Irish Potatoes

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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 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. No sooner would we finish making chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day than we would change gears, exchange pink for green, and get rolling in anticipation for St. Paddy’s Day.

With every Irish Potato I made, I couldn’t help but chuckle, seeing as how they are neither Irish nor a potato. They hail from Philadelphia (a REALLY long way to Tipperary!) and are in fact cream cheese and coconut rolled in cinnamon to imitate potatoes. Hence, the name. Despite the “dishonest” name, these little guys are genuinely delicious and undeniably addictive. If you’ve never made them before, why not start a new St. Paddy’s Day tradition with “potatoes” you’ll want to eat by the handful!

Is confectioner’s sugar the same as castor sugar?

Nope. The difference lies in their texture. Castor sugar, while finer than granulated sugar, isn’t as fine as confectioner’s sugar. If you’re wondering whether you can use castor sugar instead of confectioner’s in this recipe, I advise against it. The creaminess of your potatoes will be compromised. You’d be better off looking at other sweet substitutes, like powdered erythritol or stevia, though the taste may differ a bit. You can also blend granulated erythritol or regular white sugar with cornstarch or arrowroot powder until it becomes a fine powder.


  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (full fat, light, or fat-free will all work fine)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (also called confectioners’ sugar)
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Irish Potato Candy ingredients

How To Make Irish Potatoes

Step 1: Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Step 2: Next, slowly add the powdered sugar.

young boy at electric stand mixer, making homemade potato candy

Step 3: Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Step 4: Add the coconut and mix well.

ingredients in mixing bowl to make Irish potatoes

Step 5a: Before rolling the Irish potatoes mixture into balls, you may want to chill it for at least 30 minutes. Doing so will make it easier to form the dough into little balls.

irish potato candy mixture in mixing bowl

Step 5b: 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

Step 6: 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

Step 7: Place the Irish potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Philadelphia Irish Potatoes in cupcake liners


If this is your first time making Irish Potatoes, I recommend sticking with the traditional recipe. If, however, you’ve made these before, you may want to change it up a bit. Here are some suggestions to do just that:

  • Chocolate Irish Potato Candy: Add cocoa powder to the mixture. Not enough chocolate? Roll the candy in cocoa powder for chocolate inside and out.
  • Peanut Butter Irish Potato Candy: Add peanut butter to the mixture. If you go with the crunchy variety, that will translate to crunchy Irish potatoes and make for an interesting texture. You could also combine this with the chocolate version for a “Reese’s” Irish potato.
  • Irish Potato Candy with Nuts: Add chopped nuts, such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts, to the mixture for added crunch and flavor.
  • Cinnamon Irish Potato Candy: Cinnamon is included in the recipe but if you wanted to make these for Valentine’s Day, add cinnamon to the mixture for a warm, spicy flavor. Then do as the recipe says and roll the balls in cinnamon sugar for an extra pop of flavor.
  • Mint Irish Potato Candy: This one is more in line with St. Patrick’s Day. Add peppermint extract to the mixture to create a refreshing mint-flavored candy. You can also roll the candy in crushed mints for texture flair.
  • Irish Potato Candy Truffles: A “classy” and decadent take on the treat. Instead of rolling the candy into potato shapes, roll it into small truffles and coat them in chocolate or cocoa powder. Similar to the choco one but, well… more sophisticated.
irish potato candies dusted with cocoa powder

FAQs & Tips

How Do I Store Irish Potatoes?

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 and don’t let the potatoes touch each other. If you need to stack them, lay a sheet of paper over the bottom layer. They should keep well for at least 7 to 10 days, and possibly up to two weeks. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Just take them out and let them come to room temperature before serving.

How many calories are in an Irish Potato?

As the recipe makes 3 dozen little potatoes, there are about 92 calories in each one. Of course, this number will fluctuate depending on the size of your spuds.

Can I make these any less sweet? They are too ‘strong’ for me.

Yeah, I get it. That’s a lot of sugar. And while I wouldn’t tamper too much with that amount, I would look elsewhere to lessen the sweetness. The recipe calls for sweetened coconut flakes but you can use unsweetened. It might make all the difference you need so that your teeth don’t hurt after every bite.

Can I use vanilla essence instead of extract?

You can, though you will probably need to increase the amount. Extract is purer than essence, which is actually synthetic. The amount of actual vanilla in it can vary.

What else can I use instead of cinnamon?

Cocoa powder, nutmeg, or a pumpkin spice blend will go well. That last one is a particularly good one to use come autumn.

cute St. Patricks Day candy on a tray with shamrocks

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.

Irish potato candy in a dish

Irish Potatoes

4.54 from 39 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 36
Calories 92 kcal


  • 1/2 stick of butter softened
  • 1/2 brick of cream cheese softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon


  • Beat together butter and cream cheese.
  • Slowly add the confectioners sugar.
  • Add the vanilla.
  • Add the coconut and mix until combined.
  • 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.
  • Roll the coconut mixture into a ball.
  • Roll the coconut mixture into the cinnamon and put on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Keep the Irish Potatoes in the fridge.



Calories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 0.2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 27mgPotassium: 24mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 41IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword How to make Irish Potatoes, Irish Potato candy, Irish Potatoes, Philadelphia Irish Potato Candy, Philadelphia Irish Potatoes, St. Patrick’s Day candy, St. Patrick’s Day crafts for kids, St. Patrick’s Day treats for parties
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