Let me introduce you to Irish potato candy. While they may look like potatoes, they’re actually made from a sweet and sugary combination of cream cheese and coconut rolled in cinnamon.
Let me just say, the name Irish potato candy is a confusing one. Because firstly, these homemade candies don’t hail from Ireland, but from Philadelphia. Second, they might look like little potatoes, but there’s not an actual potato in sight. But if you can move on from the name, you’re in for a treat!
These Irish potato candies are a homemade delight that is often served around St Patrick’s Day. I’ve heard some people refer to them as coconut truffles and they’re not too far off base. Our ingredients include cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, coconut flakes, salt, and vanilla extract. Yep, they have a perfectly sweet and creamy taste with that delightful coconut texture.
They aren’t too difficult to make either. We begin by creaming together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Then we slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar and then the coconut. The next step is to pop balls of the coconut mixture onto a baking sheet and then let them set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Then we need to shape them to look like actual potatoes and roll them in cinnamon. This recipe makes about 50 homemade Irish potato candies, so there’s plenty to go around. But I’m here to tell ya, they never last long. They’re just too irresistible!
Alright, who’s ready to make my Irish potato candy recipe?
- Softened cream cheese (here’s my homemade recipe)
- Softened unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Sweetened coconut flakes
- Ground cinnamon (or cocoa powder)
How to Make Irish Potato Candy
Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a bowl.
Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer.
Mix on medium speed until nice and fluffy and smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
When done make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Then mix at low speed while adding the powdered sugar really slowly.
Then increase the speed back up to medium and mix for about 1 minute until smooth.
Scrape down those sides again with the spatula.
Then add the coconut.
Mix on low speed until it’s well combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray the baking sheet with vegetable oil (or both).
Scoop the coconut mixture out onto the baking sheet, using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop.
They can be close together but don’t let them get too friendly and touch each other.
When you use up all the mixture, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Put the cinnamon in a small bowl or plate.
Roll the coconut balls into a potato shape like so.
Coat in the cinnamon by gently rolling those little beauties in the powder.
Put it back on the sheet and repeat.
Refrigerate the potato candies until ready to serve.
- Store leftover potato candy in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- You can also freeze them in a container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
- As mentioned in the ingredients, you can roll the potato candy in cocoa powder instead of cinnamon.
- Ensure the cream cheese and butter are softened at room temperature before preparing them.
- If you don’t want to roll them into potatoes, you can roll them into balls instead so they more closely resemble truffles or bonbons.
- If you prefer to use salted butter, just omit the pinch of salt. Easy-peasy!
- Here are some fun recipe variations and mix-ins:
- Roll them in chocolate and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the coconut mixture as well.
- Add a spoonful of smooth peanut butter to the mixture. Then roll them in chocolate for a Reese’s take on Irish potato candy.
- Add about 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, like pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
- Combine the ground cinnamon with a tablespoon of granulated sugar for a cinnamon-sugar coating instead.
- Substitute the vanilla extra for peppermint extract for mint Irish potato candies.
What is Irish potato candy made of?
Irish potato candy is made with a combination of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and coconut.
Is Irish potato candy really Irish?
Irish potato candy isn’t actually Irish. It’s a traditional candy hailing from 19th-century Philadelphia… that doesn’t contain potatoes.
Why is the candy called Irish potato?
It’s believed an Irish immigrant created the first potato candy.
Does potato candy need to be refrigerated?
Yes, the potato candy needs to be refrigerated during the preparation process and afterward. They’ll last up to 5 days when stored in the fridge.
You may also like these other homemade candy recipes:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2.5 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- 1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon (or cocoa powder)
- Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer. Mix on medium speed until nice and fluffy and smooth (takes about 2-3 minutes). When done, make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 pinch salt
- Then mix at low speed while adding the powdered sugar really slowly. Then increase the speed back up to medium and mix for about 1 minute until smooth. Scrape down those sides again with the spatula.4 cups powdered sugar
- Then add the coconut and mix on low speed until it’s well combined.2.5 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or spray the baking sheet with vegetable oil. Scoop the coconut mixture out with a tablespoon onto the baking sheet. They can be close together but don’t let them get too friendly and touch each other.
- When you have used up all the mixture, put the sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Put the cinnamon in a small bowl or plate. Roll the coconut balls into potatoes. Coat in the cinnamon by gently rolling those little beauties in the powder. Put each candy back on the sheet and repeat.1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon (or cocoa powder)
- Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.