What is the Difference Between a Yam and a Sweet Potato?

What is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?

By Ann

August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Nothing that I know of.

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August 10, 20100 found this helpful

If you're in the US, you may be thinking that this is a trick question, after all, a sweet potato is a yam, right?


Although sweet potatoes are often referred to as yams in parts of America, sweet potatoes and true yams are actually completely different things! Yams grow from tropical vines and are usually bigger than sweet potatoes. Their skins tend to be scaly, pink and thicker than the skins on sweet potatoes. But the easiest way to tell them apart is probably from the color of their flesh, sweet potatoes generally have orange flesh, whereas the flesh in yams tends to be white, yellow or pink!

They taste different, too. Yams are usually starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, which are usually moister and sweeter (the orange ones in particular). We think yams are actually closer to white potatoes in terms of taste and texture! In the United States, you'll find that sweet potatoes are labeled with both yam and sweet potato a requirement of the USDA to help avoid confusion!

Once you start looking, you'll probably find that real yams are somewhat hard to come by at your local grocery store. However, if you'd really like to give yams a try for yourself, you should be able to find them at ethnic markets instead.

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August 13, 20100 found this helpful

For a real education on this loaded question type in yam vs sweet potato in your pc search and read and read and read. While most in our market that are labelled as yams are of darker skin and are much sweeter USDA says they are sweet potatos and require that they also be labelled as such, but that is seldom seen. I have not tasted a true yam, but am well satisfied with the darker sweet potatos that we call yams.

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August 17, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks for the input.

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