• 10 February 2021

St. Patrick’s Day is a time to celebrate all things Irish! Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day takes place on 17 March each year. It began as a religious celebration paying homage to Saint Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland. Over time, it has evolved into a full-on celebration of Irish culture! 

The celebrations don’t just take place in Ireland! It seems as if most of the world turns green in honour of the “Emerald Isle”. At a St. Patrick’s Day party in previous years, you would probably have encountered everything from parades, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers, to green beers and Guinness (a real mix of Irish traditions and popular culture!) This year, the holiday will be low key due to Covid-19. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate! 

What better way to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day than with a delicious, home-cooked Irish feast? We have put together traditional Irish recipes that you can whip up and enjoy at home. Irish cuisine is not all potatoes and Guinness! It is hearty, wholesome and, of course, delicious! 

Group of friends celebrating St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day will look different this year but we can still celebrate safely at home!

Did you know? Corned beef is a popular Saint Patrick’s Day dish in the USA. You won’t find it widely eaten in Ireland as it was made popular by Irish immigrants and their families who settled in the USA. 

Here are 7 Traditional Irish recipes that are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Irish Soda Bread

Time: 60 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

You’ll most likely find a recipe for Irish soda bread in most homes in Ireland. These recipes are usually passed down through generations as Irish soda bread has become a daily staple across the country. It can be eaten with hearty stews or enjoyed with a cup of tea. Simple steps and basic ingredients make it a great introduction to bread making. Irish soda bread is made without yeast, using bicarbonate soda instead to help the bread rise. It should come out of the oven crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Below is a basic recipe that you can customise to your liking! You can enjoy it sweet by adding dried fruit and honey, or savoury with herbs and seeds added to the mix.  

Loaf of Irish soda bread with butter St. Patrick's Day
Enjoy a slice of Irish soda bread with lots of butter! 
  • 450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 4 grams baking soda (about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, more as needed
  1. Heat oven to 220˚C/fan 200˚C/gas 7. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk. Using your hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft but not wet and sticky.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. Knead the dough lightly for a few seconds, then pat the dough into a round, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place it on a buttered baking sheet and using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the centre of the dough reaching out all the way to the sides.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200˚C/fan 180˚C/gas 6, and continue to bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes longer. 

For serving: Irish soda bread is best served warm and slathered in salted Irish butter – yum! 

  • Irish Stew

Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

This traditional hearty stew, native to Ireland, is simple to cook and is comfort food at its finest! It is usually made using lamb or mutton, potatoes and onions (with people adding a range of vegetables as they wish). Irish stew is one of the country’s most famous traditional dishes!

Irish stew dinner St. Patrick's Day
Irish Stew is the perfect taste of Irish traditions!
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks
  • 5 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Small bunch thyme
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  • Small knob of butter
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  1. Heat oven to 160˚C/fan 140˚C/gas 3.
  2. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish. Sizzle the bacon for 4 minutes until crisp.
  3. Turn up the heat, add the lamb and cook the lamb for 6 minutes until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 minutes until softened. 
  5. Return the meat to the pan.
  6. Stir in the pearl barley, pour in the lamb stock and bring to a simmer.
  7. Place the chunks of potato on top of the stew and cover the casserole dish. 
  8. Braise in the oven for about 90 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender.
  9. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions and serve scooped straight from the dish.
  • Shepherd’s Pie

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Another great comfort food dish! Shepherd’s Pie may have originated in England, but the Irish version is too delicious to miss. This dish is a mouthwatering combo of lamb mince cooked in a tasty gravy sauce and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. It’s perfect for family gatherings and celebrations like Saint Patrick’s Day.

Did you know? Cottage pie is traditionally made with beef mince while shepherd’s pie uses lamb mince.

Shepherd's pie with greens and potatoes St. Patrick's Day
Tuck into traditional shepherd’s pie this Saint Patrick’s Day.


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 500g pack lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • Large splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 900g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 85g butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  1. Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a medium saucepan, then soften 1 chopped onion and 2-3 chopped carrots for a few mins.
  2. When soft, turn up the heat, crumble in 500g lamb mince and brown, tipping off any excess fat.
  3. Add 2 tbsp tomato purée and a large splash of Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins.
  4. Pour over 500ml beef stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40 minutes, uncovering halfway.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180˚C/fan 160˚C/gas 4, then make the mash. Boil the 900g potato (that has been cut into chunks) in salted water for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain, then mash potatoes with 85g butter and 3 tbsp milk.
  6. Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. (Top tip: The pie can now be chilled and frozen for up to a month.)
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. (Note: To bake from frozen, cook at 160˚C/fan 140˚C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 minutes until piping hot in the centre. Flash under the grill to brown, if you like.)
  • Beef and Guinness Pie

Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

You’ll find different versions of this type of meat pie across Ireland! The combination of hearty Guinness, buttery pastry and tender meat is an absolute treat for your taste buds! The flavourful, wholesome pie is made with one of Ireland’s most famous exports (Guinness) and is slow-cooked to perfection. It doesn’t get much more Irish than this! 

Beef and Guinness pie in bowls St. Patrick's Day
All things good and Irish – beef, Guinness and a hearty meal!
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1kg shoulder of beef, cut into one-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 500ml of Guinness
  • Sea Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30g of plain flour
  • 2 sheets of ready to roll puff pastry
  • A little butter to grease the baking dish
  • 1 egg whisked to brush pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan 180˚C/gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large pot and brown the meat in two batches (Note: be careful not to overcrowd the pan). Remove and set aside on a plate. 
  2. Add another drop of oil to the pot if needed and fry off the onion, carrots and celery.
  3. Add the meat back into the pot along with the garlic. Pour in the stock, Guinness, one bay leaf and season to taste. Simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours until the liquid has reduced.
  4. If you find the sauce is not thick enough, strain the juices into a bowl and transfer to a small saucepan. Mix a little of the sauce with the flour over heat until you have a smooth paste, then whisk through the rest of the liquid. Simmer gently until you have a thickened sauce, then tip back over the meat, before filling the pie.
  5. Grease a baking dish with butter and lay one sheet of puff pastry on the bottom. Press it into the sides and prick with a fork over the base. Fill with the beef and Guinness mix, and top with the second layer of puff pastry. Pinch the two sheets of puff pastry together to seal. 
  6. Cut one or two holes in the pastry lid to allow steam escape and then brush all over with egg. Place the pie into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry has risen and has a crisp golden colour.

For serving: This pie will taste great served with a side of mashed potatoes, gravy and greens. 

  • Colcannon

Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This Irish side dish is traditionally eaten on Halloween and can be enjoyed at any time of year! Colcannon is made from kale or cabbage mixed with buttery mashed potatoes. The Halloween tradition reaches back hundreds of years and trinkets such as coins, thimbles, rings and buttons were usually baked into the dish – whatever you found in your serving was said to predict your future! These days, Colcannon is a delicious addition to any Irish feast. 

Bowl of traditional Irish Colcannon St. Patrick's Day
Colcannon is the perfect side dish for any Irish feast.
  • 500g potatoes 
  • 250 g curly kale or savoy cabbage 
  • 1 onion
  • 100 ml cream 
  • 60 g butter 
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Boil potatoes and kale separately in salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  2. Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan and when the butter is melted add the onion finely chopped and brown.
  3. Add the sliced kale, the mashed potatoes and the cream.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Cook gently for a few minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Top tip: You can add scallions to your colcannon for a slightly different taste! 

  • Irish Apple Cake

Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

This classic Irish Apple Cake recipe is perfect for those with a bit of a sweet tooth. Apple cakes are usually baked in cafes, bakeries and homes across Ireland during the apple harvest season (usually around September). These cakes are a real taste of the Irish countryside! Enjoy the warmly spiced cinnamon flavours and serve with custard for the ultimate sweet treat! 

Slice of Irish apple cake with custard St. Patrick's Day
Treat yourself to a slice of Irish apple cake topped with custard!

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup or 113 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup or 50 grams sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp or 45 ml milk or cream
  • 1 1/4 cups or 178 grams flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • About 3 Granny Smith apples peeled and thinly sliced
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

For the streusel topping

  • 3/4 cup or 96 grams flour
  • 1/4 cup or 25 grams old fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp or 85 grams unsalted cold butter cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup or 50 grams sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan 160˚C/gas 4.
  2. First, make the streusel topping. Blend the bits of butter into the flour, sugar, and oats until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has a coarse crumbly texture. Place in the fridge.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, along with the milk or cream.
  5. Spoon the batter into the pan, and smooth out evenly. Top with the sliced apples, and then the streusel topping.
  6. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  7. Let cool a bit in the pan before removing. 

For serving: Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with a side of custard. 

  • Irish Coffee

Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

An Irish coffee is the perfect way to finish off your Irish feast! It is perfect to enjoy as an after-dinner beverage or to sip on during a chilly evening. The warm cocktail is made with Irish whiskey, hot coffee, sugar and is topped off with whipped cream. The drink was created in 1943 by Chef Joe Sheridan in Limerick, Ireland. According to Chef Sheridan, to make a true Irish coffee, you’ll need:

“Cream – Rich as an Irish Brogue

Coffee – Strong as a Friendly Hand

Sugar – Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue

Whiskey – Smooth as the Wit of the Land.”

Glass of Irish coffee in front of fire St. Patrick's Day
Warm up with a hot Irish coffee!
  • 25ml Irish Whiskey
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp whipped pouring cream
  • 1 hot double espresso with a small measure of hot water to fill the glass
  1. First, warm the coffee mugs/glasses using hot water and empty.
  2. Add whiskey.
  3. Add sugar and dissolve in the whiskey.
  4. Add the coffee and stir well.
  5. Lightly whip the cream. Slowly pour the lightly whipped cream into the glass over the back of a spoon so it floats on top. 
  6. Don’t stir! Enjoy your Irish coffee through the cream.

While we may not be able to travel around beautiful Ireland this year, we can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Irish style! Now you’re ready to dig into these delicious recipes on St. Patrick’s Day 2021. Grab a pint, raise your glass and say “Sláinte!”

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