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Pounded Yam

Pounded Yam is a staple in many West African homes, but it is not usually eaten by itself, it is often paired with many delicious African soups, and stews like Egusi, okra soup, Jute leaves soup (Ewedu), or Stewed Spinach (Efo Riro).

Pounded is quite similar to mashed potatoes but it has as more doughy consistency.

Pounded Yam

Pounded yam, a classic Nigerian dish, is a smooth and stretchy dough made from boiled yams. It holds an esteemed place in Nigerian cuisine, particularly among the Yoruba people, and is often served during special occasions, family gatherings, and cultural events. Pounded yam’s rich texture and unique preparation methods make it a beloved food that showcases the versatility and culinary heritage of Nigeria.

If you are new to this food, I’ll explain. Pounded is quite similar to mashed potatoes but it has a more doughy consistency. It belongs to a group of food we refer to as swallow because of the way we eat it.

We cut out a morsel from the meal,  then we form an indentation on it with the thumb. Then, we scoop some stew or soup over it and we eat it.

Often time it’s swallowed, but sometimes it requires a bit of chewing depending on the type of stew or soup you choose to pair it with. Other food in the swallow group includes fufu – made from cassava or cassava flour, Eba, Amala, and more.

Pounded Yam is a staple in many West African homes, but it is not usually eaten by itself, it is often paired with many delicious African soups, and stews.

Pounded Yam and Egusi soup

In multiple world regions, other unrelated root crops are also referred to as Yam. For example, in the united states, the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are often referred to as Yams, and in Japan, konjac corms are often referred to as yams. However, all these are totally different from what we use.

Ingredients needed for making pounded Yam

Yam, the primary ingredient in pounded yam, is a staple food across West Africa.  The type of Yam we use is commonly referred to as puna yam, true yam, or African yam. It has a dark brown rough skin with off-white flesh. They can be boiled, roasted, or fried. If you live outside Africa like the united states, the best place to find true yams will be the ethnic market or online stores. You can read more about the true yam to learn more.

Water – water is the second ingredient, and this is needed to boil the yam until it becomes fork-tender.

Pounded Yam is a delicacy that is dear to many west African homes.


Preparing pounded yam involves a two-step process: boiling and pounding.

First, the yams are peeled, washed, and cut into even-sized chunks. They are then boiled in water until they become tender and easily pierced with a fork. Once cooked, the yams are drained and transferred to a mortar.

The pounding process, which gives the dish its name and distinctive texture, is traditionally done using a pestle and a wooden mortar. The cooked yams are pounded until they transform into a smooth, elastic dough. This requires considerable strength and technique, as the yams must be continuously turned and pounded to achieve the desired consistency. In modern times, food processors and yam-pounding machines have made the process more accessible and less labor-intensive.

Pounded yam’s significance in Nigerian culture extends beyond its culinary attributes. It is often prepared for important events, such as weddings, naming ceremonies, and religious celebrations.

How to make pounded Yam

To make Pounded Yam, all you need is Puna yam and water.

  • Peel the yam and cut it into small cubes.
  • Rinse about once or twice till you get clear water.
  • Boil until the Yam becomes fork-tender.
  • Pound or blend into a dough-like consistency until it’s completely smooth with no yam chunks left.

Learn how to make pounded yam from fresh yams. No pounding, no sweat. Just use your hand mixer!

What to serve with pounded yam

Pounded yam is typically served with a variety of Nigerian soups and stews such as:

To eat pounded yam, simply cut bite size piece, shape it into a ball using their fingers, and use it to scoop up bites of the accompanying soup. So good!


The amount of water you will need to boil the yam will vary depending on how dry the yam is. Fresh yams in the early season of the harvest will take less water while yams harvested in the later season will require more water. This also applies during the pounding, you will need more water for the dry yam and less water for the less dry yams.

**Pounded Yam is best enjoyed while it’s still hot and fresh.

Mounds of Pounded Yam

Pounded Yam

Pounded Yam is a staple in many African homes, but it is not usually eaten by itself, it is often paired with many delicious African soups, and stews like Egusi, okra soup, Jute leaves soup (Ewedu), or Stewed Spinach (Efo Riro).
4.85 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: African
Keyword: homemade, pounded yam
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5 People
Calories: 321kcal
Author: Lola Osinkolu


  • 3 lb Yam
  • Water


  • Peel the skins off the yams and slice them into about ½ inch thickness.
  • Rinse and place the yams in a pot and add enough water to the level of the Yam.
  • Cover and cook the yams for about 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or thereabout until the yams are fork tender.
  • Put the boiled yams inside the food processor and blend, until it becomes smooth with a dough-like consistency.
  • Serve with your favorite soup or stew


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 2221mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 46.5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1.5mg


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If you make this Pounded Yam recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen
Recipe Rating

Saturday 18th of May 2024

Ive been wanting to try nigerian food for a long time. There is no nigerian restaurants around me so I decided to learn to make my own, this recipe is amazing.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Saturday 25th of May 2024

Thank you.


Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Thanks for the recipe. Came out great.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

You're welcome, Candice. Glad you tried it.


Friday 18th of February 2022

I am so excited to try African food for the first time today (sorry if I should be more specific of the country, I am still learning)my friend and I are going to an African restaurant today and I've tried google to help me, but if you don't mind I know we want to try pounded yam but does it go with Light soup with chicken or pepper soup? We are definitely getting Egusi but wanted to try different soups as well. Thank you for your time!

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Friday 25th of February 2022

Hello, Terinie. How was your first introduction to African cuisine? Pounded yam goes with any kind of soup, especially Nigerian soups.


Tuesday 11th of January 2022

I wish I'd refreshed my memory of the description before I tried this, because boy did I use the wrong yams! I knew it wasn't the orange ones, so I went with the only other kind the store had, and... well, what I've got is light green and looks a little like an alien invasion. I'll have to keep an eye out for true yams when I get back to Toronto, because this recipe looks awfully enticing.


Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Hi is it ok to make a day a head of time?

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

No Kirby, the texture changes so much the next day and you might not be able to enjoy it as much.