St Patrick’s Day food: 8 traditional Irish recipes to celebrate Ireland’s feast day

Potatoes, cabbage and bread feature heavily in the traditional Irish menu

St Patrick’s Day is one of the most recognised and celebrated feast days of any saint, with parades and parties usually taking place around the world. 

On 17 March, families and friends gather to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland and Irish heritage and culture more generally- and this often includes traditional Irish dishes. 

Due to the climate and agriculture in Ireland, potatoes, cabbage, onion and meats heavily feature in the Irish menu. 

Here are eight tasty Irish dishes to help you celebrate Saint Paddy’s day in 2021.

Irish stew 

This hearty lamb stew is certain to warm up your St Patrick’s Day celebrations – with two types of potato and chunks of tender meat. 


1.8kg middle necks of lamb, filleted 

650g floury potatoes, such as King Edward

650g waxy potato, such as Desirée or Pentland Javelin

1kg carrots

2 onions

½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

chopped fresh chives and parsley, to garnish

3 litres of vegetable or lamb stock 

(serves 4)


Step 1: Reduce your stock down by boiling it in a pan 

Step 2: Prepare the stew – cut the lamb into large chunks and peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into similar chunks to those of the meat. Put the two different types of potato in separate bowls of water to keep them white. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice the onions into thick rings.

Step 3: Add the lamb and stock into a large pot and bring to the boil. 

Skim any impurities off the surface of the skew, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Step 4:  Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions. Season generously and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5: Add the waxy potatoes and thyme. Simmer until the lamb is tender (15-20 minutes). Take off the heat, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Garnish and serve.


Creamy colcannon is a staple mashed potato dish in Irish cuisine, made from the main ingredients used by many families in Ireland – potatoes, bacon, cabbage and cream. 

It is usually served as a side accompaniment to Irish Stew or beef sausages. 


1kg potato, well scrubbed

100g butter

140g sliced back bacon, finely chopped

1 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded

150ml double cream

(serves 4) 


Step 1: Add potatoes to a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil, then simmer until the flesh is tender when pierced. (15 mins)

Step 2: Meanwhile, melt 25g of butter in a saucepan, then add the bacon and half the cabbage and fry for 5 mins. 

Turn off the heat and set aside. Drain potatoes in a colander and peel while still hot and mash until smooth.

Step 3: Heat the cream with the remaining butter until nearly boiling, then beat into the potato. Add bacon and cabbage to the potatoes and mix. Season with salt and pepper. 

Irish coffee 

This deliciously creamy Irish coffee recipe was created by coffee liqueur company, Bailey’s


60 ml Baileys Original Irish Cream

150ml hot coffee

30ml Irish whisky  (such as Jameson’s or Connemara Peated Single Malt)

1 large dollop of whipped cream


Step 1: mix the Bailey’s, coffee and whisky

Step 2: add whipped cream on top 

Step 3: Enjoy! 

Soda Bread 

Every Irish family will have a handed-down, don’t-dare-alter soda bread recipe. 

Be it your granny’s, great auntie’s or a distant relative remembered for their baking expertise, the soda bread is an Irish classic. 

If you don’t, why not try this one by James Martin?


170g/6oz wholemeal flour

170g/6oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

0.5 tsp salt

0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

290ml of buttermilk


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough

If the dough is a bit stiff, add a splash of milk.

Step 3: Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.

Step 4: Cut a cross on the top (to let the fairies out, an Irish tradition) and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.


An image of champ.

Champ is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes with scallions or spring onions, butter, and milk. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Much the same as Colcannon, champ makes use of easy to find ingredients which are cheap and hearty. 

The dish is simple to make and is a delicious accompaniment to a meaty main. This recipe by Sainsbury’s is super easy to make and takes only 20 minutes.


1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

50ml semi-skimmed milk

25g unsalted butter

100g spring onions, finely chopped

(serves 4)


Step 1: Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with the milk and butter until smooth.

Step 2: Stir the spring onions through the mash, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Guinness chocolate pudding 

This indulgent chocolate pud is boozy, rich and super easy to make. 

The preparation time is only around 30 minutes, and baking time is roughly 20 minutes. 

This recipe was developed by Esther Clark, deputy food writer for BBC Good Food


150g unsalted butter, plus extra for the ramekins

200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped

90g golden caster sugar

3 large eggs

90ml Guinness or other stout

clotted cream or thick double cream, to serve 

4 9x5cm ramekins 

(serves 4) 


Step 1:  Butter the insides of the ramekins. 

Add the butter, chocolate and a good pinch of salt into a heatproof bowl. Set over a small pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Step 2: Add the sugar and eggs to a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until pale, almost doubled in volume and thick enough to leave a trail when the beater is lifted out. 

Gently fold in the melted chocolate and the Guinness. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, then chill in the fridge for one hour.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking tray on the top shelf to heat up.

Step 3: Place the ramekins on the hot baking tray and bake for 18-20 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a minute, then serve with a dollop of cream, if you like.

Smoked salmon and potato fishcakes 

While fish cakes are a classic midweek dinner in Ireland, with their potato base, this recipe elevates them to a dish worthy of a Saint Patrick’s Day party. 

Created by Michelin star chef, Martin Blunos, these seasoned smoked salmon cakes are sure to go down a treat. 


300g potatoes, boiled and made into a dry mash

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 large free-range egg

Splash of sweet chilli sauce

115g smoked salmon

2 tbsp capers 

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

100ml milk

50g dried breadcrumbs

2 tbsp sunflower oil

(serves 4 large cakes)


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Add the mayonnaise to the potatoes in a large bowl, and stir in the egg yolk and sweet chilli sauce. 

Step 2: Stir in the smoked salmon, capers and dill and shape the mixture into fishcakes.

Step 3: In a shallow bowl, beat together the milk and egg white. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Coat the fishcakes in the egg white mixture then completely cover in breadcrumbs.

Step 4: Heat the oil in a shallow pan and fry the fishcakes until golden-brown on both sides. Place on a baking tray and cook for eight minutes in the oven.


Image of Barmback

This quick bread has added sultanas and raisins. (Picture: Shutterstock)

This traditional fruit tea loaf is bursting with flavour from the whisky and dried fruit. 

Tesco have shared an easy to follow recipe, perfect to enjoy with a cuppa. 


100g sultanas

100g currants

75g (3oz) dried figs, chopped

225g light brown sugar

3 tbsp Irish Whisky

300ml (10fl oz) tea (without milk), cooled

275g (9oz) self raising flour

1 egg, beaten

(makes one loaf, about 10 slices)


Step 1: Preheat the oven to gas mark 2, 150C, 300F. Put the fruit and sugar into a bowl, add the whisky and stir to mix, then pour over the tea. Cover and leave for several hours or overnight.

Step 2: Take a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin and lightly grease and line. Add flour and egg to the fruit and stir until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until the bread is well risen and firm to the touch.

Step 3: Allow to cool slightly in the tin and then turn out. Serve sliced and buttered.

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