How to Make Boxty, Ireland’s Famous Potato Pancakes
Boxty has a delightfully crispy exterior and soft pancake-like center, making them irresistible. Learn how to make them at home.
Boxty is a traditional Irish food typically eaten around Halloween, or Samhain as the Irish refer to it. This was because potato crops were bountiful this time of year, so making boxty was a very affordable way to feed people.
Boxty is different from other potato pancakes or latkes, and you’ll see that once you bite into one and notice the crispy hash brown-like outside and soft, dough-like inside.
What Is Boxty?
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake, that gets its unique texture from the combination of mashed and shredded raw potatoes.
Fried in oil, these little potato pillows from heaven are perfectly crispy when you bite into them, but soft like a pancake on the inside. With the addition of buttermilk, flour and baking soda, they puff up slightly in the oil while getting a deep golden crust. Drooling yet?
How to Make Boxty
- 1-1/2 cups cold mashed potatoes
- 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- Oil for frying
Tools You’ll Need
- Veggie peeler: You need to peel quite a few potatoes for this recipe. Make sure you have a good peeler on hand. This model is just $5 but our Test Kitchen swears by it.
- Box grater: A box grater is a necessity for any kind of potato pancake, including boxty.
- Tea towels: To press the water out of the potatoes, you’ll want thin kitchen towels at the ready.
Step 1: Prep the potatoes
Boxty has two types of potatoes: mashed and shredded. Make some mashed potatoes in advance. Boil the potatoes until soft and mash with a masher or potato ricer. No need to add any milk or butter here; that’ll come later.
Let the mashed potatoes cool completely.
Step 2: Shred and squeeze
Start by shredding your potatoes with a box grater just like you would for any other potato pancakes. Using a clean dish towel, squeeze out any excess liquid from shredded potatoes. This will help the batter hold together better and allow your boxty to crisp up better.
Step 3: Make the batter
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper. Add the mashed and shredded potatoes to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add a cup of buttermilk to the mixture, adding more as needed.
Step 4: Fry
In a large frying pan, heat 1/8-inch oil over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup, drop batter into hot oil and flatten into patties. Fry until golden brown on each side, adding more oil as needed.
It’s better to cook these longer and lower than higher and quicker, as you don’t want the outside to crisp up before the shredded potatoes have cooked through.
What to Eat with Boxty
It’s true they are so tasty that you may want to just eat them alone, but if you’re looking to make a meal of it try serving your boxty with either fresh butter, crème Fraiche, green onions, bacon, smoked salmon and eggs. For an authentic Irish dinner try serving it with corned beef and fried cabbage.