Authentic St. Patrick’s Day Recipes For A Traditional Irish Feast


St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish culture, heritage, and traditions, and there’s no better way to honor the occasion than by indulging in some delicious traditional Irish food. From hearty stews and soups to classic desserts, Irish cuisine is full of comforting and flavorful dishes that are perfect for the occasion. Join us as we explore some of the best traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipes from the Emerald Isle.



Irish Stew

Irish stew is a traditional comfort food that has been enjoyed for centuries in Ireland. The origins of this hearty and flavorful Irish specialty can be traced back to the farmers and rural communities of Ireland, where it was often made with whatever ingredients were available, including lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables, along with a variety of herbs and spices. The stew is typically simmered for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together, resulting in a rich and hearty dish that is perfect for chilly winter nights.

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The dish gained widespread popularity in Ireland during the 19th century, when it became a staple of Irish pub cuisine. Today, Irish stew is still a popular dish in Ireland and is often served on special occasions, such as St. Patrick’s Day. So gather ’round the pot, and let the good times stew!



  • 2 pounds lamb or mutton, cut into chunks
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb or mutton and brown on all sides.
  2. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions to the pot, and stir to combine.
  3. Add the beef stock, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot.


While there is no one definitive recipe for Irish stew, it is generally made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, carrots, onions, and other root vegetables, such as parsnips or turnips. In fact, many Irish families would have their own unique recipe for Irish stew that was passed down through generations.


Shepherd’s Pie

No St. Patrick’s day celebration will be complete without shepherd’s pie. And we’re not talking about the monstrosity that Rachel Green made in Season 6 of Friends. Just to be clear, a traditional shepherd’s pie doesn’t have ladyfingers, raspberries, bananas, jam, custard, or whipped cream. At the same time, a traditional English trifle doesn’t contain beef, peas, or onions.

Shepherds pie with ground meat, vegetables, and potatoes

Shepherd’s pie has been a staple meal in British pubs and households since the mid-1800s. It was inspired by cottage pie, though people back then used to call one the other. Eventually, they made the distinction that shepherd’s pie contains lamb or sheep while cottage pie uses beef. That said, here’s the classic St. Patrick’s day recipe:



  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground lamb or beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened.
  4. Add the tomato paste and beef stock to the skillet and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  5. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch baking dish.
  6. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the meat mixture.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the mashed potatoes are golden brown.
  8. Serve hot.


As mentioned shepherd’s pie uses lamb meat or mutton, but since they’re not that popular in the country, you can substitute ground beef or turkey. That means you can serve cottage pie at St. Patrick’s Day dinner and make it a traditional celebration meal. Also, if you want to add some extra flavor, instead of beef stock, you can use Guinness or Murphy’s stout for the sauce. Enjoy!



Colcannon is another one of the many authentic St. Patrick’s Day recipes that deserves a spot on your table. It’s an Irish side dish typically made with potatoes, cabbage or kale, cream, and butter. You can also add other vegetables like leeks or carrots if you’d like.

Traditional Irish side dish called colcannon

Its exact origins are not clear, but it is a fact that colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that has been around for centuries. The name is derived from the Gaelic word “cal ceannann,” which means “white-headed cabbage.” Before it became an integral part of St. Patrick’s Day feasts, colcannon was initially a Halloween staple and served as a fortune-telling snack. In those days, you’d find an object such as a stick, rag, or coin in the dish that supposedly foretold the future. If you get a stick, you’d get some smacking from your spouse. A rag meant you’ll be poor while a coin signified wealth. No matter, what your luck is for this year, you can still enjoy this delicious side dish.



  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 head cabbage or a bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender.
  2. Boil the cabbage or kale in a separate pot of salted water until tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes and cabbage or kale.
  4. Mash the potatoes and cabbage or kale together in a large bowl.
  5. Add the butter to the mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot.


Like the other St. Patrick’s Day recipes in this list, the ingredients may differ from family to family. Some versions, for example, ask for heavy cream or milk. Others use additional vegetables like chard and green onion. And then there are some who add bacon bits to give their colcannon a meaty and smoky flavor. So feel free to tweak the recipe however you want and make it your own. But no matter how you make it, one thing’s for sure: colcannon will delight your taste buds and make St. Patrick’s Day dinner even more memorable.


Irish Soda Bread

While potatoes are still on top of the list when it comes to Irish cuisine staples, bread is a close contender. As a matter of fact, the Irish enjoyed their bread even before potatoes came to Ireland. It all started with oatcakes, which were the bread of choice of the Gaelic Irish, followed by wheaten bread, which was introduced by the Anglo-Normans and started to grow in popularity in the 1100s. Eventually, bread made of refined flour became the bread of choice among the rich while those who couldn’t afford them used wholemeal brown flour.

Soda bread in a cast iron pan with cranberries and pecans

Interestingly, Irish soda bread came a lot later. Around the 1830s to 1840s, in fact. Soda bread became popular at the time since Ireland was experiencing a deep economic hardship then and the ingredients to make other kinds of bread were limited. The Irish started using less expensive baking soda instead of yeast. Since then, Irish soda bread became part of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day menu. 



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk



  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and stir until a sticky dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it’s smooth.
  5. Shape the dough into a round loaf.
  6. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and score an X on the top of the loaf.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  8. Serve warm.




Boxty is another Irish specialty that’s traditionally served on Halloween though it is perfectly okay for it to make an appearance at your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. This authentic Irish recipe can probably be described as the lovechild of a pancake and a hashbrown. Basically, it’s a potato pancake.

Homemade boxty (Irish potato pancakes)

Like other authentic St. Patrick’s Day recipes, boxty has been enjoyed for generations. It is a simple yet hearty dish that is made with grated potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes eggs. The mixture is then formed into pancakes and fried until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s typically served as a side dish with breakfast or dinner and, as mentioned, it’s a great addition to your St. Patrick’s Day feast.

The origins of boxty can be traced back to the mid-18th century in rural Ireland. At that time, potatoes were a staple crop in Ireland and were used in a variety of dishes. Boxty was a way for Irish families to stretch their food budget by using the leftovers from previous meals to create a new dish.

Over the years, different regions developed their own unique versions of the recipe. In some areas, boxty was made with grated raw potatoes, while in others, it was made with boiled mashed potatoes. Some recipes added in other ingredients, such as bacon or onions, to add more flavor.



  • 2 cups grated raw potatoes
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (optional)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted



  1. Peel and grate two cups of raw potatoes using a box grater.
  2. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the grated potatoes using a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated potatoes with two cups of mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together one cup of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and mix well. If the mixture is too thick, you can add up to 1/2 cup of buttermilk to thin it out.
  6. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of butter and let it melt.
  7. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the potato mixture onto the skillet. Use a spatula to flatten the mixture into a pancake shape, about 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Cook the boxty for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more butter to the skillet as needed.
  10. Serve the boxty hot with your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, chives, or smoked salmon.


Apple Cake

You can’t have a feast without some dessert. Apple cake is a traditional Irish dessert that is perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner. The exact origin of Irish apple cake is unknown, but it’s believed to have been created in rural Ireland, particularly in County Kerry where apples were abundant and readily available.

Irish apple cake

The cake’s popularity in Ireland grew in the 19th and 20th centuries when sugar and butter became more affordable and widely available. Irish apple cake became a popular dessert to serve on special occasions, such as holidays, weddings, and other celebrations.

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Today, Irish apple cake is a popular dessert that is enjoyed around the world. Its popularity has only grown in recent years, as people look for ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and connect with Irish culture.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon, for sprinkling on top



  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the sliced apples.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the cake.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Serve Irish apple cake warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Enjoy!


Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Another hearty dessert you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day is Irish bread pudding. This traditional Irish dessert dates back to the early 1800s when the dish was first created as a way to use up stale bread that would otherwise have gone to waste. Bread was a staple food in Ireland at the time, and households would typically bake their own bread daily. Leftover bread would be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and puddings.

Irish bread pudding with whiskey sauce

Over time, Irish bread pudding became a popular dessert in its own right, and it is now enjoyed not only in Ireland but also in many other countries around the world. The dish is often served with a drizzle of cream or a scoop of ice cream, and it is a comforting and delicious way to use up leftover bread.


Ingredients for Bread Pudding:

  • 8-10 cups of stale bread, cut into cubes
  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of raisins or currants (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted


Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of Irish whiskey


Directions for Bread Pudding:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Add the bread cubes and raisins (if using) to the bowl and stir until the bread is coated in the milk mixture.
  5. Pour the melted butter over the bread mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the pudding is set.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.


Directions for Whiskey Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the heavy cream and brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the whiskey.
  5. Serve the bread pudding warm with a drizzle of whiskey sauce on top.


You can serve this authentic St. Patrick’s Day dish to children but it’s best that they lay off the whiskey sauce. Some recipes for whiskey sauce may not contain a significant amount of alcohol or may be cooked in such a way that the alcohol is evaporated. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to children’s diets and avoid serving them dishes that contain alcohol.

Another option is to serve Irish bread pudding with a non-alcoholic sauce. You can also offer a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead. Now that’s something both kids and adults will love!


Fun St. Patrick’s Day Activities for the Family

There are plenty of other authentic St. Patrick’s Day recipes that’d make your celebration extra special. From traditional Irish stew to shepherd’s pie and soda bread, there are plenty of ways to ensure your St. Patrick’s Day festivities go off without a hitch. So why not get in the spirit this year and enjoy some tasty Irish dishes? And while you’re at it, check out Gentleman Pirate Club for more tips on how to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. Sláinte! (Cheers!)



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