Happy Healthy Holidays! Candied Yams are an all-time delicacy during the holiday season for us southern folks! These here Candied Yams are the new and improved version from the traditional addition of brown and white sugar and butter. Check out how I make these Southern Candied Yam a guilt-free indulgence for the holiday season! Who said traditional southern dishes can’t be made healthy? Well, they can!
I don’t think it’s technically correct to call these yams because they are actually orange sweet potatoes. However, we southern folks call them yams. Being technical doesn’t change the fact that this southern delicacy is amazingly delicious.
Orange Sweet Potatoes (Yams) are very healthy food and are naturally sweet without the need to add any sugar. However, Candied Yams are traditionally made with loads of white and brown sugar and lots of butter. Neither of which are health-promoting ingredients, thus making the dish very unhealthy. Well, these days I am about only adding health-promoting ingredients to my food! So let’s redeem the Candied Yams!Jump to Recipe
Let’s omit all of the bad ingredients and add in all goodness. We are simply going to omit the butter because the yams are soft and creamy naturally. The white and brown sugar will be omitted and we will use nature’s candy a.k.a. fruit and nothing but fruit instead!
Believe it or not, we will use pears and date syrup as the added sugar for the candied yams! In my humble opinion, the Date Lady Syrup is the best date syrup on the market and trumps the taste of brown sugar by far! So I would highly recommend that you get this brand in particular.
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The secret to making Candied Yams is to cook them at a lower temp for a longer period of time so that the caramelization of the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes, the pears, and the dates can take full effect. So definitely don’t rush this dish or you will be disappointed.
I can remember when I was a kid, I looked forward to having Candied Yams for the holidays. Before I created this recipe, I had not had Candied Yams in years. When I created this recipe a week or so ago, my kids had never had Candied Yams before. Once they tasted them, they are now requesting them for our Thanksgiving feast! Another southern family tradition can continue on, just new and improved!
Go ahead and make these yams for your family. I guarantee they will be a hit and become a family tradition during the holiday season! Have a Happy Healthy Holiday season!
Southern Candied Yams (New & Improved) | No added Sugar or Butter
- casserole dish (9×9 or 9×11)
- Butcher Knife
- Aluminum Foil
- 3 lbs Orange Sweet Potatoes (about 2 ½lbs once peeled and cut)
- 1 cup Water
- (1) 15 oz. can Pears (in juice and no added sugar)
- 1-2 large Navel Orange (1/2 cup juice and zest of 1 orange)
- ½ Lemon (1 Tbsp Juice and zest of ½ of lemon)
- ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
- ¼ tsp Vanilla Bean Powder (or 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Cloves
- ½ cup Date Lady Syrup
- 1 cup Pecans, chopped (omit if prefer nut-free)
- 2-3 Tbsp Date Lady Syrup (used to glaze the pecans)
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash and peel the Sweet Potatoes (yams). Cut into about 1/2 inch pieces. Place the slices into an ungreased casserole dish (9×9). Add 1 cup of water and cover with aluminum foil. Place the covered casserole dish into the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- While the potatoes are baking, zest the orange. Then juice the orange to yield 1/2 cup of juice. Zest the half of lemon. Then juice the lemon to yield 1 Tbsp. Set aside.
- Pour all of the contents from the can of pears into a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer the blended pears into a saucepan. Add the orange juice and lemon juice to the saucepan. Add all of the spices to the saucepan. Give a quick stir thru. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes on high heat until the liquid reduce to half. (NOTE: if using extract do not add to saucepan until after boil time)
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the Date Syrup, lemon, and orange zest to the saucepan. Stir until well combined (Note if using extract, add at this point).
- After the sweet potatoes have baked for 45 minutes, remove them from the stove and add the syrup mixture. Pour evenly over all of the sweet potatoes. Place the potatoes back into the oven, uncovered. Bake for an additional 35 minutes.
- Place the chopped pecans in a bowl. Pour 2-3 Tbsp of date syrup over pecans. Stir until all of the pecans are covered. After 35 minutes of bake time, remove the yams from the oven. Gently rotate the yams. Evenly spread the glazed pecans atop the yams. Place them back into the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the yams from the oven. Allow them to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. The syrup will thicken the longer the yams sit. Serve and Enjoy!