Grandma's Candied Yams

My grandma is the cutest. She's one of those women that you can't help but love and squeeze and appreciate, cause she's just so darn stinkin amazing. Not only is she one of the strongest women I know, but she's also one who makes some of my favorite dishes.

My grandma and grandpa (right) lookin stylish and cute as ever. (I want my grandma's top).
Grandpa, Grandma, and me when my mom thought I might have the potential to be a ballerina...
Since I didn't get a chance to celebrate Christmas with my family and taste my grandma's velvety mashed potatoes, smooth gravy, and sticky candied yams, I went through withdrawals. Lucky for me, I was requested to make mashed potatoes and candied yams for Chris' family's holiday dinner. #fate! It seemed like the perfect opportunity to recreate my Grandma's dishes.

We tweaked her potatoes and added loads of garlic to them (possibly a sin in her book, but I didn't tell her about that) but kept her candied yam recipe just as she makes it. I gave her a call to get the recipe and transcribed her directions below. (I wanted to be sure to get all the little cutesy Grandma details in there, so I thought I'd share part of our phone conversation)

Grandma's Candied Yam Recipe

[me]: hi Grandma! I miss you! I was wondering if I could get your candied yam recipe!

[Grandma]: Oh my recipe, Meggie? Oh, sure! Let me think... Well, first you boil the yams, skins on. You do it just till the knife has to go through but not overly cooked, otherwise it'll fall apart.

Letting the yams cool - note the skin is already coming off.

[me]: wait, Grandma! Let me jot this down!

[G]: (sort of ignores my desperate need for a pen/laptop/notepad) ... have them cool a little bit cause you can't barely touch them when it's too hot to take the skin off.

Peeling the yams (once they've cooled, per Grandma's instructions).

[me]: ah, okay, so let them cool a little.

[G]: Yes. You can cut them as thick or thin as you want; some people want them thick, others like them a nice size (cute). Just remember to be careful how thin you cut them cause you want the sauce to soak in.
Yams peeled and cut.

[me]: okay, so after you peel them you cut them into little discs?

[G]: mhmm! Then, put them in the oven at, oh maybe, 350. After just a little while, add the sauce.

[me]: wait, what's "the sauce" Grandma?

[G]: Oh you know! Water and brown sugar and a little salt. I like to make it in a pyrex cup and microwave it. But you can do it on the stove I suppose.

"the sauce"
[me]: ok, I think I got it!
        1. boil yams, skins on
        2. remove yams when just tender so a fork will go in. let cool.
        3. peel the skins off.
        4. cut yams into pieces about a 1/2 inch thick and fill the bottom of the pyrex, like you do.
        5. bake them in the oven at 350 for a bit, then while that's in the oven make the sauce.
        6. add the sugary sauce and bake till they're tender and candied.

[G]: Yes. That sounds like it! Just remember, don't let them get overcooked!

[me]: I would never Grandma! I'll try and do your yams justice!

--- end scene---

I ended up using about 8-10 yams and looked for ones that were longer rather than fat.
I boiled them for around 15-20 min. (it didnt take as long as I'd thought)
The ratio for "the sauce" was about 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt. You might need to make more once you microwave it and it reduces a bit.
I baked them for about 45 minutes till the edges turned brown and the sauce looked sticky.


The yams were a hit and they all got gobbled up at Chris' family dinner! Thanks to Grandma and her cute little self, I think I managed to make a good impression meeting the extended family.

Even though candied yams aren't quite in style after the holidays, I say make em! Cause yams are in season, they're frickin tasty, and it gives you an excuse to throw sugar on your food (not that I endorse that kind of behavior). Plus, it's a nice nod to all those grandmas out there that have amazing recipes that we should cook more often. Who says we have to wait till it's Christmas to bring out the yams?

Happy sticky candied yams! Thanks Grandma! Love you shooo.


  1. Hi Megan!

    It's nice seeing the old photo of your grandparents. I love the image of your great-grandmother. She looks like a serious woman.


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