What Savory Spices Can I Use With Yams?


Yams, often mistaken for sweet potatoes, originated in the sub-Saharan area of Africa. With over 150 different varieties available there is no shortage of ways to cook them. While the common sweet potatoes we refer to as yams in the United States are most often used for sweeter dishes, adding savory spices can transform these Thanksgiving holiday staples into a dish that can be served all year long.


  • Coriander offers a blend of both lemon and sage flavors and adds a unique intensity to the flavor of yams. Cooking yams in butter with coriander and the bright citrus flavors of lemon zest and orange zest creates the perfect side dish. Pair these flavors with white or brown rice to transform it into a hearty main entree.

Bay Leaf

  • The pungent and slight bitter taste of a bay leaf can add depth to the flavor of yams. Turn your yams into a delicious stew by boiling them with a bay leaf, cinnamon, garlic, onion and tomatoes to add a layer of fresh garden flavors, and you will have a stew perfect for a cold winter day.


  • Most commonly used in chili powder and pizza sauce, oregano helps develop the natural sweetness of yams. Mixing yams with oregano, pumpkin seeds and coconut provides a side dish with great depth of flavor and texture, and is a healthier alternative to deep fried french fries or potatoes mashed with butter.


  • The rustic flavor of nutmeg pairs well with yams, highlighting their warm and smooth flavor. Mix braised yams with both nutmeg and rosemary to develop their natural sweetness, and then finish them off with a sweet cream sauce to help accent the warm flavor of the nutmeg and the earthy flavor of the rosemary.

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  • Photo Credit spices image by Bartlomiej Nowak from Fotolia.com
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