Coconut Candied Yams + Hazelnuts
This candied yam casserole recipe with coconut and hazelnuts is great for Thanksgiving, Christmas and holidays.
Baked candied yams (or sweet potatoes) are a classic at holiday meals. But I think that if you’ve had candied yams once, you’ve had them all. Ya know?
This recipe is a coco-nutty twist on a traditional candied yams recipe, but it still includes the classic flavors of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter — vegan or regular, depending on your dietary preferences. A little maple syrup adds cozy, comforting pizzaz.
I like to kick it up a notch (serving you Emeril Lagesse vibes today) by adding in a dash of ginger and garnishing with crushed hazelnuts that get all roasty and gorgeous in the oven. Those ingredients are optional, but I think they bring something special.
They’re also a little bit creamy thanks to the addition of canned coconut milk. There’s plenty of fat in coconut milk so you could skip the vegan/regular butter if you really wanted to cut back on calories but, you know, butter has never made anything worse.
These sweet potatoes are melt-in-your-mouth tender, but hazelnuts and shaved coconut add a lovely crunch that keeps things interesting. It’s sort of horchata-y and something different than the traditional candied yams recipe.
Watch Me Make This Candied Yams Recipe
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Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
And let me address the elephant in the room before I get into the goodies… Technically candied yams are not yams, but sweet potatoes. I’m calling this dish candied yams because that’s what it’s known as colloquially, but be sure to grab sweet potatoes, not yams, at the store.
Sweet potatoes are that pretty yellowy orange color on the inside and tend to be sweeter than yams, which are a white-ish color on the inside. Learn more about the differences between sweet potatoes and yams from Food and Wine.
- Sweet potatoes
- Maple syrup
- Brown sugar
- Canned coconut milk
- Shaved coconut
- Vegan or regular butter
- Sea salt
- Ginger powder
- Crushed hazelnuts
Variations on this recipe
Want to customize this recipe further? Tweak to your heart’s content! Here are a couple of suggestions tailored to fit vegan diets.
Vegan candied yams with marshmallows
If you want to go for the classic candied yams with a pillowy marshmallow topping, you can easily modify the recipe.
About halfway through baking, evenly sprinkle marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Remove when marshmallows have started to brown.
Note that not all marshmallows are vegan because they contain gluten. Check out a list of vegan marshmallow brands from PETA.
Vegan candied yams with coconut sugar
If you want to go all out with the coconut theme, why not sub coconut sugar for brown sugar? Many vegans will be well-acquainted with coconut sugar, comes from coconut tree sap — not the actual coconut.
Simply swap coconut sugar for brown sugar in a 1:1 ratio if you want to mix it up.
Coconut Candied Yams (Vegan)
- 12″ by 8″ baking dish
- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes (approx. 6 to 6.5 cups)
- 1/3 c. maple syrup
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. canned coconut milk scant
- 1/4 c. shaved coconut
- 4 tbsp. vegan or regular butter
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Sea salt
- 1/4 c. crushed hazelnuts
- dash ginger powder
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine all ingredients except for optional crushed hazelnuts into a large bowl. Spread evenly into a greased 12” by 8” baking dish.
- If not using hazelnuts: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and casserole is bubbly.
- If using hazelnuts: Bake for 25 minutes, then remove, stir and add crushed hazelnuts on top, if desired. Bake another 20 to 25 minutes.
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