Irish Potato Candies are bite-sized, cinnamon coated, coconut cream candies that look just like little potatoes. They're sweet, buttery, creamy confections that are an American St. Patrick's Day tradition!
If you're from the greater Philadelphia area, you might be familiar with the creamy, coconutty, cinnamon dusted candy known as Irish Potatoes. They're not from Ireland and don't contain any actual potatoes, but they show up every year around St. Patrick's Day and are the perfect sweet treat to enjoy after a hearty dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage or Irish Beef Stew and Biscuits. I've been making these since I was a little kid and have tweaked the recipe to be the absolute BEST Irish Potatoes you'll ever have!
This Irish potato candy recipe is a staple for my family in the month of March, but they are a delicious treat to enjoy any time of year!
Why this recipe works
- Easy, beginner friendly recipe - anyone can make these.
- No cooking or baking required.
- Only 7 ingredients needed.
- Unlike other Irish Potato recipes, mine includes a little bit of salt to balance out the sweetness, bring out the flavors and make them even more irresistible.
- A mix of butter and cream cheese makes them super creamy, a little bit tangy and oh so rich.
- Calls for unsweetened shredded coconut so they're not cloying.
- They're great for gifting to teachers, friends and other special people in your life.
- A fun recipe for kids - make it a yearly tradition!
- Butter - Make sure its softened so it's easy to mix. 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 for Irish Potatoes always call for sweetened coconut flakes, but I think they're better with unsweetened coconut because the recipe already includes plenty of sugar. 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 flakes.
Step by Step Instructions
- In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt, then slowly add in the confectioners sugar while beating until it’s all incorporated and totally smooth.
- Add the coconut a little bit at a time and mix until it's totally combined.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes so that it’s easier to handle.
- Scoop out scant tablespoons, then use your hands to form them into balls or oblong potato shapes, then roll in cinnamon to coat. Place on a plate or small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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.
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.
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.
No, they are just made to look like little potatoes and are intended to celebrate Irish heritage and St. Patrick's Day.
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.
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. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all questions and comments. I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @ColeyCooks on Instagram and I will repost!Print