What's The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams?

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Playing Rachael Answers: What's The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams?

Sweet potatoes and yams get a lot of love during the holiday season, and picking the right one for the right dish is key. But, do you really know the difference?

Here, a few quick tidbits to know about sweet potatoes and yams before you plan your Thanksgiving side dishes:


The easiest way to distinguish between yams and sweet potatoes is to examine the shape. Yams tend to be pointier and shorter, Rach says, while sweet potatoes have a shape similar to a large russet potato.


It’s the inside that counts. The flesh of a yam is typically white and firm, while the flesh of a sweet potato is orange in color.


Rachael points out that yams have a much higher sugar content, while sweet potatoes are the most nutrient dense, per weight, that you can buy in the produce department.

In the end, your choice between sweet potatoes and yams will ultimately depend on the type of dish you’re creating and/or the flavor you desire.

Rachael suggests, “If you really like sweet food, get the yam. If you want more of a mashed potato type thing, or sweet potato pie, get your sweet potato.”


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