Old Fashioned Potato Candy


This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Mary Jo F for winning and please enjoy the recipe. Thanks!

This is an old fashioned candy recipe that I’ve received a lot of requests for. Mama said her Mama Reed used to make it around the holidays for all the kids. Mama Reed had ten children herself, but was known for her hospitality and open table policy: If a meal was being served, you were welcome to come join them. She made her potato candy a little different than how I’m making it here, but there are so many ways to customize this recipe that I’m sure you will be able to make it your own as well.

Mama Reed liked to divide her dough into two batches, tinting one pink with red food coloring and leaving one white. She’d then pinch off bits of dough and roll it into balls, storing the balls into the refrigerator until ready to serve to the younguns or whatever guests happened by. I’ve also seen folks roll out little balls of potato candy and dip them into melted chocolate to serve as a sort of poor man’s bon bon. Either way is delicious.

Now if you’re thinking potato candy sounds weird, I can see where you’re coming from so I’m gonna let you know what to expect : Old Fashioned Candy Heaven. This candy is kinda in the same taste category as Fudge or Divinity. It is just that good! You won’t be disappointed!

The ingredients for this are simple ones, my favorite kind! Peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and a potato.

You can add a teaspoon of vanilla if you like, but you don’t have to. Y’all know I like things as simple as possible.

You can also leave the peanut butter out and just roll it into balls like Mama Reed did, but oh my goodness, I love the peanut butter!

You could also use nutella or a soy butter or such if you need to substitute.

Peel and slice your potato and cover it with water. bring to a boil and cook until tender.

Drain your potato water and place the cooked potato in a mixing bowl.

Beat it up real good.

Add about half of your confectioner’s sugar and mix it up well again.

Until you have a pulpy, liquidy, mess.

Dump in the rest of your sugar.

Sure you can add it “gradually” if you have all day but it’s just as good to dump it all in there and get on with making some candy.

After that second mixing, you’ll have yourself a good stiff dough, like the consistency of cookie dough, only maybe a wee bit stiffer.

You may need to add a little more sugar, depending on the size of your potato, to get this stiff consistency.

Now, because we don’t have all the time in the world to clean our kitchens and because we want this to be as easy as possible (so we enjoy it more, of course!),

place a big old sheet of waxed paper on your countertop.

If anyone is feeling particularly technical today, I think this is like…18 inches long – ish.

*I have a strict policy against unnecessary math in my life so go with an estimate here.

Put some confectioner’s sugar on that to keep your dough from sticking like tar.

Dump your blob of dough on that. You’ll have to scrape down the sides a bit to get it all.

Dust the top with some more sugar.

Okay, I didn’t dust, I just put a handful on there but sometimes I worry that y’all will think I have no grace at all so I throw out dainty little words like “dust”. While I was typing this I was drinking iced tea at the same time and just to help emphasize my supposed daintiness, I lifted my pinky as I held the glass.

~takes in a deep breath then a big old swig of tea~

Okay, I’m over that now.

Roll that out until it is about a quarter of an inch.

~tilts her head sideways and squints one eye~ Hold your head like this and it will look like a more even-ish blob.

Smear some peanut butter on that.

I have no idea how much peanut butter you’ll need so just go with your gut here.

You can do this because you are awesome!

Now roll that up log style, like you’re rolling up cinnamon rolls.

until you have this.

Now since we have the waxed paper already out there anyway, roll your log up in your waxed paper.

To make life easier, I cut my roll in half.

Then they will both fit in a gallon zipper bag. Place this in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.

When ready to serve, remove waxed paper and slice into inch slices.

Makes about forty pieces of candy.

Old Fashioned Potato Candy
  • 1 small potato
  • 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
  • peanut butter
  1. Peel and slice potato. In small sauce pot, cover potato slices with water and cook over medium heat until soft. Drain potato and place in mixing bowl. Beat until mashed. Add ½ sugar and mix well. Mix in remaining sugar, scraping down sides as needed.
  2. Line a countertop with a sheet of waxed paper dusted with confectioner's sugar. Scrape out dough onto waxed paper and dust top with more confectioner's sugar. Roll out to a thickness of about ¼ of an inch (don't go getting a ruler here, just eyeball it. This isn't rocket science). Spread dough with peanut butter and roll up like you are making cinnamon rolls. Once you have rolled up into a log, roll log up in your waxed paper and cut in half. Place halves in a gallon zipper seal bag and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. When ready to serve remove waxed paper an slice into ¼ inch slices. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Please note: potatoes are different sizes. If you end up with more potato, you're gonna need more confectioner's sugar. We're gonna have to use our noodles on this one and be ready to add more confectioner's sugar if need be. You'll just end up with more candy. Work it in there until it becomes a dough. You might have to add a lot more sugar because you might end up with a lot more potato. You can do this. I have faith in you :)

Nestlé Family Holiday Exchange

This post is part of the Nestle Family Holiday Exchange, which means one person who comments will win a great prize pack courtesy of the Nestle Family.

Today’s prize pack is a Baking Package, great for a fun evening of baking with your family!

Baking Prize Pack Includes:

  • VIP Coupon for free Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • VIP Coupon for free Toll House Morsels
  • VIP Coupon for free Refrigerated Cookie Dough
  • $25.00 Visa gift card to cover other baking supplies.

This contest closes at midnight, Thursday December 9th. Winner will be notified by email and announced on this post Friday December 10. Please note that I will be out of town during this time for my Friday appearance on The 700 Club so the winner will not be announced until late Friday night.

To enter, leave a comment below sharing your favorite holiday recipe (you can just tell me the title of the recipe or include the whole thing if you like!). You can also visit Nestlefamily.com and tell me a recipe there you’d like to make this year.

Check out the Very Merry Cookie Wreath idea while you’re there!

“Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget.”

~Hugh Downs

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Nestle Family to be a part of this holiday exchange series of posts. I have not been paid for a positive opinion and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.


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  1. Marlene Larson says

    I made this many years ago, but rolled it in balls and dipped it in chocolate. I think I added some peanut butter to the potato mixture for some of it so I had 2 different kinds. Good stuff!!

    • Tina Elliott says

      I’m replying to your comment b/c yours was the only one I seen that was made w/o potatoes. I lost my dad almost two years ago and it has been very hard on me.He used to make this candy and bake a lot of stuff that only my grandmother had recipes for. I had the recipe for this candy and I have lost it. Is there any way you could please send it me. I would be forever grateful more than you would know. Thank you so very much for your time. Tina

    • Debbie Evans says

      I first heard about this candy from my aunt. I do know where the recipe is or if it
      is different. The variations are neat and I can imagine working with this with karo
      syrup and other stuff and making it as a truffle candy. I will have to make it first
      to see what this candy consistency is. Then I will make some different variations too.
      I may limit the sugar content and add something like marscapone or coconut milk
      which adds good taste to anything. I just hope it is workable and something new
      will develop from the old recipe.

  2. Leata Nelson says

    I grew up in Texas and I’m 63 years young :) My mom and my friends’ moms made this candy every year. She used 1/4 cup mashed potatoes (no add-ins) and mixed 1 pound powdered sugar into it. She made it a couple of weeks before Christmas, wrapped in a moist kitchen towel and waxed paper ( no ziplock bags back then), and placed it in the refrigerator. Every week or so she re-moistened the towel. I was just talking to my 37-year old daughter, told her about it, and vowed to make it for this Christmas.
    It’s great, and ironic that you posted this recipe. Maybe I’ll make my mama’s way and try the variations you mentioned also. Thank you!

  3. Pamela Footen says

    My mom always made potato candy and tought me how. My husband passed away Feb. 15 2013. I can’t afford to buy the kids Christmas gifts this year only the grandkids. I no longer have my husband’s income. So money is tight. So the kids said just make us some potato candy for Christmas so that’s what I’m doing. Merry Christmas everyone

    • Gene McGraw says

      Keep adding powered sugar until you get the consistency of pie dough. My grandmother taught me how to make potato candy when I was just a little boy. When I first tried to make it for my children, I couldn’t remember how much potato to use. It took 8 one pound boxes of powdered sugar to get the consistency that was need to roll out like pie dough. I roll my dough out to 1/8th of a inch on wax paper sprinkled with powdered sugar before applying creamy peanut butter. I then roll in into logs and slice at 1/4 of an inch thick, and then refrigerate overnight. Still is difficult to remove from the wax paper. If someone knows an easy way to get the stuff off of the wax paper. Please let us know. At Christmas time, I add red & green food coloring to different batch for the holidays. Does not effect the taste what so ever. I children, grandchildren and great grandchildren now call it “Papa’s Potato Candy”.

  4. says

    A good friend sent this recipe to me and I am adding a few things to it. I like to roll it in cocoa dust lol I call these a potato n chocolate truffle because I added sugar to the peanut butter before spreading it in the midle.

  5. Karen Lawson says

    OK I ended up trashing it….sure wish someone could post this recipe with corrections. I mixed the batch as stated above and it was in the fridge for 3 days and went and bought more confectioners sugar and it still didn’t firm enough to add the peanut butter

  6. Kathleen says

    Oh my gosh! I just did a google search for potato peanut butter recipe & they popped up! As a young kid, maybe 8 or so (44 now). A friends mom made some and gave my sister and I samples! Never forgot it. Going to have to try! Thank you!

  7. Devin says

    I just stumbled across this recipe, and it brought back fond memories of my father in law. He used to make this, but would often use a small mashed banana instead of cooking a potato. The resulting candy is barely banana, but very yummy!

  8. Linda says

    Has anyone ever made this using egg white instead of potato? As I recall, we used to make it the same way as with the potato, only using the egg whites. Our favorite twist, which I have not seen mentioned, was to divide the dough in half. One half was tinted with some red food coloring and some peppermint flavoring was added. The other half was tinted green and some wintergreen flavoring was added to this. However, our last attempt to make it with egg whites just didn’t work. I have wondered if there is something different with the powdered sugar now as compared with sixty years ago? Does anyone have any thoughts?

    • Anna Baker says

      to use egg white in this candy you cook 2 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup white syrup and 1/2 cup hot water. to hard ball stage while beating egg whites and pour syrup into beaten egg whites and continue beating until it thickens pour on powdered sugar covered counter top roll out and spread peanut butter and roll up. sooooo gooood,you gotta try.

  9. Jan Craig says

    I remember this from my childhood. My mother has dementia and can’t always help me find those favorites recipes from years ago. I’m anxious to make this and share with her for the holidays. Thank you ! ! !

  10. alisha says

    my mamaw made this all the time. one thing she always did that is a little different but also wonderful….she would make one regular batch and then make one with crushed up Leo peppermint sticks. so you would spread out the peanut butter and then sprinkle with the peppermint and then roll and slice like usual. I loved the peppermint ones…so yummy!

  11. JoAnn Roup says

    I tried this receipt twice.and both times it was a flop.I used different potatoes each time even used fewer on the second batch, and 2bags of confectionery sugar, with no success.will not be wasting anymore potatoes….

    • Grammy Linda says

      Please don’t give up – it’s so delicious! I’ve made it for years without the potatoes. Just start with any amount of powdered sugar. Then add very small amounts of liquid (I think I’ve used water but usually milk) and mix. Then keep adding the sugar and/or liquid until you get the consistency you want. It should be more on the dry side rather than wet. And you don’t need to use a rolling pen. You can just press it out with your hands and spread with peanut butter. Just be sure to have extra powdered sugar for your hands and the surface you are pressing onto. If you just start with a small amount of sugar and milk I think you’ll be OK. Now I’m SOOO hungry for this but can’t make it now. — HOPE you’ll get some made!

  12. Judy Crawford says

    If you use baked potato it makes a drier mix to form. Any fluid makes confectioner sugar runny and then you use tons more sugar than if it’s dry potato from baking.
    I think my family expects me to always make this candy at Christmas or else I go directly on the naughty list. Merry Christmas from my home to yours

  13. Valerie Batt says

    I’d never heard of potato candy until a friend took me to the little town of Vardaman, Mississippi, Sweet Potato Capitol of the South. They make some seriously good sweet potato candy. My husband decided a while back, to make his own potato candy. I wish you could have seen the mess he made on his first try; way too much potato! But it turned out really well; now he makes it about twice a month. He’s learned how to make the correct proportions for a certain amount of candy. At least, it tastes that way to us.
    Thank you for an entertaining lesson for making an old-fashioned sweet. And try it with the sweet potatos, sans peanut butter, maybe with some Nutella.

  14. Dixie says

    Reminds me of my Mama. She would sit at the dining table, and mash by hand first the potato then mashed in the confection sugar. She would work this up when she had a taste for old fashion potato candy.

  15. Kerry says

    After you make it, how do you store it? Can I wrap peices in wax paper or is it sturdy enough without and be put in cellophane bags at room temp? Thanks can’t wait to make it AND taste it!

  16. Micki says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! When I was a little, little girl I would love to spend the night with my Grandmother. She knew I loved this candy and would always have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge so we could make it together. I lost her too early and never knew how to make it by myself. I can now make it with my granddaughter. Thank you!

  17. leah barrow says

    I,m from Kentucky and grew up with this peanut butter log. Ours was made with a stick of butter , power sugar heavy cream, cool in refrigerator and than rolled out and placed to chill again,,We decorated ours with red hots and mint leaves , makes a beautiful yule log! Never heard of potato thanks!

  18. Tosha says

    Thank you so much for posting this.. I moved from East Tennessee to Kentucky and was completely amazed that everyone here thought I was insane for putting potato in it. My grandmother, my mother and sisters, all learned how to make this over the years. Here, everyone makes it without the potato.. and it has a completely different consistency. I’ll take mine WITH potato, thank you very much.
    So far, I’ve made this 15 years in a row for my fellow “Kentuckians” at work, and friends, and they’re wow’d by it everytime!

  19. Karmen Range says

    I had this my entire life I loved it. I made it again tonight but my issue was the wax paper kept moving when I tried to roll out dough but I think I got overly zealous with the powdered sugar. I had a 7 lb bag and just kept adding until stiff dough well I think it was stiff alright….LOL Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  20. Alison says

    I just found out why it’s better to add the sugar gradually, rather than dumping in huge amounts. Mine was too stiff to roll up without cracking, so we’ll be having napoleon style potato candy instead of the spirals (I cut the potato dough into slabs and spread those with the peanut butter and stacked them up).

  21. Nadine says

    I am eighty eight years old. My mother use to make potatoes candy every XMAS.
    We all looked forward to XMAS candy. I think she used the same receipt only
    No peanut butter . She would put small amount of mint extract into the dough
    Then devide into three parts even then she used food coloring ( red, blue, green )
    Roll out the dough thin but not too thin use small round cookie cutter . Makes
    Your mints. Soooooo good. I’ve looked & searched for so long to find this recipe
    Thank you

  22. Donna Jean says

    Do you have a recipe for fried bread? My mother used to make us fried bread all the time & I can’t remember exactly what she put in it. I know she made a patty out of the dough & fried it quickly in an iron skillet.

    • says

      Hey Donna Jean, I LOVE your name!!! Is there anything else you can tell me about the bread? Was it a biscuit like bread, cornbread type bread? did it have anything mixed into it? Anything else you can remember at all will help me figure out which direction to point you in. :-)

  23. Karren says

    I’m a little late to the party (about 5 years late!) but have a question if you are still around. Does the potato add flavor or is it a binding ingredient? I’m craving some candy and I have all the ingredients!!! I’ll cut it in half and make 1/2 with peanut butter and the other 1/2 with Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter.

  24. Judy says

    I use to make this for my children when they were small. I had an urge to make it the other day but all I had was a sweet potato. It worked just as well and ended up a pretty orange.


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