Delicious Irish Foods to try on St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Foods

While you may plan on spending St. Patrick’s Day drinking copious amounts of Jameson and Guinness at your favorite Irish Pubs, you’ll want to make sure to grab some food along the way to help you make it through the night. To keep with the theme of the holiday, why not try some amazing Irish Foods like Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Stew and more. Here are some of the best Irish Foods to look out for on St. Patrick’s Day when you visit Irish restaurants in San Francisco:

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef and Cabbage | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Corned beef and cabbage is probably the dish that is most often associated with St. Patrick’s Day, however it is technically not completely an Irish dish. Historically, beef was a luxury in Ireland and most people could not afford it. Instead, pork was the preferred meat, and bacon and cabbage was a common dish.

When Irish immigrants came to the United States in the 19th century, they found that beef was more affordable than it had been in Ireland and they adapted their cuisine to use corned beef. It still deserves a spot on the list, but we can file it under Irish-American dishes that are based on traditional Irish food.

Regardless of where it was actually created, corned beef & cabbage is a uniquely delicious dish consisting of corned beef, boiled cabbage, potatoes and carrots that is definitely worth a try.

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s Pie | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Shepherd’s pie is a classic Irish dish made with a meat filling and topped with mashed potatoes. Traditionally, the filling is made with ground lamb (hence the name “shepherd’s” pie, but beef is sometimes used as well. The meat is typically cooked with vegetables such as onions, carrots, and peas, and then topped with a layer of mashed potatoes before being baked in the oven until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.

It is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, but has been a popular part of Irish Cuisine for a very long time.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Originally created by Irish farmers who used baking soda since they didn’t have access to yeast, this tasty bread is a great addition to any Irish meal. It has a slightly dense texture and a slightly tangy flavor due to the use of buttermilk. It is typically baked in a round loaf, with a cross cut on top, which is said to help the bread cook evenly and also serves as a symbol of blessings for the household. While the traditional recipe uses only basic ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk), variations of the bread can include additions such as raisins, nuts, or seeds.


Irish Stew

Irish Stew
Irish Stew | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The ultimate comfort food for those rainy San Francisco days. Irish stew is made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, and carrots. It is a dish that has been enjoyed in Ireland for centuries, with each region having their own variation of the recipe.


Boxty | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Potato cakes are a type of dish made from mashed potatoes that are formed into small, flattened rounds and then fried or baked until crispy. They are a staple dish in many cuisines all over the world and include Jewish Latkes, Indian Aloo Tikki, Swedish Raggmunk and more. In Ireland, they are known as Boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake that is made with grated potatoes, flour, and buttermilk.


Colcannon | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that consists of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, and butter. The dish is typically served as a side dish with meat or fish, and is a popular dish in Ireland, particularly during the fall and winter months. It is often associated with Halloween, and is sometimes served with a ring or other small trinket hidden inside. The type of trinket you find has a different meaning (a ring means you will be married in the next year, a coin will bring wealth, etc.)

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Bangers and Mash is another traditional Irish dish that originated in England, but has become a popular item to eat in Ireland. It consists of sausages (bangers) and mashed potatoes (mash) with a big helping of delicious gravy made from pan drippings, onions and beef stock.

Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Beef Stew
Guinness Beef Stew | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A spin on the traditional Irish stew, Guinness beef stew is a hearty and flavorful stew that is made with beef, vegetables, and Guinness beer. The beer adds a rich and complex flavor to the stew.


Irish Champ
Irish Champ | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Champ is a traditional Irish dish that consists of mashed potatoes, scallions, and butter. It is typically served as a side dish with meat, such as pork or beef.

Black Pudding

Black Pudding
Black Pudding | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Black pudding is a traditional Irish sausage that is made with pork blood, oatmeal, and other ingredients. It has a unique flavor and is typically served with a traditional Irish breakfast.

Interesting Facts about Irish Food

Irish cuisine is known for its hearty, comforting dishes that reflect the country’s agricultural heritage and the natural bounty of its land and seas. Here’s a list of interesting facts about Irish foods that highlight their richness, tradition, and the cultural significance behind some of Ireland’s most beloved dishes and ingredients.

Potatoes Are a Staple: Introduced in the late 16th century, potatoes became a staple of the Irish diet. The Great Famine in the mid-19th century, caused by potato blight, dramatically showcased the vegetable’s importance to the Irish people.

Irish Stew: Traditionally, Irish stew is made with mutton (older sheep), potatoes, onions, and parsley. Today, it’s often made with lamb or beef. This dish epitomizes Irish comfort food and was originally a way for poor families to make a nourishing meal from simple ingredients.

Soda Bread: Irish soda bread requires only four ingredients: flour, baking soda (as a leavening agent), buttermilk, and salt. The cross cut into the top before baking is a traditional practice, said to ward off evil spirits or to let the fairies out.

Corned Beef and Cabbage: Interestingly, corned beef and cabbage is more of an Irish-American tradition than an authentic Irish dish. In Ireland, bacon or ham was historically more common, but Irish immigrants in America found corned beef to be a cheaper alternative.

Full Irish Breakfast: A hearty start to the day, a full Irish breakfast typically includes eggs, sausage, bacon (rashers), black and white pudding, toast, and tomatoes. It reflects the country’s farming roots and was designed to fuel a hard day’s work.

Seafood: Ireland’s extensive coastline provides a bounty of seafood, making dishes like salmon, oysters, and mussels staples in the Irish diet. The Galway Oyster Festival celebrates this heritage every September.

Black and White Pudding: Black pudding is a type of blood sausage that includes pork blood, fat, and oatmeal. White pudding is similar but doesn’t contain blood. Both are traditional components of a full Irish breakfast.

Cheese: Ireland produces a variety of excellent cheeses, thanks to its lush green pastures. Popular Irish cheeses include Cashel Blue, a soft blue cheese, and Dubliner, a sweet, aged cheese.

Butter: Irish butter, particularly from brands like Kerrygold, is renowned for its quality and rich flavor, a result of the country’s grass-fed cows. Ireland is one of the world’s largest exporters of butter.

Poitín: Originally an illicit spirit distilled in small home setups, poitín (pronounced “potcheen”) is made from potatoes or malted barley. Once banned, it’s now legally produced and has seen a resurgence as a craft spirit.

Tea: Ireland is one of the highest per capita consumers of tea in the world. Irish tea is typically strong and often enjoyed with milk.