These creamy Irish Potatoes are the perfect St. Patrick's Day treat! Filled with coconut cream and dusted with a coating of cinnamon, these no-bake candies are so easy to make.
These easy, homemade Irish potato candies are the perfect no-bake treat. They have a creamy inside filled with shredded coconut and are rolled in a coating of cinnamon. The flavor combination is out of this world delicious, plus they adorably resemble small potatoes!
Growing up in the greater Philadelphia area, Irish Potatoes were a staple treat around St. Patty's day. Every candy store has them around that time of year, and even some grocery and convenience stores sell them. I always remember my dad bringing me home a box and being so excited to dive in!
If you love coconut-flavored things, you have got to try my Raspberry Coconut Bars!
Why You Should Make Irish Potatoes
- They are a traditional St. Patricks Day treat where I grew up (Philadelphia) and they are truly one of the best things to eat/make that time of year.
- They're so easy to whip up & perfect to make with kids!
- You don't need to turn your oven on for these candies, this recipe is totally no-bake.
- They are the perfect flavor combo- sweet and creamy + the cinnamon coating is amazing together.
- They make perfect gifts around St. Patrick's Day!
What are Irish Potatoes?
Contrary to the name, Irish potatoes do not contain any sort of potato (confusing, I know)! They're also not from Ireland, they originated in Southeast Pennsylvania, specifically in Philadelphia. The name "Irish potato" comes from the way they look- like little potatoes! There seems to be no record of who first made Irish potatoes, but there are many theories as to how these little St. Patty's Day treats came about.
Irish potatoes are a coconut cream candy, somewhat resembling a truffle with a creamy center and round shape (just without the chocolate). They taste somewhat similar to an almond joy candy bar. Homemade Irish Potatoes are typically made of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and shredded coconut. Store-bought ones usually skip the cream cheese so they are more shelf-stable.
Here are some notes on a few ingredients- please see the full ingredient list in the recipe card below!
- Cream cheese- make sure to use brick-style cream cheese (or not whipped). It's best to let it sit out for a little before using it so that it gets soft.
- Powdered sugar- 4 cups of powdered sugar seems aggressive but I promise it's just the right amount!
- Coconut- make sure to use shredded coconut for this recipe. You can use sweetened or unsweetened.
- Cinnamon- Cinnamon is what the Irish Potatoes are rolled in and it gives them a great flavor profile!
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer to cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and pinch of salt.
Step 2: Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then mix in the coconut a little at a time until fully mixed together. The mixture will be very thick.
Step 3: Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out the mixture and roll it into balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or a large plate and set in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
Step 4: Once chilled, roll the balls in the cinnamon until coated. Tap off any excess cinnamon. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
The inside of Irish potatoes reminds me of an Almond Joy or Mounds bar. It is a creamy, sweet center that is filled with sweetened coconut and has a little tang because of the cream cheese. The cinnamon outside gives it a little bite and is the perfect balance to the sweetness of the inside.
They are RICH and quite dense, so you don't need to eat 10 in one sitting or you might get an upset tummy. If you are worried about them being too rich, make them a bit smaller!
Technically, no. You could make these by hand, but you are going to want your butter and cream cheese VERY soft so that you can get them as smooth as possible. I definitely recommend using a mixer if you have one because the coconut cream is thick.
Because they look like small potatoes! It is believed a candy maker decided to make candy for St. Patrick's Day since there is a lull between Valentine's Day and Easter, which is why they are made around that time of year.
If you don't love cinnamon, you can definitely leave it off. I think that is kind of what makes these Irish potatoes what they are, but you do you! You could also coat them in melted chocolate or roll in more coconut.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before starting, this helps to make them easier to mix! I take my butter and cream cheese out at least an hour before starting.
- Don't make your Irish potatoes too big. Since they are so dense and sweet, I find that 1 tablespoon is the biggest you should go, or else they can be a bit too much. You can make them smaller than 1 tablespoon as well!
- After rolling the Irish potatoes, make sure to set them in the fridge before rolling them in cinnamon. I find the cinnamon rolls on too thick if the Irish potatoes are warm.
Storing & Freezing
Since these have cream cheese in them, they will need to be refrigerated. I store them in an air-tight container and leave them in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. These can also be frozen for up to 4 months! To defrost, let them sit at room temperature.
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Irish Potatoes (Candy)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 ⅓ cups shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened
- 1½ tablespoon cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer to cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and pinch of salt.
- Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then mix in the coconut a little at a time until fully mixed together. The mixture will be very thick.
- Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out the mixture and roll it into balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or a large plate and set in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Once chilled, roll the balls in the cinnamon until coated. Tap off any excess cinnamon. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Take your butter and cream cheese out at least an hour before starting.
- Don't make your Irish potatoes too big, 1 tablespoon is big enough!
- After rolling the Irish potatoes, make sure to set them in the fridge before rolling them in cinnamon so they firm up a bit.
- Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
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