St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast | Irish Boxty Pancakes

Boxty pancakes are a classic Irish dish, made from a batter of potatoes, flour and milk. They’re part of the boxty family of dishes which also includes boxty bread and dumplings. The pancakes are perhaps the most popular of the family, and rightly so – despite being hundreds of years old, they still grace the breakfast tables of Irish families today.

There are many variations of boxty pancakes. All recipes use raw grated potato and flour in varying proportions. Some recipes include cooked mashed potato, some use milk, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter. One thing they all have in common is that they’re all delicious!

Today we’re making a batch of boxty pancakes for breakfast, using raw grated potato, leftover cooked mashed potato, flour and milk.

First grate one raw potato, washed and with the skin on, coarsely. A floury potato works best, but all-rounders work too. Here, we’re using yellow potatoes.

Grating a skin-on potato through the coarse holes on a box grater, onto a plate.
Grate your potato, skin on.

Once it’s grated you want to put it into a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Some people leave the potato juice for half an hour for the starch to settle, pour the liquid off, and add the starch back into the boxty mix – feel free to do this!

The grated raw potato is being squeezed in a dish cloth to remove as much liquid as possible. Here it is flowing out of the dishcloth - it's an appreciable amount!
Squeeze out the juice!

This recipe uses roughly equal portions of raw grated potato, cooked mash, and flour. As this potato was around 1 cup, this means adding 1 cup each of mash and flour. Season with some salt and white pepper, and give it a mix.

Raw potato, mashed potato, flour, salt and white pepper all mixed together ready for the liquid.
A dry boxty mix.

Now it’s time to add the milk. How thick you want your pancake determines how much liquid you add – for a thinner pancake, add more milk. We’re adding 1½ cups, then mixing it in. As with every batter, it can be used right away, but is best left for 30 minutes for the flour to hydrate.

The boxty batter, after mixing with milk, resting in a bowl on the choping board.
The boxty batter, resting.

Now add some fat to your pan. We’re using bacon fat, but butter, dripping, lard, or just plain oil are all acceptable alternatives. Add the boxty mix to the pan, spread out, and cook on a medium-low heat for around 5 minutes. As we’re using raw potato, we need to make sure we cook it gently and long enough for the potato to cook without burning the outside.

The boxty batter frying in bacon fat in a small non-stick frying pan. The bacon fat is bubbling around the sides.
Boxty in the pan.

When the top of the pancake is set and the bottom is beginning to brown, flip your boxty, cook for another 2 minutes, then turn out into your serving dish. Now repeat with another ladle of batter. The cooked boxty can be kept in a warm oven while you make the rest.

The boxty has been flipped, and has developed a beautiful pattern of golden brown on the surface.
After flipping.

Once you’re done, all that is left is to eat your boxty. We’re having ours with bacon and egg, but you can have anything you want with it – it’s a versatile dish. One tip – if you’re having it sweet, you can swap out the bacon fat for butter or a neutral tasting oil!

A fried egg, sitting on top of bacon, on top of a finished boxty pancake. Chopped chives are scattered around.
A delicious and filling breakfast to start the day!

RECIPE

SERVES: 5       PREP: 5 minutes       COOK: 30 minutes       TOTAL: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw grated potato
1 cup cooked mashed potato
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups milk
Bacon fat, or other fat of choice
Salt
White pepper
Fresh chives, chopped (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1) Grate the raw potato and squeeze out as much moisture as possible using a cloth.
2) Mix the raw potato with the mash and flour. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
3) Mix in the milk, and let rest for 30 minutes.
4) Preheat a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat, add a spoon of bacon fat, a ladle of boxty, and cook for around 5 minutes or until the top is almost set and the bottom is beginning to brown.
5) Flip the boxty, add more fat if necessary, and cook for another 2 minutes.
6) Turn out when done, and repeat with the rest of the boxty batter.
7) Serve your boxty with bacon, a fried egg, and a sprinkle of chives. Enjoy!

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