Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile, delicious, and readily available in supermarket aisles. However, the identification of sweet potatoes is a major issue while buying. This is because they are usually mislabeled as yams. And one roughly wonder can I use yams instead of sweet potatoes? Or what is the best sweet potato substitute?
Well, it isn’t complicated to understand that yams and sweet potatoes are totally different vegetables in terms of flavor, appearance, and texture of flesh. And it’s actually the name that is mistakenly interchangeable.
Here, we’ll clear all your confusion and tell you how to differentiate yams and sweet potatoes? Are yams good alternatives for sweet potatoes? And what you can use instead of sweet potatoes? So, let’s start delving out facts.
Can I Use Yams Instead of Sweet Potatoes?
Most of the time, people consider yams and sweet potatoes the same thing and treat so. But in cooking, their difference can totally ruin the dish if used incorrectly.
So, the answer is no. You cannot use yams instead of sweet potatoes because they’re quite different and even unrelated to each other. Hence, keep in mind that the dish calling for sweet potatoes will never complement well with yams.
This is because of various reasons. Although both are tubers and root vegetables but diverge greatly from each other.
Sweet potatoes have thin, smooth skin with pointed ends, while yams have darker rough skin and grow larger in size.
The color of sweet potatoes ranges from yellow to off-white and even orange-like, while yams have a lighter flash. Sweet potatoes are crumbly, sweet, and moister. On the other hand, yams are starchy, dry, and sweeter than sweet potatoes.
Most importantly, both veggies are also packed and rich in different nutrients. Yams are higher in calories, while sweet potatoes are more nutritious.
That’s why using yams instead of sweet potatoes isn’t a good idea. By the way, you have a lot more options to be used in place of sweet potatoes that we’ll tell you in a moment.
Sweet Potatoe Substitute
Sweet potatoes find countless culinary uses in an ordinary kitchen. They are an essential ingredient of a balanced diet and are also known as superfood. One can use them in several ways, tossing in toasts, salads, and stuffed in dumplings.
They work great when boiled, steamed, fried, or even baked. But if you don’t have any sweet potato on hand or craving something unique and closely related, put your hands on your favorite sweet potato substitute.
1. Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are more colorful, delicious, filling, and yummy. Their texture is fluffier and starchier with a star combination of nutty, sweet, squashy, and potato-like flavor.
The primary difference between sweet potatoes and their Japanese version is skin and flesh color. Japanese sweet potatoes have purple skin with light yellower flesh.
So, treat them just like sweet potatoes in your baked, roasted, boiled, and steamed recipes. Japanese sweet potatoes also go great when pureed or mashed and so also become a perfect mashed potato substitute.
2. Yukon Gold Potatoes
A cross combination of yellow and white potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes are also closely related to sweet potatoes. Apparently, they are similar but seem milder and creamier than sweet potatoes.
Yukon gold potatoes go well when mashed and roasted. Moreover, you can use them in soups and casseroles instead of sweet potatoes.
3. White Potatoes
When you are unable to find sweet potatoes everywhere, make your recipe using white potatoes. They are all-time available in the market and even on the pantry.
They are not great for wet cooking and become mushy on boiling. So, as a sweet potato replacement, white potatoes work well when roasted and baked.
4. Jewel Potatoes
Jewel potatoes are in the middle of sweet potatoes and yams, thus pair well in all those recipes calling for sweet potatoes.
They are also commonly sold as jewel yams and perfect for use in baking recipes and casseroles. So, if available, you can use these jewel yams instead of sweet potatoes.
5. Russet Potato
Russet potatoes are also a good alternative for sweet potatoes when come to baking, roasting, and boiling. Their dark color, similar to sweet potatoes, complements well in mashed, chewy, and savory side dishes.
Their smooth, starchy, and fluffier texture make them perfect for even wet cooking processes. So, they can prove compelling and suitable instead of sweet potatoes and even yams.
6. Celery Root
Celery root is another versatile root vegetable similar to sweet potatoes. When cooked, its tender texture becomes soft, fluffy, and mashable.
Besides cooking, raw celery root slices are also very common in salads for their great mild, sweet, and nutty flavor. So, incorporate celery root in place of sweet potatoes after boiling, braising, steaming, or grilling.
Pumpkin also makes a contribution in this countdown because of its unique flavor and textural properties. For that reason, it’s also a good delicata squash substitute.
Pumpkin is a most versatile ingredient that’s perfect for both sweet and savory treats. Its smooth, creamy, and delicate texture looks appealing in soups, salads, and desserts.
8. Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is another worthy candidate as a sweet potato replacement. If you’re a fan of squash flavor and love trying different squash versions, acorn squash will be your next choice.
Acorn squash resembles sweet potatoes in terms of flavor, texture, cooking ways, and cooking time. You can easily replace sweet potatoes with acorn squash as it’s readily available compared to sweet potatoes and even yams.
Acorn squash may take your extra time in preparing its flesh because it has a lot of seed buried in its center. However, its overall flavor and taste in the dish relishes you the most.
Other Possible Sweet Potato Substitute
The abovementioned ingredients are closest to sweet potatoes and thus go great in your favorite recipes.
However, there are also some other possible alternatives that you can use to replace sweet potatoes. Check the following options and choose what suits you the utmost.
Kabocha is technically a squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, which offers a blend of sweet potato and pumpkin flavor. Apparently, it looks hard and challenging to cut, but its inner flesh is quite softer and moister.
It replaces sweet potatoes in casseroles, soups, side condiments, and other mashed recipes.
Yuka is a root vegetable, sweet and nutty in flavor, and nutritious similar to sweet potatoes. It must be cooked before incorporating into salads or serving as a raw veggie. This is because raw Yuka can cause various health disorders.
It’s not as sweet as sweet potatoes and also have a stringy, tender texture. Thereby, it works well when fried, stir-fried, or roasted.
Tapioca looks very similar to sweet potatoes and is actually extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. It’s a good source of carbohydrates, and so its starchy texture makes it a good alternative.
Its cooking time and method are same as sweet potato. It will be your next healthy and delicious substitute.
Taro is a distinct kind of potato with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor, just like sweet potatoes. It’s a deliciously flavorful and edible root vegetable that pairs well in soups and casseroles.
On boiling, it develops a sweet and subtle flavor with a softer and moister texture. So, it works well as a sweet potato substitution.
To Sum Up
Yams and sweet potatoes are distinctly two unique root vegetables with different culinary uses, flavor profiles, and even nutrition. So, you cannot use yams instead of sweet potatoes in cooking recipes.
Rather in place of sweet potatoes, you can use a lot of other substitutes resembling sweet potatoes in reference to flavor, texture, and cooking ways.