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Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes)

Boxty, or Irish Potato Pancakes are incredibly easy to make and perfect dinner side dish or snack!  

Potato pancakes are common in many European and Middle Eastern countries. Boxty is the Irish version. |

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you can’t make boxty,
You’ll never get a man.
Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
The wee one in the middle,
That’s the one for Mary Anne.” -(Traditional Irish Rhyme)

These traditional Irish potato pancakes come from the northern regions of Ireland.

The word “boxty” comes from the Irish phrase ‘aran bocht ti’ meaning ‘poorhouse bread.’ This tells us a lot about the origins of the dish, which started out as a peasant food. In the early 1800, before the Great Famine, often potatoes were nearly the only thing the Irish poor and those in the work-houses had to eat.

Boxty were a simple and plain Irish recipe that was filling and made the best use of what they had on hand.

The Best Potatoes to Make Boxty

For the boxty, you will want to choose starchy or floury potatoes, like Russets. (Not waxy potatoes like Red Potatoes or Yukon Golds.) The starchy potatoes really absorb the buttermilk and create a nice pancake batter. Using a combination of mashed potatoes and raw, grated potatoes gives the pancakes a nice texture, something like a cross between a pancake and a hash-brown fritter.

When you grate the raw potatoes, they will start to release a lot of moisture. It is important that you wrap the grated potatoes in a tea towel and wring them out good. The drier the potatoes the better your pancakes will turn out.

Since there are raw potatoes in the pancakes, you need to be sure to cook them low and slow, so that the potatoes cook through. The last thing you want is to bite into raw potatoes! Keep your pancakes at a medium heat, just hot enough that they sizzle in the butter.

Potato pancakes are common in many European and Middle Eastern countries. Boxty is the Irish version. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.comTopping Irish Potato Pancakes

Flavor-wise the boxty are very plain. Image a plain pancake, without all the sugar we typically add in the States. This means that they go well with nearly any meal. Breakfast to dinner. Sweet or savory.

When we were reading up on boxty and how it is served, we kept seeing that it was suggested to serve with butter or jam. Jam? On potatoes? Of course, we had to try it. We were actually quite surprised by how well the potato pancakes went with sweeter spreads like jam (or even apple butter). They truly are incredibly versatile.

Seasoning Your Boxty

This recipe is also a great starting off point for getting creative with boxty. Add in some chopped scallions, crumbled bacon, or a bit of cheese and see where the flavors take you!

More potato pancake recipes

If you love the idea of potato pancakes, you need to try Swiss potato rosti, and make sure you don’t miss British bubble and squeak!


Yield: 11-12 (3 inch) pancakes

Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes)

Potato pancakes are common in many European and Middle Eastern countries. Boxty is the Irish version. |

Boxty, or Irish Potato Pancakes are incredibly easy to make and perfect dinner side dish or snack!  

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups grated raw potato, 2 potatoes or ½ lb, use starchy potatoes, like Russets
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes, roughly 2 potatoes or ½ lb peeled, cooked, and mashed, use starchy potatoes, like Russets
  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ c buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, (for frying)


  1. Wrap the grated potato in a cheesecloth or a tea towel and wring out as much excess moisture as you can. Place the dry grated potato in a large bowl and add the mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add buttermilk and mix well, the batter will be thick.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add ½ Tbsp of butter to the skillet and let it melt.
  5. Scoop the potato batter by ¼ cup and place it into the hot butter. Spread the batter out to roughly ¼ to ½ inch thick, making a round that is roughly 3 inches in diameter. Fill the pan with pancakes, being careful not to let them touch.
  6. Fry the pancakes over medium heat for 4-5 min on the first side. Flip the pancakes when they are golden brown. Cook them for 3-4 minutes on the second side, until golden.
  7. Serve immediately with butter or jam. (Or place the finished pancakes on a paper towel lined plate in a warm oven to keep them warm while you finish frying the remaining butter.)


VARIATIONSTry one or all of these additional flavors in your boxty!
3 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
3 scallions, chopped
½ tsp black pepper or other seasonings

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

4 pancakes

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491

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Leave a Comment

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William reed

Tuesday 10th of March 2020

One thing I like to do with the leftovers of corned beef and cabbage is make a sweet and sour cabbage soup. It’s a great way to use the cooking broth and the edition of crushed tomatoes and vinegar and sugar finish it off nicely

Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 11th of March 2020

That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!


Saturday 16th of March 2019

Tried one last night with yukon gold...yuck. Your recipe sounds perfect, thank you ! I need these for a pot luck . How far ahead would you make these ? Frig and reheat,, or last minute and keep in oven with paper towels ? Will they lose the crispness ?

Sarah Ozimek

Monday 18th of March 2019

Hi Patti, These do lose their crispness if kept for too long. I'd probably make them at the last minute and keep in the oven with paper towels to keep them dry. Another option would be to make them ahead and toast them in a toaster oven or under a broiler (carefully) to reheat. We reheat our leftovers in our toaster oven and they do crisp up nicely again. Enjoy!


Wednesday 13th of March 2019

It's definitely an Irish thing with the Jam. The Irish McLaughlin's use jam on a lot of things and yes, it is definitely a throwback from the famine years. Jam isn't the only thing that it is used. When a plain omelet is presented at breakfast it's not unusual for the hands to grab for the jam that has been laid out for the toast. One of our men prefers golden syrup. If he can get his hands on the tin of MALT he's off and running! Because we also use dumplings or DOUGH BOYS as a fill-me-up Winter dessert I actually have to hide all the tins from he and his brothers when we have Stew & Dumplings...…….. lol :-D.

Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

How interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Tarlow

Tuesday 12th of March 2019

I'm so glad that I found your Boxty recipe! It sounds fabulous, and I can't wait to fix it! Do you think I could use leftover Irish Colcannon Potatoes for the mashed potatoes? I just signed up to receive your Newsletter :)

Sarah Ozimek

Tuesday 12th of March 2019

Yes! You definitely could! Hope you enjoy these and our newsletters!


Wednesday 14th of March 2018

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. But I cannot copy this recipe. Is there a way to copy/paste or print.

Thank you, Kim

Sarah Ozimek

Saturday 17th of March 2018

Hi Kim, There is a "Print This Recipe" button under the picture in the recipe card. If you have a pop-up blocker enabled on your browser, the print window might not pop up for you, so you'll need to temporarily disable it. Enjoy!

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