Fresh Yam Casserole Recipe

If you're hoping to make your next holiday feast a smashing success, add a side that's sweet, succulent, and refreshingly easy to make, too. In other words, add this fresh yam casserole. Chef and recipe developer Courtney Moeslein of The Southern Spoonful says, "This side dish would be great served next to roasted turkey or chicken. She added, "I also like it with grilled salmon." The savory flavors of many a fine entree will be beautifully balanced with the unabashed sweetness of this dish, a sweetness derived from the natural flavors of yams (or sweet potatoes) as well as the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices used here. And as for a generous dose of butter in the recipe? Well, that helps the taste too.

This sweet, buttery, and filling dish only takes about five minutes of hands-on prep, most of which is simply measuring out ingredients. Once the sweet potatoes are boiled, there's just a bit of mixing and mashing before you can bake the dish up and then serve it good and hot. It's also a side you can by all means prep well ahead of time, then pop in the oven shortly before dinner, a major plus when you're planning a large meal with lots of work to be done.

And hey, just because this is a great holiday dinner side, no reason at all it can't be on the menu any day of the year!

Gather your ingredients for this fresh yam casserole

Aside from the sweet potatoes (or yams) themselves, you quite likely have everything called for in this recipe in your kitchen already. All you need to whip up this tasty dish is plenty of sweet potato, peeled and cubed, milk (whole milk works best here), vanilla extract, brown sugar, butter, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and, as an optional topper, roughly chopped pecans.

As for the kitchen hardware required, that's simple stuff too. You need one medium-sized pot of water for boiling, a bowl for mixing (or you can use the same pot), and a casserole dish for baking.

Peel, cube, and boil the sweet potatoes

Start off by bringing lightly salted water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. As it warms, peel the sweet potatoes and then cut them into cubes — no need to make the cubes all that uniform, as they'll be mashed, but the smaller they are, the faster they cook.

Once the water is boiling, add your cubed potatoes and cook them until you can use a fork to easily pierce through the potato cubes. With desired tenderness is achieved, drain the water from the potatoes and put the cubed, cooked potatoes into a large bowl or, if using, the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine all ingredients, then transfer to a baking dish

If you have not done so already, this is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With that done, use a fork (or the mixer) to lightly mash the cooked, softened cubes of sweet potato, then add your milk, vanilla, a quarter of a cup of brown sugar, half a stick of butter, and the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the potatoes. Blend everything well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture is even and smooth.

Now prepare and eight-inch by eight-inch casserole dish by greasing it with nonstick cooking spray, then transfer the mashed sweet potato mix into the baking dish.

Top the casserole with butter, sugar, and nuts, then bake

Use a fork or spatula to spread the potato mixture out evenly into the baking pan, then slice the other half of the stick of butter into pats, producing approximately six pieces. Place these pats of butter on top of the potato mixture, then sprinkle the other quarter of a cup of brown sugar over the top as well. Finally, if you're using them, spread the pecans on top of the dish, and then place it into the preheated oven.

Bake the casserole for about 20 minutes or until butter and brown sugar have melted together, then pull it out and serve the dish piping hot.

The difference between yams and sweet potatoes

If you use the words "yam" and "sweet potato" interchangeably, you're hardly alone. But they are not, in fact, the same thing. And while you can use the two root veggies (well, tubers) more or less interchangeably in some recipes, it's important to know what differentiates them. According to NC Sweet Potatoes, real yams, which mostly come from the Caribbean or Africa, are starchier than sweet potatoes. They have a drier, rougher skin and usually have white insides, and they're less sweet than their counterparts.

Sweet potatoes in America are usually American-grown and have a thinner, smoother skin, usually have orange interiors, and are quite sweet. More often than not, when you say "yam," what you are talking about is a sweet potato.

Fresh Yam Casserole Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
If you want to make your next holiday feast a success, add a side that's sweet and refreshingly easy to make. In other words, add this fresh yam casserole.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Fresh Yam Casserole in a dish
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon clove
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Optional Ingredients
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add cubed potatoes and boil until you can easily pierce cubes with a fork.
  3. Drain and put cubed cooked potatoes into a large bowl, then add milk, vanilla, ¼ cup of brown sugar, ½ stick of butter, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and stir well until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Place the contents from the bowl into a 8x8-inch casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
  5. Slice the other half of the stick of butter into pats (approximately 6) and place pats of butter on top of the potato mixture, then sprinkle the other ¼ cup of brown sugar over the butter.
  6. If using, sprinkle the pecans on top and place in a preheated oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until butter and brown sugar have melted together, then serve piping hot.
Calories per Serving 252
Total Fat 12.3 g
Saturated Fat 7.7 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 32.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Total Sugars 14.8 g
Sodium 76.6 mg
Protein 2.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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