Candied Thanksgiving Yams Recipe with Marshmallows


Thanksgiving Yams Recipe

Are you looking for the perfect holiday side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner? This Thanksgiving yams recipe is one that you should definitely try. Yams are very similar to sweet potatoes, and they make a fabulous Thanksgiving side dish. I am so excited to share this recipe in the hopes that you will enjoy it for your holiday celebrations!

Thanksgiving yams with marshmallows

Classic Holiday Side Dish

Yams are very much like sweet potatoes, and make a delicious side dish to add to your Thanksgiving table, or really to include for any special occasion. If you like the combination of sweet and savory food, combined in one dish, then you will like having yams for your Thanksgiving dinner.

To clear up any confusion, let’s look at the difference between yams, and sweet potatoes before we jump into the detailed recipe.

Sweet Potato vs Yam

In most of the United States, sweet potato casserole is an iconic side dish for Thanksgiving meals. But perhaps you didn’t realize that there was a difference between sweet potatoes and yams.

These two root vegetables can sometimes be confused with one another. Just to be clear, sweet potatoes and yams are completely different root vegetables. They both have a similar look but are different.

Sweet potatoes have more of a brown or a bright orange fleshed skin, whereas yams have more of a dark brown skin and are white flesh inside. They are both quite a starchy root vegetable, but the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are slightly sweeter and moister. Real yams unlike fresh sweet potatoes are much starchier, and quite a bit drier.

You can buy both sweet potatoes and yams at the grocery store, especially during the holiday season. Often it is easier to buy true yams in a can, to incorporate in your yam recipe. This way the yams will not be dried out and are much easier to work with.

This Thanksgiving yam recipe is a classic side dish, that you can easily make and enjoy. I like to use canned yams, so that they are nice and moist, as opposed to dealing with fresh yams, and having to locate them in the grocery store. This recipe also has many warm spices incorporated into it, making it an easy recipe to enjoy for your holiday meal.

Let’s check out the ingredients you will want to have on hand in order to make this yam recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner. 

Thanksgiving yam casserole

Thanksgiving Yams Recipe

Canned Yams. Canned yams are easier to work with than fresh yams. This is why I like to use them to make this Thanksgiving yams recipe. If you feel adventurous, then feel free to use fresh yams, but for this one, canned yams work quite well.

Brown Sugar. I like to use dark brown sugar to make a brown sugar glaze mixed in with the yams. This will help to sweeten it and give it a nice buttery caramel toffee flavor.

Butter. Melted butter, combined with the brown sugar will give you a tasty yam recipe. If possible, I recommend using salted butter, but you can use unsalted if needed.

Brown Sugar Streusel

Adding the brown sugar streusel topping on top of the yam casserole is optional but recommended as it takes yams to a whole new level. If you love yams, then you’re going to enjoy them with this sweet brown sugar streusel topping on them!

Brown Sugar. Brown sugar is added to this streusel topping to sweeten it. You can use either light or dark brown sugar, whatever you have on hand.

Flour. All-purpose flour is a great addition to the streusel topping, to help give it body. If needed, you can substitute all-purpose flour for another type of flour.

Butter. Butter is melted, to help flavor your streusel topping, and help it to form clumps. You can use either salted or unsalted butter for the streusel topping.

Ground Cinnamon. Ground cinnamon is a must! It flavors your brown sugar streusel topping and adds the delightful cinnamon flavor to your yam recipe.

Salt. In this recipe, you can use whatever type of salt you have on hand. Kosher salt, iodized salt, and sea salt all work well.

Vanilla Extract. A little bit of vanilla extract added to the brown sugar streusel topping takes it to a whole new level.

Mini Marshmallows. Miniature marshmallows can be added on top of your Thanksgiving yams, before baking them in the oven. This gives your yams a delicious, candied result.

candied yams

How to Make Thanksgiving Yams

Let’s first start off by making the brown sugar mixture. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and then add in the brown sugar. Whisk together just until it begins to simmer, and then removed from the heat.

Add your canned yams into your baking dish after it has been greased, and then mix with the melted brown sugar and butter mixture. If desired, you can mash the yams together with the brown sugar and butter mixture or you can simply toss them to coat the yams.

In a separate mixing bowl, add melted butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Toss until the mixture begins to clump together. You should have pea-sized crumbles when you are done.

Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of your yams already in the casserole dish.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil, and bake for approximately 25-35 minutes or until the yams are soft and have become caramelized.

To finish off this amazing recipe, top the yams with miniature marshmallows, then placed the casserole dish back into the oven and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, uncovered. This will allow the marshmallows to melt and turn a light brown color. Make sure to keep an eye on the marshmallows so that they do not burn.

Once they have melted, remove the yam casserole from the oven, and serve right away, enjoy!

Thanksgiving yam casserole with marshmallows and pecans

How to Store Thanksgiving Yams

At Room Temperature. Yams are best when they are not left at room temperature for a long time. After the yams have been served, they can remain at room temperature for no more than two hours before they go bad. If your room temperature is over 90°F, they are only safe at room temperature for one hour or less. For the best results you will want to store the yams in the fridge when they are not being served.

In the Fridge. The best way to store your Thanksgiving yams is in the fridge. For the best results and you want to transfer them to an airtight container or at least seal them securely with plastic wrap. Then place them into the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.


Maple Syrup. If you are looking for an alternative sweetener to brown sugar, you might consider adding maple syrup to the above recipe, instead of brown sugar.

Tips and Tricks

Canned Yams. Although you can choose to use fresh yams or canned hams, I have the best results when using canned yams. They are just so easy and don’t require much fuss. This is especially nice when you are making other dishes to go along with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t Broil. You might be tempted to broil the marshmallows after they’re added to the casserole, however, I would strongly caution against this.

Marshmallows cook very quickly and are likely to burn, or even catch on fire when they are broiled in your oven.

Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish

This Thanksgiving yams recipe is a delicious side dish to enjoy with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Not only is it a great side dish for Thanksgiving, but it can also be a fabulous addition to your Christmas dinner, or even if you are looking for a sweet and savory side dish for your Sunday dinner to enjoy along with your roast beef, or any other main dish!

What to Serve with Thanksgiving Yams

There are so many delicious items that you can enjoy serving with your candied yams. In addition to of course stuffing with your Thanksgiving dinner, another great option is to serve these Thanksgiving yams with cranberry sauce, or green bean casserole.

Thanksgiving Yams

This recipe for Thanksgiving yams is the perfect make-ahead side dish. They are full of savory and sweet flavor combinations that you can enjoy as your new holiday traditions form. I hope that you will enjoy this delicious recipe this holiday season!

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out our Thanksgiving ham recipe! I hope that you enjoy it this holiday season!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Faith is the resident baking expert of this sister duo, and first started baking at age ten when she learned to make chocolate chip cookies on her own. From there she went on to have her own night of the week to make dinner for the whole family. She is excited to share amazing recipes and a love of food, and help you become kitchen smart!

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