The Best Irish Potato Candy Recipe

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without this irresistible Irish Potato Candy! These cinnamon coated, coconut cream candies are bite-sized and made to look just like little potatoes. This no bake candy recipe has a few unique tweaks to make it even better than the original.

a box of Irish Potatoes with a green napkin

This traditional St. Patrick's Day candy is not actually from Ireland and isn't made from actual real potatoes (unlike the peanut butter swirled potato candy). Fun fact - They originated in Philadelphia by Irish immigrants in the early 1900s and remain a popular sweet treat during the month of March. 

You may have seen the popular Oh Ryan brand in your local market or candy store, especially if you're from the greater Philadelphia area. Or, like me, you grew up making these cute little potatoes from scratch! 

Some people make them with corn syrup, while others make them with cream cheese. My Irish potato candy recipe is made with a blend of butter and cream cheese, plus a few other unique tweaks to make this delicious recipe even better. 

After a hearty dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage or Irish Beef Stew with Irish cheddar and stout biscuits, these creamy, cinnamon-dusted coconut candies are the perfect ending to a delicious St. Paddy's Day.

These easy treats are a staple in my house during the month of March, but they're a delicious treat to enjoy any time of year. 

Why this recipe works

  • No-bake recipe with zero cooking required.
  • Great gift for teachers, friends and classmates. 
  • A smidge less sugar and an extra pinch of salt for balance.
  • Super fun and easy recipe for kids!
  • Gluten free. 
a small plate with a few Irish Potatoes cut in half with a gold knife and green napkin

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter - Make sure it's softened so it's easy to mix. This recipe calls for unsalted butter. If you want to use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon. 
  • Cream Cheese - Make sure your cream cheese is also softened so it can be easily mixed. Low fat cream cheese, or Neufchatel can be used, but avoid fat-free. 
  • Coconut - Traditional recipes usually call for sweetened coconut flakes, but I think they're better with unsweetened coconut because they're already sweet enough. It's sometimes labeled as desiccated coconut. It doesn't matter if the flakes are long and thin or small little bits - just don't use the big fat coconut flakes.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar - You'll need one 1 lb box or 3 ½ cups.

* Full ingredient list is in the recipe card below. 

HELPFUL EQUIPMENT 

Step by Step Instructions

  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla extract and salt and mix on medium speed.
  3. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar while beating until it’s all incorporated and totally smooth. 
  4. Add the shredded coconut a little bit at a time and mix on low speed until it's totally combined.
A bowl of the coconut cream cheese mixture.
Irish potato candy being assembled and rolled in cinnamon.
  1. Place the coconut mixture in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes so that it’s easier to handle. Add cinnamon to a medium bowl. 
  2. Scoop out scant tablespoons of chilled dough, then use your hands to form them into little balls or oblong potato shapes.
  3. Roll potatoes in cinnamon to coat, then transfer to a plate or small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the coconut mixture. 
  4. Serve at room temperature but refrigerate the leftovers. 

Tips for Success

  • Be sure to take out your butter and cream cheese at least an hour before starting to make sure they're soft.
  • It helps to use an electric mixer to fully incorporate the ingredients, but you want to do it by hand you will need the butter and cream cheese are especially soft. Use a sturdy wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk for best results.
  • If you prefer to use salted butter, reduce the added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
  • Slowly beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time so that it incorporates easier and doesn't make a mess.
  • Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling so that it's easier to handle. 
  • Replace the cinnamon with cocoa powder for a unique twist. Try it if you love almond joys or a mounds bar!
close up of a box of candies with shamrocks

How to store

Store your leftover Irish potatoes in an airtight container the refrigerator. These fun treats will keep for up to 2 weeks refrigerated and last up to 3 months in the freezer. 

FAQ

What is Irish Potato Candy?

Irish Potatoes are bite-sized, cinnamon-coated coconut cream candies that are made to look like small potatoes. They become popular every March in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day. They've become a celebrated tradition all throughout the greater Philadelphia region, and those who grew up in the area never let the holiday go by without savoring a few of these sweet treats.

Are Irish Potato Candies from Ireland?

No. Despite their name, Irish Potatoes are entirely an American creation, originating in Philadelphia. It's said that Irish immigrants began making the candy as a way to honor and remember the millions of people lost in the Irish Potato Famine of the mid 1800's.

Do Irish Potato Candies contain potatoes?

No, they are just made to look like little potatoes and are intended to celebrate Irish heritage and St. Patrick's Day.

Is Irish Potato Candy the same as Old Fashioned Potato Candy?

No, they are totally different. Irish Potato Candy is made to look like little potatoes, while Old Fashioned Potato Candy is actually made from potatoes.

How to Store them and how long will they keep?

Irish Potato Candy keeps for quite a while in the refrigerator and even longer in the freezer. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months! They can be served chilled or at room temperature, and are actually quite delicious frozen as well.

Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment to help other readers.

close up of a box of candies with shamrocks
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Irish Potato Candy

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without this irresistible Irish Potato Candy! These cinnamon coated, coconut cream candies are bite-sized and made to look just like little potatoes. This no bake candy recipe has a few unique tweaks to make it even better than the original.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Calories: 4183kcal

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened* (½ stick)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened (½ package)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar (1 lb)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt*
  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut flakes (8 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla and salt, then slowly add in the confectioners sugar while beating until it’s all incorporated and totally smooth.
  3. Add the coconut a little bit at a time and mix until it's totally combined.
  4. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes so that it’s easier to handle.
  5. Scoop out scant tablespoons, then use your hands to form them into balls or oblong potato shapes, then roll in cinnamon to coat.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Notes

  • *If using salted butter, reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon.
  • *Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 4183kcal | Carbohydrates: 500g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 250g | Saturated Fat: 198g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 237mg | Sodium: 2793mg | Potassium: 1638mg | Fiber: 50g | Sugar: 435g | Vitamin A: 2988IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 357mg | Iron: 10mg

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these last year and everyone said they were the best Irish Potatoes they ever tasted. Making them again for this St. Patty's Day. Thanks for a great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Coley,
    Welcome Back!
    I've missed your page and delicious recipes.
    Your new home is looking great and what fabulous views you have. Chaser can look across the water and see one of the Masterpieces he created for Dave & Noelle!
    Irish Potatoes. A favorite childhood memory, both eating and making them. Our family recipe is slightly different, no cream cheese. Not better, just a little different.
    1 stick of butter, 1 lb. sifted 10X sugar, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup shredded coconut (I like the angel coconut), an additional 1/2 cup 10X sugar and 4 t. cinnamon sifted together.
    Beat the butter, sugar, cream & coconut till blended and smooth. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours then shape into balls using a small scoop. Roll in the Cinnamon/Sugar.
    I'm going to give your recipe a try this year!
    Chrissy

    1. did you make them?? They're such a big thing here this time of year! It's not March for me with out some Irish potatoes. 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks so much for your recipe!! I’m from Philly! I’ve only been in Central Pennsylvania for a year now and I cannot find the Oh Ryan’s Irish ☘️ potatoes in my local market this year. (They did have them last year.) My boys have asked me about them since the beginning of March! Started searching on Pinterest for a recipe but NONE of them were Philly style. You are the best! Coley saves St Paddy’s Day! Lol

        1. Thank you so much for commenting!! I can't believe Central PA doesn't have any Irish Potatoes for sale! Homemade is always better anyway. I'm so glad you loved these! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I'm so glad you know about these haha. When I made them last year, people down here thought I was crazy. They're delicious!!!

    1. OMG of course! My childhood wouldn't have been the same without them. I never realized they were a regional specialty until recently. You need to teach those Floridians what's up!!