Irish Potato Candy in a brown paper bag.

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Irish potato candy aren’t from Ireland.

Irish potato candies originated in Philadelphia among Irish immigrants, and they have turned into a St. Patrick’s Day tradition there. Have I ever told you that my family is from Philadelphia?

Maybe I have or maybe I haven’t. I can’t remember, but we are. Even though I consider myself a true Wisconsin girl, I was still born in Philadelphia and the majority of my family resides in the region.

Strangely enough, I don’t actually have any recollection of eating these little spuds when we lived there, but my mom’s made them for St. Patrick’s Day many times, and they’re always a treat.

Irish Potato Candy in a brown paper bag

Why I love this Irish potato candy recipe

They don’t actually contain any potato, but instead they resemble potatoes. These “potatoes” are stuffed full of my favorite sweet ingredients – cream cheese, coconut and cinnamon – making them my absolute favorite candy in the whole world.

The candies are pretty simple to make. You’ll be completely finished in under an hour, which (in my opinion) isn’t too long for such an amazing confection. Just mix up the cream cheese and coconut filling and roll it in some cinnamon. Rolling them into potato shapes is totally optional, but really does add to the cuteness. Serve them in a brown paper bag – a.k.a. a potato sack.

Irish Potato Candies on a butcher block with one bit in half to reveal the creamy coconut inside.

Tips for making the best Irish potato candy

Just a quick note: I roll all of my filling out before starting with the cinnamon to keep the cinnamon off my hands and prevent it from getting into the center of the candies.

Once I roll them in the cinnamon, I roll them back and forth in the palms of my hands to make a more oval, potato-like shape.

overhead image of Irish potato candy in a brown paper bag

More St. Patrick’s Day recipes

More no bake desserts:

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Irish Potato Candy

Originating in Philadelphia, these easy, little Irish potato candies are the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Make the recipe dairy free by using vegan butter and cream cheese.   

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 dozen 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened*
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 11 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar and continue mixing to incorporate – scraping sides when necessary.
  3. Add coconut and continue to mix until combined.
  4. Roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls.
  5. Roll each piece cinnamon to coat.
  6. Once coated, roll candies into a potato shape – if desired.
  7. Set on a parchment or foil lined cookie sheet and chill until set.
  8. Store candies in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

*Use vegan for dairy free

Nutrition information calculated with traditional ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 81
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 20.5 mg
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 4.9 mg

Keywords: St. Patrick’s Day, potato candy, candy, dairy free candy, vegan candy, irish, no bake

Last Updated on December 16, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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51 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness.. These are simply adorable! I can’t believe I’d never seen or heard of them before! They look quite tasty also.. If it has cream cheese in it, it’s guaranteed delicious in my opinion!

    1. Thanks! They’re really regional to the Philly area (at least I think). You totally have to try them. Do you think you could vegan-ize them? That would be really cool.

      1. You definitely could veganize these by using Tofutti non dairy cream cheese and something like earth balance non dairy butter. I make easter eggs similar to this recipe using those ingredients. \

      2. I made these and since it was for saint Patrick’s day bi made a double batch. I have never been so disappointed and heartbroken after making anything in my life. Not sure if the measurements are wrong in this recipe or what but might work as a frosting for a child’s birthday cake but not for anything else. Just eat spoons of powdered sugar, less time consuming for the same eesult

      3. How big are the irish potatoes supposed to be? I am making a batch and need to know how many I need to make.

  2. Ha, I already thought about that! I do think I could, and pretty simply, too, with some Tofutti cream cheese! Yummmm.. I just can’t get over how much they look like little potatoes. I’d love for O to come home while I’m sitting on the couch with a bowl of them.. freak him out!

  3. I made these last night, and WOW they are so good! I’m from Philadelphia and these are the best Irish potatoes that I have tried. I found that chilling the “filling” between the mixing and rolling steps made things go much smoother lol. thank you so much for the recipe!

  4. Just made these yesterday and they’re delicious! They’re a big hit with my husband, who tends to be a bit picky. I only used two cups of coconut and chilled them before rolling them in cocoa rather than cinnamon. I’d definitely make these again! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. I will have to try the cocoa next time! I have heard that mixing the cinnamon and cocoa is good as well. I’m happy to hear that you liked them!

  5. heads up, the link from realsimple.com is broken. this item piqued my interest and i went hunting…. but, you’re not making any cash when it doesn’t work.

    1. Thanks for letting me know! I just checked and it seems that there’s two links on their posting. One goes to my home page and one goes to the recipe page!

  6. I followed the recipe and the filling had no taste no one in the family and friends liked them the only thing they could taste was the cinnamon I ground up the coconut would that change the taste of the candy they were also dry they look just like they should but the taste was not good
    thank you

    1. What do you mean you ground up the coconut? If you ground up fresh coconut, that would definitely affect the flavor because the recipe calls for sweetened coconut. If you mean you just ground up your sweetened flaked coconut, I’m not really sure why the flavor didn’t turn out. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy them. 🙁

  7. These were really yummy! I might reduce the amount of powdered sugar next time but the consistency was so yummy. I reduced the coconut a bit & it was perfect for our tastes. Thanks for sharing!

  8. These were fantastic! What fun to make and I can’t wait to give them to co-workers tomorrow. Thanks for this will have to make these a tradition. I did make a change and made my cinnamon coat with brown sugar and white sugar with tons of cinnamon. Next time I’ll use dark brown sugar to get a darker color.

  9. I cut it to 3 cups of powdered sugar and these were still too sweet for my family to enjoy. Cute idea though…

    1. They are definitely a sweet treat, and I’ve made them to be like the ones you can buy around St. Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia. We don’t eat a ton of sugar in our house either so that are a bit much sometimes. Definitely not a everyday indulgence. You may be able to balance the sweetness out with a good pinch of salt, but they might just not be for you either. I’m sorry you didn’t like them!

  10. How big are the irish potatoes supposed to be? I am making a batch and need to know how many I need to make.

  11. My Irish Grandmother, from Philly, used to make these and always used about 1/4 cup of cooked potato in them. You would never taste but they are delicious!