If your Thanksgiving experience is similar to ours, you grew up with yams (or sweet potatoes) covered in toasted marshmallows. While that version of sweet potatoes is nostalgic – with its gooey and crispy layer of marshmallows, I’ve since come to love a more complex flavor pairing which marries sweet, spicy and tangy. That’s what we’ve created with these simple Thanksgiving yams.

Horizontal overhead image of Thanksgiving yams in a bowl with a serving spoon. Melted butter and cinnamon on top with orange slices as a garnish.

Trying new things

Our Thanksgiving yams are easy to make and provide a fresh spin on an old favorite. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday…it’s all about the food and the people. It just doesn’t get better than that, and with these Thanksgiving yams nothing is lost. They are just as comforting and even more flavorful than my old, pre-paleo favorite. Switching to a real food lifestyle has been a constant reminder that stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things, taking some risks and being open minded often leads to some new and exciting experiences.

Making new traditions

The holidays are drenched in long-time family traditions, and sometimes breaking out of those can be hard. But just like changing my diet and opening up to trying new things has led to so many exciting experiences, playing with holiday traditions and adapting recipes and creating new ones has led to new holiday traditions, too. And it’s been fun thinking about the traditions we are creating that will be the norm for our kiddos and family one day.

Angled vertical  image of Thanksgiving yams in a bowl with someone taking a scoop out. Melted butter and cinnamon on top.

Simple ingredients + easy to make

This real food Thanksgiving yams recipe has only 7 ingredients, most of which are spices you likely have in your pantry already. We don’t use canned yams because let’s be real…the real deal is just better, and we like how you can keep them a little chunkier if you like more texture. This is a quick recipe – just peel, slice and boil your yams and then mash them up and add the rest of the ingredients. You can make them in real time and serve them right up. Or you can also make them in advance and put them in an oven safe dish and reheat before serving.

Close up overhead vertical image of Thanksgiving yams in a bowl with melted butter and cinnamon on top.

Some other recipes perfect for Thanksgiving

Your turn to try our Thanksgiving yams

Make some new holiday traditions this year, starting with these healthy Thanksgiving yams! Leave a comment below, and let us know how it goes. Also, take a picture and tag it on Instagram @realsimplegood so we can check it out! Don’t forget to give us a follow if you don’t already – let’s stay connected!

Close up image of Thanksgiving yams in a bowl with a serving spoon with text overlay at top.

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Two vertical images of Thanksgiving yams in a bowl with serving spoon. Text overlay in the middle.

Mashed thanksgiving yams in a bowl with orange wedges
4.80 from 34 ratings
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Thanksgiving Yams

These Thanksgiving yams have a complex flavor that marries sweet, spicy and tangy. Give them a try for a healthier holiday tradition!


  • 3-4 yams, peeled, (yams or sweet potatoes work)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp grassfed butter or ghee, (or coconut oil for dairy free)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 orange, zest and juice


  • Peel and cut your yams into cubes.
  • Boil your yams until they are soft, but not mushy, about 10-15 minutes. Once they are done remove from heat and drain them.
  • Return drained yams to the same pot and mash, keeping them a little clumpy.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is combined.
  • Serve your Thanksgiving yams or place them in an oven safe dish and reheat later for serving.

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