Maw Maw B’s Candied Yams

These irresistible caramelized sweet treats are made with only three ingredients — canned sweet potatoes, sugar, and butter.

Maw Maw B’s Candied Yams

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 hrs 5 mins

Despite its name, this three-ingredient caramelized treat is made with canned sweet potatoes, not yams. (Read more about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams.) Bernadette Provost, known within the sugarcane farming Provost family as Maw Maw B, takes the “candied” part of this recipe seriously. Simple to make and even easier to devour, sweet potatoes are truly candy-like and are best served with lightly seasoned vegetables or bread-heavy sides. The already soft and sticky sweet potatoes are roasted with butter and sugar until a sugary crust forms and encases the meltingly tender potato. Be careful not to roast too long, which can cause the caramelized coating to go from pleasantly crisp to overly chewy. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 (40-ounce) can cut sweet potatoes in syrup (such as Bruce’s Yams)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar evenly over bottom of a rimmed 13- x 9-inch baking sheet, covering it entirely.

  2. Drain sweet potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup drained liquid in a small bowl. Discard remaining drained syrup, or reserve for another use. Cut sweet potatoes into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

  3. Arrange sweet potatoes evenly on sugared baking sheet. Pour reserved 1/4 cup sweet potato liquid over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Slice butter into 8 pieces, and scatter evenly over sweet potatoes.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a hardened sugary crust forms on top of sweet potatoes and potatoes feel dry to the touch, 50 minutes to 1 hour, rotating baking sheet from front to back halfway through baking time. Do not let syrup caramelize or change color—this can happen quickly, so keep a close eye on it toward the end of bake time. Serve hot.


Canned cut sweet potatoes in syrup are available in most grocery stores.

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