Irish Potatoes

Irish potatoes may sound like a savory side dish but actually, there are no potatoes at all in this traditional Irish dessert! Potato candies are little bites of sweetened cream cheese and coconut, dusted with cinnamon. They are delicious and incredibly easy to make.

Irish Potato Candy in a dish

When I was in high school, I worked in a cute little ice cream shop that made Irish Potato Candy around St. Patrick’s Day. We would roll these little treats for hours and sell out every day. People would start to ask us around the middle of February when we would start making Irish Potatoes.

How do you make Irish potatoes?

Thankfully, Irish potatoes are very simple to make. As mentioned earlier, there are just a few simple ingredients you will need to make Irish potato candy:

Irish Potato Candy ingredients
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (full fat, light, or fat-free will all work fine)
  • 4 cups Powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Ground cinnamon

Just mix the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then, form the mixture into bite-sized balls and roll it in cinnamon. It is a perfect job for little hands. Especially little hands that like to get dirty.

It’s an easy and fun recipe for kids to make, too! Ava and Will had a half-day at school and I thought that it would be a perfect rainy day activity. Except they didn’t want to play with me. Thankfully, this dude wanted to cook with me.

young boy licking powdered sugar off of his fingers.

He takes his job very seriously.

toddler boy making a sweet dessert for St. Patrick's Day
  1. Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar.
young boy at electric stand mixer, making homemade potato candy

Some of the powdered sugar might make it into the bowl.

kitchen counter dusted with confectioner's sugar

Some might not. Part of the fun of cooking with kids is letting them be kids. So, powdered sugar can get everywhere.

toddler boy in diaper licking sugar tasting Irish potato candy
  1. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine
  2. Add the coconut and mix until combined.
ingredients in mixing bowl to make Irish potatoes
  1. Before rolling the Irish potatoes mixture into balls, you may want to chill it for at least 30 minutes. As a result, it will be easier to form the dough into little balls.
irish potato candy mixture in mixing bowl

You can use your hands to do this. However, I like to use a small ice cream scoop, like the one shown in the above photo. Keep in mind that Irish potato candies are really rich, so you want them to be small in size.

little girl with blonde hair making Irish candy
  1. Roll the mixture into small balls and then roll them through a bowl or plate of ground cinnamon.
little girl with blonde hair making Irish potatoes candy
  1. Place the Irish potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Philadelphia Irish Potatoes in cupcake liners

Does Irish potato candy need to be refrigerated?

Remember, there are dairy products (cream cheese and butter) in the candy. Because of this, Irish potatoes should be kept in a refrigerator.

It is best to store them in an airtight container. If you do this, they should keep well for at least 7 to 10 days, and possibly up to two weeks.

irish potato candies dusted with cocoa powder

Other St. Patrick’s Day treats

Irish potato candy is a fun and delicious treat for St. Patrick’s Day. This no-bake recipe is easy enough to make that even young kids can help you make them. Here are some other fun and easy treats to make for St. Patrick’s Day.

cute St. Patricks Day candy on a tray with shamrocks
Irish Potatoes

Irish Potatoes

Yield: makes 3 dozen

If you grew up in the Philadelphia area, you know what Irish Potato Candy is. You eat these little cinnamon coated coconut cream treats on St. Patrick's Day.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick of butter softened
  • 1/2 brick of cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Beat together butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the confectioners sugar.
  2. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add the coconut and mix until combined.
  4. You may want to chill the coconut mixture a little before you roll them. I like to use a small ice cream scoop. These are really rich, so you want them to be small.
  5. Roll the coconut mixture into a ball.
  6. Roll the coconut mixture into the cinnamon and put on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Keep the Irish Potatoes in the fridge.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0g
All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only.

Update notes – This recipe was originally posted in March 2011, it has been updated in January 2020 with clearer instructions and updated pictures and a video.

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Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 93 Comments

  1. omygoodness this is such a good idea. (and the potatoes are so cute!) i might try this. thanks!

    1. I hope that you do Joyce!

  2. These look yummy! I’ll have to try them for sure. Maybe I’ll make them for April Fool’s Day – a mock potato! πŸ™‚

  3. Cute, cute recipe!

    1. thank you Michelle!

  4. I can’t wait to make these, but at the same time, I know once I do, I
    will not stop eating them!! Your kids are so cute- Have a super weekend.

    1. Thank you Tanya! Yes, these little treats are delicious. Sweet and spicy at the same time.

  5. How cute! I’ve never heard of these before! What a great little tradition. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Jessica!

  6. I’ve never heard of these before, but these looks so delicious and cute! yum πŸ™‚

    1. thanks Dee!

  7. Just when I thought I’d heard it all for St. Patrick’s Day! Love these and can’t wait to make them part of our St. Patty’s traditions.

    1. These must be an East coast thing because no one out here has heard of them.

      1. I’m from the east coast, I grew up on these!

        1. A delicacy!!

  8. These look interesting! Never heard of them before but I love the idea for Saint Patrick’s day!

    1. They are delicious!

  9. What a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day treat to make with your family! The “potatoes” are adorable and sound delicious!

    1. thanks Jenn. These are really fun to make. And eat.

      1. Irish Potatoes don’t have to be limited to March on your calendar! My family insists that I won’t be allowed into our family Christmas celebration without them. I’m also bringing a large batch in a cooler for a family pig roast next week.
        One little reminder; put a sign next to the platter you place them on that says “contains coconut.” Bring the sign with you if you are taking these to someone else’s house. A number of people are allergic to coconut.

  10. Made these for my daughter’s class for St. Patrick’s Day. They were a hit! Now I am passing the recipe along to my son’s teacher…they study Ireland and have a baking day, making Irish foods…simple enough for the classroom to make. Thanks!

    1. Glad that they liked them. Turns out they are a Philadelphia tradition.

      1. From PA myself and they are always a hit, but I make them without the coconut (I simply don’t like coconut) and add some crush almonds instead.

        1. that sounds good, might have to try the almonds.

      2. Yes they are. I am going to make them for the first time with my daughter this year for her class. I usually buy them.

  11. Thanks for the recipe!!!!!! Even though st Patrick’s day is gone I am making them Asa treat for my entire class! They worked really hard and got an 85% average on their science test!

    You know what’s funny, I remember my 3rd grade teacher giving us these treats. I never knew what they were called and just this month I stumbled upon them in a bakery and made a mental note of the name. I was ecstatic that I found them again! I am glad you posted the recipe!

    I like having them without the coconut.

    1. that is great! I am glad that you found your missing recipe.

  12. I grew making something our family called; “Tater Candy”.

    It is a small boiled potato
    4-8 cups of powdered sugar(depends on how big potato was)
    and peanut butter to spread.

    Friends and Family still ask every year if we are to make this again.

    Now that I have 3 out of 6 children with peanut allergies, I don’t make it anymore…

    1. Definitely going to try that next St. Pat’s. Thanks for sharing!

      1. I have never heard it called that.

  13. This looks so interesting, im going to attempt this reciepe this weekend with my boy. Id id love to say your boy has the most georgeous eyes

    1. thank you so much, his eyes get him out of a lot of trouble. πŸ™‚

  14. I remember i used to make these every single year in grade school, i went to private catholic school and they were big on st. patricks day…
    this brings back memories πŸ™‚

    1. I forgot all about them to be honest with you. It brought back memories for me too.

  15. I LOVE these. I am going to guess you are from Philly. It seems like no one outside the Delaware Valley has ever heard of them. I remember making them as a class assignment in 3rd grade. Oh, I want some right now.

    1. Pretty close! South Jersey. Good guess!

  16. My kids and I made these and we had a lot of fun! They tasted just like I remembered them as a kid–DELICIOUS! Great recipe–really easy and fun!

    1. I love when people tell me how they were in the kitchen with their children. It makes me so happy.

  17. Thanks for this “oldie but goodie”! I remember my parents bringing them home from the bakery around St Patty’s Day, and also making them at Girl Scouts! It still stumps me when I find not everyone experienced the same things growing up, of course I realize now that is what makes us each so unique.

    1. Are you form the Northeast? It seems to be a local thing.

  18. I’ve never seen/tasted these – and because I’m quite the (though amateur) avid truffle maker during the Easter season, I will definitely be making these! One small problem: in South Africa, we really don’t know what the mass or volumn of a stick of this or a 1/2 brick of that is πŸ™ – would you mind terribly adding the weight in brackets? I would so appreciate it!!
    Really love this site! the recipes together with accompanying photos & story/chit-chat, – it is (rightfully so) sitting at the top of my Favorites. Thank you!

    1. 1/2 brick of cream cheese is 4 ounces. A 1/2 stick of butter is 2 ounces.

      1. Thanks! Made them yesterday – I had no trouble wondering how long they would keep – they’re all GONE! :mrgreen:

        1. well, I guess that answers that!

  19. Everyone loved these irish potatoes! Just wondering how long they keep in the fridge?

    1. 3-4 days?

  20. I am making these today! I am really asking, should I really put 4 cups of sugar? Thnx!

    1. Yes, it is 4 cups of powdered sugar.

      1. I made these yesterday, and I must say, I had no idea it would taste like this! AMAZING ! I personally don’t like coconuts…but not in this recipe! I sent some of my friends a link to this recipe and they want me to bring it to them tommorw! Thank you very much for posting this! πŸ˜€

        1. Thank you! These are a childhood favorite.

          1. I am making these again today!!!

            1. Wow, you really do like these!

  21. We make something similar to these at the candy store I work at, but we roll them in cocoa powder. Might be worth a try for anyone who isn’t a huge cinnamon fan :]

    1. I was going to ask about cocoa powder. Thank you for posting. My mouth doesn’t like large amounts of cinnamon (May God forbid cinnamon candy!)

  22. Hadn’t thought about these for a long time. But my church Women’t group is having a huge candy/bake sale on Feb. 9/10/2013, and I was reminded of them the other day. Decided to make some for the event, but could not find my old recipe… Looking around the web I found yours.
    I had my own store back then, a supply shop for cake decorating and candy supplies. I made the potato candy for an Irish restaurant across the street from my shop, on St. Pat’s day. It was to be a special free treat for their customers, and I made some as well for my own customers on St. Pat’s Day, also for my family. .. My children didn’t like coconut, so I made theirs plain…
    My favorite coating though, is a combo of equal amounts of cinnamon and Hershey’s cocoa powder.. And I didn’t roll them in it. I coated each one individually with my finger. Don’t laugh, it makes them look more like a real potato, rather than one thats kind of dirty looking…But to each his/her own… I suppose you could do the same Try it, you’ll like it!! Enjoy…
    Joanne/chefjosi

  23. Well, part of that last sentence disappeared on me somehow…
    It was supposed to say. – I suppose you could do the same thing using a paint brush and brush the coating on them….but I’ll still use the hands on method…
    Chefjosie—-

  24. Two more things about this—–
    First, when i have used coconut, I have used the dessicated/unsweetened, finely chopped type…
    It helps cut the overall sweetness of this candy…
    Second, after shaping the pieces, I use a toothpick to poke dimples in random places into the oval shapes… Then when applying the cinn/cocoa coating mixture (esp. by hand) the dimples remain unncoated and resemble the eyes of the potato….. If coating the candy by rolling it in the mixture, you can use a sliver of almond or a piece of a pignole nut to become the eyes…
    Think that’s all — enjoy!!!

    1. thank you!

    2. I think they are much better with unsweetened coconut, plus you eliminate the propolene glycol preservative that’s in most sweetened coconut.

    3. Have you ever tried blitzing the coconut in a food processor, or do you think that might get rid of some of the fun?

      1. I haven’t, and truthfully, for this I wouldn’t. It should be fun and easy. And you lose a lot of the sweetness. But by all means, try it if you like.

  25. These sound awesome and I love how your kids were able to help out!

    1. Thank you Kate!

  26. These are a terrific old time Philly treat. Thank you so much for the recipe! I was just wondering if you can freeze the candies. I have a lot of family that wants to try some & I won’t see them for a week or so.
    HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY!!!

    1. You are very welcome! Brings me back to my childhood. I have never frozen them, I think that they would, but I cannot say for certain.

  27. On Friday the kids at school asked if they could make these so I went out this morning and bought your ingredients and we’ll try them Monday πŸ™‚ Wish us luck! πŸ™‚

    1. I hope that you all had fun and liked them!

  28. I have made these 2 times now. The first batch was good, but too sweet for me. Second time I tried with unsweetened coconut. Much better and they had a better balance of flavor. With the second batch, after I rolled most of the ‘tatties’ in the cinnamon, I mixed a little unsweetened cocoa powder into the remaining cinnamon. This also has a nice flavor mix. Thanks for the recipe; a few people have asked where I got the recipe and I shared your blog.

  29. So glad I stumbled across your blog while searching for a recipe for Irish Potatoes! Definitely a Philly tradition! Grew up eating these every St.Patty’s Day. Looking forward to making these with the kiddos!Thanks ☺

    1. Yes they are! I hope that you start a new tradition with your kiddos.

  30. Here in Australia we call these spuds. (Another name for potatoes) but we make them with actual mashed potato instead of cream cheese πŸ™‚ they are a favourite at
    fete stalls πŸ™‚

    1. Who knew? We call potatoes spuds here too.

  31. Do you know approximately how many this recipe should make?

    1. I don’t really. It depends on how big you roll the potatoes. I’d guess 2 dozen?

  32. I am making these for my Girl Scout troops World Thinking Day this weekend. I can’t wait for everyone to try them!!

    1. These are so fun and bring me right back to my childhood.

  33. I always love making these, but I’m just wondering, what camera and lens do you use?? Your pictures are beautiful!

  34. I wanted to make something cute for my kids for St. Patrick’s day and this is just it. This looks like a great recipe and i can’t wait to make them πŸ™‚

    1. Hope you liked them!

  35. These seem to be like a candy i brought my oldest son years ago. We were in a German village in South Australia and were sold as candy potatoes. We did not have to have them in a fridge but did keep them in our car fridge as we were traveling. Have always wondered how these were made, now I know thank you.

    1. They are fun to make too. πŸ™‚

  36. They make similar Irish Potatoes at See’s Candies, but they contain walnuts and are also dusted in cocoa.

    1. Irish potatoes are the best.

  37. Can you freeze irish potatoes?

    1. I don’t see why not?

  38. How many does this recipe make?

    1. Probably 3 dozen depending on how large you roll them.

  39. How many “potatoes” does this recipe usually yield?

    1. 2-3 dozen? It depends on how big you make the potatoes.

  40. Made these last night for our fundraiser and they were a big hit. So delicious!

    1. I’m so glad! These are a classic from my childhood.

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