IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

25 Irish desserts for the sweetest St. Patrick's Day

Celebrate St. Patrick's day with spiked sweets and family-friendly confections.
/ Source: TODAY

When it comes to the best St. Patrick's Day recipes, savory favorites like tender corned beef with cabbage, hearty potato dishes and flavorful seafood chowders may come to mind. But there's also a sweeter side to the cuisine of the Emerald Isle — and the delicious baked goods go way beyond soda bread, which still makes the list (don't worry!). Our best St. Patrick's Day desserts include must-haves like chocolate stout cake and sticky toffee pudding.

Before we dig into dessert, here's a brief primer on how to celebrate the holiday. Each March 17, to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, Irish communities across the globe come together in honor of all things Irish. Celebrations include everything from music and dancing to festive parades, religious ceremonies and, of course, plenty of traditional Irish dishes.

After eating a rich, savory stew and sipping one too many pints, wrap up the party with a little something sweet. Many St. Patrick's Day desserts are made with Irish beers and spirits like stout and whiskey (what could be better than cake with a boozy bite to keep the party going?). To balance all of the grown-up spiked sweets, we have plenty of family-friendly confections from Irish chefs and frequent TODAY Food guests such as Donal Skehan, Catherine Fulvio and Clodagh McKenna.

So this year, don't just add a few drops of green food coloring to buttercream frosting and call it a day. Go beyond the basics and explore a variety of Irish-inspired desserts, from the fun and creative to time-honored classics. These party-ready desserts really (sham)rock!

Irish Stout Cake

Donal Skehan loves this dessert recipe because it's a decadent, moist cake with booze! Who doesn't love that? "It's really a showstopper at any function and it's guaranteed to disappear within minutes of serving," he says. "I recommend making and serving this cake same day while it's still super moist. But if time is an issue, you can definitely bake the cake in advance, wrap very well and freeze a day or two ahead of time and frost it the day you serve."

Catherine Fulvio is the third generation on her family farm in county Wicklow, Ireland. "My mother opened our bed & breakfast in our 19th century farmhouse, over 50 years ago, she says. "This was one of her signature desserts and I learned to make it from her. It is still much-loved by all the visitors to our home and to our cooking school all these years later. It's a quintessential Irish dish, with our beautiful grass-fed butter, Guinness and Irish whiskey in it."

Gur Cake

Gur cake is an inexpensive but delicious cake that is popular throughout Ireland. The outer layers are most often comprised of thin layers of pastry. The filling is different in each bakery, depending on the baker's choice of spices or the type of leftover cakes used in the mix that day.

A crumble is one of Skehan's favorite desserts. "Here I've used apples, but no matter what fruit you use, this elevated crumble cake takes that classic and transforms it to a true showstopper and real centerpiece for special occasions."

Guinness Chocolate Cake

McKenna makes this cake traditionally every year for St. Patrick's Day. "It's majestically dark but surprisingly light and velvety in texture," she says. "I adore how it looks, like a pint of Guinness! Make sure you use regular cream cheese (not the low-fat variety) for extra creamy icing."

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

These little cupcakes might look innocent, but they are laced with good Irish whiskey. They're a perfect St. Patrick's Day sweet treat for grown-ups. The cake has a hint of espresso that gives them a bold coffee flavor.

St. Patrick's Day Bark

This recipe is festive and customizable — win win! Add a few drops of mint extract to the white chocolate for a refreshing peppermint flavor, or add a drop or two of green food coloring.

Chocolate Irish Stout Cupcakes

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day? This chocolaty Irish stout cake is practically required fare. Individually sized cupcakes make it easy to transport, share and enjoy this dessert at any celebration.

According to popular lore, this drink dates back to a stormy winter night in the 1940s when a group of air travelers became stranded in a small port town in Ireland. A resourceful bartender provided a double-dose of just what these weary people needed by adding whiskey to coffee, and the classic drink was born. Decades later, it remains perfect for sipping in the winter months when the temperature drops and the weather calls for something that warms from the inside out.

Guinness Caramel Tiramisu

Guinness caramel brings a fun Irish twist to an originally Italian recipe. Try making the tiramisu in individual cocktail glasses for personal-sized portions. This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday but you can make this dessert a day or two in advance.

These little apple cakes are a delicious marriage of retro puddings and more modern desserts. "I love the comforting apple sponge cake," says Skehan. "But the addition of the salted caramel sauce truly makes all the difference."

This is a great dessert to throw together at the last minute because it contains basic pantry ingredients.

Shamrock Shake

Instead of waiting all year for the tasty treat, make it at home. This DIY take on McDonald's Shamrock Shake only requires five ingredients. Get sweet satisfaction in just minutes and skip the trip to the drive-thru.

These adorable leprechaun hats are surprisingly easy to make. They only require five ingredients and are great for a festive holiday teat. Kids will love making them just as much as eating them!

Irish Whiskey Mocha Chocolate Mousse

Everyone loves chocolate mousse, and this one has a light and airy texture. It's a perfect dinner party dessert as it can be made in advance and it only takes a handful of dark, delicious ingredients. What's not to love?

Chocolate Clover Cupcakes

Tiny balls of foil are the trick to making clover-shaped cupcakes. To save time in the kitchen, use store-bought cake mix and frosting — so long as they're tinted green.

Guinness Cake

Rich, heavy chocolate Guinness cake and a luscious stout frosting taste better than finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Assembling the layered dessert in Guinness-branded glasses makes them even more festive.

Just sweet enough and with the perfect amount of moisture, Dylan's Irish soda bread is the perfect treat after dinner — or really, any time of day. Plump raisins make this a true delight, especially when served warm with a generous smear of Irish butter.

Skip the stout and enjoy a festive boozy milkshake. Crème de menthe loads this sipper with delicious minty flavor. Top it with whipped cream and sprinkles for a fun grown-up treat.

Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

These cupcakes get sweetness and a deep color from a surprising ingredient: beets!

Sunny Anderson's take on bread pudding is rich and luscious. Made with chocolate that melts between soft layers of tender sweet bread, it's a total crowd-pleaser.

Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

This ode to chocolate combines a deeply rich, moist chocolate cake (made with chocolate stout!) with smooth chocolate pudding and dark chocolate frosting.

Quick Coffee-Chocolate Mousse

This is McKenna's go-to dessert when she's pressed for time. These take just 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to chill — plus, you can make them a day in advance.

This straightforward, easy recipe for Irish soda bread results in a real classic for St. Patrick's Day. Sweet raisins and herby caraway lend themselves for a not-too-sweet bread for the holiday.

Guinness is the secret ingredient you never knew your brownies needed. The Irish stout ensures they're moist and deeply flavorful.