can I substitute yams for sweet potatoes

Can I substitute yams for sweet potatoes? When a recipe ingredient is absent, replacements are used.

So, can you use yams for sweet potatoes? In this blog post, we will answer this question and learn more about what to substitute for both of them.

Keep reading!

Unfortunately, yams cannot be used in place of sweet potatoes. They each have a distinct flavor. Yams are dry and starchy. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are usually wet.

What Are Yams?

what is the yam

Yams taste more like yucca than sweet potatoes since they are dry and starchy.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s yams are grown in Africa, where they originated.

Their skin is bark-like, and their flesh is off-white, purple, or crimson. True yams are uncommon to be found in American supermarkets.

However, they may be purchased in select overseas grocery shops or specialized markets.

What are Sweet Potatoes?

the sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, native to the Americas, are a different tale.

The sweet potato industry is very diverse, and producers always introduce new heritage types to the mix.

Sugary sweet potatoes with snow-white flesh are available, as are purple-fleshed sweet potatoes that taste like almonds.

Finding your favorite sweet potato type is half the fun when there are hundreds to choose from.

Still, there are a few types you’re more likely to find at the supermarket.

Beauregard, Garnet, Covington, and Jewel sweet potato: On the interior, it’s orange, somewhat sweet, and juicy.

Can I Substitute Yams For Sweet Potatoes?

van substitutes yam for sweet potatoes

Although yams and sweet potatoes are used in the same way, they can’t be substituted because they vary in flavor, texture, and appearance as explained below:

1. The Flavor

First and foremost, let’s examine the taste. Sweet potatoes live true to their name, whereas yams are earthier and more neutral.

If you season a meal, the yams will largely taste like the flavor. As a result, you must analyze its aim. Yams are a more adaptable case.

Sweet potatoes are used in dishes because of their sweetness and overpowering taste. Cooking techniques may readily alter sweet potato taste.

So, if you substitute yam for sweet potato in a dish, you’ll probably notice a difference.

It's up to you how much of a difference it makes. Just remember that it won't taste the same.

2. Texture

a texture

Yams are starchy and dry, with a mild flavor, as opposed to sweet potato flesh, which is sweeter and creamier.

If you substitute, the texture will vary and your recipe will be altered.

3. Nutritional Worth

What’s the nutritional difference between canned yams vs sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes have a strong nutritional profile. They include plenty of water, vitamin A, beta-carotene, calcium, protein, iron, sugar, and salt.

This is why, although belonging to the potato family, they are included on the list of healthiest foods.

Yams, like sweet potatoes, are healthy and have similar nutritional properties. 

Like sweet potatoes, it is abundant in vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber, but it also has a high carb and fat content.

You must substitute something with the same nutritional content to balance your diet, but it is apparent that yams and potatoes vary in nutritional worth, making it impossible to compact.

4. Appearance

appearance of yam

Sweet potatoes are classified into four types based on their skin and texture:

  • Skin that is tanned and flesh that is white
  • Red skin and flesh that is white
  • The skin is pink, and the flesh is orange.
  • Pink/purple flesh with purple skin
Tip: Each of them has a distinct taste. The look and color vary depending on where they are cultivated.

On the other hand, yams come in various sizes but only have brown skin with white meat.

These are shaped like potatoes and taste like potatoes as well.

Types of Yams

different types of yam

Here are several yam varieties to look at.

African Yams:

Are also known as Guinea yams,  puna yams, tubers, or Nigerian yams.

Purple Yams:

Are native to Asia and are enjoyed in many Asian countries, including Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines.

Both the Filipino dessert halo-halo (crushed ice with evaporated milk) and the American frozen dessert ube (made with ube) have become more popular in recent years.

Indian Yams:

an indian yams

Often found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world; another name for the suran palm tree.

It is a staple ingredient in Indian sautéed vegetable dishes including poriyal, a kind of stir-fry, and curry.

Chinese Yams:

This vining plant has been used medicinally in China for centuries and goes by several names, including  Chinese potato, cinnamon vine, and nagaimo.

Make some kind of rice dish with it, such as fried rice or congee.

A variety of flavors may be found in these yams. The appearance and hue might change based on the region of cultivation.

What Can You Use in Place of Sweet Potatoes?

what use instead of sweet potato

If you’re seeking a sweet potato alternative, you’ve come to the right place.

Although yams are not a decent alternative, many other possibilities exist.

It all relies on your resources. Here are several vegetables with similar textures and tastes.

Butternut Squash

As an alternative, you might use butternut squash. The flesh of butternut squash has a similar orange color.

However, the texture might be stringy and mushy. Butternut squash has a more delicate flavor profile.

It’s a little sweet. However, it leans more toward neutral.


If you don’t have sweet potato, you can probably substitute pumpkin.

They won’t taste the same, of course. Pumpkins and sweet potatoes, on the other hand, have comparable textures and colors!

Still, it depends on the product. If you were thinking of preparing a sweet potato pie, why not make it a pumpkin pie?

It would be a simple change to make!

Kabocha Squash

the kabocha squash

If you want a similar flavor, you might try Kabocha squash. It’s popular as a low-carbohydrate replacement.

You may characterize the flavor as a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin.

It’s generally sweet and nutty. Kabocha squash, like sweet potato, may be prepared in various ways.

Use it in recipes that call for roasting, puréeing, or baking. It's one of the greatest options for replacing sweet potatoes.


Carrots may be used as a last-minute alternative. Sure, it won’t be as mushy as a sweet potato.

The tastes are also not the same. They may, however, be sweet and tasty in their own right.

the carrots

Carrots might be a good substitute if you’re following a recipe for roasting sweet potatoes.

Carrots caramelize and get a more intense taste when roasted. It’s a unique type of sweet.

Still, it’s worth a go for roasting. If you’re going to steam the carrots, the squashes are a better option.

Golden Beets

Golden beets are another tasty alternative. They’re more delicious than their red cousins.

Furthermore, in salads, golden beets are commonly combined with sweet potatoes.

They may be used in recipes that call for baking, steaming, or boiling.

Remember that beets aren't as starchy as sweet potatoes. As a result, there will be a distinction.

FAQs About Can You Use Yams Instead of Sweet Potatoes

faqs about yams

Do you have any other questions about canned yams vs sweet potatoes?

The following are a few examples of additional questions that are often asked:

Which is Better for You, Yam or Sweet Potato?

Sweet potatoes provide more nutrients than yams. Both sweet potatoes and yams are healthy options, and they have certain visual similarities.

Instead, sweet potatoes have higher nutritional and fiber densities.

Are Yams and Sweet Potatoes the Same Thing?

Skin color varies between the yam (reddish brown) and sweet potato (reddish brown).

Yams taste and feel like yucca when they’re fresh. It had thick, black skin and dry, bland flesh.

How Do You Cook Yams?

Fill the saucepan with salted water to cover the yams, and season with salt.

Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

They're ready if you can penetrate the flesh with a fork or knife!

Final Verdict

Can I substitute yams for sweet potatoes? No. They only have one thing in common: they are both tuberous root crops.

They have a similar shape but are fundamentally different vegetables.

To compare these plants. A yam is a starchy root from the Dioscorea genus. Yam lacks beta-carotene.

Sweet potato is a white-to-light-to-purple vegetable. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants abound. It’s healthier than a potato.

Thanks for reading!