The Best Recipes To Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

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Whether you have Irish roots of your own or you simply want to tip your hat (possibly a paddy cap?) to the rich cultural history of the Irish community, History recommends filling your St. Patrick's Day with music, beer, green food, Irish spirits, and of course, hearty dishes that celebrate the Emerald Isle. 

The thing to remember is that Ireland is a northern island, so though it might be warm wherever you live in the middle of March, it's still a bit chilly and brisk in Ireland. Enjoying good Irish food means filling your plate with hot, comforting dishes like stews, potatoes, and hearty, homemade breads. And of course, you'd be remiss if you forgot the beer — Irish favorites include Guinness, Kilkenny Irish Cream, O'Hara's Stout, or Smithwick's Red Ale (per Ireland Before You Die). Serve them with your meal or use them in one of these recipes. 

If you're just looking for a fun, lighthearted, not-so-authentic way to express your appreciation of the Irish, any green-colored food or drink will do — like a certain well-known shake, or perhaps a sweet treat with the flavor of creamy Irish liqueur. These dishes, from breads to soups to meaty mains, are perfect to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17. 

1. Corned Beef And Cabbage

Many people think of corned beef and cabbage as a traditional Irish dish, but its roots actually lie with the Irish-American community, where the affordable cut of meat was purchased from kosher butchers and popularized with early Irish immigrants (per Smithsonian). But regardless of where the meal actually comes from, the slow-roasted brisket is a favorite St. Patrick's Day food. Give yourself about four hours to prep and cook this slow-roasting cut of meat — when it's ready, serve it with steamed potatoes, carrots, and a little Dijon mustard.

Plus, if you don't eat the entire brisket, you can use the leftovers to make corned beef sandwiches (perhaps served on beer bread?). Or, make it the day before and serve corned beef and cabbage sandwiches as part of your St. Patrick's Day party.

Recipe: Corned Beef And Cabbage

2. Copycat McDonald's Shamrock Shake

The McDonald's Shamrock Shake, invented and introduced in 1970, may be a nod to the green colors of the Emerald Isle, but it really has nothing to do with Irish culture. It's not a traditional shake with history dating back hundreds of years — it's just a fun excuse to drink a bright green, mint-flavored treat. It's incredibly simple to make, and much faster than the time it takes to drive to McDonald's and order one at the drive-thru.

For this copycat Shamrock Shake recipe, all you need is vanilla ice cream, milk, maple syrup, mint extract, and, of course, green food coloring. Throw the ingredients in the blender, and serve cold, adding whipped cream and a cherry on top. If you have kids, we suggest surprising your little ones with a Shamrock Shake for an unexpectedly delightful after-school snack.

Recipe: Copycat McDonald's Shamrock Shake

3. Beer Bread

Traditional Irish meals often include soups and stews, and what pairs better with those than fresh, homemade bread? The beauty of this beer bread recipe is that it only requires four ingredients (including a full beer), and can be ready in an hour. If you make two or three loaves, you'll also be able to make sandwiches with your St. Patty's Day leftovers. Or, bake it in a small, round bread pan and serve your favorite stew in a beer bread bowl — simply slice off the top of the loaf and scoop out the interior portion (of course, saving it to eat later) and place your stew inside.

Make this beer bread recipe truly Irish-inspired by using an Irish beer. Deep-hued Guinness Stout is a strong, full-flavored choice, but any of your favorite Irish beers will do the trick.

Recipe: Beer Bread

4. Irish Stew

When you think of stew, you probably think "meat and potatoes," which is exactly what's in this traditional lamb stew recipe. But to make a truly delicious stew you need time — about two and a half hours, to be exact. That's because when given time to simmer and cook for several hours with onions, garlic, and herbs, the lamb develops rich flavor and buttery tenderness. You'll be returning to the pot for second (or maybe third) helpings for sure. Serve the stew with homemade beer bread or another crusty loaf — you'll want to sop up all the extra gravy when you've finished your stew, it's too delicious to waste.

Recipe: Irish Stew

5. Guinness Float

Guinness stout is one of the best things to ever come out of Ireland, and this recipe gives us a really fun way to enjoy it. But wait, you might be thinking: Guinness stout with ice cream? Well, according to "The Official Guinness Cookbook" (via Amazon) the dark beer has notes of coffee and chocolate and pairs beautifully with vanilla ice cream. Chocolate sauce over the top of the float also complements the maltiness of Guinness. It's an easy treat that's delicious on St. Patrick's Day as well as on hot summer days.

Recipe: Guinness Float

6. Fried Cabbage

Cabbage has been a mainstay in Ireland for hundreds of years, a nourishing food that helped the Irish survive their greatest times of hardships including the Great Potato Famine in the 1800s (per Modern Farmer). Cabbage was often cooked with bacon, and Irish immigrants who moved to the U.S. brought cabbage recipes like this one with them. Fried cabbage cooks up quickly with butter, seasonings, and chopped bacon, and makes a wonderful side dish to serve on St. Patrick's Day with corned beef or with a slice of buttered Irish soda bread. 

Recipe: Fried Cabbage

7. Shepherd's Pie

Unlike pot pie, a classic shepherd's pie has a hearty filling of meat and veggies topped with a flavorful, potato "crust." You may be surprised how easy it is to whip up this Irish favorite. Though a traditional shepherd's pie is made with mutton or lamb (hence the name) you can make yours with your preferred choice of protein, like ground beef or even vegan "meat" crumbles. The filling cooks up on the stovetop, a combination of onions, peas, carrots, and meat, plus the necessary herbs and spices. Spread the filling in a casserole dish then top it with a layer of mashed potatoes. Add a little cheese and breadcrumbs on top, and after just 15 minutes in the oven, you'll have a piping hot meal that harkens back to the lifestyle of Irish sheep farmers.

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

8. Colcannon

Colcannon, a dish of potatoes mashed with cooked cabbage and chopped scallions, has been beloved in Ireland for centuries, according to Atlas Obscura. Some recipes use kale in place of or in combination with the cabbage. And of course, it's served with plenty of Irish butter. Colcannon is a fortune-telling dish, too! A favorite Irish Halloween custom is to hide favors in colcannon, and the favor you find while eating will predict things to come: A coin means wealth and a ring means marriage is near, but a button or thimble means you'll stay single. What a fun game to play while you enjoy colcannon on St. Patrick's Day!

Recipe: Colcannon

9. Instant Pot Potato And Leek Soup

Ireland is well-known for its potato dishes, including creamy, warming soups like this. What you may not know is that leeks are also commonly used in Irish soups and stews, according to The Spruce Eats. Potatoes and leeks come together in this recipe to make a soup that's filling and full of wonderful mild onion flavor. Many traditional soups take an hour (or several) to prepare, but the beauty of this dish is that it's all done in an Instant Pot. Not only will you have fewer dishes to clean, the soup cooks up in only 15 minutes. No matter how hectic your St. Paddy's Day is this year, you definitely have enough time for this soup!

Recipe: Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup

10. Cabbage Steak

We have another simple-yet-delicious way to enjoy cabbage with your Irish-inspired meal on St. Patrick's Day. Thick slices of cabbage are simply drizzled with oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic — plus, you can always try out your own favorite spice blend, if that's what you'd prefer. The cabbage gets roasted to crisp up the edges and bring out the flavor. Cabbage steaks make a tasty side for roasts, sausages, and soups. 

Recipe: Cabbage Steak

11. Traditional Irish Soda Bread

It just isn't St. Patrick's Day if you don't have a loaf of soda bread to enjoy. The best thing about Irish soda bread is that you can enjoy a slice any time of the day: For breakfast, with soup at lunchtime, with corned beef and cabbage for dinner, or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Just be sure to spread it with plenty of butter! Though Americans make soda bread with raisins and caraway seeds, soda breads in Ireland do not typically include these. Our recipe does include raisins, but your bread will still turn out lovely if you decide to leave them out — or to add in a teaspoon or two of caraway seeds. 

Recipe: Traditional Irish Soda Bread

12. Frosted Irish Cream Brownies

There's always plenty of Irish cream on hand for St. Patrick's day. However, be sure to save a little for dessert, so you can make these chocolaty Irish cream brownies. This recipe comes together quickly by using your favorite boxed brownie mix. A splash of Irish cream goes into the batter, and while the brownies bake up, add another splash of the liqueur to an easy, homemade buttercream frosting. When the brownies cool, frost and slice them. The combination of fudgy chocolate brownies and Irish cream flavor is heavenly.

Recipe: Frosted Irish Cream Brownies

13. Guinness Stew

You may decide to make this hearty stew for St. Patrick's Day, but once you try it we guarantee it'll be a recipe you reach for throughout the year. It makes a huge pot of long-simmering stew filled with big chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. The thick broth is seasoned with garlic and thyme, and is dark and rich thanks to a splash of coffee — and a whole can of Guinness Stout. It's a perfect meal to feed a crowd on St. Patrick's Day or any chilly day.

Recipe: Guinness Stew

14. Instant Pot Corned Beef And Cabbage

On St. Patrick's Day, you just have to make a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner! However, you may be wondering how you're going to find the time to make it, considering that the cooking time can hover around three hours, according to Taste Of Home. The good news is if you have an Instant Pot you can cut that cooking time in half! Just place your seasoned corned beef in the Instant Pot with onions, garlic, and beef broth, and it will cook up to perfect tenderness in just 90 minutes, leaving you free to relax and enjoy a pre-dinner pint of Guinness. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Corned Beef And Cabbage

15. Whiskey Glazed Ham

While it's traditional to find corned beef and cabbage everywhere on St. Patrick's Day, if you're looking for a more authentic Irish meat to prepare, this glazed ham is a delicious choice. Good Food Ireland shares that pigs have been the animal of choice in Ireland to raise for meat going back centuries, so ham, bacon, and pork sausage dishes are plentiful there. Pork was also a favorite indulgence for holidays such as St. Patrick's Day.

This recipe calls for a smoked Black Forest ham, but you can use another type, like Virginia smoked ham. The glaze is made from a generous pour of whiskey simmered with brown sugar. The glaze gets a strong flavor from orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon, but you can always reduce the amount or try different herbs in their place. Brush the ham with the glaze and bake it for a half hour to warm it through. 

Recipe: Whiskey Glazed Ham

16. Sauteed Cabbage

When planning out your celebratory meal on March 17, this easy side dish is one you should add to the list. Sautéed cabbage is ready in only 10 minutes, making it easy to prepare just before calling everyone to the table. You can serve the flavorful dish in place of boiled cabbage with corned beef, as a side to smoked ham, or on the side with bangers and mash. Another delicious way to enjoy it is blended with mashed potatoes to make another Irish favorite: Colcannon. 

Recipe: Sautéed Cabbage 

17. Corned Beef Hash

Corned beef hash is a great, breakfast-y way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. This diner favorite is a fry-up of diced potatoes and cooked corned beef along with diced onions and seasonings. It's one of the best savory breakfasts out there, and even more hearty when paired with baked beans and topped with a fried egg. This recipe calls for canned corned beef, but this is also a smart way to use up leftover homemade corned beef: Just use 12 ounces, the same amount that comes in a typical can.  

Recipe: Corned Beef Hash

18. Almond Crumble Scones

According to Irish chef and cookbook author Donal Skehan, scones are "quintessentially Irish," and recipes for the tender, baked treats are handed down in families. Start a new St. Patrick's Day tradition by baking up a fresh batch for breakfast or for a midday snack. The wonderful thing about scones is that the dough comes together quickly with no rising time, and they bake up fast, too. Our scone recipe has almonds inside and a sweet crumble over the top. Serve the scones with an Irish butter like Kerrygold. 

Recipe: Almond Crumb Scones

19. Cabbage Soup

In an interview with NPR, Ballymaloe Cookery School founder Darina Allen shares several traditional Irish recipes that she thinks are perfect for St. Patrick's Day, and one of them is cabbage soup. Our recipe for cabbage soup is full of sautéed veggies like carrot, onion, and potato, and of course, shredded green cabbage. The soup gets a touch of smoky flavor and sweetness from canned, fire-roasted tomatoes. This soup is ready in about 30 minutes, making it a versatile recipe to make for lunch or dinner. 

Recipe: Cabbage Soup

20. Fish And Chips

Even though fish and chips is a British street food, the dish has a long history in Ireland as well, going back to the late 19th century. This recipe explains how to coat pieces of cod in an easy beer batter and fry them up on the stovetop. The chips (fries) in this recipe are also homemade and fried on the stove, but you could certainly sub in frozen fries to save some time. Chippers, as fish and chips are known as in Ireland, are an excellent dish to enjoy with your favorite Irish beer on St. Patrick's Day.

Recipe: Fish And Chips

21. Green Cabbage And Bacon

To honor the culture and the foods of Ireland, you just have to include some cabbage with your meal! As Bon Appétit shares, there are many ways to prepare cabbage, from enjoying it raw in salads and slaws to frying, boiling, and steaming it. Roasting is another way to coax incredible flavor and tenderness from cabbage. This recipe takes it even further: Thick wedges of cabbage drizzled in oil and seasoned are then topped with raw slices of bacon. As the bacon cooks, the drippings add their smoky, savory flavor to the cabbage. If you can find Irish rashers to use in this recipe, all the better!

Recipe: Caramelized Green Cabbage And Bacon