Grandma’s Potato Candy

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When we think about our childhood, certain memories stand out more than others. For many, it’s the taste of grandma’s potato candy that brings back a flood of nostalgia. This simple yet delightful treat has its roots in a time of hardship and resilience – the Great Depression.

A Sweet Memory from Tough Times

The Great Depression was a period of economic downturn that lasted from 1929 to 1939. It was a time when families had to make do with what they had, and creativity in the kitchen was a necessity. Amidst this challenging era, a unique dessert emerged – potato candy.

Potato candy is a testament to the resourcefulness of those who lived through the Great Depression. With just a few basic ingredients – potatoes, powdered sugar, and peanut butter – families could create a sweet treat that brought joy during tough times.

More Than Just a Treat

But potato candy wasn’t just about satisfying a sweet tooth. It was also a symbol of resilience and ingenuity. Families were able to turn something as humble as a potato into a delicious dessert, proving that even in the face of adversity, they could find ways to bring happiness and comfort.

The Legacy Lives On

Today, the tradition of making potato candy continues in many families. It’s not just about the candy itself, but the memories and stories that come with it. Making potato candy is a way for us to connect with our past, to remember the struggles and triumphs of those who came before us, and to pass on their legacy of resilience and creativity to future generations.

Grandma’s potato candy is more than just a nostalgic treat. It’s a sweet reminder of our history, a testament to human resilience, and a tradition that continues to bring families together. So, the next time you bite into a piece of potato candy, remember the story behind it and appreciate the sweet taste of resilience.

Grandma’s Potato Candy

Grandma’s Potato Candy (also called peanut butter pinwheels) is a classic recipe from the Great Depression that only requires a handful of ingredients.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Course candy
Cuisine American


  • ½ cup cooked mashed potatoes cooled to room temp
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 cups powdered sugar plus more for dusting
  • cup creamy peanut butter


  • Place the cooled mashed potatoes into a large bowl. Add the butter and beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir in until combined.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, fully mixing in the first cup before adding the next. How much you use depends on how watery your mashed potato is as well as humidity, etc.
  • You want the consistency to be like cookie dough that you can roll out. When you put a little bit in your fingers you should be able to press and mold it together.
  • In this step, you have to work pretty quickly because it can dry out. Layout a large piece of wax or parchment paper, dust it generously with powdered sugar. Place the potato mixture on the paper, add a generous amount of powdered sugar on top.
  • Roll it out to ¼ inch thick. Try to get this into a rectangle shape as well as you can.
  • Smear the peanut butter all over the top leaving a half-inch border.
  • Tightly roll into a long log. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and roll the log up and tuck the ends under. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.
  • Unwrap on a cutting board and cut into ¼-½ inch slices to serve.


Do not use instant potatoes for this recipe, they are too watery.
Keyword christmas candy, depression era candy, grandma’s potato candy, no bake candy
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