Candied yams are classic comfort food made with sweet potatoes drenched in golden buttery syrup.
This sweet and tangy recipe is the perfect side dish for any special occasion.
However, making candied yams takes time.
So, can you make candied yams ahead of time?
Making and Storing Candied Yams in Advance
Candied yams take at least an hour to cook. It begins on the stovetop and is finished in the oven.
You can prepare candied yams ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. This dish will also hold up well when frozen. Preparing it ahead of time gives the flavors enough time to infuse into the sweet potatoes and add more flavor to them.
9 Steps to Prepare and Store Candied Yams
Candied yams are easy to put together.
This dish uses common pantry ingredients and can be put together in just fifteen minutes.
However, it takes over an hour to cook. If you prefer to prepare it beforehand, here are the steps.
1. Prep the Sweet Potatoes
Though the dish is called candied yams, it uses sweet potatoes instead of yams.
The recipe is an adaptation of a classic African dish made with root vegetables called yams.
Due to the unavailability of yams in America, the dish uses sweet potatoes.
The first step to making it is to prepare the sweet potatoes.
Prep the potatoes by washing and scrubbing the skin.
You can peel it if you want. Then, slice them into 2-inch pieces.
Some recipes will ask you to boil the sweet potatoes. However, it’s not compulsory.
You can just bake the sweet potatoes for longer to avoid this additional step.
Both methods produce similar results.
If you decide to boil the sweet potatoes, place the sweet potato slices in a large pot with cold water.
Bring it to a boil and simmer till the sweet potatoes are soft. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool.
2. Bake the Sweet Potatoes
Place the sweet potato slices at the base of a baking dish. Spread them out evenly.
Then, pour the butter and brown sugar glaze over this layer.
You can add other ingredients like spices and vanilla according to the recipe you follow.
Some recipes use orange juice, milk, or heavy cream in the glazing.
They may also include ingredients like chopped nuts or spices.
Regardless of the ingredients, the steps are usually the same.
Make sure that all the sweet potato slices are evenly coated with the liquid glaze.
Then, place the baking dish in a preheated oven at 375°F and bake for thirty minutes.
You can cover the dish with foil if you prefer. Remove the foil and baste it with the sauce at regular intervals.
3. Take the Candied Yams and Serve
When the candied yams are ready, you will be able to pierce them with a fork since they will be tender.
The liquid will bubble along the sides and have a syrupy consistency.
At this stage, take it out of the oven and wait for it to cool. They will be ready to serve in ten minutes.
4. Dealing with Leftover Candied Yams
One of the best things about candied yams is that you can make several servings in a single go.
Unless you are entertaining a large group, you will usually have leftovers.
Candied yams store well. So you can store the leftovers for another meal.
You can also prepare them two to three days in advance for Thanksgiving or other special occasions and store them in the refrigerator.
However, take special care during storage to prevent the dish from drying out or losing its flavor.
5. Refrigerate Candied Yams in An Airtight Container for Later Use
If you prepare candied yams in advance or have leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator.
The best way to store candied yams is in an airtight box or container.
Wait for the dish to reach room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
If you refrigerate this dish while it’s still hot, moisture will build up on the sides of the container and speed up spoiling.
This issue doesn’t occur once the candied yams cool to room temperature.
Transfer the yams to a container with an airtight lid.
Seal it shut and place it in the refrigerator. It will hold up for two to three days.
6. Refrigerate Candied Yams in Food-Grade Plastic Wrap
Another alternative to using a food-safe container for storing candied yams is to put them in an airtight bag.
This works when you don’t have much space in the refrigerator or have just a few candied yams to store.
In this case, wait for the candied yams to reach room temperature before refrigerating them.
Place the candied yams in the bag and seal the top tightly. It shouldn’t allow any air or moisture to enter.
Place it in the refrigerator, where it will hold up for up to four days.
7. Freeze Candied Yams
If you prefer to cook and freeze batches of food, candied yams are a good option.
This dish holds up well in the freezer and tastes fresh when reheated.
To freeze candied yams, spread the yams on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the sheet in the freezer and let it freeze for two hours.
Now, take it out of the freezer and transfer the yams to a freezer-safe container or bag.
If you place the candied yams in a container, allow enough space below the lid for the dish to expand.
If you put it in a bag, spread it flat and press down to expel any trapped air. Seal the top tightly. Return to the freezer.
You can also divide the yams into individual portions and store them separately.
You can take just the amount you need to serve without disturbing the rest.
Frozen candied yams hold up well for three to six months.
However, if there is a power outage and they thaw, use them immediately to avoid food spoilage.
8. Reheating Refrigerated Candied Yams
The best way to reheat candied yams is in the oven.
Spread the candied yams on a baking tray and roast them in a preheated oven at 350°F for ten minutes.
It will taste just like freshly prepared candied yams.
Alternatively, you can heat the yams in a microwave or air fryer.
Another way to reheat refrigerated candied yams is on the stovetop.
Transfer the yams to a deep cooking dish and toss them around until they get warm.
It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
9. Reheating Frozen Candied Yams
You can reheat frozen candied yams by directly taking the desired quantity from the freezer and baking them.
Set the oven temperature to 350°F and place the yams in the preheated oven.
It will take twenty-five to thirty minutes for the yams to become warm.
You can also reheat frozen candied yams in the microwave oven or air fryer at the same temperature.
The yams will slightly crisp up but not lose their original flavors when you use any of these methods.