What’s the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?
Yams vs Sweet Potatoes: The Differences
Although the terms sweet potatoes and yams are often used interchangeably in the U.S., they are not the same thing. When it comes to yams vs sweet potatoes, the main differences are:
- Yams and sweet potatoes are completely different, botanically speaking. A yam comes from the Dioscoreaceae family, and sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae family (aka the family of morning glories).
- True yams have rougher skin that’s typically brown, almost tree bark-like. Sweet potatoes have a thinner skin that’s reddish-brown, although it can vary.
- Yams have a starchier texture and sweet potatoes have a softer texture when cooked.
- In the U.S. you are most likely to find yams in international markets or specialty grocery stores. So, even if it’s marketed as a yam at an American grocery store, it’s usually a sweet potato.