Prepare yourself for a culinary journey like no other, as I unveil to you an exquisite Easy Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe, guaranteed to transport you straight back to the warm, comforting embrace of childhood memories. Imagine yams so divinely sweet and luxuriously buttery, meticulously seasoned with a symphony of spices that transform each bite into an authentic celebration of soul food at its finest. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, I've added a tantalizing twist of vibrant orange zest, taking a bold step away from the conventional lemon or vanilla extract. Believe me, this is a change you're going to absolutely adore! So, gear up and get ready, as we embark on this exciting adventure, learning the art of crafting these irresistible candied yams, step by glorious step.
Table of Contents
History of Candied Yams Recipe
Candied yams recipe are a classic dish in Southern American cuisine and have been a staple on holiday tables for generations. The sweet, buttery yams are typically seasoned with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and are often topped with marshmallows or a brown sugar glaze.
The history of baked candied yams can be traced back to the African slave trade, where yams were a staple food in many African countries. When enslaved Africans were brought to the Americas, they brought their traditional foodways with them, including the practice of candying yams.
However, the term "yam" can be misleading, as what is commonly referred to as yams in the United States are actually a type of sweet potato. Sweet potatoes were already grown in the Americas by Indigenous people, but enslaved Africans added their own spices and cooking methods to create candied yams as we know them today.
During the era of slavery, enslaved Africans were often given only scraps of food to eat, and candied yams were a way to make the most of the limited ingredients available. The dish became popular during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when families would gather to celebrate and share a meal.
Today, baked candied yams continue to be a beloved comfort food and a symbol of African American culinary heritage. While the recipe has evolved over time to include various ingredients and techniques, the essence of baked candied yams remains rooted in the traditions and ingenuity of enslaved Africans.
Equipment Needed For Baked Candied Yams Recipe
1. Baking Dish: First and foremost, you’ll need a 9x13 inch baking dish. This is our culinary stage, where the magic happens. Make sure it’s deep enough to give our yams the space they deserve to caramelize and become the stars of the show.
2. Sharp Knife: A good, sharp knife is crucial. You’ll be peeling and slicing the yams, and a sharp knife ensures precision and safety. Plus, it makes the whole process feel like a breeze.
3. Vegetable Peeler: Speaking of peeling, grab your trusty vegetable peeler. This little gadget is a game changer, making the peeling process quick and effortless.
4. Saucepan: A medium-sized saucepan is next on our list. This is where we’ll concoct our sweet and spiced buttery mixture. Ensure it’s big enough to hold and mix the ingredients well.
5. Stirring Utensil: A wooden spoon or spatula is perfect for stirring the ingredients in the saucepan, ensuring that our butter and spices meld together in perfect harmony.
6. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Precision is key, so make sure you have a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand. This will ensure that every ingredient is added in just the right amount, resulting in a perfect balance of flavors.
7. Aluminum Foil: Don't forget the aluminum foil! Covering the baking dish with foil ensures that the yams cook evenly, trapping in all those delightful flavors.
Ingredients Needed For Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- 4 lbs of yams (about 4 medium sized yams)
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 sticks melted butter
Instructions For Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). You want it nice and hot for when the yams are ready to go in.
- Take your yams, give them a good wash and peel off their skins. Slice them into rounds, about ¼ inch thick. Lay these rounds out in a 9x13 inch baking dish, arranging them so they fit nicely.
- Now, grab a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium heat. Drop in the butter and let it melt down. Once it's fully melted, toss in your sugar and spice mixture. Give everything a good stir, making sure the sugar fully dissolves and the spices are evenly distributed throughout.
- Take this deliciously spiced butter mixture and pour it all over the sliced yams in your baking dish. Grab a spatula and give everything a mix, ensuring each yam slice gets a nice coating of the mixture.
- Next, cover your baking dish with a piece of aluminum foil. This will help to trap in the heat and ensure the yams cook evenly.
- Pop the dish into your preheated oven and let it bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You’re looking for the yams to become tender and the sugary mixture to thicken up and caramelize. That’s when you know they’re done.
- Once they’re perfectly baked, take the yams out of the oven and let them cool for a bit before serving. If you want to add a bit more flair, feel free to sprinkle some extra orange zest or some chopped nuts on top. Enjoy your meal!
By following these steps, you'll create a dish that's not just flavorful, but also brings a touch of Southern comfort to your table. Enjoy!
Variations Of Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- Marshmallow Topping: For a classic candied yams recipe, top your sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows and broil them in the oven until golden brown.
- Bourbon Glaze: Add a splash of bourbon to the sugar mixture for a boozy twist on your candied yams. Let the yams cook for a few extra minutes to allow the alcohol to cook off.
- Pecan Topping: Mix chopped pecans with the sugar and spice mixture and sprinkle them over the top of the yams before baking. This adds an extra crunch and nuttiness to the dish.
- Maple Syrup: Instead of using all granulated and brown sugar, substitute some of it with pure maple syrup for a different flavor profile.
- Orange Juice: Add a splash of fresh orange juice to the sugar mixture to enhance the citrus flavor and complement the orange zest.
- Savory Twist: For a more savory twist on the traditional candied yams, try adding some chopped onions and garlic to the sugar mixture, along with some cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
- Mini Yams: For a cute and creative twist, use mini yams instead of large ones. Simply slice them in half, spoon out some of the flesh, and fill with the sugar mixture before baking.
Serving Suggestions for The Best Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- Holiday Dinner: Candied yams are a classic side dish for holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Serve them alongside roasted turkey, ham, or other traditional holiday dishes.
- Soul Food Feast: Candied yams are a staple in Southern soul food cuisine. Serve them alongside other soul food favorites like fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and cornbread.
- Brunch or Breakfast: Candied yams can be a delicious addition to a brunch or breakfast spread. Serve them alongside scrambled eggs, bacon, or sausage for a hearty breakfast.
- Potluck or Picnic: Candied yams are a great dish to bring to a potluck or picnic. They can be served at room temperature or reheated, making them a versatile and easy-to-transport dish.
- Dessert: Candied yams are sweet enough to serve as a dessert on their own, especially when topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Leftovers: Candied yams make great leftovers and can be reheated in the microwave or oven. They also make a great topping for oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast.
Perfect Pairings for Your Candied Yams Fiesta
Embark on a culinary journey like no other, as we explore the exquisite companions that will take your baked candied yams experience to the next level. This isn’t just a side dish; it’s the star of the show, and finding the perfect pairings is key to unlocking its full potential.
1. Southern Comfort Foods: What could be more comforting than the combination of crispy fried chicken, succulent pork chops, or tender brisket with the sweet and savory goodness of our best candied yams recipe? The rich, savory flavors of the meat juxtaposed with the sweetness of the yams create a harmonious balance that will have your taste buds singing with joy. It’s a classic Southern duo that never disappoints.
2. Grilled Veggies: For those seeking a lighter, yet equally delightful pairing, look no further than grilled vegetables. The smoky, charred flavor of the veggies adds a wonderful complexity to the dish, enhancing the caramelized sweetness of the yams. Think grilled asparagus, bell peppers, or zucchini – each brings its unique taste to create a symphony of flavors on your plate.
3. A Classic Roast: Be it a succulent roast beef, a flavorful roast chicken, or a festive roast turkey, these timeless classics form a heavenly match with our southern baked candied yams. The rich and savory juices of the roast mingle with the sweet and spiced yams, creating a delightful dance of flavors that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Leftovers: Turning Today’s Feast into Tomorrow’s Delight
Who says the party has to stop when the meal is over? With the best candied yams recipe, your leftovers can transform into a variety of delightful dishes that extend the joy of your culinary creation.
1. Store It Right: Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and flavor of your baked candied yams. Place them in an airtight container and refrigerate promptly. They’ll maintain their deliciousness for up to 4 days, ready to be savored again.
2. Reheat and Eat: When the cravings strike, reheating is a breeze. For oven reheating, place the yams in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and warm at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through. For microwave reheating, add a splash of water to keep them moist, cover, and heat in short bursts, stirring occasionally.
3. Get Creative: Leftover yams are a canvas for creativity. Whip them into a smooth, spiced yam puree to spread on toast, fold them into pancake batter for a sweet twist, or chop them up and toss them into a hearty salad. The options are endless and endlessly delicious.
Food Safety for Baked Candied Yams
Enjoying the delectable flavors of your southern baked candied yams should be a carefree experience, and adhering to food safety practices ensures just that.
1. Temperature Check: Guaranteeing the perfect cooking of your yams is crucial. Use a food thermometer to ensure they reach a safe internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a hostile environment for any unwelcome bacteria.
2. Avoid the Danger Zone: Bacteria thrive in the 'danger zone' of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Be vigilant and never leave your yams out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the room is warm.
3. When in Doubt, Toss it Out: Leftovers are a delightful bonus, but safety comes first. If your yams have been refrigerated for more than 4 days or show any signs of spoilage such as off smells or discoloration, it’s time to part ways. Ensuring food safety means ensuring the continued enjoyment of your culinary adventures.
Tips For The Best Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- Choose the Right Yams: Look for garnet or jewel yams, which are varieties that are naturally sweeter and have a richer color than other sweet potato varieties.
- Slice Evenly: Use a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife to slice the yams evenly, so they cook evenly and have a consistent texture.
- Melt the Butter First: Melt the butter in the saucepan before adding the sugar and spice mixture. This will help the sugar melt more quickly and evenly.
- Mix Well: Make sure the sugar and spice mixture is well combined before pouring it over the yams. Use a whisk or fork to ensure that all the spices are evenly distributed.
- Cover with Foil: Covering the yams with foil while baking helps them cook evenly and prevents them from drying out.
- Check for Doneness: Check the yams after 45 minutes to see if they are tender and the sugar mixture has thickened and caramelized. If not, return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Let Cool Before Serving: Allow the candied yams to cool for a few minutes before serving. This will give the sugar mixture time to set and will prevent anyone from burning their mouth on hot sugar.
FAQ's About Baked Candied Yams Recipe
Q: What's the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?
A: In the United States, what is commonly referred to as "yams" are actually a type of sweet potato. True yams are native to Africa and Asia and are not widely available in the United States.
Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
A: Yes! Candied yams recipe can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. To reheat, cover the dish with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Q: Can I make this recipe vegan or dairy-free?
A: Yes! To make this recipe vegan or dairy-free, simply substitute the melted butter with vegan butter or coconut oil.
Q: Can I use a different type of sugar?
A: Yes! You can experiment with different types of sugar, such as honey or maple syrup, to adjust the sweetness and flavor of the yams.
Q: Can I add marshmallows to this recipe?
A: Yes! For a classic candied yams recipe, top your sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows and broil them in the oven until golden brown.
Q: How do I know when the yams are done?
A: The yams are done when they are tender and the sugar mixture has thickened and caramelized. You can check for doneness after 45 minutes by inserting a fork into the yams to see if they are tender.
Q: Can I freeze leftover candied yams?
A: Yes! Candied yams recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, let them cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
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Easy Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Category: Sides
4 lbs of sweet potatoes (about 4 medium sized sweet potatoes)
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
2 sticks melted butter
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Wash and peel the yams. Slice them into ¼ inch thick rounds and arrange them in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and spice mixture to the saucepan and stir until the sugar has completely melted and the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the sugar mixture over the sliced yams in the baking dish. Use a spatula to mix everything together until the yams are coated in the sugar mixture.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven.
- Bake the yams for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender and the sugar mixture has thickened and caramelized.
- Once the yams are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving. Optionally, you can garnish the yams with some additional orange zest or chopped nuts for extra flavor and texture.
Turn the sweet potatoes every 15 minutes to ensure they get candied evenly.
Keywords: candied yams