Yam vs Sweet Potato: What Is The Difference?

  • Sweet potatoes and yams are both categorized in the group of tuber vegetables as they are grown underground.
  • Both these foods have high nutritional values, plus you can prepare them in different methods.
  • However, as much as the two foods are in the same category, they differ in growth, color, and nutritional value.

    Well, in this article, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions about yams and sweet potatoes; but first, let’s discuss these vegetables.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, also referred to as Ipomoea batatas, originated from South America, but currently, they are popularly grown in North Carolina.

Sweet potatoes are categorized into two groups which are;

Dark-skinned sweet potatoes

These classes of sweet potatoes have an orange-like color on the inside; they are sweeter and moister.

Golden-skinned sweet potatoes.

These have firmer skin, and the inside has a light yellow color. They are a bit dry inside, and the sweetness cannot compare to the dark-skinned ones.

A crucial point worth noting about sweet potatoes is that they have two colors (the light yellow and yellow color). Some are purple, orange, red-brown, and even brown.

>> You may also like: Does Costco Take EBT In 2021? All You Need to Know.<<


Yams also referred to as Dioscorea, were initially grown in Asia and Africa. However, currently, yams are hugely grown in the Caribbean and even parts of Latin America, and the highest number of yams come from Africa.

Just like sweet potatoes, yams have over 500 varieties known all around the world.

What is the difference between a yam and sweet potatoes?

The size

The first distinct feature you will see on these two tuber vegetables is the size that they grow. Yams tend to grow quite large such that you can harvest 130 pounds yams. Although some groups of sweet potatoes do grow bigger, they cannot come close to yams.

The class family

This is one of the significant differences that most people do not know about. Yes, both yams and sweet potatoes are vegetable tubers, but they both come from different families. Yams are from Dioscorea, while sweet potatoes are from Ipomoea batatas.


Sweet potatoes are pretty sweet, but yams are not so sweet. They have a very distinct taste.


Although some people still appreciate and eat yams, they are not as popular as sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are versatile in preparation, and you can incorporate them in multiple meals, one of the reasons they are popular.

On the other hand, yams require special preparation to ensure they have a flavor too.

Nutritional values

Sweet potatoes have a high level of nutritional value compared to yams. This also narrows down to the calories. A single baked sweet potato has about 60 calories whereas, a yam has 116 calories.

>> You may also like: Do Applebees have half-price appetizers in 2021?<<

Which is healthier sweet potato or yam?

Sweet potatoes are healthier than yams since they tend to have fewer calories. Also, sweet potatoes do have a higher content of vitamins than yams.

Why do they call sweet potatoes yams?

When Africans began growing soft-skinned sweet potatoes, they called them yams since the skin looked similar to the yams, and they wanted to differentiate them from the hard-skinned ones.

However, when sweet potatoes growth extended to America, they felt the need to distinguish the two tuber vegetables; hence, the name sweet potatoes.

Do yams cook differently than sweet potatoes?

The answer is yes. Naturally, yams have rough skin, and the inside is also quite hard such that even when cooked, it does not soften that much.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes have soft skin, and they are quite soft when cooked. It is quite easy to mash cooked sweet potatoes compared to yams.

>> You may also like: Does Trader Joe’s Take EBT or SNAP Cards in 2021?<<

Are yams and potatoes the same?

No, both of these plants are from different families, and nutritional values differ as well.

They may grow the same way, but both sweet potatoes and potatoes are different. They differ in taste, size, density, and even nutritional values.

Sweet potatoes grow bigger, have higher nutritional values, and are thicker compared to potatoes.

>> You may also like: Does Costco Take Passport Photos in 2021?<<

Are sweet potatoes a good or bad carb?

If you are looking for healthier carbs, especially losing weight or generally adopting a healthy living, sweet potatoes are the best supplement.

They fall under the good carbohydrates as they have fewer calories and have great nutrients including, vitamins and fiber.

What type of potato is a sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes fall in the family group of Ipomoea batatas. They are dicotyledonous plants since they grow underground and are classified as a tuber or root vegetables.

What is the healthiest potato?

The red and purple potatoes are the healthiest since they have a higher content of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and the lowest carbs content. These two groups of potatoes do not have fat and are excellent antioxidants.


There you have it! All crucial information you need to know about yams and sweet potatoes.

Both these root vegetables have great nutrients, but sweet potatoes have a higher content of nutritional values and are sweeter than yams.

Also, sweet potatoes tend to be more available in the market compared to yams due to their popularity.