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!
Origin of Old Fashioned 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.
Variations for this potato candy recipe
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!)
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!
Watch the video for Old Fashioned Potato Candy
Other holiday candies to make!
How To Make This Potato Candy Recipe
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 18x12 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!
- 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.
- You want to stay true to the powdered sugar and potatoes, but as far as the filling, there are many options! You can use nut butter (peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, etc.), cookie butter, or Nutella.
- Leftover candy can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.