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Potato Candy: the delicious, simple recipe for an old-fashioned holiday dessert

Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist

Also known as peanut butter pinwheels, potato candy is a tasty old-fashioned dessert that's perfect to make over the holidays, especially if you like gifting friends and families sweet treats from your kitchen.

Potato candy has a sweet, peanut buttery flavor and soft fudge-like texture. Despite being made from mashed potatoes, it doesn't taste at all like potatoes. Peanut butter pinwheels are super easy to make – you can even get your kids to help you make them!

What is Potato Candy?


Potato candy is an old-fashioned candy made from mashed potatoes, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. It's also known as peanut butter pinwheels. The dessert dates back to the 18th or 19th century and is thought to have been brought to America by either Irish, German, or Russian immigrants. No one is quite sure.

Potato candy is not the same as Irish potato candy, which is a dessert from Philadelphia. The latter isn't from Ireland and doesn't have potatoes in the recipe. It's made from coconut cream and cream cheese and rolled in cinnamon, which makes the sweets resemble potatoes.

What are the Best Potatoes for Peanut Butter Pinwheels?

Floury Russet or Idaho potatoes are perfect for making potato candy. Use any type of starchy potato for this recipe – essentially the same types of potatoes that are good for making mashed potatoes are excellent for making potato candy. Don't use waxy varieties like red potatoes. Instant mashed potatoes work, too. Just prepare them according to the instructions on the box, then proceed with the recipe as outlined below.

Potato Candy Ingredients

You only need five ingredients to make peanut butter pinwheels. Mashed potatoes are the main ingredient. Either made from scratch or instant mashed potatoes work in this recipe.

Powdered sugar adds sweetness and will make the mixture firm and easier to work.

Butter adds richness, while vanilla adds a subtle layer of flavor.

For the filling, you'll need smooth peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter is fine to use, too, if you like a crunchy texture.


How to Make Potato Candy

Making homemade potato candy couldn't be easier. Take your cooled mashed potatoes and place them in a bowl with 1 cup of powdered sugar and butter. Beat the mixture until smooth, then add the rest of the sugar one cup at a time until you get a firm yet workable dough. If the mixture is watery, add more sugar.

Add the vanilla, then pop the bowl in the fridge for about an hour. Dust a work surface with powdered sugar. This will help prevent your dough from sticking. Cut the dough into equal halves. Roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Coat with peanut butter, leaving a border around the edge of the rectangle. Roll the rectangle into a log, then slice it into 1/2-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough and peanut butter, then tuck in!

Tips for Making Peanut Butter Pinwheels

If you're making the mashed potatoes fresh, let them cool completely before making the dough for the potato candy.

If your dough falls apart, add more powdered sugar.

Don't forget to lightly coat your work surface with powdered sugar – this will help prevent the dough from sticking.

You can use powdered sweetener instead of powdered sugar to make your potato candy healthier.

You don't need to use peanut butter – any nut butter would be delicious in this recipe. Try almond butter, cashew butter, or hazelnut butter.

How to Store Potato Candy

Keep your potato candy in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 8 days.

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mashed potato
1/2 cup
salted butter at room temperature
1 stick
Powdered sugar
6 to 7 cups
pure vanilla extract
2 tsp
Creamy peanut butter


In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, butter, and 1 cup of powdered sugar until smooth.

Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing well after mixing in each cup.

Once the mixture is firm, add in the vanilla.

Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for about one hour or until it's firm but still easy to shape.

Dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Cut the dough into equal halves, then roll it out.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick.

Coat with peanut butter, leaving a 1/8-inch border around the edge of the rectangle.

Roll the rectangle into a log.

Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough and peanut butter. Serve and enjoy!


If you use unsalted butter instead of salt butter, add ¼ teaspoon salt to the mixture.

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