It’s All About Nana’s Technique–Vegan Candied Yams

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The most amazing thing about these yams is not that they contain some fancy secret ingredient. The ingredients are simple and straightforward, but the technique makes these the best candied yams you’ll ever taste. Most recipes for candied yams instruct you to add sugar, butter, etc. to raw yams and bake. That method leaves you with syrupy-wet yams that I personally am not a fan of. Instead, this recipe, again a la Nana, requires you to partially bake the yams first before any butter or sugar join the party. What you get using Nana’s technique are hearty yams that highlight the natural sweetness already present in the potato–and no wet ‘yam juice’! They are great during the holidays. And I also like to eat them during the year topped with savory pinto beans.

Vegan Candied Yams

8 medium sized yams
1/4 cup earth balance
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash sweet potatoes. Prick with fork. Wrap in foil. Bake 25 minutes (until potatoes are soft to the touch, but not fully cooked). Let potatoes cool until they can be handled. Drop heat to 375 degrees F.

*Peel and slice sweet potatoes into large (approx 1 1/2 -2 inch slices). Add layer of sweet potatoes, earth balance in pats, vanilla, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon to baking dish. Repeat until all ingredients are in pan. Cover with foil. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until syrup is bubbling. Remove foil. Bake another 20-30 minutes until top is light brown and toasty.


Note: Baking times will depend on the size of your yams. Also, feel free to adjust the sugar amounts or to use other sweeteners depending on your preferences/dietary restrictions.

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. What a great idea to make vegan yams! I've never heard of par-baking them. It totally makes sense though, I can see how it keeps from getting all gross and soggy.

  2. Your yams look fantastic. I usually do par-bake them and it makes a big difference, I think. I much prefer yams that are in big pieces like this than mushed up.

  3. I always say, when in doubt ask Baba (Nana) – they always have the answer! 🙂 These yams look wonderful!

  4. Yes! When in doubt ask nana and par-bake! 😀

  5. And Cristiane, I just saw that you are in North Carolina! So am I… small world! 🙂

  6. That's a great tip, thanks! I too am not a fan of yucky yam juice.

  7. Those sound delicious. Sadly, I've only eaten canned candied yams, but love just baking whole sweet potatoes.

  8. Trix, I love it … yucky yam juice! It sounds like the title of a song 🙂

  9. YUM! Yams are one of my favorite foods…and this recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂