Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. Serve them up hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions.
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It’s almost time for the “wearin’ o’ the green.” The one day every year that people of Irish heritage set aside to honor Ireland’s foremost patron saint, St. Patrick.
March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish) is a cultural and religious celebration of the traditional date of death of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461). The day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.
Celebrations include parades and festivals, céilithe (traditional Irish music), and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. But have you ever wondered why shamrocks are associated with the Irish? Well, it’s because St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.
Visiting St. Patrick’s Rock
When we visited Ireland several years ago, one of the most fascinating places we saw was St. Patrick’s Rock, also known as the Rock of Cashel. It’s a huge complex in the heart of Tipperary.
The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig in Irish) is also known as Cashel of the Kings. It’s reputed to be the site of the conversion of Aenghus (Angus) the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD. Long before the Norman invasion, the Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster.
Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries. When we visited we had a wonderful tour guide who explained all the different architectural influences that appear in the buildings at Cashel.
But, getting back to modern St. Patrick’s Day observances, the one dish that seems to be synonymous with Paddy’s Day and all things Irish in the U.S., corned beef and cabbage, is very rarely eaten in Ireland.
In Irish Country Cooking, chef Malachi McCormick says he likes corned beef, “But our national dish? No, it’s a New World dish!” It’s just not eaten there, and it’s certainly not washed down with cups full of green beer.
I’m sorry but dancing leprechauns and dyed green food as a celebration of Irish culture just really sets me off. So, that’s why every year for St. Patrick’s I make it a point to cook something traditionally and authentically Irish. And this year’s recipe is Boxty!
How to Make Traditional Irish Boxty (Potato Pancakes)
Boxty (bacstaí in Irish) is a traditional Irish potato pancake mostly associated with the north midlands. In some areas, it’s known as poundy or potato bread. ‘Boxty’ comes from the Irish aran bocht tí (‘poorhouse bread’) so-called because potatoes and buttermilk were very nearly the only things poor Irish people had to eat in the workhouses of the 1800s.
If you’d like to make an authentic Irish recipe for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, boxty is just about as traditional as you can get!
Put the grated raw potatoes in the center of a clean cloth. Twist tightly to remove as much moisture as possible.
Next, in a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk or stir with a fork to combine.
In a large bowl, stir together the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, eggs, and onions.
Stir the flour mixture into the potato mixture.
Add enough of the milk to make a batter.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the oil and half the butter. Drop the batter by generously heaping tablespoons into the oil and butter. Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).
Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream on each.
🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like
- Champ for Your St . Patrick’s Day
- Irish Stew
- Brown Irish Soda Bread
- Leek and Potato Soup
- Cranachan (not Irish but Scots – it’s close :-) )
More Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
- 1 cup potatoes peeled and grated (see notes in post)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Sour cream and green onions for serving
- Put the grated raw potatoes in the center of a clean cloth. Twist tightly to remove as much moisture as possible. See further notes in post about how to prepare the raw potatoes.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk or stir with a fork to combine.
- In a large bowl, stir together the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, eggs, and onions.
- Stir the flour mixture into the potato mixture.
- Slowly stir in the milk using only enough to make a batter. Aim for a consistency like thick pancake batter.
- Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the oil and half the butter. Drop the batter by generously heaping tablespoons into the oil and butter. Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side). Repeat with the remaining batter until all is used.
- Place finished pancakes on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet and keep them warm in a low oven.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream on each.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.