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.
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:
- 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.
He takes his job very seriously.
- Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.
- Next, slowly add the powdered sugar.
Some of the powdered sugar might make it into the bowl.
Some might not. Part of the fun of cooking with kids is letting them be kids. So, powdered sugar can get everywhere.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine
- Add the coconut and mix until combined.
- 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.
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.
- Roll the mixture into small balls and then roll them through a bowl or plate of ground cinnamon.
- Place the Irish potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
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.
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.
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.