Are Yams Sweet? (Explained)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Are Yams Sweet

So, you’re wondering if yams are sweet? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will answer this burning question as well as some other questions about yams you might find interesting.

Once you finish reading this article, you should become an expert on all things related to yams. If you’re ready to start digging into all this info, continue reading!

Are Yams Sweet?

Yams are only mildly sweet, but yes, they do taste sweet. This tuber vegetable is often compared to sweet potatoes, but yams have more of an earthy, neutral taste. They taste starchy and dry. In general, yams will take on the flavor of whichever seasonings you’re using in the dish.

You shouldn’t eat yams raw as they can be toxic. Always cook them before eating.

Are Yams Sweeter Than Sweet Potatoes?

Nope, yams are not sweeter than sweet potatoes. Yams have a more versatile flavor that you can alter by using different cooking methods. By themselves, they taste starchy, dry, and neutral, while sweet potatoes taste sweet. However, the differences don’t stop there, but more on that in the next question.

What Is The Difference Between Yams And Sweet Potatoes?

There are several things that distinguish yams and sweet potatoes from one another:

  • Yams have dry starchy flesh, while sweet potatoes have moist flesh with a slick appearance.
  • Both are nutritious, but yams have more fat, carbs, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, while sweet potatoes have more sugar, protein, calcium, iron, and sodium.
  • They taste differently, which is the most important difference. Yams are starchy and dry, while sweet potatoes are sweet. Both have a flavor profile that can easily be altered through cooking methods.

Can You Use Yams Instead Of Sweet Potatoes?

No, you really can’t replace sweet potatoes with yams in the large majority of recipes. They are completely different vegetables that have different origins. People often lump them together, but there really is no reason to do so.

They taste completely different, so there really shouldn’t be any reason to substitute one for the other. Their nutritional compositions differ drastically as well. Yams are dry and starchy, it would be hard to use them instead of a sweet and moist sweet potato. 

Sweet potatoes have around 5.5 grams of sugar each, while a yam only has around 0.5 grams of sugar, which is one of the things that explains the difference in flavor.

Which Is Healthier Yam Or Sweet Potato?

Both of these foods have different nutrients, so they are nutritious in different ways. If we were to pick one, we would say that sweet potatoes take the victory here, but only by a little bit. They have simply have a higher concentration of more nutrients.

Here is a list of some of the nutrients you can find in them. Yams are rich in:

  • Fat
  • Carbs
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E

On the other hand, sweet potatoes are rich in:

  • Sugar
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Sodium
  • Vitamin A
  • Beta-Carotene 
  • Water

Depending on what you need in your diet, both can serve a purpose.

Are Yams Good For Weight Loss?

A cup of yams has around 170 calories, and they will fill you up fast. This makes them a great food for when you’re trying to lose weight. They have a decent amount of fiber, which will slow down the time your body needs to process sugar.

This means you won’t be as hungry between meals as before. You can incorporate yams into your main dishes. They will increase the size of your meal, but won’t add too many calories. You can also bake yams and carry them around as a healthy snack. Replace potato chips with these and you might start noticing that you lost a bit of weight.

Are Yams High In Carbs?

Yes, yams are high in carbs, at least when compared to other root vegetables like sweet potatoes.  Yams can have anywhere between 20 and 40 grams of carbohydrates per serving, depending on the type of yam and serving size.

For example, a cup of white potatoes has around 23 grams of carbohydrates, while yams have 42 for the same serving size. Russet potatoes and sweet potatoes both have 27 grams of carbs for that same amount. 

Based on this you can see how yams are clearly in the lead when it comes to carbohydrates, which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what you want your diet to look like.

What Kind Of Yams Are There?

First of all, if you run into “American yams”, you need to know that those are just sweet potatoes. This is one of the reasons many people confuse the two. You will often find yams in stores that are just sweet potatoes under the wrong name.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the different types of yams out there:

  • Japanese mountain yams are imported yams. They have a cylinder-like shape and pale skin with white flesh. People also refer to them as “sticky” yams due to their texture.
  • Tropical yams grow in tropical regions across Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and are also known by several other names, including true yams, Indian yams, cush-cush, and Mapuey. They have dry, white flesh and thick skin. 
  • Filipino purple yams are also known as Ube, and they have flesh that ranges in color from purple to lavender. They also have thick, brown skin. Filipino purple yams are a popular ingredient in many dishes, but they are often turned into powder or paste that is used to add some color to desserts.
  • Air potatoes are yams that are cultivated in the US and are known for vines that grow aggressively fast. The yams themselves can be poisonous, so people that intend to grow them need to watch out for which ones they buy. The edible ones are really popular in Asian cuisine.
  • Okinawan yams are also known as Okinawan purple potatoes and are often used in various desserts, just like Ube. However, they are a common ingredient in savory dishes as well. From the outside, they look incredibly similar to sweet potatoes, but once you cut into them and see their purple flesh, you have to notice the difference.
  • Chinese yams are also known as cinnamon vines because of their flowers that smell like cinnamon. They have white flesh and their skin resembles the bark of a tree. These yams grow in colder, elevated climates, which is a trait unique to them.
  • White and yellow Guinea yams hail from West Africa. Both are quite large and just like Chinese yams, they have skin that resembles a tree. Guinea yams differ in the color of their flesh, which is why there are two kinds – one has white flesh, while the other one has yellow flesh.
  • Lesser yams are extremely popular in India and Vietnam. They are a bit smaller, with brown, hairy skin and white flesh. They taste sweeter than most yams and you can prepare them in various ways.