Traditional St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Traditional Irish stew

The Spruce

Celebrations of St. Patrick's Day take place all around the world on March 17th and the fun and feasting naturally ​centers around delicious Irish food—and not just the ubiquitous corned beef and cabbage. Start the festivities with a traditional breakfast, and then choose from a selection of quintessential Irish main and side dishes as well as desserts. And, of course, drinks are in order, but that doesn't just mean beer!

  • 01 of 05

    Begin With a Full Irish Breakfast

    Irish Breakfast

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    St. Patrick's Day can be—and usually is—a long day filled with celebrations. So, make sure you start with a good, hearty breakfast, one that will see you through the day, well, at least until lunchtime. This means you should start the day with a full Irish breakfast if you want to follow tradition.

    To be a real "full Irish," it must include bacon, sausages, and eggs, plus Fadge (Irish potato bread), or the popular Boxty (Irish griddle cakes). You can also add a few slices of soda bread or wheaten bread. Wash all of this down with plenty of tea, and you will be set for the day ahead.

  • 02 of 05

    Move on To the Main Courses

    Shepherd's Pie

    Sheri L Gibbin / Getty Images

    St. Patrick's is the day for traditional Irish foods—hale and hearty fare to fill stomachs and keep energy levels up. No list of main course recipes would be complete without these dishes. Although in the United States it is traditional to eat corned beef and cabbage, there are many other superb Irish dishes from which to choose, including Ireland's famous shepherd's pie.

    Give Dublin Coddle a try—a layered dish consisting of bacon, pork sausage, and potatoes. Or Ireland's national dish, Irish stew, which is a comforting bowl of lamb, potatoes, onions, leeks, and carrots. And we all know a pint of Guinness is traditional on St. Patrick's Day, but did you know you can also cook with itBeef and Guinness pie combines a delicious Irish beef stew with the country's signature beer, which is then baked under a flaky pastry crust.

  • 03 of 05

    Serve Some Side Dishes and Snacks

    Traditional Irish Colcannon

    The Spruce

    All those fabulous main courses need a side dish or two, and Ireland has some fantastic ones featuring the country's main crop: potatoes. You can keep it simple and serve perfect mashed potatoes, or add a bit of Irish flair with champ, which takes mashed potatoes to the next level with green onions. Or up the flavor volume with colcannon, which combines leftover mashed potatoes with fresh kale and sauteed onions.

    Fancy a snack? You can't beat a rarebit (cheese on toast) for a quick, yet filling one. Irish Guinness rarebit is comforting and rich, combining the country's dark ale with Cheddar cheese, mustard, egg yolk, and Worcestershire sauce. The delicious mixture is spread onto thick pieces of bread and then broiled until bubbling.

  • 04 of 05

    Cap off the Meal With Cakes and Puddings

    Bread and Butter Pudding

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    There is always room for something sweet on St. Patrick's Day. Barmbrack, an Irish fruit cake, is one of Ireland's most famous bakery products—the name comes from breac, which means speckled, referring to the fruit in the loaf. Baileys Irish Cream also has a way of sneaking into Irish cakes and puddings, such as in the frosting of Baileys Irish Cream cupcakes, turning an often kid-centric dessert into an adult treat. Or a traditional Irish bread and butter pudding—an ideal dish for using up that leftover bread—but this one is for adults only.

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  • 05 of 05

    Don't Forget the Drinks

    Pints of Guiness beer

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    There can be no mention of Ireland, or Irish food and drink, without a "pint of the Black Stuff" and Irish beer making an appearance. Guinness is considered Ireland's national drink and is known around the world.

    But there is more to Ireland than beer. A great drink for St. Patrick's is Mead, the sweet, delicious honey wine that has been made and enjoyed by Celtic nations for centuries. And, of course, there's also Irish Whiskey. Or try your hand at creating a special St. Patrick's Day cocktail. They're bound to put you in the mood for a festive celebration!