These Traditional Irish potato pancakes known as Boxty, are made with grated and mashed potatoes into a batter and often served for breakfast but are great as a side dish any time of the day.
This Irish potato cake, known as Boxty, is made with a mixture of cooked, mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes held together with flour and buttermilk and then fried in a skillet. You can put it on a griddle in small rounds or cook it in a skillet as one round cake and cut it into sections and then serve it.
These pancakes can be made in two different ways: as a thin crepe or as a thicker pancake. You can enjoy these potato pancakes plain or with sour cream, green onion, or chives. I personally love the thicker version but definitely try both ways and see what you prefer.
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I like to serve them as a side dish with bacon and eggs for a nice, hearty breakfast that will stick with you for a while. You can also place a nice poached or sunny-side-up egg on top of your potato pancake, which is delicious as well.
Ingredients in Boxty Potato Pancakes
Here you will find the ingredients that you will need for this recipe.
- Russet potatoes These are large baking potatoes; for this recipe, I use 18 ounces of potatoes. 9 oz of it is mashed potatoes, and 9 oz are grated potatoes. This is a great recipe if you have leftover potatoes too.
- Buttermilk If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use regular milk and add 1-1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk.
- Flour Use all-purpose flour here.
- Baking Soda This will help them leaven a bit with the combination of buttermilk and baking soda.
- Salt and Pepper This is for flavor; it’s really the only thing in these pancakes that gives them some flavor.
- Cooking Oil I like to use vegetable oil or canola oil, but any oil you would use for frying works here.
How to make Potato Pancakes
- Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and baking soda.
- Mix the mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, and flour mixture together.
- Slowly add buttermilk; the mixture will be thick (like stiff mashed potatoes), so try not to over-mix. Add additional buttermilk if needed.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once your skillet is hot and sizzling, scoop mounds of potato batter into the pan. Spread it out slightly into flat circles. If you want, you can make it into one large circle, saving room to be able to flip it over.
- Fry on one side for 3–4 minutes until well browned, then flip over and repeat until cooked through.
- Serve with sour cream, green onions, and chives.
Tips and Suggestions
- If you have leftover potatoes, you can use them in place of the ones you need to cook for this recipe. It doesn’t matter if you have added butter, sour cream, milk, and salt. Just use 1 cup of the leftovers and leave out the salt, or use less to compensate for the ones that might be in your leftovers.
- To squeeze the liquid from your shredded or grated potatoes, you can use a clean tea towel. Just be aware that it might stain the tea towel, so you might want to use one if you’re okay with it being slightly stained. Alternatively, you can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter; I prefer cheesecloth only because you can really tighten it to let go of the liquid in the grated potato. (It always amazes me how much liquid a grated potato holds.)
- As I said in the how-to instructions, you can make it into one large potato pancake; there are a couple of suggestions if doing it this way.
- You want to make sure that you don’t spread the batter over the full size of your skillet; you want to make sure you leave some room so that you can flip it over without too much difficulty.
- Allow the underside to cook and set before trying to flip it over, or you will have a mess on your hands. It’s similar to cooking a regular pancake, so make sure it’s pretty much half-cooked before flipping it over.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between boxty and potato cakes?
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake and is made with a combination of mashed and raw grated potatoes. Similar to a latke, a boxty is creamy because of the addition of mashed potatoes.
How do I make sure the potato gets cooked through completely?
This is one of the biggest challenges with making Irish Boxty potato pancakes: making sure the potato is cooked through all the way. The mashed potato has no problem warming up to the temperature you want for eating, but the grated potato is raw when you put it into your pan.
The best way I have found is to watch the temperature carefully. If the temperature of your pan is too high, the boxty will get browned too quickly, and the raw potato will not be cooked.
What is boxty in English?
The word boxty comes from the Gaelic bacstai (where “bac” is a shelf over a “stai,” or open fire) or aran bocht it, meaning “poor-house bread”
Irish Boxty Potato Pancakes
- 1 cup potato cooked and mashed
- 1 cup potato grated or shredded
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 to 1-1/2 cup buttermilk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper for taste
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes with grated raw potatoes. Stir in the flour mixture. Then, slowly add the buttermilk. Stir gently, being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be a firm, thick batter (like stiff mashed potatoes). Add additional buttermilk if needed.
- Heat a griddle, nonstick frying pan, or cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat and add butter. Once melted, scoop the batter and shape it into a round pancake circle. Fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the pancake and continue to cook until both sides are golden and evenly cooked, about 5 minutes per side. Adjust the heat if they brown too quickly. You want the raw potato to cook.
- Serve garnished with sliced green onion, sour cream or greek yogurt, and Enjoy!