This Old Fashioned Potato Candy is a classic treat made with only 4 ingredients and doesn’t require any baking!
I was at a friend’s house last week and she set out some leftover Old Fashioned Potato Candy she had made for a baby shower she hosted. There were only a few pieces remaining…and I coveted them all.
Have you ever heard of this? I hadn’t. But naturally when something is made with copious amounts of powdered sugar, I’m like a moth to a flame.
But mashed potatoes mixed with powdered sugar? Like…what? You can’t taste the potato at all; it’s obviously used more as a binder here. But I was fascinated. So I took to the Internet and researched it!
What is Potato Candy
Rumor has it that this potato candy recipe originated in Germany and then brought to the United States. There’s also debate over it being Irish, Russian, and Pennsylvania Dutch.
What we do know is that it became popular during the Great Depression, when people needed to be frugal, making use of ingredients that were widely available and really inexpensive. Makes sense now that I think about it – they used potatoes in everything. Why not put it to use in a dessert, too. Depressed people need sweets more than anyone!
Even though the Depression era was temporary (thank goodness), this recipe lives on for eternity, because it’s sweet, easy to make, and irresistible!
Is Old Fashioned Potato Candy the same thing as Irish Potato Candy?
Nope! Although many people confuse the two. Old Fashioned Potato Candy is made up of powdered sugar, mashed potatoes, and nut butter. Irish potato candy is a traditional sugary confection that (despite its name), is not from Ireland, and does not usually contain any potato. The candies have a coconut cream center and a cinnamon exterior, which makes them resemble small potatoes.
- This treat is super sweet and rich, so a little goes a long way.
- This recipe is incredibly easy, but it requires you to pay attention to how much powdered sugar you are adding. 6 cups might be enough, or you might need 7. Just stop adding it once a putty-like texture is achieved. You don’t want it so stiff that it cracks as you roll into a log, but you don’t want it sticky.
- This dough does dry fairly fast, so work quickly.
- Don’t waste the excess dough you trim off! Roll back into a ball (before it dries out) and pinch off small amounts; form into balls and coat with cocoa powder.
Potato Candy Recipe Variations
You want to stay true to the powdered sugar and potatoes, but as far as the filling, there are many options! You can use…
- Any nut butter (peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, etc.)
- Cookie butter (my kids favorite!)
Storing Potato Candy
Leftover candy can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Watch the video
Potato Candy is such a nostalgic treat. If this is your first year trying some, it won’t be your last. It makes a great addition to any holiday candy tray!
Other holiday candy recipes
I hope you love this delicious and simple recipe – be sure to give it a review below! Also don’t forget to follow Belly Full on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!
How To Make Potato Candy
Old Fashioned Potato Candy
- 1 small russet potato , peeled and chopped
- 6-7 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup nut butter , cookie butter, or nutella
- In a small pot of boiling water, cook the potato until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl; mash until smooth and lump-free (a ricer is ideal for this!) You’ll need a 1/2 cup mashed. Allow to cool slightly, but still warm.
- In a extra large bowl, combine cooked potato and 2 cups of the powdered sugar until blended (at this point it will be very loose.) Stir in the vanilla.
- Continue to add 1 cup of the powdered sugar at a time until the mixture forms a putty-like dough. (Use a handheld electric mixer if stirring with a wooden spoon gets too difficult.) Shape into a round.
- Transfer the dough onto an 18×12 sheet of wax paper sprinkled with powdered sugar; sprinkle the top with a little powdered sugar. Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangular shape, about 1/4-inch thick; trim to form straight edges.
- Spread an even layer of nut butter over the surface of the candy. Slowly roll the candy from one long edge to another. Wrap with the wax paper, cut in half. Place in a resealable plastic bag and chill until firm, about an hour.
- Slice rolled potato candy into 3/4-inch thick pieces and enjoy!
Reader Questions and Reviews
I been making this candy for over 60 years, passed down from my grandmother and mother. We also use color dye for candy to add different colors to it
Has anyone tried to make this with canned potato?
I just came across your site and I’m so happy I did. As soon as I get a chance to try your recipes I will certainly get back with you. What I need to know is what is cookie butter?
This is just like my Nonna used to make – such great memories. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
I made this with my Grandmother when I was small. I have never had the recipe so thank you for this! It is the best candy!
My grandmother taught me to make this but there wasn’t a potato just a box of powdered sugar, a stick of butter and tsp of vanilla. Adding a teaspoon of water at a time if it was too hard to mix. Sometimes I add cocoa to the mix before rolling it out and spreading the peanut butter. If I’m in a hurry I just add the peanut butter to the bowl, stir it and make balls before refrigerating. This is a nice simple recipe to alter with nuts, colors, flavorings etc for every holiday. No matter how much o make, it never has lasted more than two days.
WOW! Brought back a lot of memories! I was taught to make this using leftover mashed potatoes (so they already had milk & butter & S/P in them) But everyting else is the same. I remember an older lady at our church showed my mom & I how to make this candy-I was pretty young 3rd or 4th grade, maybe,!
My family has been making this candy for as long
As I can remember. I always thought my great grandma invented this lol. I ad evaporated milk when I mash the potato. I taught one of my daughters to make this thinking it was unique to our family.
A co-worker that I had the pleasure of working with in the 70s made this and brought it to work to share. I loved it then and she was kind enough to give me recipe. It wasn’t that difficult to make . Years later I made it again and it brought back such fond memories of my friend. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.
For all those people not using potato in the recipe then guess what? IT’S NOT POTATO CANDY!
LOL. How else would you make it?
I use to make something like this for Holi, for many years, only I made peppermint patties.. lost the recipe. Now I can use this, was pleased to see it..
How do you make peppermint patties?
Mom made these for years. She rolled the dough into a ball and dipped them in chocolate. she added chopped maraschino cherries in them. coconut, peanut butter or mint flavoring instead of the dough. let them chill and dip them in chocalate> SO yummy
I make something similar, but not with potatoes. I use 1 stick of softened butter, 2 pounds of powdered sugar, and either 1/3 cup of canned milk or 1 can of Eagle Brand milk.
I make 3 batches. One batch I roll into balls around marachino cherries, freeze, then dip in almond bark.
One batch I mix in nuts and coconut, form into small logs, freeze and dip.
The third batch I tint with green food coloring, add peppermint flavoring, roll to about 1/4 inch, cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch circles, freeze and dip.
Mom made these for years and passed the recipe on to us kids.
I’ll have to try your version. I was born in the 70s and have never heard of this. I make everything and I’m successful with even new recipes 99% of the time but don’t see this one turning out. It’s still chilling but the dough tastes like I added water to powdered sugar and wrapped it around peanut butter. Don’t know what I did but not a fan so far…
Hi Shauna – without being in the kitchen with you, it’s impossible for me to say what you did wrong, but this recipe has literally been made by thousands of people without issue. So even the most seasoned cooks can make a mistake.
That happens when your potatoes are still warm…
Totally different dessert!!
I read all the comments, and was surprised that I did not see ONE recipe like my mother ‘s “Potato” candy.
I don’t know WHY she did not use potatoes, or if she did, WHY she quit. Instead of the mashed potatoes, she slowly added Evaporated Milk to the Powered Sugar, until it reached the desired consistency. She did not use Vanilla Flavoring. Maybe the alterations she made were because she did not have the mentioned ingredients on hand at the time, and she liked her version better. She experienced the Great Depression also.
We learned to make this as kids.I always called it poor kids candy. It is very sweet.I have made it for my children and grandchildren, Think I am going to try rolling it in some salted nuts and see how tat works.
Do you have to have vanilla???
You can leave it out if you want.
My grandma and mom use to make this, she taught us kids and it’s not an American dish. It came from Russia ??/ Scottish backgrounds and this recipe is not exactly how we were taught but with the same outcome. It’s delicious but you have to limit how much you eat at a time
In my family we used jelly as the filling since my cousin was allergic to chocolate, honey, all forms of nuts! The most requested flavors were mint or raspberry.
My Aunt and grandma taught me how to make this. I will sometimes put green food coloring in and mint extract instead on vanilla to have mint flavored. I’ve put red in it sometimes too but you need more red than green. I’ve even mixed some powdered sugar and cocoa powder to have chocolate flavored (which tastes a little less sweet. I also found out that depending on what you use vegetarians can eat this candy as well!!
Thank you. I will use it for my children.
My Mother always made this at Christmas but she called it Irish Potatoe Candy. My sisters are always asking me for the recipe because they know that I kept all of my Mother’s recipe.
My great grandson is allergic to peanuts and I am looking for something he can eat to replace the nut butter. What mixture would work for the cocoa powder.
Both my kids are allergic to peanut butter and I use sunflower butter. Is that an option for you?
I’m not familiar with sunflower butter. I’ll look for it. I thought about melting chocolate chips and spreading on the potato mixture.
That would work!
What bout nutella its a hazelnut spread
Nutella is actually a GREAT substitute! It takes it from a peanut butter fudge flavor to a chocolate-hazelnutty flavor that is divine! ;)
For kids who are allergic to peanuts look for that “WOW” butter. I tastes like peanut butter but isn’t. I’ve purchased and it’s good tho’ even with the stickers that come with it most schools will not allow children to take in their lunches.
what about caramel?
I put unsweetened coconut in mine. It taste just like the bonbon candy. I roll the mixture in balls and dip in chocolate instead of rolling out with a rolling pin. I make every Christmas. Love them! You can also make them like mint patties.
My Grandmother used to make this candy, along with chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge every year at Christmas and thankfully taught me how to also. After she passed, my Mother or I always made it at Christmas. Now that my Mother has passed, I carry on the Christmas candy tradition! My nephew in Florida always “reminds” me to send him some too! Lol Hopefully now that I have a Granddaughter of my own, my daughter and I will teach her how to make it! Love the memories this candy brings to all of my family! Merry Christmas!
My grandmother used to make this every year at Christmas and she would sue half the dough green and half Red. It makes a lot more festive looking
I tried 2 times to print the recipe for Old Fashion Potato Candy all I got was the ingredients list on the bottom of a page and about 30 pages of comments dating all the way back to 2014 ,can you help me , my sister (deceased) use to make this all the time I never had the recipe and was so excited to find yours it sounded easy & simple.
Hi Barbara – there’s a print button on the printable recipe card that should take you directly to your printer if your computer software is set up correctly. It’s working fine on my end. If you can’t get it to work, the best I could suggest is you copy and paste all the text from the recipe card to a Word doc and print it out that way. Sorry!
How hard is it for you to write down a 4-ingredient recipe?
I just tried these for the first time, as I was making the mixture, I gave it a taste, being diabetic they were way too sweet. Now I know, the recipe said they would be sweet but I didn’t imagine it would be that sweet so before I had added enough sugar to make the consistency required, I added graham cracker crumbs instead. Got the right consistency, a wee bit of different texture and it cut down on the sweetness. Just an idea if anyone else wants to give it a whirl.
A recipe that uses 6 to 7 cups of powdered sugar and you didnt think it would be that sweet?!?
I HAVE MADE THIS POTATO CANDY FOR YEARS GOT RECEIPE FROM MY GRANDMA YEARS YEARS AGO.
My Mom did not use potatoes. She used egg whites instead and beat them until stiff then added powdered sugar. I guess can’t do it now as can’t use raw egg whites, but we never got sick. It was my favorite!
They sell egg whites pasteurized. So u don’t need to have them cooked. Also use for sheen on pastries
I have been seeing alot of your recipes they sound so good I will be making a few of them for Christmas thank you for the good recipes
How do you make cookie butter?
I made this a few months ago for a friend who told me it was a childhood favorite. My expression was unbelievable when I heard about it. It was the first time I tasted it, and to me it tasted like it was missing something. Maybe too much sugar? It tasted kind of dry. My friend loved it so I’m going to try it again.
I use to make something like this for Christmas, for many years, only I made peppermint patties..lost the recipe. Now I can use this, was pleased to see it.. tyvm….
AWESOME candy.. growing up we had it every
Christmas….now our kids and grandkids are enjoying it
My mom would substitute some of the powder sugar with about 4 tablespoons of corn starch, then that way it wouldn’t be as sweet. We also use to add food coloring to it at Christmas time.
My mom used to stuff whole figs with it or roll it in coconut.
When we make this candy we use dental floss to cut it. I have never put it in the fridge to harden it before cutting. The floss works well and does not crush it when making the slices!! Love the idea of coloring it and adding mint flavor as well!!
can be frozen
WE USE LEFT OVER MASHED POTATOES. MY MOM WOULD ADD DIFFERENT FLAVORING TO THE DOUGH, VANILLA WAS THE BEST!
USING THE MASHED POTATOES, THE DOUGH IS SMOOTHER, CREAMIER
I HAVE FROZEN THIS BEFORE AND IT DID JUST FINE.
Looks good but I bet it’s really sweet so that leaves me out.
I can remember my aunt making this when I was young. Yummy. I have got to make this.
make sure You use a small Potato it takes a lot of Powdered sugar
This delish treat has been a favorite in my family going back to the 1930’s. Fond memories assisting my Great Grandmother make up a batch ?
My girlfriend use to call these “snowballs”. I didn’t believe her when she said they were made with potatoes.
Where I live, they call this ‘flitch’ and it is a holiday favorite!!
Love this stuff we even made it at school. Ha ha back in the day when we had home ec. And actually learned how to cook and sew.
A thing of the past now… loved our Home-Ec class!
If you roll it out a little thinner (we roll it out on the counter) and use crunchy peanut butter it’s delish! It’s also not as sweet. We always roll it out thin either way. It goes farther for larger families or for a work potluck.
We make it with instant mashed potatoes also. Does not make any difference so whatever you have on hand. Great either way. All you taste is the sugar and peanut butter anyway.
How much mash potatoes??
This has got to be one of the more interesting candies that I have seen… super neat. The ratio of sugar to potato did, however, make me chuckle! I don’t know how it can be bad!
My mom always made this for Christmas. Now my hubby makes it for our family. We always have to tell others that it is not made with leftover mashed potatoes but I guess it could be, dk. We peeled a medium potato, cubed it, cooked it, then mashed it. Really sweet with all that sugar.
You CAN use leftover mashed potatoes. I always have. Been making this for many years. But make sure they are real mashed potatoes, not instant.
Same here. My grandmother always used leftover mashed potatoes and the candy was great!
My mom always made this at Christmas. Now, my hubby makes it for our family. We always have to tell others that the mashed potato is actually a medium sized potato, peeled, sliced, cooked, then mashed, not regular mashed potatoes.
Sorry, didn’t mean to post twice.
When I was young my mother made potato candy but divided the dough in half, tinted one half pink and the other either green or blue. By adding a little peppermint or mint makes wonderful
little patties for the holidays.
We always made it shaped like a potato then rolled in cinnamon!
Oh, that would be fun! I took the trimmed edges, rolled them up and coated them in cocoa powder (as mentioned in the recipe notes), but I like the idea of cinnamon better!
I can’t wait to try this! I’m so thankful you didn’t provide Nutritional Data; if I’d “seen” how fattening it is, given the 6-7 cups of sugar, I’d be less likely to try it!
Omg, I don’t want to know the nutritional (or lack thereof) data either! LOL.
Potato makes it healthy, potassium , sugar just makes it a treat not to be eaten all year round !!!
I’ve been making these for decades. I called them peanut butter pinwheels. They’re so easy and good! Except I’ve never added vanilla.
Love this candy. Our Kroger has it in the bakery sometime. Good but not quite like the kind when I was younger. Easy to make. Thanks for putting on the board
As a kid, we had the this not only for a Christmas treat but for treats all year round! Nothing, I mean nothing went to waste in our house! I also remember my Grandmother making it. It does take a lot of powdered sugar and working fast is a great idea! Thanks for bringing back so many great memories!
I also remember my grandmother making this at Christmas time. Could never find the recipe as I guess like most women back then it was kept in their heads. Could you used any kind of white potatoes???
Right? That generation of cooks was amazing. I used russet, but I’m sure any would be fine.
I have never even heard of this, but you have my full attention.
I am 70 years old and my Mother always made this candy for Christmas. When I say your pin on Pinterest it warmed my heart and brought back many fond memories. Thank you.
When I was a kid, I’d forego seconds so there would be enough mashed potatoes left to make candy.
One of my favorites!!
WOW. I’ve never heard of this, but with all that sugar, it truly falls in the candy category.
Another one of your gems I would like to taste at your house first!
I wish you could have seen my face when I opened this email.
“POTATO CANDYYY??? WHAATTTTT??!!!”
Super excited to try this out Amy!!!
My mom made this a lot. We grew our own potatoes and had mashed potatoes at least one meal per day along with home made biscuits and whatever vegetables that was can or frozen. Everybody loved her candy. She would put food coloring in it. I tried to make from memory but I guess I didn’t put enough powdered sugar. Glad to get exact recipe.