How to Cook Yams in the Oven With Brown Sugar

by Sara Ipatenco

Yams are not the same as sweet potatoes.

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Yams are often confused with sweet potatoes because they both have a deep orange color. Yams are a different type of tuber that are often cooked with brown sugar to make the popular candied yam recipe that shows up on Thanksgiving tables. Yams are a good source of vitamin A, so you should consider including them in your menu year-round to get the benefits they offer. Add some brown sugar, a few flavorful spices and other ingredients, and bake them in your oven for a sweet and nutritious side dish.

Place your oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rinse the yams and prick them three or four times with a fork.

Bake the yams in a preheated oven for 1½ hours or until soft.

Remove the yams from the oven and cool them completely. Cover and let the yams stand overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Peel each yam with a potato peeler and chop them into large chunks. Arrange the chunks evenly in the dish.

Sprinkle the yams with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the zest of the two oranges on top of the spices.

Lay the pieces of butter evenly over the spices.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove he foil and squeeze the juice of the two oranges over the top of the yams and brown sugar.

Put the yams back in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Cool slightly before serving.


  • Many candied yam recipes call for marshmallows, which are not very nutritious and contain a great deal of sugar. If you want your baked yams to be a little sweeter, drizzle some honey over the top just before serving them. Another idea is to use dried raisins or apricots, which add some sweetness without a large amount of added sugar. Mix and match the seasonings you add with the brown sugar. Allspice, cloves, apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice are additional options that will flavor oven-baked yams.


  • "The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Thanksgiving"; Michael McLaughlin, Chuck Williams and Noel Barnhurst; 2001
  • "The Blue Ribbon Country Cookbook"; Diane Roupe; 2007

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.