Irish Potatoes, A Candy Recipe (2024)

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St. Patrick’s Day is coming soon and when I see that, I think green, Irish potatoes candy, and corned beef. There are a number of people in my circle whose ears perk up when they hear Irish Potatoes. Good thing because this recipe makes significantly more than what comes in those little white and green boxes.

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What are they?

Despite the name, Irish potatoes candy does not come from Ireland and they don’t have any potato in them. They get the name because the shape and color look a lot like potatoes – creamy white interior with a dirty brown exterior.

If they don’t have potatoes what’s in them?

They are a no bake, no cook confection that is traditionally made with sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and coconut. This mixture is then rolled into a lumpy “somewhat circle” and then rolled in ground cinnamon to give it the final coating.

If they aren’t traditionally from Ireland then where do they come from?

Irish potato candies are actually a staple St. Patrick’s Day treat that hales from Philadelphia, PA. The exact origins are a little unclear but they seem to have become popular in Irish neighborhoods and grown from there. The most popular brand is OhRyan’s, who reportedly sells over 80,000 pounds a year. You may also see Irish Potatoes with a See’s Candy label, but they are a different confection all together. We’re keeping it simple and original. You can buy them online*, but why do that when you can make them so inexpensively and easily at home?

How should I store them?

Because they are made with a mixture that includes cream cheese you should store them in the refrigerator. They can keep up to a couple weeks but I dare you to try keeping them that long. They are so good, they won’t last. Plus, they taste better fresh.

Can I half-size this recipe?

Yes. This is a super easy recipe to cut in half or double, or whatever you want to do. Note that you may not be able to cut the amount of cinnamon in half but you can easily start with less cinnamon and add more as needed.


Irish Potatoes Candy

Irish Potatoes, A Candy Recipe (2)

Print Recipe

A sweet no bake candy that is easy to make and a staple St. Patrick’s Day treat that comes from Philadelphia, PA.

  • Author: Heather McCurdy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 36 1x
  • Category: Dessert



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


  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until well mixed.
  2. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 at a time.
  4. Mix until forms a ball or is just mixed. Don’t keep creaming it after it is incorporated.
  5. Use a spoon of spatula and fold in coconut.
  6. Put cinnamon in small bowl.
  7. Shape coconut mixture into roughly shaped 1 inch balls.
  8. Roll in cinnamon.
  9. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
  10. Chill.
  11. Keep refrigerated.
  12. Makes approximately 24 Irish potatoes.

Originally published March 3, 2014Irish Potatoes, A Candy Recipe (3)

Heather McCurdy

Heather McCurdy writes at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond where she shows families how to slow down and savor life on any budget with tasty homemade recipes and family travel.

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  2. I love some potatoes, but I think I’d love these even more!


    1. The ingredients mention nothing about cream cheese or butter… am I missing something? I’ve read through it 3 times.. but… only one cup of coffee today. :/


      1. Oh my goodness. I don’t know what happened! It WAS there. It must have dropped out when I switched my recipes over to a new recipe system.. I will get that put back in there.


    2. I’ve been making theses for 4 years now and I make them with only 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 10 people asked for the recipe. They all said they were not too sweet as most are


      1. I’m glad to hear you found a recipe that works for you. How do you keep them from being too sticky and maintaining the right consistency so they stay together?


  3. These ALWAYS remind me of my Grammy, they were her favorite. These ar so fun to make and even better to eat. Yours looks scrumptious!


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  6. Gorgeous and Yummy! One of my favorite treats:)


    1. Thank you.


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