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Sweet Potato vs. Yam: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on January 30, 2024
Sweet potatoes are tuberous roots with a sweet taste and smooth skin, while yams are starchy tubers with rough, bark-like skin, and are less sweet.

Key Differences

Sweet potatoes, belonging to the Convolvulaceae family, are native to Central and South America. Yams, on the other hand, are part of the Dioscoreaceae family and are primarily grown in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024
Sweet potatoes have smooth, thin skin with varying flesh colors ranging from orange to purple. Yams have rough, scaly skin, and their flesh can range from white to orange or purple, but they are generally whiter than sweet potatoes.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024
Sweet potatoes are known for their sweet flavor and are rich in vitamins A and C. Yams are less sweet, more starchy, and are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium.
Huma Saeed
Jan 30, 2024
Sweet potatoes are versatile in cooking, used in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be baked, roasted, or mashed. Yams, with their starchy texture, are often boiled, fried, or included in stews and soups.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024
In the United States, the term "yam" is often incorrectly used to describe orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, particularly in the context of Thanksgiving meals. True yams are a staple food in African and Caribbean diets and have different cultural significances.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Family

Convolvulaceae
Dioscoreaceae
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Skin Texture

Smooth and thin
Rough and scaly
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Taste

Sweet
Less sweet, more starchy
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Nutritional Value

High in vitamins A and C
High in carbohydrates and fiber
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Common Culinary Uses

Baked, roasted, mashed
Boiled, fried, used in stews
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024
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Sweet Potato and Yam Definitions

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes often have orange or purple flesh.
The sweet potato's bright orange flesh was perfect for the pie.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Yams are starchy tubers with a rough texture.
She chose yams for their starchy quality to thicken her stew.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are known for their natural sweetness.
The natural sweetness of the sweet potato complemented the savory spices.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Yams are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Yams were a major carbohydrate source in his diet plan.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes have smooth, thin skin.
The smooth skin of the sweet potato was easy to peel.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Yams are less sweet compared to sweet potatoes.
The less sweet flavor of yams balanced the spicy dish.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C.
For a vitamin boost, he added sweet potatoes to his diet.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Yams have rough, bark-like skin.
The yam's rough skin was peeled away to reveal the flesh inside.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Sweet Potato

A sweet potato is a nutritious and versatile root vegetable.
She roasted sweet potatoes for a healthy side dish.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Yams typically have white to orange flesh.
The yam's white flesh turned golden when fried.
Huma Saeed
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

Any of numerous chiefly tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea, many of which have edible tuberous roots.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

Yam

The starchy root of any of these plants, used in the tropics as food.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 10, 2023

FAQs

Can you substitute yams for sweet potatoes in recipes?

Yes, but the taste and texture will be slightly different.
Huma Saeed
Jan 30, 2024

Are yams common in the U.S. supermarkets?

True yams are less common and often found in international markets.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Can sweet potatoes be eaten raw?

Yes, sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, but they're usually cooked.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Are yams used in traditional African cuisine?

Yes, yams are a staple in many African and Caribbean dishes.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Are sweet potatoes and yams the same?

No, they are different plants with distinct tastes and textures.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Do sweet potatoes help with vision?

Yes, the vitamin A in sweet potatoes is good for eye health.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Are yams used in traditional medicine?

In some cultures, yams are used for their medicinal properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Are sweet potatoes healthier than yams?

Sweet potatoes have higher vitamin A content, but both are nutritious.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Do yams have a high glycemic index?

Yes, yams have a higher glycemic index than sweet potatoes.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Is the skin of yams edible?

Yes, but it's usually peeled due to its rough texture.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Do sweet potatoes come in different colors?

Yes, sweet potato flesh can be orange, white, or purple.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Can yams be stored for a long time?

Yes, yams have a long shelf life when stored in a cool, dry place.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Can sweet potatoes be used in desserts?

Absolutely, sweet potatoes are popular in pies and other desserts.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Are yams related to sweet potatoes?

No, they belong to different botanical families.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Are sweet potatoes rich in antioxidants?

Yes, particularly those with purple flesh.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Are sweet potatoes a good source of fiber?

Yes, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Can sweet potatoes be baked?

Yes, baking is a popular way to cook sweet potatoes.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Do yams need to be cooked before eating?

Yes, yams should be cooked to improve digestibility and flavor.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Can yams be mashed like sweet potatoes?

Yes, yams can be boiled and mashed.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Are sweet potatoes gluten-free?

Yes, sweet potatoes are naturally gluten-free.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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