• Izzy Grussgott

The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Yesterday, my mom asked me what the difference was between sweet potatoes, and I could not give her an answer. Nonetheless, here is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable just like regular potatoes except that they sweeter (hinting why it they are called sweet potatoes). They vary in different colors such as yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Depending on the type, the inside can be white, orange, or purple. There are many types of sweet potatoes, but the most common one (and my favorite) is the dark-skinned, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. These have a dark brown skin and are orange on the inside. They are soft and moist.


Yams have a cylindrical-like shape with rough brown skin. The inside varies from white or yellow to purple or pink as the yam mature. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are less sweet but more dry and starchy. They can also grow much larger than sweet potatoes. There are many types that vary in size. They can go up to 5 feet and weigh up to 130 pounds! Yams are hard to find in local grocery stores but can be found in international or ethnic food stores .

Nutritional Value

Based on Healthline, a 100 gram serving of baked sweet potatoes contains 25 less calories than a 100 gram serving of yams. It also contains less carbs and fiber. Even though it has more vitamin C, yams have slightly more potassium and manganese. They both contain good amounts of vitamin B.


Even though they are often confused for being the same, sweet potatoes and yams are completely different vegetables. Yams have a starchier, drier texture but might be harder to find. Sweet potatoes are sweeter and have a fluffier and moister texture. They are more readily available and are slightly better nutritionally than yams. In addition to being better for you, I personally like sweet potatoes more, but you but you can discover your own opinion on that.

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