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Irish Potato Candy

Irish potato candy isn’t Irish and has no potatoes in it, but it’s still a delicious recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Full recipe, video, and history included!

Pieces of Irish potato candy on a white plate, one piece showing the inside of the candy

Irish Potato Candy

The History

Irish potato candy is a regional confection consisting of cream cheese, sugar, and coconut formed into balls and rolled in cinnamon to resemble potatoes.  It’s believed that Irish potato candy originated in Philadelphia some time in the late 19th or early 20th century.  Although there was a large Irish community in Philadelphia at that time, there’s no proof that it was a person of Irish origin of who invented this candy.  Irish potato candy is purely an American invention.

It’s not related to (and bears no resemblance to) the southern American type of potato candy, which actually contains potato.  Large-scale modern makers of Irish potato candy, such as Oh Ryan’s, use shelf stable buttercream instead of cream cheese, while smaller local operations like the Shane Candy Company continue to use cream cheese.  You can read an in-depth history of Irish Potato over at Eater, or continue on to get the recipe and video below.

The Recipe

This Irish potato candy recipe contains the classic ingredients of cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, coconut, and cinnamon, plus a touch of vanilla extract for flavor.  It requires minimal kitchen skills and makes an excellent no-bake St. Patrick’s Day treat.  Just mix, shape, roll, and chill before serving.  If you want to add “eyes” to the “potatoes,” just poke in a few bits of pine nuts.  If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these Madeira Chocolate Truffles and these Cheesecake Truffles!

Pieces of Irish potato candy on a white plate, one piece showing the inside of the candy
4.6 from 10 votes
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Irish Potato Candy

Irish potato candy isn't Irish and has no potatoes in it, but it's still a delicious recipe for St. Patrick's Day.

Course Candy
Cuisine American
Keyword balls, candy, cinnamon, confection, cream cheese, No bake, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, St. Patrick's Day
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill 30 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 36 Irish Potato Candies
Calories 151 kcal
Author CBDistillery

Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 8 tablespoons butter softened
  • 5 cups sweetened flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time to the softened cream cheese and mix thoroughly.

  2. Stir in vanilla.

  3. Add butter and mix.
  4. Use a spoon or spatula and fold in the coconut.
  5. Place cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

  6. Shape coconut mixture into roughly shaped 1 inch balls.
  7. Roll in cinnamon.
  8. Place each "potato" on parchment paper or a plate.

  9. Chill in the fridge for 1/2 hour or more before serving.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Press bits of pine nuts into the finished candies to make "eyes."

Nutrition Facts
Irish Potato Candy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 151 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 76mg3%
Potassium 54mg2%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 17g19%
Vitamin A 165IU3%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Thank you to CBDistillery for contributing this recipe.

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