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10 Traditional Irish Foods You Haven’t Heard Of (And Some You Have)

Discover Ireland’s most iconic foods, one dish at a time.

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Slow cooked cabbage, potatoes & smoked sausage with bread; Shutterstock ID 158423129LeeAnn White/Shutterstock

Yes, traditional Irish food contains a lot of meat and potatoes—but there are plenty of unique and unexpected dishes that hail from the Emerald Isle. You probably know what shepherd’s pie is, but how about boxty or champ? Follow along as we decode some of Ireland’s iconic dishes. (Psst! We also have the scoop on these 11 classic British foods.)

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Homemade Boxty Irish Potato Pancakes for Breakfast; Shutterstock ID 251283436Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Boxty

You’d never tell from its name, but a boxty is a potato pancake. It’s made with both grated raw potatoes and mashed potatoes. It supposedly originated during the Irish Potato Famine, and it’s even mentioned in an old Irish rhyme: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man.” Learn how to make potato pancakes, here.

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Traditional Irish dish Dublin coddle with sausages and beer on a table; Shutterstock ID 767524477StockphotoVideo/Shutterstock

Coddle

A coddle is a one-pot stew made with leftovers from the week, such as sausage, bacon, potatoes and onions. Its name comes from “coddling,” or simmering, the ingredients for hours before it is ready to eat. It’s a favorite dish of Dublin. Here are more classic Irish recipes.

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Traditional Irish Barmbrack; Shutterstock ID 595210424Siim79/Shutterstock

Barmbrack

Barmbrack, usually shortened to “brack,” is an Irish fruitcake filled with raisins, fruit and spices. It’s typically soaked in tea and whiskey overnight, making it an even more delicious snack with afternoon tea. It becomes a fortuneteller around Halloween, when Irish folks put little trinkets in the dough. If you find a coin, you’ll gain wealth; a ring and you’ll marry within the year.

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Irish mashed potatoes (Champ) with butter and chives; Shutterstock ID 412038115Civil/Shutterstock

Champ

Champ is very similar to mashed potatoes. It’s made with potatoes, milk, butter and scallions. What makes it even better than regular mashed potatoes is the well of melted butter in the middle. Hey, did you know butter is healthier than you thought?

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Irish colcannon - mashed potatoes with savoy cabbage and butter closeup on the table. horizontal view from above; Shutterstock ID 475578826AS Food studio/Shutterstock

Colcannon

You’ve probably heard of this one, even if you’re not sure what it actually is. Colcannon is creamy mashed potatoes with cabbage. It’s typically served with boiled ham in Ireland. Try our version of colcannon potatoes with bacon.

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white and black pudding on a pan; Shutterstock ID 149291570Joerg Beuge/Shutterstock

Black and White Pudding

Black pudding is pretty common in the United Kingdom. It’s a sausage made with pork meat, fat and blood. It doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it must be good if so many Europeans like it. The Irish like to enjoy their black pudding with white pudding, which is identical–just without the blood.

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Irish Soda BreadTaste of Home

Irish Soda Bread

You know this one, right? Irish soda bread is a quick bread made with baking soda (not soda pop). The basic recipe is pretty simple, but many Irish families add their own twist by mixing in different fruit and spices. The recipes are passed down from generation to generation, making them family heirlooms.

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Photo of of Irish Stew or Guinness Stew made in an old well worn copper pot.; Shutterstock ID 112361042Ronald Sumners/Shutterstock

Irish stew

Irish stew is a comforting one-pot meal, cooking slowly until the meat is ultra-tender. (Just like our favorite one-pot wonder recipes.) Mutton was used originally, but nowadays, lamb is the meat of choice. Potatoes, onions and sometimes carrots round out the dish.

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Shepards pieTaste of Home

Shepherd’s pie

This dish has made its way to America, where it is a popular way to use up leftovers. Traditionally shepherd’s pie uses lamb, whereas cottage pie uses ground beef. Today, many Americans use the term shepherd’s pie for both.

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Creamy Irish CoffeeTaste of Home

Irish coffee

With so much whiskey produced in Ireland, it’s no wonder they started mixing it with coffee! An Irish coffee is made with black coffee, Irish whiskey, a little bit of sugar and topped with cream. Try our spin on an Irish coffee on a cozy night.

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