Recipe: 3-ingredient Potato Candy

Sometimes, especially during the holidays, all thoughts of healthy go out the window and food is welcome just because of the memories is brings. This recipe – for an old-fashioned candy made from a simple potato and lots of sugar – just might be the one recipe that holds the most nostalgia for me. My grandmother used to make this potato candy recipe every year for my dad, and even this many years later, it still doesn’t feel like Christmas without it.

It always seemed to me like a recipe that originated when money and ingredients were scarce. It’s not fancy or expensive, but one bite and I’m a 5-year-old little girl again. So, in the spirit of #Throwback Thursday, I give you: 3-ingredient Potato Candy!

All it takes is one small potato (or half a medium potato), cut and boiled just like you would for mashed potatoes. 

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Mix it up with a whole lot of powdered sugar…

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until you get a mixture that looks like this. Thicker than icing, almost like a thick, sticky cookie dough.

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Add even more sugar and get to rollin’.

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Spread it with a thick, even layer of your favorite peanut butter. (Buy what you really like. It’s the only ingredient that really affects the quality of your finished product.)

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Then roll it up and resist the urge to cut (because I know you’re still wondering how the whole potato thing is going to work out.)

Don’t do it. It has to chill in the fridge first.

One it’s nice and cold and sturdy, trim off any weird edges and cut into circles.

And don’t worry about being too neat. The mess factor is what gives them their personality. If the edges crack a little, they’re perfect!

3-ingredient Potato Candy Recipe

4.0 from 1 reviews
3-ingredient Old-fashioned Potato Candy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Your Grandma might have called it depression candy. This easy-to-make, old-fashioned favorite is a true piece of nostalgia.
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3 lbs
  • 1 small potato (or ½ medium potato)
  • 2 lb confectioner's sugar
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  1. Peel, boil and mash potato. Set aside ½ of potato and put other ½ in mixer. Add sugar, about a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly. Once all sugar is added, add the rest of the potato a little at a time until you reach a thick, cookie dough-like consistency.
  2. Dust a cutting board or large piece of parchment paper with confectioner's sugar. Roll out dough, about 2 cups at a time, until about ¼-inch thick. Spread with an even layer of peanut butter; roll up into a log shape. Repeat until all dough is used. Place candy rolls in fridge.
  3. Once chilled and firm to the touch, remove from fridge and slice each roll into ½"-thick pieces.
  4. Makes approx. 3 lbs candy. (Although I have never actually used an entire batch. It makes a LOT and I usually quit before I roll it all out.)


What’s your fondest food memory from your childhood holidays?

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  1. says

    What a unique recipe. I guess the potato acts as a binder. But hey it has peanut butter, it can’t be bad. Very cool that you are sharing recipes from your past with us. I remember my grandmother making orange rind candies when we were little (we lived in FL) She this was the only candy her parents could afford when she was little. Cool recipe.
    Chrishelle @ Cheer MamaDrama recently posted…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME: CHEER MAMA DRAMA MADE IT A WHOLE YEARMy Profile

  2. Jutta P says

    I have seen similar recipes before, but this looks super easy. I wonder if Nutella would work instead of peanut butter?

  3. Laura J says

    Oh I have not heard of this before! So neat! I love that this would be gluten free for me! Oh I cannot wait to try it!

    • Wendy says

      I keep forgetting to specify gluten-free on some of my recipes. It’s not a priority for me, but I know it is for so many others!

  4. Carrie says

    Oh yeah!!! My Grandma used to make this all the time too and I was just telling my Mom I needed to look up a recipe for it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Wendy says

      No, I haven’t tried anything else personally, but I’ve had people suggest Nutella! The outer part of the candy is very, very sweet, though, so I would stick with fillings that aren’t super sugary. Maybe a tart cranberry something?

  5. says

    This was a special treat for us as a kid. I love it. One Christmas after we had all moved out of the house my oldest sister sent a small box to each of us siblings. As you said the Peanut Butter is the key to the taste and the cracked look gives it its character. I don’t recall ever running into someone who had ever had it. I grew up knowing it as Irish Potatoe Candy.
    Elaine recently posted…Quilting and a Pillow for TechnologyMy Profile

    • Wendy says

      Thanks for your comment, Elaine. I love hearing stories about this particular recipe. It seems to hold many memories for a lot of people!

  6. says

    My mom would make this for me, and up until I was older maybe in my 20’s, I did not believe it was mashed potatoes! Thanks so much for sharing, one time she even tried to send me some when I was deployed in Desert Storm/Shield, needless to say they didn’t survive, but the thought and love was always there. Love ya mom! I wish she could make them again for me. But I digress, thanks for sharing! ~Tom
    Tom Shewbridge recently posted…UrgentRx Fast Powders Offers Relief When Needed – No Matter Where You AreMy Profile

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