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Boxty: the best recipe for Irish potato pancakes

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

If you've never tried Irish potato pancakes, you're in for a treat! More commonly known as boxty, this delicious Irish side dish is like a cross between a classic hash brown or latke and a potato pancake. It's a bread-like, pan-fried savory treat made from grated parmesan, mashed and grated potatoes, and buttermilk.

Boxty is a classic Irish dish that's found in various parts of Ireland such as counties Leitrim, Donegal, Mayo, and Connacht. They're perfectly crispy on the outside, and chewy and tender on the inside.

While boxty is served all year round, it's an especially popular dish to serve on St. Brigid's Day (Feb 1st) and St. Patrick's Day in America. Making a batch of homemade Irish potato pancakes is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

What is Boxty?

Boxty (bacstaí in Irish Gaelic) is a traditional Irish recipe for potato pancakes. The name comes from the Irish Gaelic arán bocht tí which translates to “poorhouse bread”.

Irish boxty is made by combining mashed potatoes and raw potatoes with other ingredients. Then fry them in a griddle to make a delicious bread that's crispy and chewy, and part hash brown, part pancake.

This tasty dish has been a fixture in Ireland since at least the 1700s. It was such an important food, that there's a traditional Irish rhyme made about boxty: “Boxty on the griddle; boxty on the pan. If you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man!”.

In the modern age, it's often served on St. Brigid's Day in Ireland and is also a popular St. Patrick's Day dish in the United States.

Irish Boxty Ingredients

Boxty is made from a combination of cooked mashed potatoes, grated raw potatoes, flour, baking soda, and salt. For the mashed potatoes, use starchy potatoes like Russets, Idaho, or Maris Piper.

You'll also need some type of binding agent.

This recipe calls for buttermilk, which reacts with the baking soda and will make your boxty a little airier.

You can also use milk, eggs, cream, or butter.

How to Make Boxty

It's incredibly easy to make Irish boxty at home – even easier if you have some leftover mashed potatoes. If you don't, start by preparing a batch of mashed potatoes. Let them chill to room temperature or place them in the fridge overnight.

Next, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Using a box grater, grate the potatoes, then put them on a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Put the mashed potatoes, flour, and grated potatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk. Melt the butter in a skillet.

Once hot, scoop some of the potato mixture into the skillet. Gently squish the mixture to form patties, then fry the patties on both sides until browned. Serve immediately.

What to Serve with Irish Boxty

Serve your boxty as a side dish to poached or fried eggs and bacon in the morning. They're also delicious with salads, smoked salmon, or a traditional full Irish breakfast.

Can You Make Boxty Ahead of Time? 

Absolutely! You can make your boxty up to a day or two in advance, then simply reheat them in your skillet before serving.

Tips for Making Irish Potato Pancakes

Instead of butter, you can fry your Irish potato pancakes in lard or bacon grease. For a vegetarian option, use oil.

If you don't have buttermilk, you can use milk, cream, butter, or eggs to bind the potato mixture.

To keep the cooked boxty warm while you're frying the rest, pop them into an oven preheated to 150F.

You can also enjoy them on their own with a dollop of chutney, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.

For a sweet version, serve your Irish potato pancakes with butter, honey, or sugar.

Boxty Variations

For creamier potato pancakes, add mayonnaise into the batter. You can also mix in tasty additions like cheese, green onions, chives, or chopped bacon.

How to Store Boxty

Keep any leftover Irish potato pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them in a skillet when you're ready to enjoy them again.

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cold mashed potatoes
2 cups
grated raw potatoes
2 cups
All-purpose flour
2 cups
1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda
1 tsp
1 1/2 to 2 cups


Make the mashed potatoes, then let them chill to room temperature, or place them in the fridge overnight. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Grate the potatoes with a box grater. Place them onto a paper towel.

Squeeze out as much of the liquid from the potatoes as possible. This will help ensure your boxty gets nice and crispy.

Put the mashed potatoes, flour mixture, and grated potatoes in a large bowl.

Stir in the buttermilk.

Mix until combined. If the mixture is too thick or dry, add more buttermilk. If it's too thin, add extra flour.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Scoop about ¼ cup of the potato mixture into the skillet. Flatten, then fry the patties until browned on one side. Don't fry the potato pancakes too quickly. If you do, the raw grated potato won't have time to cook properly.

Flip and cook until the second side is browned and crispy.

When done and crispy on the outside, remove them from the skillet.

Serve immediately.


You can use either a griddle or a large skillet to make your boxty.

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