Potato Candy

3.3
(4)

This surprising candy starts with a potato.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
3 dozen

There's an old saying that goes: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And that's certainly true of Southern cooks. Potato Candy showed up South during the Great Depression; making this tasty treat was a great way to create a delicious confection using inexpensive ingredients. Powdered or confectioner's sugar was (and still is) cheaper than white granulated sugar, but it works perfectly in this simple dessert.

Potato Candy
Emily Laurae

A Brief History of Potato Candy

Not to be confused with Irish potato candy, a cream-cheese based sweet that originated in Philadelphia, potato candy is believed to have shown up in the United States around the time of the Great Depression. However, it likely existed long before it made its debut in the U.S. and was passed down from generation to generation in Europe.

Reportedly, it was Germany who first put the humble potato to work, though it wouldn't be long before Ireland, Scotland, and Russia began making the simple sweet treat.

Popular Potato Candy

This old-school candy reminds us of divinity and other traditional homemade Southern sweets, but gets bonus points for its creative use of the modest starch. Complete with creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, Potato Candy is the unique Southern sweet that's sure to turn heads at your next family reunion, holiday festivity, or birthday celebration.

Potato Candy Basics

Chances are, you already have all of the ingredients to make this delicious sweet treat right in your kitchen. One potato (russet is recommended) serves as the core ingredient, while a not-insignificant amount of powdered sugar takes the lead role.

Potato Candy ingredients
Emily Laurae

Milk, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt are the four other ingredients, and it's helpful to work with parchment paper to avoid sticking and make it easy to cut and serve after the dough has chilled. If you only have wax paper on hand, that'll work.

How to Make Potato Candy

The key is getting the dough to a place that feels like a stiff potato dough — like cookie dough but a bit stiffer. Once the dough is the right consistency, it is easy to work with and roll up using the jelly roll method.

potato candy batter
Emily Laurae

The cold mashed potatoes, as the name suggests, are key in this recipe because they act as a binder, holding the candy's ingredients together.

When preparing this nostalgic dessert, we recommend using the jelly-roll method. This method simply uses a piece of parchment paper as a guide to help you roll the confection into tight, beautiful layers.

potato candy rolled out
Emily Laurae

Speaking of chilling the dough, this is a no-bake recipe. Hands-on time is roughly 30 minutes, and the dough needs about an hour in the freezer before this "candy" is ready to eat. The candy will stay good for a week or so if kept in an airtight container.

potato candy rolls
Emily Laurae

Why We Love this Recipe

We adore the texture of fudge, but sometimes it's just too rich. This recipe reminds us a little of fudge though, with its creamy, unctuous texture and toothsome bite, yet its sweetness comes from powdered sugar.

It's rich without being over-the-top though, and a little—after a meal, maybe with coffee in the morning before working in the garden—goes a long way.

Plus, it's a fun conversation starter! Candy! Made from potatoes! Who would've thought?

Editorial contributions by Stacey Lastoe.

Ingredients

  • cup peeled, cooked, and mashed russet potato, cold (about 1 large potato)

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • teaspoon table salt

  • 6 to 7 cups powdered sugar

  • Parchment paper

  • cup creamy peanut butter

Directions

  1. Beat mashed potato and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric mixer 2 minutes. Beat in 6 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add up to 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, to form dough.

  2. Gather dough into a ball; dust with powdered sugar. Roll to ⅛ inch thick on parchment paper, and cut into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle. Generously sprinkle powdered sugar over dough, and place a piece of parchment paper over rectangle. Invert rectangle; discard parchment paper on top.

  3. Spread peanut butter over dough. Starting at 1 long side, tightly roll up candy, jelly-roll fashion, using parchment paper as a guide. Wrap in parchment paper, and freeze 1 hour. Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, and serve. Refrigerate sliced candy in an airtight container up to 1 week.

    potato candy
    Emily Laurae/Southern Living
Updated by
Stacey Lastoe
Stacey Lastoe

Stacey Lastoe is a former senior editor for CNN Travel with an Emmy for her work. Now a freelancer, her work can be found in Allrecipes, Refinery29, American Way, The Kitchn, Fodor's, and Wine Enthusiast. Stacey lives with her husband and dog in New York.

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