What is Irish Boxty and Irish potato Cake?

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. When I was a child growing up in Ireland boxty was called fadge and we usually had them at breakfast time on the weekends when it was time for what is known as a full Irish. 

Irish boxty and potato cake names include slims, Irish fadge, potato cake, Irish potato pancakes, potato farls, and tattie scones in Scotland, and Boxty (bacstaí in Gaelic) poundy or poundies. Some people even call them Irish potato Latkes.

Potato boxty in a dark black griddle. The boxty is decorated with bacon tomatoes and onions. It is a lovely crispy brown shade

In our family, we always called them potato pancakes and it was a huge treat for Christmas breakfast served with eggs, bacon, sausage, bean, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread. Never mind the carb count just dig in – this is also known as a Full Irish breakfast.

Potato pancakes, draniki, deruny, potato latkes, latkas, irish cakes, raggmunk or boxties on wood plate. Fried grated vegetable pancakes or potato fritter with onion on rustic background

Boxty vs potato bread. Potato bread or potato farls are made with potato, flour, and buttermilk and cooked on a griddle. The difference between potato farls and boxty is that in a farl recipe, the potatoes are cooked and mashed before adding the flour and other ingredients. The Potato Farl is traditionally cut into a triangular shape before serving – hence the name as the word farl comes from the Gaelic ’fardel’ meaning four parts.

An old Irish rhyme goes – 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.

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Potato pancakes, not sweet, served with garlic cream sauce on rustic wooden table.

History of Boxty

Boxty or Irish potato cake is a traditional Irish dish that is believed to have originated in the 1700s when the Irish relied upon the potato to survive. The creation of the Irish potato cake was a means to stretch out the potato harvest and ensure that everyone had something to eat.

In Ireland, boxty was and is associated with St. Brigid who is the patron saint of dairy and she is associated with milk, butter, ale, cheese and bacon. Boxty is served for St Brigid’s Day with other traditional foods like soda bread with its cross on the top.

An icon of a woman holding an Irish potato cake.

Ireland was a poor country thanks to British politics and the Catholic Church and much of its food culture comes from what was available at the time like potatoes until the crop failed. Centuries before the Irish used what they had to hand, for example, one of the oldest foods in the world was found in Ireland. this great lump of butter was discovered in a peat bog that preserved it for hundreds of years.

Irish Soda Farls - traditional Irish flatbread served with jam

Difference between Irish boxty and potato bread

Irish boxty or farls are totally different to Potato Bread or Soda Bread as they are a sort of flat unleavened triangular or round-shaped patty, they are usually made with grated raw potato and some leftover mash although some folks have been known to make them with just leftover mashed potato. Traditional Irish food like most countries has a great tradition of using whatever ingredients are to hand and available.

In our house, Potato bread is a form of bread which includes potato flour, wheat flour and leftover mashed potato. Other families consider the farls or potato pancakes as potato bread.

Although the name farl is somewhat interchangeable with potato pancakes or boxty when I was growing up a farl was a thicker version and could be sliced to hold an Ulster fry breakfast so it could be eaten on the go.

Boxty, an Irish potato pancake, sizzles in a skillet on a rustic wooden table.

The complete guide to planning your trip to Ireland – Everything you need to know

Boxty (Irish: bacstaí) is a traditional Irish potato pancake. The boxty served at the Boxty House in Temple Bar Dublin is a traditional type found in the Northern Ireland border counties of Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh. In the north midlands, north Connacht and southern Ulster, in particular, the counties of MayoSligo, in Donegal it is known locally as poundy or poundies.

A man and woman are standing outside of an Irish restaurant, contemplating whether to order the traditional boxty - a delicious Irish potato pancake.

Take a fabulous food tour of the Causeway Cause with Irish Feast

The Boxty House Dublin

In 1988 Padraic Og Gallagher developed the Leitrim Boxty which retains the traditional 70% potato content. The Boxty House in Temple Bar is the place where Padraic features this Boxty and it is served in a variety of ways. Boxty House makes potato dumplings, boxty chips (fries by any other name) that are simply addictive and boxty features in many of the recipes. The Boxty House restaurant serves a very thin boxty traditionally found in Leitrim and slightly different than a homemade one which is more similar to a latke or rosti.

When we were in Dublin we had a fabulous lunch at The Boxty House. The place was packed out with all kinds of folks enjoying some of the restaurant treats.  The Boxty House has become famous for its culinary wizardry with boxty. We had to try out the House platter which contained boxty Fries, boxty Dumplings and some lovely Irish potato bread. All three were stellar but the fries were absolutely addictive.

To go with the platter we enjoyed some deeply delicious Irish stew, packed with pieces of tender lamb that melted in your mouth. I warmed myself with a gorgeously rich Seafood Chowder served with Guinness Bread that was fresh from the oven and topped with the best Irish butter in the world.

A pot of stew with boxty, Ireland potato pancake, and Irish potato cake on a wooden table.

The Boxty House also sells a little box of Boxty mix that you can take with you and prepare at home it is from Padraic’s mother Anna’s recipe which he has perfected, so you can take some home as gifts.

An Irish potato cake, known as boxty, topped with a fried egg, sliced tomatoes, and served alongside toasted bread.

In the shops look for McNiffes Boxty in the grocery stores they even make a gluten-free version.  You will probably also find a few varieties of boxty in most grocery stores.

Mc Niffe’s Bakery creates four mouth-watering varieties of Boxty- Pan boxty, Loaf Boxty, Boiled Boxty and Irish Potato Pancakes, providing an exceptionally unique taste experience.  

What is Irish Boxty and Irish potato Cake?

One of the most popular versions of boxty consists of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, buttermilk, egg and baking soda. The raw grated potato is strained to remove most of the starch and then fried on a griddle pan till golden brown for a few minutes.

Traditional Irish potato pancakes Boxty with sour cream

Irish Boxty/Irish potato cakes Recipe click on this link and download an easy recipe

Boxty and Irish potato pancakes FAQS

What are other names for boxty?

Boxty, slims, fadge, potato cake, Irish potato pancakes, farls, and tattie scones in Scotland, Boxty (bacstaí in Gaelic)  poundy or poundies.

What is boxty?

Irish potato cakes or boxty are a kind of potato pancake that is served at breakfast time these days.

What do you eat with boxty?

Here in Ireland we traditionally have Irish potato cakes for breakfast, but I’ve also seen sweet versions of them similar to Jewish Latkes served with sour cream and applesauce. They can also be eaten instead of toast with jam and butter, as a neutral bread like replacement Irish potato cakes can be eaten at almost anytime of the day.

Are potato cakes Irish or Scottish?

The word farl is derived from the old Scots word fardel, which means “a quarter.” It is believed that the name came over with the Scottish who were settled in Northern Ireland. Tattie scone is the word used in Scotland for a potato cake.

What is the difference between an Irish potato pancakes (boxty) and a latke?

Latkes are made with grated raw potato eggs, milk, flour or matzo meal and baking powder. Irish potato cakes are simpler with either raw grated potato or mashed cooked potato, milk, flour and a little salt.

What is Irish Boxty and Irish potato Cake?

Irish Boxty and Irish potato cakes are traditional Irish recipes that are made with a potato batter. They are similar to potato pancakes and are typically cooked in a skillet or frying pan.

How do I make boxty?

To make boxty, you will need mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes. In a large mixing bowl, mix the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, and flour together to make the boxty batter.

What are some tips for making boxty?

Here are some tips for making boxty: use a large mixing bowl to mix the ingredients, scoop the potato mixture onto a tea towel and wring out as much moisture as possible, cook the boxty in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook until golden and crispy on the outside.

What is the traditional boxty recipe?

The traditional boxty recipe calls for equal parts mashed potatoes and grated raw potatoes, flour, and salt. The ingredients are mixed together to form a potato batter, which is then cooked like a pancake in a frying pan.

What is the difference between Irish boxty and Irish potato cakes?

Irish boxty is a potato pancake made with a mixture of mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes, while Irish potato cakes are made with a mixture of mashed potatoes, flour, and sometimes other ingredients like bacon and eggs.

Can I customize the boxty and potato cake recipes?

Yes, you can customize the boxty and potato cake recipes to suit your taste. You can add ingredients like cheese, herbs, or spices to the batter to add more flavor.

Traditional Irish recipe for easy boxty potato pancake


  • 300g Raw potatoes, peeled
  • 300g Leftover mashed potatoes (floury potatoes are best)
  • 300g Flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 850ml Milk

Grate the raw potatoes into a muslin cloth and squeeze as much liquid as possible into a large bowl. Let liquid stand for 20 minutes.

Gently pour off the liquid and keep the starch that settled in the bottom of the bowl.

Add grated potatoes to mashed potatoes and flour. Add starch and salt to mix.

Slowly add 3/4 milk to form a batter of pouring consistency. Depending on the potato, you may not need to use all the milk. If the batter is too heavy, add more milk. Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.

Drop a ladle full onto an oiled non-stick pan over medium heat and cook on the first side for 2 minutes (depending on how heavy the batter is and how much you use). Check the colour (should be a nice golden colour) on the bottom. Adjust heat if necessary. Turn and cook on the other side for 2 – 3 minutes more. Boxty pancakes are best left overnight in a fridge and reheated in a pan in good Irish butter.

 I like my boxty or potato pancakes served with a little butter eaten cold.

​Traditional Irish potato cakes are (or should be) served with a traditional Irish breakfast which should include: Irish bacon, Sausage, Black or white pudding, fried eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. Some folks prefer them like a french crepe with some chopped scallions and a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy your Boxty.

Boxty, an Irish potato pancake, are made in a skillet with the text "how to make Irish potato pancakes".


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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