Boxty are tasty, fluffy Irish potato cakes that are pan-fried like pancakes and served at breakfast. This is my family’s traditional recipe. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day, or any day.
Boxty is a traditional Irish dish made of mashed and grated potatoes in a thick buttermilk batter that are pan-fried.
It is a bit like a cross between a hash brown and a pancake.
The results are lightly crispy on the outside and dense yet fluffy inside.
My family is Irish, though I haven't lived in Ireland since I was a toddler. Growing up in North America, one way my family stayed in touch with their Irish roots was through foods.
There's no denying that it was a carb-fest! Wheaten bread, soda bread and soda farls were all regularly served up at home.
Then there were the potatoes. In an Irish stew, turned into potato farls, whipped into champ and then, of course, boxty.
I hope you'll love this authentic Irish boxty recipe as much as we do.
You can whip this boxty recipe up in no time using simple pantry ingredients.
The baking soda gives them a little rise and lightness, while the mix of mashed potato and grated potato gives them a wonderful interesting texture.
They’re usually served savory for breakfast as part of an Irish Fry, but can also be served with a little butter and honey or sugar.
Boxty is quick and easy to make and are a great way to use up potatoes and leftover mashed potatoes.
It’s a perfect dish for St Patrick’s Day or any day of the year.
What is Boxty?
‘Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man.’ is the old Irish rhyme.
Gosh, it's a rather a backwards old saying in the modern day!
But Boxty is definitely a dish that deserves its unrelenting popularity in Irish restaurants and homes.
Authentic Boxty recipes vary from region to region and house to house, but they all have the same theme of grated potatoes in batter that are fried.
Some recipes forego the addition of mashed potato and just stick to grated spuds, but my Irish family always preferred it with fluffy mash.
They can be pan fried by the tablespoonful as small boxty cakes. Others prefer to fill the pan with one giant boxty, which is then cut with a cross.
The Irish love to cut food into fourths - see Potato Farls, Soda Bread, which, depending on your religion, means to mark the sign of the cross, or a cross to let the faeries out in typical Irish superstition.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
An authentic Irish recipe.
They're tasty, dense yet fluffy potato cakes.
Boxty are sort of a cross between a hash brown and a pancake.
They’re perfect for St Patrick’s Day.
Irish Boxty is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
Quick and easy for a special Irish-style breakfast.
Mashed potato - freshly made or leftovers - this adds bulk to your boxty.
Raw peeled and grated potato - the mix of two types of potato gives them a great texture.
Flour - All-purpose/plain flour creates the batter.
Baking soda (aka bicarb of soda) - reacts with the buttermilk to make them light and fluffy.
Salt - to bring out the flavor of the dish.
Buttermilk (or milk with white vinegar or lemon juice stirred in and left for 5 mins) - creates a rich batter.
Butter or oil, for frying
Frying pan, griddle or skillet.
Step By Step Tutorial
Follow this step-by-step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Peel and grate the potato, then wring out the moisture in a clean tea towel. You can discard the starchy water.
Add the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes and dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
Add the buttermilk (you can use regular milk soured with a little vinegar or lemon juice).
Heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium/low heat, then add tablespoonfuls of the boxty batter.
Fry until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Flip and cook the other side.
TIP: If making batches, keep them warm in the oven.
You can use leftover mashed potatoes.
If you don't have buttermilk, just sour regular milk with lemon juice or vinegar.
Instead of buttermilk, you could also use watered down plain yogurt.
Boxty take longer to cook than pancakes, since you need to cook the grated potato. Keep the heat to medium/low and let them cook until golden.
Don't leave out the baking soda. It reacts with the buttermilk to make the pancakes light and fluffy.
Serve with a Full Irish Breakfast (cooked breakfast, Irish-style).
Add a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and some chopped scallions.
Serve your boxty sweet-style with a little butter and honey or sugar.
Serve with a little butter and a fried egg.
Serve as a side dish.
Add a handful of chopped scallions into the mixture.
Very occasionally, boxty is boiled like a dumpling or baked into a loaf. However, it's far more common pan-fried.
Try it with double the raw grated potatoes and leave out the mashed potatoes.
Add some grated cheese into the batter for a cheesy boxty recipe.
Add chopped chives, rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs.
Make it sweet by swapping out the salt and adding a tablespoon of sugar.
Caramelise onions, then stir them into the batter.
To Make Gluten-Free Boxty: To make this recipe gluten-free, use a gluten free flour blend in place of the all purpose flour.
To Make It Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, you’ll need to use vegan butter and milk (or buttermilk).
NOTE: I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. If you have a food allergy or intolerance you should determine whether the ingredients in each recipe are suitable for you.
Storing: You can store boxty in the fridge, wrapped, for up to 4 days and reheat them in a frying pan.
Freezing: You can freeze cooked and cooled boxty in a sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw on the countertop, then warm them in a frying pan.
Irish Boxty is a potato cake made of mashed potato, grated potato, flour, baking soda and buttermilk.
In Irish Gaelic, boxty, or bacstaí, means poor house bread as it was traditionally made in poorer communities with inexpensive plentiful ingredients. Until the potato famine that is...
Boxty is a traditional Irish dish of pan-fried potato batter that's a bit like a cross between a hash brown and a pancake.
More Irish Recipes
Irish Cream Baked Donuts
Colcannon - classic Irish side dish of mashed potatoes and kale.
Champ - mashed potatoes with scallions, popular in Northern Ireland.
Potato Farls - fried potato cakes served for breakfast.
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Traditional Irish Boxty
- 1 cup (250g) mashed potato freshly made or leftovers
- 1 cup (250g) peeled and grated raw potato
- 1 ½ cups (220g) all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb of soda)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk (or 250ml milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice stirred in and left for 5 mins)
- Butter or oil for frying
- Wring the grated potato out in a clean tea towel to dry it out a little. Discard the starchy water.
- Add all ingredients except the buttermilk to a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Stir in the buttermilk to make a thick batter.
- Heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium/low heat, then add tablespoonfuls of the boxty batter and fry until golden and cooked though, about 5 minutes per side. Flip and cook the other side.
- If making batches, keep them warm in the oven.
- You can use leftover mashed potatoes.
- If you don't have buttermilk, just sour regular milk with lemon juice or vinegar.
- Instead of buttermilk, you could also use watered down plain yogurt.
- Boxty take longer to cook than pancakes, since you need to cook the grated potato. Keep the heat to medium/low and let them cook until golden.
- Don't leave out the baking soda. It reacts with the buttermilk to make the pancakes light and fluffy.
- Add a handful of chopped scallions into the mixture.
- Try it with double the raw grated potatoes and leave out the mashed potatoes.
- Add some grated cheese into the batter for a cheesy boxty recipe.
- Add some seasoning into the batter. Try some ground cumin, Old Bay Seasoning, Baharat spice blend or some mixed herbs.
- Add chopped chives, rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs.
- Make it sweet by swapping out the salt and adding a tablespoon of sugar.
- Add sauteed onions.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.