Irish Potato Dish Boxty Is as Traditional as It Gets

updated Mar 10, 2023
Boxty Recipe

The best way to describe this traditional Irish potato dish is that it's like a combination of a pancake, a hash brown, a potato latke, and a rosti.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 12 pancakes

Prep15 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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boxty (Irish potato pancake)  on a gray plate with minced green onions on top, and a green napkin at the bottom of the frame below the plate.
Credit: Tara Holland

I was born an O’Connell, an offspring of an Irish father, born and bred in County Monaghan. Therefore, I am ashamed to admit I had never heard of the Irish potato dish boxty until recently. My Irish grandfather, who was from County Cavan, would be turning in his grave if he knew I wasn’t in-the-know. (Sorry, Pops!)

What Is Boxty?

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato dish that goes back centuries. The best way I can describe it is if a pancake, a hash brown, a potato latke, and a rösti had an Irish baby.

According to my Irish friends and family, boxty is very specific to certain regions of Ireland, including parts of Ulster; border counties such as Fermanagh, Leitrim, and Donegal; and the northern midlands. It’s unheard of in other parts, which I find fascinating.

What Is Boxty Made of?

There are many different recipes and methods depending on what county you are from, but the most common denominators are mashed potato, grated raw potato, and flour. Baking soda or baking powder can be added as well as buttermilk.

Some traditional recipes call for reserving the starch from the squeezed grated potato. This residue sinks to the bottom of the liquid that you squeeze out of the grated potatoes and helps to bind the mixture as well as crisp the outside. You could skip this stage if you wish, as we still have enough binding agents with the eggs and flour in this recipe. 

Full disclosure: This is my interpretation of boxty. To make sure there is no waste, I like to boil the potatoes with large pieces of scallion whites to infuse the tiniest hint of flavor, discarding before mashing. The greens are finely chopped and sprinkled on just before serving, but you could even go renegade and stir them into the batter.

In my opinion, Kerrygold Irish butter is the best butter ever made. I find any excuse to use it, so I included it in my recipe, but this is not essential — any unsalted butter will do.

What to Serve with Boxty

Boxty can be a key player in your St. Patrick’s Day celebration feast, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here’s a few suggestions for how you can round out that meal.

Credit: Tara Holland

Boxty Recipe

The best way to describe this traditional Irish potato dish is that it's like a combination of a pancake, a hash brown, a potato latke, and a rosti.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Makes about 12 pancakes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    large scallions

  • 2 pounds

    russet potatoes (about 4 medium)

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    buttermilk, preferably whole milk

  • 3/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground white or freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, preferably Kerrygold, divided


  1. Finely chop the dark green parts of 4 large scallions for garnish. Place the remaining light green and white pieces in a medium saucepan.

  2. Peel 2 pounds russet potatoes. Chop half of the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to the saucepan add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch, and add 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining potatoes.

  3. Meanwhile, grate the remaining half of the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel, gather into a bundle, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible into a large bowl. (You may need to squeeze it a few times.) Set the grated potatoes aside, still in the kitchen towel. Let the liquid in the bowl sit until the starch settles at the bottom, about 15 minutes. Separate the yolk from 1 of the large eggs (discard and save the egg white for future use) and place in a small bowl. Add the remaining egg and whisk to combine.

  4. When the potatoes are boiled, drain and discard the scallions. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400℉. Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

  5. Drain and discard the scallions. Carefully pour off liquid in the bowl, keeping the starchy white residue at the bottom. Add the grated and boiled potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or fork until combined. Pour 1 cup buttermilk over the potatoes.

  6. Sift 3/4 cup all-purpose flour through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder, the beaten egg and yolk, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper. Fold until combined.

  7. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter and swirl the pan to coat. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop 3 to 4 portions of the batter into the skillet, spacing them evenly apart. Lightly flatten each pancake. Cook until brown and crispy on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat if the pancakes are darkening too quickly. Flip the pancakes, add another 1/2 tablespoon butter, and cook until the second side is brown and crispy, about 4 minutes more.

  8. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and carefully wipe the skillet clean. Repeat with the remaining batter and butter. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until boxty is cooked through and warm, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the reserved scallions greens.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days