Beyond Corned Beef: 15 Traditional Irish Foods to Eat on St. Patrick's Day

Irish cuisine is diverse and delicious

Beyond Corned Beef: 15 Traditional Irish Foods to Eat on St. Patrick's Day

Beyond Corned Beef: 15 Traditional Irish Foods to Eat on St. Patrick's Day

Photo Modified: Flickr / slgckgc / CC BY 4.0

Everyone’s a little bit Irish when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, or at least they try to be. For many of us, that means cramming ourselves into the local faux-Irish pub, drinking overpriced green beer and Guinness, and eating a sad attempt at corned beef and cabbage or soggy fish and chips. But there are plenty of Irish culinary options out there that don’t involve corned beef, and we’ve tracked down 15 that you should really know about. 

Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage

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The precursor to corned beef and cabbage, bacon and cabbage isn’t made with the smoky pork belly bacon you eat on Sunday; it’s made with Irish bacon, which is cut from the loin, cured, and unsmoked. The dish is made by boiling Irish bacon with cabbage and potatoes, and then usually topping it with a cream sauce.

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash
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This dish is popular all throughout the British Isles, and is a common example of “pub grub.” Bangers are sausages (usually pork and heavily seasoned with sage), and mash is, well, mashed potatoes. The duo is usually topped with a ladle of onion-based gravy.

Battered Sausage

Battered Sausage
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This is just what it sounds like: a banger that’s been battered and deep-fried. Typically found at fish and chip shops (the batter is usually the same one that’s used on the fish), it’s a perfect (and perfectly unhealthy) junk food. 

Boxty

Boxty

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A boxty is essentially the Irish take on the potato pancake. It’s made by combining mashed potatoes with grated potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and an egg, then cooking it like a pancake on a griddle. It can be served as a side dish for meat-based dishes, or can even be used as a wrap. 

Champ

Champ

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Champ is about as simple as it gets: mashed potatoes with butter and milk, as well as a big handful of chopped scallions. 

Coddle

Coddle

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A coddle, also sometimes called a Dublin coddle, is Irish comfort food, and was originally invented as a way to use up leftovers. It’s usually made by boiling pork sausages and slices of Irish back bacon (called rashers) with sliced potatoes, onions, and occasionally barley and parsley. 

Colcannon

Colcannon

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Colcannon is similar to champ in that its base is mashed potatoes. There are many regional variations, but traditional recipes usually also include milk, butter, salt, pepper, and greens including spring onions, leeks, chives, and kale or cabbage. Usually eaten in the winter (when kale is in season), it’s typically eaten with boiled ham or Irish bacon. 

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

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Cottage pie is made by mixing ground beef and vegetables, adding the mixture to a casserole dish, and topping it with mashed potatoes, which are then browned on top. It was created as a way to use up leftover meat and potatoes. 

Farl

Farl

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A farl is a quick, circular bread made by mixing dough (whish usually includes potatoes) and spreading it on a griddle or frying pan, cutting it into quarters, and flipping when each side is done. It’s a traditional component of a full Irish breakfast, in particular the Ulster fry, which doesn’t contain white pudding. 

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

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A full Irish “fry-up” is a hearty breakfast made up of plenty of components, in the British tradition. An Irish breakfast is usually comprised of fried eggs, Irish bacon rashers, sausages, white pudding, black pudding, beans, a fried tomato, and bread, which can be anything from a farl to a boxty to brown soda bread. 

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

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A classic Irish comfort food dinner, Irish stew can be any combination of meat and vegetables slow-cooked in a stew. Most traditional recipes call for some combination of lamb or beef (or occasionally goat or mutton), potatoes, onions, parsley, carrots, and pearl barley, simmered for two or more hours. 

Pastie

Pastie

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Another chip shop staple common to Northern Ireland, a traditional Irish pastie is made by forming a patty with minced pork, onion, potatoes, and spices, dipping it into a batter, and deep-frying it. This is very different from the English or Cornish pasty, which is more similar to a meat-filled  turnover. 

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s pie is similar to a cottage pie, but with one difference: Whereas cottage pie can be made with basically any kind of meat, a true shepherd’s pie must be made with only ground lamb. 

Soda Bread

Soda Bread

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Technically, a soda bread is any type of bread made with baking soda as a leavening agent instead of yeast. In Ireland there are a couple varieties: the one made with soft wheat flour that you usually find in American supermarkets around St. Patrick’s Day, and a whole-grain variety commonly known as brown bread. They’re both delicious, especially when toasted and topped with some Irish butter, like Kerrygold. 

Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

Meat pies are one of the staple pub foods of the British Isles (and former colonies like Australia), and they’re very common in both Northern and southern Ireland. It’s usually made of meat and vegetables in a thick gravy, topped with pastry crust and baked until golden brown and bubbling. The fillings can vary, but the most commonly-found ones are steak and Guinness pie and steak and kidney pie.