through, remove them from the oven (keep the oven on).
      Using hot mitts, 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 remove and discard the foil.

    ADD MACADAMIA NUTS AND MARSHMALLOWS

    • Carefully (the baking dish will be hot) add an even layer of the macadamia nuts on top of the sweet potatoes.
      And then carefully add the miniature marshmallows on top. Add as many marshmallows as possible to cover the sweet potatoes.

    BAKE

    • Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 degrees F.) UNCOVERED until the marshmallows turn a light brown color (about 20 minutes).

    FOR SERVING

    • Serve right away while warm.
      Serve in either 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.

    Notes

    TIPS:

    1. When Handling the Canned Sweet Potatoes - 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.
    2. When Coarsely Chopping the Macadamia Nuts- Try to keep the size of the macadamia nuts to about half or a third of the actual whole nut size (don't chop them too small).
    3. The macadamia nuts are added to the recipe AFTER the dish is pre-baked.  

    More Candied Sweet Potato (Yam) Recipes

    Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes) with Pecans and Marshmallows

    Candied Sweet Potatoes (Canned Yams) with Walnuts and Marshmallows

    Holiday Recipes

    Here are More Holiday Recipes You May Like:

    Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Goat Cheese

    Cherry, Pineapple and Mandarin Orange Ambrosia

    Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

    How to Barbecue a Turkey on a Kettle Grill

    Side Dishes

    More Side Dish Recipes:

    Apple Pie Filling Cranberry Sauce

    Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Maple and Pecans

    Make-Ahead Buttery Corn Off the Cob

    Sage Sausage Dressing (Stuffing)

    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.