Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy

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This recipe for Peanut Butter Pinwheels has been passed down in my family for generations! Don’t let the secret ingredient fool you, these are a classic favorite candy that I’m sure you’re going to love!

Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy stacked on top of each other.

Hi everyone! Sam here again from Sugar Spun Run and today I am so excited to share one of my family’s favorite recipes. These peanut butter pinwheels have been in my family for generations, we make them every year around Easter and Christmas time.

I love that this is an no-bake recipe, and that’s part of what makes them a holiday favorite that I grew up making. While my mom would be using the oven to prep holiday dinner essentials, I would stay out of her way making classic no-bake treats like my favorite no-bake cookies and these peanut butter pinwheels.

Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy cut into pieces

There is a somewhat unexpected ingredient in these peanut butter pinwheels: potatoes.

Please, don’t be alarmed by the fact that this recipe uses potatoes!

I won’t lie, I was definitely alarmed the first time my mom ever shared this recipe with me, I actually thought she’d lost her mind. I love potatoes in savory recipes like mashed potatoes and potato soup, but potatoes in candy!?

Trust me, it works. The potatoes serve as the binding base for your sweet pinwheel dough, and by tasting them you’d never be able to tell that they’re the secret ingredient in this recipe. There are a few things to take note of when making this candy, though…

Peanut butter pinwheel rolled together. Cut off the end To show the roll.

How do you make Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy

As I mentioned, you’re going to start with potatoes. Specifically, mashed potatoes.

I definitely do not recommend using leftover mashed potatoes that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, or anything else. Instead, use one or two russet potatoes, peel them, dice them, boil until tender, drain, and then mash really well. Allow these potatoes to cool completely at room temperature before moving forward.

Make sure the potatoes are completely cooled, otherwise they will melt the powdered sugar that you add and you’ll end up with a runny mess. Don’t try to speed up the cooling process by putting your hot potatoes in the fridge, as I’ve found this often causes condensation that will also make your dough too runny.

Then, add your mashed potatoes into a bowl with butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar and continue to add sugar until the dough is firm. Chill in the refrigerator for up to an hour, and then roll it out into a rectangle, spread peanut butter evenly over the center, roll it up and slice!

Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy stacked on top of each other on a plate.

The dough is extremely versatile and can also be rolled into egg shapes and dipped in unsweetened or dark chocolate (another Easter favorite in my house), or rolled into cigar shapes and rolled through cinnamon (use straight cinnamon, not a cinnamon/sugar mixture, as the dough is sweet enough that a mix is not needed).



Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy

5 from 10 votes
Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candies are made with an unexpected but essential ingredient. This is a family favorite recipe that's been passed down for generations!
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Author Samantha Merritt
Servings: 40 pinwheels


  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes*
  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Creamy peanut butter for filling


  • With electric mixer, combine mashed potatoes, butter, and 1 cup sugar.
  • Add in remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time. Start by adding 6 cups of powdered sugar, if the dough is not moldable in your hands and can't be rolled into a ball, continue to add sugar until it is firm.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Refrigerate filling for 1 hour.
  • Once chilled, divide dough into two pieces and place one piece on a clean surface that you've generously dusted with powdered sugar. Dust the surface of the dough with additional sugar, and use a rolling pin to roll dough out into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Make sure that your dough can be rolled at this point, if it's too sticky or falling apart, you may need to add more sugar, re-shape it into a ball, and start over.
  • Once dough has been rolled into a 1/4" rectangle, spread evenly with peanut butter, leaving a small amount of space peanut butter-free around the perimeter of the dough.
  • Starting with the longer side of your rectangle, gently but tightly roll into a lot.
  • Use a knife to slice into pieces about 1/2" thick.
  • Repeat steps 5-8 with remaining half of dough.
  • Serve and enjoy.


Use russet potatoes, peel, dice, and boil until tender. Drain potatoes and then mash well. Allow potatoes to sit at room temperature until completely cooled before making your filling.


Serves: 40

Calories71kcal (4%)Carbohydrates18g (6%)Sodium1mgSugar18g (20%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic


Samantha Merritt

Sam is the baker behind the website Sugar Spun Run, where she shares sweet, simple, and from-scratch dessert recipes (usually of the chocolate variety!). She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two dogs, Penny and Leia.

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      1. This is the way I make it. I use instant to get the right texture spread powder sugar on my board and roll it out, fridge for a couple hours then cut—this is addicting–very sweet but oh so good. I have not made this in years. I am going to make it again!

      2. my mom used instant all the time couldn’t tell any difference from when she used to make it from boiled when I was a kid tasted same great either way

  1. My mother used to make this candy when I was a little and it was a favorite. I haven’t made it in years. Now, I want to make some! Thanks for reminding of such a simple recipe filled with lots of memories. 🙂

  2. Made this all my life. Used my families recipe. Our guys in Service requested this all the time. I had never heard of using potatoes. We made a recipe of boiled frosting then Rolled It out on confectioners sugar working it in… Add layer of peanut butter. Roll up and chill till firm to cut. It never crumbles using boiled frosting method and so good. Yes This method is a lot more work but worth it. I only do it at all holidays.

    1. Yes, you can freeze this. You can leave it in the roll before cutting into slices and wrap it in plastic wrap then place in a ziplock bag with the air removed and leave in the freezer for up to 1 month.

  3. My grandmother used to make this when I was growing up. It kind of taste like peanut butter fudge. Such good memories. I have made it a few times and people are always surprised by the mashed potatoes. One of my favorites and a great way to use the leftovers.

    1. There is a way to make them without patatos also i make them without my recipe is like rt above ive never heard of the patato one till now i might just try it though

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you! Our neighbor made this for us when I was 7 yrs old (over 50 years ago) and I’ve never found a recipe that is similar. So many make it without potatoes, and it’s not the same thing at all.

  5. I am 68 yrs. Old , my grandmother use to make this every Christmas, now I make it every Christmas. I alw says loved it BUT I have tweeked it and my family and friends love it . So I will share my secret with you. You just try this you will never believe how much better it is. And I loved it like grandmother made but seems like it crumbled some . So I use the same recipe you do but without potatos.
    In the same recipe leave the potatoes out and add 2 8oz.
    cream cheese, that’s right cream cheese let it be room temperature. Oh and you can also make chocolate. Yes you can I like chocolate to taste like chocolate, so in this respect I would put 6 Tb.spones of cocoa powder mix in powdered sugar and sift it in. If you like chocolate you will love this. Let me know how you like it if you do.if you like it feel free to pass it on. Thank you for this sweet reminder of times go by. God bless.

    1. 5 stars
      I make it like that as well, my kids love the chocolate, and the vanilla, we had it when I was a kid, my mom called it poor man’s candy.

  6. Delicious but the recipe seems a bit off. Calls for 6 to 7 cups of powdered sugar, give or take depending on moisture. Well, I had three 2 lb. bags in the pantry, then I bowered 2 more pounds from my neighbor and then, I ran to the grocery store and had to add another pound. I followed the recipe to a T and was really shocked at how different my experience with this was than the author’s presentation. This was not exactly difficult, but this is NOT a simple and quick recipes by any means. As I said it is delicious but proceed with caution.

    1. Melissa I have found if you pat your potatoes dry (I literally smash them down between two towels) and try to soak up some of the moisture in them or use baked potatoes (no added moisture)it takes less sugar… I hope you have better luck next time!

  7. 5 stars
    For generations, my family has been making these, only we called it “Potato Candy.” Sometimes we didn’t add the potato. They are delicious and addicting either way. Since the white portion is very sweet, I always spread the peanut butter on generously for a good balance. I personally found the dough part much easier to work with when I didn’t refrigerate it until after I’d rolled it out, spread the peanut butter on, and rolled it up into logs. Refrigerating it hardens the peanut butter logs making it easier to cut into pin wheels. It is basically a super thick frosting recipe with mashed potatoes included, with a filling of peanut butter. However, the taste is so much more than the sum of it’s ingredients. I considered substituting Nutella for the peanut butter, or making the dough chocolate and substituting the peanut butter with marzipan. These are also excellent without the potato; you’ll just have a slightly sweeter product. If you decide on Nutella, definitely use the potato. While I haven’t made this specific recipe, I’m very familar with it. My family never measured; we just added the ingredients. When using the peanut butter, if you find yourself without this recipe on hand, look up the recipe for vanilla butter cream frosting, make it as directed, then, keep adding confectioner sugar until you have a dough like consistency. Adding potato will only mean that you will need more confectioner sugar because of the moisture. You may want to cut the frosting recipe in half unless you intend to make an obscene amount of these, but then, would that really be the end of the world?

  8. 5 stars
    My mom used to make this candy when I was very small, I’m 70 years old now. I always think of my mother when I see this recipe.

  9. I started making these 60 yrs. Ago,but my variation is i use powdered sugar and put cinnamon on it before rolling it up.

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this for over 60 years and never heard of using potatoes. We use 10-X powdered sugar and evaporated milk plus vanilla flavoring a pinch of salt and red food color because it’s Christmas. Mix it till stiff then put in the icebox for about 15-20 minutes then roll out spread your peanut butter and roll and cut. And my grandkids just ask yesterday when I was making it this year because they want to help.

    1. I would love to try your recipe..our family has been using potatoes in our recipe for years as well…what a great idea with the food coloring.. i could make both recipes and design into a candy cane!

    2. I don’t remember the recipe that’s why I’m looking if up and i don’t remember using any potatoes eithet so im going to keep looking…. Lol.

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