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Needhams - Maine's Favorite Candy

Updated on February 5, 2017

The Unofficial Candy of the State of Maine

Needhams are a traditional potato candy for Mainers. They are especially popular during the holidays and just about everyone has a recipe. The base for the filling is actually mashed potatoes!

NOTE: These are not a low calorie treat. I'm a home baker so I don't know the calorie or carb count but they are low in neither.


  • 3/4 cup mashed potato
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 (1 lb.) pkgs. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 lb. flaked coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 sqares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cake (2 1/2" x 2 1/2") paraffin wax (2 1/2" x 2 1/2")


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Fill a 2 quart pot with water and add salt. Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and place in bowl. Mash potatoes with 1 stick melted butter, add confectioner's sugar, coconut, and vanilla. Mix well.
  2. Spread the mixture out on waxed paper or a buttered cookie sheet. Place in fridge to cool. When hard, cut into small squares. Alternatively you can roll the potato mixture into balls then cool.
  3. In a double boiler or very carefully over the stove, add parafin. When the wax is melted add both kinds of chocolate, melt, and stir well to mix.
  4. Dip the filling squares into the chocolate mixture, place on waxed paper to cool.
  5. Makes 4-6 dozen needhams depending on size. Store in the refrigerator.

Jazz Up Your Needhams

Try one of these variations:

1: Roll warm needhams in more shaved coconut or sprinkle some on top.

2: Add chopped almonds to the filling.

3: Spread chopped or whole almonds on top of warm needhams.

4: Sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top.

5: Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.

6: Add chopped walnuts on top.

7: Mix fresh or dried fruit into the filling.

8: Top with fresh strawberries or blueberries.

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I grew up in maine from 1970 till 1992 before leaving and now i am home again. I have been looking for these handmade NEEDHAMS made in Lewiston, maine. I used to eat them all the time and i think they went out of business. They were sold in ever variety store growing up and cvs even for so many years. They were a sqare needham and were as one single bar. They came in an orange in white maybe paper wrapper . the wrapper was not even sealed but just folded over . DOES ANYONE ELSE REMEMBER THESE. THEY MAY HAVE BEEN AROUND IN 50'S AND 60'S AS WELL BUT DEFINITELY ALL THROUGH THE 70'S....80'S....AND 90'S I BELIEVE. HELP ME. CAN'T FIND THEM ANYWHERE ONLINE OR IN STORES ANYMORE SO IF YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THEY JUST WENT OUT OF BUSINESS O WHAT. THANK YOU SO MUCH

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      7 years ago

      I love candy. I love mashed potatoes. You're giving me a way to combine the two of them? Brilliant!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Helpful lens for me.I will try this recipe at my home.Thanks for all sharing...

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      8 years ago from So Cal

      I was going to do a lens on Needhams since I have my mom's recipe but I can't top yours so I am not even going to try. Great lens!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Potato candy? Interesting! I think Brach's candy is Michigan's favorite candy!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      First time I hear about this candy. Might try it.


    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      10 years ago

      I've not heard of these - and am now very intrigued, and eager to make some! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I've never heard of this. I love potatoes, I love sweets...guess it should be a hit with me!

    • Angelina Gherna profile image


      10 years ago from California

      great recipe and thanks for stopping by my bake sale and have a wonderful assortment of artistic lenses...very impressive...5 stars and I'm sure many lensrolls

    • Sheryl Westleigh profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheryl Westleigh 

      10 years ago from Maine

      Yams? I've never heard of anyone making needhams with yams so this could be a first. Let me know how it turns out!

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      I think I'm going to try these with mashed yams. That sounds really good.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have never heard of this before! Potatoes? Facinating.


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