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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

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
Yield: 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. My dad loved this treat and my grandmother made it for him each Christmas. I told my mom at Thanksgiving that I wanted to make it this Christmas and I’m glad to read your post so that I know how to do it.
    Paula@SweetPea recently posted..Throwback Thursday #13My Profile

  2. 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

  3. I wouldn’t have thought potato candy. I love potatoes and now an opportunity for candy? Great recipe.
    Deborah E recently posted..Want a Happy Life? Try Encouraging OthersMy Profile

  4. I would have never thought to use a potato to make candy, but I can see how the starch in it would provide a wonderful base for it. Thanks for sharing.
    Virginia @thatbaldchick recently posted..Free Printable Christmas Heart TagsMy Profile

  5. I’ve never heard of potato candy, but it looks awesome!!
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings recently posted..Peppermint Patty Cookies {The Leftovers Club}My Profile

  6. Potato Candy? I’ve never heard of that and HOLY COW that’s a lot of sugar. LOL. I bet these would be adorable with some Christmas sprinkles on them.
    Alicia Taylor recently posted..Blu-Ray Movie Magic Giveaway! Enter to win one of 21 movies!My Profile

  7. i NEVER heard of potato candy until yesterday- and now here it is 2 times in 2 days!! looks kinda interesting
    brett recently posted..Hurry! $5 off $35 Amazon Coupon!My Profile

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

  9. I have never had this before but it definitely looks tasty.
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..Guest Blogger: Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie TreatsMy Profile

  10. I don’t think I’m skilled enough to pull this off- LOL! My fondest foodie memory is of my mom in the kitchen- and honestly anything that she would make!
    Milena recently posted..Blu-ray #MovieMagic #GiveawayMy Profile

  11. I have never, ever considered doing this, but i guess it is a good idea! I wonder how it tastes..or rather if I’d like it!?
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted..Taco Salad Featuring Doritos® Original Chips & French Dressing #RecipeMy Profile

  12. Oh my goodness, this looks so super-easy… and tasty, thanks so much

  13. I’ve never made potato candy, but it looks simple and tasty! My fondest food memory from the holidays is homemade pecan pie!
    Pam recently posted..My Holiday Plans to #DitchandSwitchMy Profile

  14. Love this. We tried to make it once but it failed miserably . . . now reading your instructions, I think we did not mix it enough or add enough sugar. Can’t wait to try again!
    Jen @ ThisCrunchyLife recently posted..Summer of Squash Wrap UpMy Profile

  15. I have never in my life heard of such a thing! Wow. I have got to try this, I really do.
    Janeane Davis recently posted..Reflect – What Have You Learned From Your BusinessMy Profile

  16. 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!

    • 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!

  17. I love the idea of this! Makes me think of my grandma, living on the homestead with her twelve children – I can imagine this would be the sort of thing she would have made for everyone :) Along with her famous chocolate haystacks…
    Danielle recently posted..Win a Trip to Belize with Little Passports!My Profile

  18. Well seeing sure is believing because if you told me this and didn’t show photos.. I don’t know if I would believe you. Lol! That is fantastic!
    Dawn Lopez recently posted..Curious Cats in Strange Places & Royal Canin $7 off Coupon #CuriousCatMy Profile

  19. Whaaaaaaaat?! This is SO COOL. Our three-year-old loves helping me make goodies in the kitchen, so we’ll be making this very soon!
    Shanna recently posted..All Aboard the “Chew Chew” Train! (Turn Gum into a Fun Christmas Craft)My Profile

  20. what???? I have never heard of this before it actually sounds really good. Thank you for sharing! I am intrigued!
    Mama to 5 BLessings recently posted..Say Yes To Less With Little Remedies #SayYes2LessMy Profile

  21. I’m DYING to find out what this tastes like – I have NEVER seen this before!!
    Danielle @ We Have It All recently posted..Caza Trail Coffee Giveaway | Ends 12/15My Profile

  22. I have never heard of this before, but I am TOTALLY intrigued!

  23. 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!

  24. I grew up eating this! My grandmother made it. She called it the poor mans candy! I love it!!!

  25. Wow, I never heard of anything like this. I’m really curious to try it!
    Sarah Parisi recently posted..New Study Brings Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to Light #DayofLightMy Profile

  26. I have fond memories of this as well! And I am now salivating :) SITS Girl fan!
    Christie recently posted..Fried Plantains & Rum Infused Whipped Cream RecipeMy Profile

  27. Never heard of such a thing but I bet it’s fantastic!! It’s amazing what all you can do with potatoes!!
    Lucy recently posted..Olympic Torch Children’s CraftMy Profile

  28. I’ve never seen anything like this before and it looks very intriguing. Thank you for sharing! I wonder what it would be like with Nutella?! Thanks for sharing. Dropping by from SITS here!
    Amee @ didsomeonesaychocolate.com recently posted..WIAW–The food, the bad, and the uglyMy Profile

  29. Suzanne Williams says:

    My grandma called it ‘depression candy.

  30. This sounds so interesting with the potato…and yet so yummy too! Have you ever tried something besides peanut butter for the filling?
    Adelina Priddis recently posted..How I’m teaching my Kids about Kindness with Spin KindnessMy Profile

    • 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?

  31. 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

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

  32. im assuming you drain the water after boiling the potato for this candy???

  33. sorry i didnt mean to click on the apple recipe

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