Boxty – Irish Potato Pancakes

Boxty is an easy Irish breakfast idea for St.Patrick’s day. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, this Irish potato pancake recipe should be the first that comes to your mind!

These traditional pancake style boxty are made with simple ingredients that most likely you already have in your pantry. It is an easy stove top recipe for any home cook.

Boxty - Irish Potato Pancakes, stacked on the plate with sour ceam and scallions on top

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Sure, we could eat boxty every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Savory potato pancakes smell so amazing, when cooking, it’s hard not to eat some right from the pan.

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Honestly it was actually hard for us to edit the photos of Irish potato pancakes without feeling hungry!

Boxty is a traditional Irish Breakfast recipe. These easy potato pancakes are made from mashed potatoes and shredded potatoes. One of the best Irish recipes for St. Patrick's Day!

Soft, buttery inside, perfect to serve with sour cream and chopped scallions on top. Boxty is a hearty vegetarian dish. But it also goes really well on a side, served with eggs, bacon, smoked salmon or cheese!

Don’t forget about homemade bread such as Irish Soda Bread – it will be a great addition to your breakfast or brunch table. But surely boxty is our favorite Irish potato dish!

What does boxty mean

If you’re Irish, skip this paragraph, haha! As far as I know, boxty means a poor house bread. It’s because it is made with simple ingredients that could be found in any Irish kitchen.

When was boxty invented? As far as I found, it was most popular in 1700s, originally from Ireland.

Potatoes are cheap, but filling, so it is heard to find savory Irish recipe without them. It’s a staple ingredient in Irish cuisine that helped poor families to survive. Also these Irish potato pancakes makes a tasty meatless meal!

So the boxty is made 70% of potatoes… and it is such a delicious and filling homemade breakfast. No surprise it is still popular nowadays! However it maybe not so cheap, if it’s on one of Irish pub’s menu, so I recommend making these easy potato pancakes at home!

Irish boxty pancakes served on a plate with cream and scallions.

True Irish saying says that you won’t get a man, if you can’t cook boxty. I can approve these potato pancakes make his belly happy and he wants to have them every week now, haha!

Well, don’t worry, it’s a pretty easy recipe any new home cook can make! I’ve created step by step instructions that you can follow to make a perfect potato pancake every time.

What is boxty made of?

There are 4 main ingredient to make boxty – grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, eggs and flour. Traditional Irish boxty is always mad, combining mashed potatoes with raw grated potatoes.

You will also need baking powder to create the volume and lighten the texture of the pancakes, as well as a little bit of full-fat milk for the perfect consistency of the batter. You can also use buttermilk instead of milk.

Of course you’ll need some Irish butter or vegetable oil for frying and a pan.

And I highly recommend serving these with sour cream and chopped scallions!

Irish potato pancake stack on a plate with green towel.

What if I don’t have mashed potatoes?

Oh no, you shouldn’t wait to make this recipe until you have some leftovers! You can check our Colcannon recipe and use it for boxty (they will add a lovely green hue for St. Patrick’s day food).

You should also check our post about Colcannon to find out what are the best potatoes – same can be used for mashed and grated in this boxty recipe.

Or just follow these steps to make basic mashed potatoes, but let them cool before mixing with other ingredients.

How to make mashed potatoes

This recipe makes about 2-3 cups of mashed potatoes, so you can double the recipe or eat mashed potatoes as a side dish for dinner!

How to make mashed potatoes step by step instuctions

Peel half a kilo or one pound of potatoes (about 5-6 potatoes depending on their size). Cut them in halves or quarters (this they will cook faster) and place them in the pot filled with cold water. Bring it to boil, then turn the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes.

Check if the potatoes are done with the fork. It should come into the potato easily, so it is soft enough. Carefully discard the liquid from the pot and put it back to the low heat for 1 minute, so the leftover liquid evaporates. Remove from heat.

Mash potatoes with potato masher, or if you don’t have it – use 2 forks. Add 1/2 cup milk in few bathes, combining with a spoon. Mash in a tablespoon of butter.

Mix with a spoon until you have the consistency of mashed potatoes that you like! Finally add salt and pepper to your taste.

Let it cool before adding to potato pancake mix!

How to make boxty potato pancakes

Prepare all the ingredients for making potato pancakes on a pan or griddle. In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Measure a cup of mashed potatoes.

Peel and grate the potatoes. I had to grate about 2 big potatoes to fit in 1 cup.

How to make boxty - Step by step instructions

Then put grated potatoes in a cheese cloth or clean towel and squeeze to remove the moisture. Don’t skip this step or potato batter will be too runny.

Mix a cup of grated potatoes with a cup of mashed potatoes, add 2 eggs. Add in flour mixture and mix everything together. Then start slowly adding the milk or buttermilk, until you reach the consistency of the pancake batter.

We’ve made boxty many times, and I think pancake-type batter gives it a lovely melt-in-your-mouth texture. You can also add less milk, if you want a chunky texture.

If the consistency of potato batter is too runny, you can add a little bit of flour, if it is too dry, add a little bit of milk. It should look like a pancake batter that should be easily spooned on a pan.

Frying boxty potato pancakes on a pan

Heat oil or butter in a pan on a medium-low heat. Add a tablespoon of mixture in the pan and make it round with a back of the spoon.

After 3 minutes flip the pancakes – it should be lovely brown – and cook the other side 3 minute more. Use all batter, I had approximately 14 potato pancakes, using this recipe.

You can experiment and add a little bit of bacon bits or grated cheese in the potato batter in the end.

Can you freeze boxty

You can freeze them after cooling up to 2 months. Use a freezer bag or special container. Reheat in the pan without or just a dollop of oil. You can also reheat in the oven 395 F / 200 C for 20 minutes.

If you store them in the fridge, consume up to 4-5 days. They are much tastier served right from the pan!

Irish potato pancakes on a plate, cut with a knife

We highly recommend serving Irish boxty with sour cream and scallions.

You should also check our Zucchini fritters on the blog! Another delicious breakfast or brunch idea.

More Irish Recipes

I already mentioned Colcannon, which makes a lovely side dish. But if you need hearty and filling dinner ides, you should check Irish beef stew as well.

Don’t forget about homemade bread such as Irish Soda Bread – it will be a great addition to your breakfast or brunch table. But surely boxty is our favorite Irish potato dish!

We love Irish cuisine, because it is so hearty, filling and true! That’s why you should check our collection or 40 + Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Boxty - Irish Potato Pancake recipe for breakfast

Boxty - Irish Potato Pancakes

Cooking Journey
5 from 3 votes
Hearty Irish breakfast idea, can be served with eggs and bacon. Soft, buttery and filling, this is a must-have St. Patrick's Day food.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 42 mins
Total Time 1 hr 12 mins
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Irish
Servings 14
Calories 86 kcal

Ingredients 

Make mashed potatoes or use 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes instead

  • 0,5 kg potatoes washed and peeled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or more to taste

For the boxty

  • 1 cup raw potatoes without skin, grated
  • 1 cup flour all-purpose
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs medium size
  • 1/8 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter for frying

For serving

  • 1/2 cup sour cream optional
  • 1 tbsp scallions chopped

Instructions
 

Make mashed potatoes if you don't have leftovers

  • Put potatoes in a pot with boiling water, cook on medium heat for 15 min until soft*
  • Pour out liquid from the pot and put it back to heat for 1 minute to let the excess liquid evaporate.
  • Remove pot from heat, mash potatoes with 2 forks or potato masher.
  • Slowly add milk in few batches, mixing with a spoon until you are happy with consistency. Mash in butter Add salt and pepper, give it a taste if it needs more spice.
  • Let mashed potatoes cool before adding to boxty. You will need only 1 cup of mashed potatoes.

Prepare boxty

  • Place grated potatoes in a cheese cloth and squeeze as much liquid as possible.**
  • In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl mix well together grated potatoes with mashed potatoes, eggs and flour mixture.
  • Slowly pour in milk, mixing until you get a texture of pancake batter- not too runny and not too thick***

Cook boxty

  • Heat oil or batter in a pan.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of potato batter and with a back of the spoon form a round shape.
  • Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, then flip and cook 3 minutes more. The pancake should brown from both edges.
  • Place boxty on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Cook another batch of boxty until you use all batte. Heat the vegetable oil in between, if needed.
  • Serve hot with sour cream and chopped scallions.

Notes

*Check if potatoes ready with a fork - it should easily come in and out.
**If you don't have cheese cloth, put grated potatoes in the sieve and press with a spoon on hand.
*** If the batter is too runny, add more flour; if it is too thick - add more milk.
Store in the fridge up to 4-5 days or freeze up to 2 months. Reheat in the pan without or just a dollop of oil. You can also reheat in the oven 395 F / 200 C for 20 minutes.
Keyword easy, leftover potato, saint patricks day, savory pancakes, traditional, vegetarian

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