This Candied Yams with apples recipe is a delicious new take on Thanksgiving yams. The yams are topped with apple slices and bathed in a stovetop candied yams sauce that is a sweet orange sauce. The apples and yams combination is a sweet and tart pairing that complements the yams so well.
This Thanksgiving yams recipe is one my mom made each year at Thanksgiving growing up. We are big yam lovers so we always had two different yam dishes. This one, and then a sweet potato casserole with a buttery, pecan topping. I’d take big scoops of each because they are both so good!
Why This Recipe Works
- Unique Thanksgiving yams recipe. I’m sure you’ve had a sweet potato dish at Thanksgiving that has a marshmallow topping and another with the pecan topping (like my sweet potato and pecan casserole), but this candied apple yams dish is so unique and delicious! You’ll have people asking for the recipe!
- A delicious sweet and tart dish. This dish is a keeper because the flavor balance and complexity is amazing! The tartness of the apples and zing of the orange in the sauce pairs so well with the sweetness of the sauce and the flavor of the sweet potatoes.
- Orange Zest: The orange zest in the sauce really enhances the sauce and brings out the orange flavor.
- Cornstarch: The cornstarch helps thicken the sauce. The sauce has a kind of glaze-like texture.
- Apples: Using a baking apple is the best for this dish so they’ll hold up better. Types of baking apples include Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, and Honey Gold, to name a few.
- Peel the sweet potatoes. Then cut them into cubes.
- Cook the sweet potatoes in a large pot with water over medium heat. Cook until they are fork tender. Drain the water and transfer the sweet potatoes to a buttered 9×12-inch baking dish.
- Peel and slice the apples. I used an apple corer and slicer.
- Once the apples have been prepped, place them in a medium saucepan and cook them until they are fork tender.
- Drain the water from the apples, reserving about 2 cups of the apple water. Scatter the cooked apples on top of the cooked yams.
- Make the candied yams sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and cook it over medium low heat until it thickens.
- Once you’ve reached a consistency that replicates syrup, pour the sauce overtop the apples and yams. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Be careful not to over cook the yams on the stove. Since you are baking the dish as well, over cooked yams on the stove will become mushy once baked. Your fork should easily pierce the yams when they are done but shouldn’t slides in so easily that you can tell the yams are too soft.
Use an apple variety that cooks well and holds its shape. I’ve used gala, honey crisp, and fuji. I’d use an apple on the sweeter side, so not a Granny Smith apple.
Yes, you can. Do everything up until baking and cover them with foil and freeze instead. I would suggest double covering the yams with aluminum foil. Candied yams will stay good in the freezer up to 1 month.
Yes! In fact, I recommend you make this recipe a day prior to Thanksgiving! Doing so will allow the flavors to deepen and get ultra rich. Do everything up until you need to place the yams in the oven. Pour the sauce over the yams and apples, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving day pull it out of the fridge and place in a 350°F preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until warmed throughout.
In the United States, we use the terms interchangeably. However, they are in fact different vegetables. Yams as a vegetable have a lighter color interior and sweet potatoes have an orange-colored interior. However, in the U.S., yams seems to be the name for a dish that uses sweet potatoes.
If your candied yams are runny, it means you didn’t let the orange sauce stay on the stove long enough to let it thicken. The sauce should be a syrup consistency.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- French Silk Pie
- Butternut Squash and Kale
- Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie
- Southern Pecan Pie
Orange Juice Candied Yams with Apples
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter - softened, for smearing around the casserole dish.
- 5 large sweet potatoes* - peeled and chopped into bite size chunks. (About 4-4.5 lbs).
- 5 apples - peeled, cored, and sliced. I used Fuji but you can use any variety.
- 1 cup light brown sugar - packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons orange zest - (the zest of about 2-3 large oranges)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup orange juice concentrate
- 1 1/2 cups reserved apple water - reserved after you cook the apples
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Take butter and smear it on the bottom and the sides of a 13×9 inch pan. Set aside.
- Add the chopped yams to a large pot. Fill with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water.
- Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to the prepared 13×9 baking dish.
- In a medium sized saucepan add the apples and 4-5 cups of water. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or so, or until the apples are fork tender. Drain the water from the apples, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the apple water. Scatter the cooked apples overtop the cooked yams.
- Take the 1 1/2 cups of apple water and add it to a small saucepan. Add the frozen orange juice concentrate to the water. Stir to combine. Next, add the brown sugar, sugar, cornstarch, salt, orange zest, and butter. Place the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until it thickens slightly, should be the consistency of syrup. Remove from heat.
- Pour the sauce overtop the yams and apples. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F, or until warm and heated through.
- Note: You can make this dish a day in advance. Follow the recipe up until step 6. Rather than placing the foil covered dish in the oven, place it in the refrigerator. The following day you can pull it out of the fridge and bake it for 45 minutes or until heated through. You have a longer bake time because it’s coming straight from the fridge. We love to make it a day prior because the flavors deepen!
This recipe was originally published on Nov. 13, 2018. It was republished on Nov. 22, 2021, to include additional information and photos.