12 Can’t-Miss Irish Desserts to Make for a Sweet Saint Patrick’s Day

published Mar 16, 2023
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someone is pouring root beer into the float
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk
Guinness Ice Cream Float

When we think of Irish food, a few dishes immediately come to mind: corned beef and cabbage, colcannon potatoes, and hearty meat stews. All of these are extremely delicious and highly encouraged for your St. Patrick’s celebrations, but don’t forget about dessert! Whether it’s a dark stout float, buttery shortbread, or a Shamrock Shake dressed head to toe in bright green like a leprechaun, these treats are super celebratory and easy to pull off. Here are 11 of our favorite Irish desserts you need to have in your St. Patrick’s Day spread. 

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

There's no Guinness-spiked Irish dessert quite like chocolate Guinness cake. The moist and fudgy cake round is topped with billowy sweeps of tangy cream cheese frosting. What you get in the end is a tasty cake that looks like a fine pour of Guinness.

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Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars

If a chocolate-covered caramel and a shortbread cookie had a delectable baby, it would be this pan of shortbread toffee bars, also referred to as millionaire bars. They're sweet, rich, and contain lots and lots of delicious butter.

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Real Irish Scones

These authentic cream-based scones will transport you to Ireland. They are best served freshly baked, warm from the oven, with butter, homemade preserves, honey, and even more cream.

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Irish Cream

No St. Patrick's Day would be complete without some Irish cream. Feel free to riff based on your taste — our recipe resembles the classic flavors of Baileys Irish Cream, but you can up the cocoa powder for more chocolatey goodness or adjust the amount of whiskey.

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Double Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Float

This rich and dark double chocolate stout ice cream float is a fun way to cap off your St. Patrick's Day dinner, but it's also a simple pick-me-up you can have anytime — as long as there's vanilla ice cream and chocolate stout in the house.

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Irish Potato Candy

Records show that the rise in popularity of the Irish potato candy happened at the same time as a mass influx of Irish immigrants into Pennsylvania. Despite its name and the way it looks like adorable little potatoes, these sweet candies are a no-bake concoction of coconut, powdered sugar, and cream cheese that’s rolled in a coating of ground cinnamon. Different than a potato, but still delightful!

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Irish Soda Bread

Learn how to make this classic bread before St. Patrick's Day creeps up on you.

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Guinness Ice Cream Float

This float has a big little twist. Dense Rocky Road ice cream studded with just-sticky-enough marshmallow blobs and crunchy, salty roasted almonds stands up to, and pairs phenomenally well with, the dark Guinness stout.

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Irish Coffee
We share our secrets for the best Irish coffee, a cocktail of sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream.
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Apple Coffee Cake

Akin to Irish dishes, this apple coffee cake is not that complicated. Much of what makes it great is due to the ingredients and how they easily come together into a thick, buttery cake studded with sweet-tart chunks of apple or the craggy streusel topping.

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Lemon Marshmallow Cake

This sunny bake from Irish chef and food writer Donal Skehan is a St. Patrick's Day lifesaver because it can be made a few days ahead. While you might feel like a cake with melted marshmallow and bright lemony flavor isn't the perfect fit for the holiday, we're willing to bet you'll love how it's a light and refreshing contrast to the heavier meat and potato mains.

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Shamrock Shake
A bright green blended mixture of vanilla ice cream, milk, and mint flavor.
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