Easy Holiday Praline Yams (Sweet Potatoes)

12 servings
1 hr 30 min

Light, creamy, and complex; this recipe for Holiday Praline Yams (or sweet potatoes) with notes of orange and cinnamon, touched with a hint of whiskey, not to mention the sweet pecan praline topping. Not a marshmallow in site!

Light, creamy, and complex; this recipe for Holiday Praline Yams (or sweet potatoes) with notes of orange and cinnamon, touched with a hint of whiskey, not to mention the sweet pecan praline topping. Not a marshmallow in site!

Can I Make These Praline Yams Ahead of Time?

YES! In fact, I encourage it. Another reason to love this dish is you can make it ahead and place it in the refrigerator or even freeze it, so it's done long before the holiday crunch!

The original recipe called for two 2 ½ lb cans of yams or 4 lbs of fresh yams, I’ve always opted for fresh, they don’t take long and it’s so much, well fresher to use fresh! By the way, sweet potatoes are yams and yams are sweet potatoes, at least the red ones we all know and love, we can use them interchangeably!

Grab the full recipe with tips and details on the blog.

Easy Holiday Praline Yams (Sweet Potatoes)
Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 45 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 30 min
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Yams\Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 lbs fresh cooked, peeled yams (sweet potatoes) or 2- 2 lb canned yams (but don't do it!)
  • zest of one naval orange
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (will take about 2 oranges)
  • 5 Tablespoons whiskey or brandy (optional, if you don't use, replace with 2.5 TBL of orange juice)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • pinch of kosher salt

If using fresh yams, wash well, cut into thirds and place in a large pot of cold water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until soft, about 35-40 minutes, fork should go right through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes until you can handle them, then slice through skins and peel back discarding skins. Or save skins for your doggy, they'll thank you!
While yams are boiling, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Zest orange, set aside. Squeeze orange to yield cup (might be necessary to use two oranges, or make up difference with fresh orange juice (not concentrate or the fake stuff, don't do it, don't even be tempted!)
Add whisky or brandy, set aside. If you prefer not to use in the dish, increase your orange juice by 2.5 Tablespoons. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, set aside. Measure spices (salt, pepper, ginger) into a small dish, set aside.
Measure light brown sugar (dark ok), separate egg yolks (reserve) from the whites, throw away (or use in another dish) and set aside.
Mash yams using fork, masher or beat with a hand mixer. Mix until smooth. Add orange juice, orange zest, whisky/brandy, salt, pepper, ginger, melted butter, brown sugar and egg yolks.
Whip up until light and fluffy using stand or hand mixer, scraping down sides occasionally. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish, or if desired, split into two smaller baking dishes. If you do split this up, double or at least 1.5 your praline topping as you'll have more surface area. Spread yam mixture evenly into dish, smoothing out the top.
Melt butter in small saucepan, remove from heat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; stir to combine well.
Rough chop pecans and stir into the butter/sugar mixture. Carefully spoon praline topping over the top(s) of the yam mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for 40-45 minutes until hot and bubbly.* Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. *If not making right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.
When ready to bake, remove from fridge or freezer at least 1 - 3 hours prior to cooking and place on counter. Cook as directed.
  • Easily adapt this recipe to be gluten free by simply omitting the alcohol, or make sure your whisky or brandy are gluten free.
Kathleen | The Fresh Cooky
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  • Eliza Cross Eliza Cross on Dec 06, 2020

    What an absolutely heavenly combination! Thank you for another winning recipe, Kathleen!

  • Mary Mary on Jan 24, 2021

    Hi I am from Scotland and have never heard of this dish. Sounds very interesting. Is it served as a side dish for mains?

    • Hi Mary, it is a traditional side dish for our American Thanksgiving, it is delicious with turkey, chicken or ham, a decadent side dish though so not one I make and serve everyday! Have a great day!