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Irish Potato Candies

Irish Potato Candies

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  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 4 Ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 Cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 Cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • Ground cinnamon


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until the mixture forms a ball. Stir in the coconut and mix until combined.

Roll the mixture between your hands to shape the bite-size candies like potatoes. Place each ball on a parchment-lined backing sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes, until firm.

Place some cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the cinnamon, coating the outside completely, so there are no white spots.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving204

Folate equivalent (total)2µgN/A

Irish Potatoes Candy Recipe

These Irish potatoes candies are a smooth, divinity-based candy with a white chocolate flavor and loads of toasted walnuts. If you're familiar with the Irish candy potatoes from See's Candies, then this recipe will taste very familiar! The sweet potato look-alikes are rolled in a mixture of cocoa and cinnamon, and decorated with pine nut "eyes."

This recipe begins with homemade divinity, and also requires a portion of candy fondant. You can make your own fondant using one of these recipes, or you can use purchased fondant that you buy at a craft or cake supply store. If you want to make your own, we recommend this recipe for marshmallow fondant, since it is so fast and easy to make.

Irish Potatoes Candy

The Spruce / Elizabeth LaBau

We can't talk about St. Patrick's Day candies without starting with the category of "potato look-alikes." These Irish potatoes candies are a smooth, divinity-based candy with a white chocolate flavor and loads of toasted walnuts. If you're familiar with the Irish Candy Potatoes from See's Candies, then this recipe will taste very familiar! The sweet potato doppelgangers are rolled in a mixture of cocoa and cinnamon, and decorated with pine nut "eyes."

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages confectioners' sugar, or to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) package shredded coconut, or to taste
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup (such as Karo®)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup ground cinnamon, or as needed

Place softened butter in a large bowl. Add confectioners' sugar, coconut, corn syrup, and vanilla extract mix using your hands until combined. Knead until it holds together but is not too sticky, adding more sugar and coconut, if needed.

Place cinnamon on a plate. Form the mixture into small, round balls and roll in the cinnamon until coated and they look like tiny potatoes.

Irish &ldquopotato&rdquo candy!

These candies only look like little potatoes. They&rsquore actually made with cream cheese, coconut, and cinnamon.

I was intrigued, so I made up a batch.

And not at all an Irish candy! These sweet treats actually originated in Pennsylvania, USA.

Irish potato candy is made out of cream cheese and shredded unsweetened coconut, so they have a nice creamy and slightly crunchy texture. If you don&rsquot like coconut you can leave it out but it will change the texture.

You can roll these candies in cocoa powder or cinnamon, depending on which taste you prefer. I recommend the cinnamon! It not only gives the candy a nice &ldquopotato&rdquo look but also adds a delicious zing to the candy.

This no bake recipe is super easy and a perfect rainy day project for kids (or adults). Combine the ingredients in a bowl, shape into little potatoes, roll in cinnamon (or cocoa powder), and let chill in the fridge until set. That&rsquos it! Super easy. Warning: you won&rsquot be able to eat just one (trust me on this)!

How do you make Irish potatoes?

Thankfully, Irish potatoes are very simple to make. As mentioned earlier, there are just a few simple ingredients you will need to make Irish potato candy:

  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (full fat, light, or fat-free will all work fine)
  • 4 cups Powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Ground cinnamon

Just mix the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then, form the mixture into bite-sized balls and roll it in cinnamon. It is a perfect job for little hands. Especially little hands that like to get dirty.

It’s an easy and fun recipe for kids to make, too! Ava and Will had a half-day at school and I thought that it would be a perfect rainy day activity. Except they didn’t want to play with me. Thankfully, this dude wanted to cook with me.

He takes his job very seriously.

  1. Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar.

Some of the powdered sugar might make it into the bowl.

Some might not. Part of the fun of cooking with kids is letting them be kids. So, powdered sugar can get everywhere.

  1. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine
  2. Add the coconut and mix until combined.

  1. Before rolling the Irish potatoes mixture into balls, you may want to chill it for at least 30 minutes. As a result, it will be easier to form the dough into little balls.

You can use your hands to do this. However, I like to use a small ice cream scoop, like the one shown in the above photo. Keep in mind that Irish potato candies are really rich, so you want them to be small in size.

  1. Roll the mixture into small balls and then roll them through a bowl or plate of ground cinnamon.

No one really knows! The name “Irish Potato Candy” is a bit deceptive. While many Americans think of these sweet candies as traditional Irish treats, they’re actually not from Ireland. And while they look like little potatoes, they don’t contain any potato in the ingredients.

There is no documented history of how the Irish potato candy originated, but it is thought to have been created by Irish immigrants in Philadelphia over 100 years ago.

Every year, local Philadelphia confectioneries make and ship tens of thousands of pounds of potato candies all over the country. But they’re so simple to make, that you and your kids can easily whip these up yourself!

What are Irish Potatoes

No, they aren’t actually potatoes. And no, they don’t actually contain any potato of any kind. They are a confectionary treat – a soft candy. And they are only available for a few short weeks every Spring.

Irish potatoes are Philadelphia’s favorite treat

Each tasty treat is about two inches long and the diameter of a quarter. They are often said to be about the size of a baby’s fist or your two small fingers together. The key is to make them look as much like potatoes as possible.

They are made from butter and powdered sugar (essentially forming a buttercream), cream cheese, sweetened coconut flakes, vanilla extra and ground cinnamon. Most recipes either feature either the more stable buttercream, or the cream cheese, which means they need to be kept refrigerated and consumed quickly.

However, the exterior decorations can vary greatly, and stores take great pride on making sure their Irish potato candies look just like real spuds. Elaborate versions use multiple cinnamons for color variations. For example, using darker Saigon Cinnamon and lighter Ceylon Cinnamon can give different colorings. Inserting pine nuts after rolling in cinnamon can imitate the eyes of a potato.

All the Irish potato recipes you could ever need!

Just as many associate America with its famous burger, Ireland is the go-to country for potatoes. Before the 1845 Potato Famine that killed a million people, the Irish consumed an estimated seven million tons of starch ever year.

Although today they don’t consume quite as much as that astonishing volume, potatoes remain a staple in the Irish diet, with 96.6 percent of all Irish households buying potatoes in 2014.

Not surprisingly, many people turn to traditional Irish recipes when they want to perfect their potatoes. Here are nine traditional Irish potato recipes, with one more that may change your view on how to prepare the perfect “potato.”


The Gaelic word “boxty” translates literally to “poor man’s bread,” yet today has risen to appear on many restaurant menus and in supermarkets all over Ireland. Most recipes call for finely grated, raw potatoes, and mashed potatoes all mixed together with flour, baking soda, milk, and eggs. The mixture is usually fried on a griddle for a few minutes, but for a more modern twist, you can try boiling it like a dumpling or baking it like a loaf.

Potato Farl

Also known as potato cake, potato farl is a square slice of lightly powdered potato bread. Its key ingredient is cooked mashed potatoes and, although it is usually fried, it may be grilled and buttered as well. Potato farl is considered to be essential to the “Ulster fry,” which is traditionally served with bacon, a fried egg, sausage, a vegetable roll, and pudding.

Potato Soup

According to, potatoes began appearing in Irish soup at the beginning of the 18th century they were used as a thickening agent to widen the average Irishman’s diet. Today, potato soup is a popular dish, especially for a cold, rainy day. Most recipes call for good Irish butter, onions, milk, garlic, parsley, celery, cheese, and, of course, a couple of large potatoes.


Colcannon, or Irish mashed potatoes, are boiled and mashed potatoes traditionally served with cabbage or kale. The word comes from the Gaelic cal ceannan,’ which translates literally to “white-headed cabbage.” It can also be eaten with ham or bacon. There’s also a traditional Irish song called “Colcannon,” which has been recorded by many well-known artists.


Although quite similar to colcannon, the largest difference between the two is the champ contains no cabbage or kale, and instead is made with green onions (scallions). According to Chowhound, champ is traditionally served piled high on a dish and is eaten with a spoon from the outside in, which each spoonful dipped in melted butter. Melted butter should also be served in a little well in the middle of the pile of potatoes.

Irish potato casserole

Stovetop potatoes. (Kerrygold)

Potato casserole is cooked quite similarly to champ and colcannon, but it is baked at the end and is thus given a firmer texture. Traditionally, the recipe calls for potatoes, butter, flour, milk, hard-boiled eggs, onion, and breadcrumbs, but you can also add chicken, tuna, bacon, cream cheese, chives, or anything else that you think might make this dish even more delicious!

Corned beef hash

Although the meaning of the word “corned beef” changes depending on the culture and cuisine that is being referred to, in Ireland, it refers to tinned, finely minced corned beef in a tiny amount of gelatin. It has been a staple of the Irish diet going back to the 12th century when it was considered to be a delicacy. Today, it’s traditionally eaten as a breakfast food, served with fried eggs and potatoes.

Simple fried potatoes

Fried potatoes. (Getty Images)

For something a bit simpler, simple fried potatoes are an easy go-to way for cooking delicious potatoes.

According to, a quick and easy recipe is to wash, drain, and dice (or cut to any size you want) around five potatoes. Add a cup of bacon grease to a skillet, and add the potatoes when the skillet gets hot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Then, add one large, diced onion, cook for 10 more minutes, and then remove the cover and cook for the last 5 to avoid sogginess. If you don’t want to use bacon grease, you can also use olive oil, but the grease adds a lot of flavors.

Potato and apple pudding

Potato gratin with apples and red onions. (Getty Images)

This recipe traditionally calls for cider, milk, apples, four hot mashed potatoes, sugar, butter, lemon, and cloves, and is served with cream or custard. Add some nutmeg or cinnamon if you want to add a bit of a kick to the pudding. If you want to add a twist to this traditional recipe, you can also substitute the potatoes with sweet potatoes instead.

Irish potato candy recipe

Potato candy. (Getty Images)

Finally, a recipe with “potato” in the title that doesn’t actually contain any starch at all! If you want a real twist on any potato dish, or you just want to trick your guests, try making these! They’re actually not of Irish origin at all. In fact, they originated in Philadelphia over 100 years ago. They’re traditionally made with a coconut cream on the inside, which is made with sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese. It’s just when they’re rolled in cinnamon do they begin to resemble real potatoes!

What's your favorite potato recipe? Let us know in the comments!

Ireland: Potato Candy

Every year around Saint Patrick's Day we get a number of hits on our site from people who're looking for something called Irish Potato Candy.

When these inquiries first started coming in, EuroCuisineLady had been living in Ireland for about thirteen or fourteen years, and had never seen or heard of any kind of potato candy here. So she asked various of her neighbors and Irish friends about it. They told her that wherever "Irish potato candy" came from, it wasn't Ireland. None of the natives had ever seen or heard of it before, and they chalked it up to being yet another Irish-American invention like green beer. (To judge from this page, it may have come from Philadelphia.)

That said, people do still come to our site looking for potato candy. So here are the three recipes we've been able to dig up. (Also don't forget the above-referenced Philly-based confectioner selling their own version of Irish potato candy online. There's also a Michigan-based Irish-foods-and-gifts company selling something similar here.)

The first of the recipes we found has peanut butter in it, which instantly marks it out as not being native Irish. Peanut butter wasn't available in Ireland before the 1980's except in a very few gourmet groceries. (Now it can be found in supermarkets, and it's slowly seeping into common usage here, but it's still not hugely popular.)

The second recipe involves making a dough of out of mashed potato and confectioners' sugar (and sometimes shredded coconut as well) and then rolling it in cinnamon.

The third recipe produces tiny little potato shapes, but doesn't actually have any potato in it: its main ingredients are butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and coconut. (Jody at Eddybles has a nice take on this variation, too.)

So here are the recipes. (A side note: if you're interested in making a traditional Irish candy dating back more than two centuries, check out our recipe for Yellowman, a crunchy brown sugar-based toffee.)

Irish potato candy #1:

Boil potato until tender. Peel off skin and mash. Add confectioners sugar until a stiff dough is formed. Roll out on a sugared board until thin. Spread with peanut butter to cover the potato dough. Roll up like a jellyroll. Chill, then cut into thin slices.

Irish potato candy recipe #2:

  • 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Cinnamon

Put potatoes in large bowl (can use instant potatoes to make 1/4 cup). Add salt, sugar, vanilla extract, coconut and butter. Mix well. Knead several minutes, adding more sugar, if necessary, to make a stiff dough. Tear off a teaspoon of dough and form into a small log shape. Roll in cinnamon. Lay on wax paper for 1 hour to dry. Store in an airtight container.

Irish potato candy #3:

  • 55g / 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 112g / 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 ml / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 480g / 1 1-pound box confectioners' sugar
  • 185g / 1 7-ounce bag flaked coconut
  • 7g / 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar again beat until smooth.

Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into balls or potato shapes, and roll in the cinnamon.

Place on a cookie sheet and chill to set. If desired, roll potatoes in cinnamon again for darker color.

(Optional: some versions of this recipe add a little more confectioner's sugar and a tablespoon of Irish whiskey. Also: wouldn't cocoa taste and look better?)