Respected Contributor
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Registered: ‎03-10-2010

This question came up in another thread so I copied this info from online.  The confusion comes from a true yam being another root vegetable we don't often see, it is a darker skinned vegetable but the name was adopted to identify the more orange colored tuber we are more familiar with.


Common U.S. Grocery Store Labeling
  • Yam — Soft sweet potato with a copper skin and deep orange flesh.
  • Sweet potato — Firm sweet potato with golden skin and lighter flesh.

Ironically, when you want a classic baked sweet potato, with a crisp skin and fluffy orange flesh, or sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole, what you should buy will be probably labeled yam. Even though it’s not a yam. It’s a sweet potato. The soft kind.

But just to throw one more wrinkle into this, grocery stores often go rogue with labeling. We’ve bought “yams” (which are really sweet potatoes) that were indeed labeled as sweet potatoes.

The takeaway: Know what kind of sweet potato you want for your recipe, and be alert to the yam/sweet potato labeling concept, but also use your eyes to look at the color of the skin and the flesh, if possible.

Esteemed Contributor
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Registered: ‎11-24-2013

@free2be I only like sweet potato fries! Don't like yams (candied or otherwise) or sweet potato in any form.

Respected Contributor
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Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@lovemygrands   Perfectly understandable given they are two different kinds of root vegetables even though they are considered "sweet potatoes".


I prefer the lighter colored sweet potato, also.

Respected Contributor
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Love both of them. 

Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎03-09-2010

I prefer the taste and texture of the beauregard variety of sweet potatoes.

Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎10-25-2010

I prefer sweet potatoes to yams any day, but I eat both.


Sweet potatoes are usually smaller.  They are a great size for baking or boiling. They have less calories than yams and more neutrients.


Yams are good for receipes where they are mashed or cut up.  They are sweeter than sweet potatoes.


The grocery stores never seem to have them labeled correctly, but I can tell the difference...

Candied sweet potatoes are on the menu tonight.  We eat them cooked in some way at least once a month.


Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎07-09-2010

I know ther is a difference but never really looked for 1 or the other specifically. I guess i have eaten and enjoyed both over the years 


labeling yams is much easier than sweet potatoes 


I dont ever see - yams next to sweet potatoes - it is labeled 1 or the other


i like the japanese sweet potato and the purple yam too



Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎09-22-2010

I prefer the garnet yam (especially as a baked potato).  I find the sweet potatoes sometimes stringy.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,181
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Thanks everyone for commenting.  I appreciate learning about favored different types, I would have to go online to study the differences.


My silly mind remembers Ed on the old Honeymooners TV show addressing the golf ball.  I wish he was with us to make an educational video using that method with these tubers in a store. "Hello Yam!"  Sorry, I'm rummy from the 2nd Covid shot yesterday.  Need to laugh.   

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,046
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

I don't get hung up on whether they're sweet potatoes or yams; I just cook and eat them with butter and brown sugar!