Vegan Candied Yams

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Tender sweet potato chunks are baked up in sweet and sticky brown sugar sauce to make these decadent vegan candied yams. The perfect side for a holiday feast!

Holiday food. It’s the only food where non-dessert recipes can acceptably include words like “candied” in the name.

Not that I’m complaining! I love a little candied dinner from time to time. In the case with candied yams, you’re dealing with something that’s already sweet (sweet potatoes) and cooking them up in sweet brown sugar sauce. Super indulgent! And this vegan version is perfect for wowing your guests.

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Even though we’re calling this candied “yams,” it’s actually made with sweet potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes are often referred to interchangeably in some places, including the U.S., but yams are technically a totally different vegetable.

The big reddish root veggies in the photo above — that’s what we’re using here (even if they’re incorrectly labeled as yams!)

What You’ll Need

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Organic brown sugar
  • Orange juice
  • Vegan butter
  • Whiskey (optional)
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cornstarch

How to Make Vegan Candied Yams

The following is a detailed photo tutorial. Scroll to the bottom of this page if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe.

Do all of your prep work first: fire up the oven, peel and dice your sweet potatoes, and place them into a baking dish.

  • Now combine the brown sugar, orange juice, butter, whiskey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a pot. Place it over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes. It will have reduced a bit and all of the alcohol should have cooked off when it’s finished.
  • Take the pot off of the burner and stir in some vanilla extract.
  • Now pour the mixture over your sweet potatoes, give it a stir, and pop the pan into the oven. Bake them until they’re super tender, making sure to give them a stir every 10 minutes or so.

How to Thicken Candied Yam Sauce

Here’s where the cornstarch comes in. You may or may not need this step — I tested in the recipe in two different kitchens and got varying results.

Check on your yams after about 30 minutes. If the sauce is still runny, combine some cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then stir it in with the yams. Pop the dish back into the oven to continue cooking.

Your candied yams are finished cooking when they’re super tender and the sauce is thick and syrupy.

Grab some plates and dig in!

Vegan Candied Yam Tips & FAQ

  • Is this dish gluten-free? It is!
  • Shelf life & storage: Vegan candied yams will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.
  • Is there a substitute for the whiskey? You can simply leave it out if you prefer.
  • Looking for more holiday sweet potato recipes? Try my marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, or my pecan crumble sweet potato casserole.

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5 from 3 votes Print

Vegan Candied Yams

Tender sweet potato chunks are baked up in sweet and sticky brown sugar sauce to make these decadent vegan candied yams. The perfect side for a holiday feast!

CourseSide CuisineAmerican Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 55 minutes Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes Servings 6 Calories 292 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


  • 2 ½poundssweet potatoes,peeled and diced (1-inch)
  • cuporganic brown sugar
  • ½cuporange juice
  • ¼cupwhiskey,optional
  • ¼cupvegan butter
  • 1teaspoonground cinnamon
  • ½teaspoonpowdered ginger
  • Pinchground nutmeg
  • ¼teaspoonsalt
  • 1teaspoonvanilla extract
  • 3tablespoonscold water(if needed, see step 9)
  • 2teaspoonscornstarch(if needed, see step 9)

US Customary – Metric


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly into a 2-quart casserole dish or 9-inch deep dish pie plate.

  3. Place the brown sugar, orange juice, whiskey, butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt into a small pot and place it over medium heat.

  4. Heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and it comes to a simmer.

  5. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, until all of the alcohol has cooked off (if using whiskey), and the mixture is very glossy.

  6. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

  7. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the sweet potatoes. Stir gently a few times.

  8. Place the dish into the oven. Stir the sweet potatoes every 10 minutes or so while baking.

  9. Check the sweet potatoes after about 30 minutes. If the sauce is still very runny, stir 3 tablespoons of cold water and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch together in a small cup, then stir the mixture into the sweet potatoes. Return them to the oven to finish baking.

  10. Bake the sweet potatoes for a total of 40 to 45 minutes, until they’re very tender and the sauce is thick and syrupy.

  11. Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition FactsVegan Candied YamsAmount Per ServingCalories 292Calories from Fat 52% Daily Value*Fat 5.8g9%Saturated Fat 1.8g9%Sodium 150mg6%Potassium 1206mg34%Carbohydrates 53.9g18%Fiber 6g24%Sugar 13.8g15%Protein 2.3g5%Calcium 37mg4%Iron 1mg6%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Vegan Creamed SpinachThe Ultimate Vegan Shepherd’s Pie »

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Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

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