Irish potato candy is one of my favorite recipes to make in March. I've grown up eating these no-bake treats, and my kids love to make these Irish Potatoes. They are sweet, soft, and really easy to make. While they are widely available throughout greater Philadelphia, they are pretty hard to come by everywhere else. If you are looking for a fun St. Patrick's Day treat to make with your family, you should definitely try these this year.
I know many people associate St. Patrick's Day with corned beef and cabbage, beef stew, shepherd's pie, or ham and cheddar scones. I will forever associate St. Patrick's Day with these Irish Potatoes.
Philadelphia Irish Potato Candy
I did not know this until I was an adult, but this is a Philly thing and not an Irish thing. In fact, my friends from Ireland were horrified at the insinuation that these are Irish. According to Oh Ryan's, the number one supplier of store bought Irish Potatoes, this confection started out in the old Irish neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
I've had these all of my life. We would make them leading up to St. Patrick's Day, and have them while we watched the Philadelphia St. Paddy's Day Parade. While they may not be traditional Irish snacks at all, they do have a longstanding history in the Philadelphia Irish community.
What is in Irish Potato Candy?
Irish Potato candy is made up of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, coconut, and cinnamon. Obviously, coconut is super Irish (just kidding). This filling is super sweet which is balanced by the cinnamon coating.
St. Patrick's Day Treats
These make excellent treats for school parties. Coconuts are considered tree nuts, but from a botanical sense not an allergy sense. While you should still consult parents, doctors, or schools, coconut allergies are extremely rare and this could be a fun activity or snack for a St. Patrick's Day party.
If you are making this at home with kids, they can do most of this with assistance. My daughter (4) was able to participate through the entire creation of this recipe and loved it.
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons salter butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 7 oz. angel flake sweetened coconut
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- cinnamon, (enough to roll Irish potatoes in)
- Mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer and beat until fluffy. (2-3 minutes)
- Slowly incorporate sugar, one cup at a time. Do this on a slow setting to avoid a mess.
- Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
- Mix in coconut with spatula or with your mixer.
- Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, portion out 3 dozen balls.
- Roll ball in your hands to make an even, slightly larger than a marble, sized ball. (I actually prefer them larger, but most people like them bite sized). **See note
- Sprinkle cinnamon in a baking dish or rimmed plate and roll coconut cream balls to fully coat.
If your mixture is too sticky or wet, allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling. The cinnamon will still stick.
In recent years, I have seen people roll these in cocoa powder instead of cinnamon. Either would work really well.
You can make these more into potato shape rather than balls, but I grew up with them shaped like balls.
The quantity depends greatly on the size you make these. I like them larger so I use a mini ice cream scoop--a two bite kind of Irish Potato. Some people prefer these super small and bite sized.
Serving Size:1 Irish Potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 17gNet Carbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g