Whether or not you're Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and delicious holiday celebrated across the globe. And for those who spend time prepping Irish-inspired recipes in the kitchen or pop over to their favorite Irish pub for dinner, they know that there's far more to savor than shamrock-colored beer.
The March 17 holiday has its roots in Ireland — as St. Patrick is the patron saint of the Emerald Isle — but has grown to become a time-honored treasure in countries all over the world. The true nature of St. Paddy’s is centered around a Christian feast and a celebration of Irish culture that includes festivities like parades, traditional foods, music, religious ceremonies, dancing and pretty much everything green.
When it comes to the holiday meal, meat and potatoes are the main attraction while greenery tends to play second fiddle. The most common offering is corned beef and cabbage, but other versions of meaty stews (preferably those that incorporate a good amount of Guinness), starchy sides like potatoes, leafy vegetables, soda bread, and, of course, rich Irish dessert recipes, can all be part of a great St. Patrick's Day dinner.
From time-honored and traditional recipes to modern contemporary dishes from Irish chefs and TODAY guests such as Clodagh McKenna, Donal Skehan and Catherine Fulvio, these fun and flavorful recipes bring the luck (and flavor) of the Irish to the dinner table. They are great for a giant feast, intimate meal or filling family supper on St. Patrick's Day — or, really, any day you're in need of a warming wintry meal.
Siri and Carson Daly both grew up loving this simple appetizer. It only has three ingredients — corned beef deli meat, cream cheese and pickles — but each one brings an essential element to the table. The cream cheese offers a creamy texture and tangy flavor while the briny snap of dill pickle spears adds a refreshing crunch.
In this cold weather-friendly soup, a combination of broccoli, baby spinach and apples not only deliver flavor, but a boost of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Unrefined coconut oil adds subtle sweetness to offset some of the bitterness from the greens. Stir in some cooked quinoa for a heartier meal.
For St. Patrick's Day, go all out and dress up the humble new potato with a trio of indulgent ingredients — cheddar cheese, sour cream and bacon. Top this savory bite-sized appetizer with more cheese, potato chips and fresh chives.
This vegetarian-friendly cakes have the tenderness of crab cakes, but with a nutrient-rich bright green color. Consider serving them with a yogurt-, tomato- or mayonnaise-based sauce to jazz them up.
This recipe happens all in one pot, allowing for minimal mess and super easy cleanup. Ready for the best surprise of all? This velvety, rich soup is made without any cream. Make a big batch and freeze for up to three months.
This salad is the epitome of spring. It's filled with delicately shaved asparagus, fresh fennel and peppery arugula. A tangy orange vinaigrette adds an extra pop of brightness to this crunchy and satisfying starter. Top with seared salmon or steak to make it a main course.
"As a kid growing up, my mother used to make champ potatoes," says Declan Horgan. "I remember there being a magic well in the middle of the potatoes, filled with milk and butter — food of the gods it was! Later, I added the smoked ham hock to elevate the dish, but it's still a taste of childhood, just like mom made."
This is not the corned beef your relatives cooked. It's a modern take on an all-time classic Irish dish, paired with a beloved Italian bite.
Look no further than this classic St Patrick's Day dinner recipe! Serve it as a stew or take it one step further and use it as the filling for an epic pie (use store-bought pie crust for an easy riff).
Irish whiskey, tangy mustard and sweet honey marinade make these pork chops truly outstanding. The chops get a double dose of flavor as the marinade gets boiled down to a sticky, sweet finishing sauce. Complete the feast with buttery herbed carrots and classic champ mash.
This beef stew is a weekly staple on McKenna's Irish family table. "I've added the herby potato dumplings because they soak up the delicious juices from the stew," she says.
In Ireland, bacon and cabbage is a traditional part of the St. Patrick's Day feast. On the other hand, corned beef is the American version dreamt up by Irish immigrants when beef was a more readily available option. You can't go wrong with either version.
Toasty rye bread, tender corned beef, melty Irish cheddar and sharp mustard come together to make the ultimate sandwich for St. Patrick's Day. Serve with a side of cool, crisp cucumber pickles to cut through the richness of the sandwich.
Skehan's hometown of Howth is famous throughout Ireland for its fish. "This wonderfully creamy seafood chowder always reminds me of home," he says. "Serve it with a few slices of brown bread with Irish salted butter and I'm there in an instant."
In the days following March 17, we're sure to have a slew of leftover corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Instead of re-heating them as is, transform them into a whole new dish! This makes a great post-pub-crawl breakfast, or even a fun breakfast for dinner.
Slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage is a must-make recipe in March. Because the corned beef, potatoes, onions and cabbage are all cooked together in a flavorful braising liquid, the result is a dish with beautiful blend of flavors.
The flaky, buttery pastry on this pie make it taste and look equally good. Instead of using diced potatoes in the stew, they're riced and folded into the pie crust along with good-quality Irish butter. The meaty filling is a delicious contrast to the tender topping.
Smoky bacon, sweet red peppers, fresh herbs and tender butternut squash make this traditional Irish farmhouse dinner warm and comforting. Don't skip the deglazing step — it ensures that all those wonderful crispy bits and caramelized flavors make their way into the casserole.
This is one of those soulful comfort dishes that is so craveable when the weather turns cold. It's a great way to turn leftovers into a meal. Smoky ham, root vegetables, and bacon add heft, while the leafy kale and fresh herbs lighten and brighten the dish with their grassy flavor.
This is an Irish take on a Philadelphia cheesesteak. The satisfying sandwich gets an Emerald Isle twist with griddled corned beef and melted Irish cheddar cheese.
It's hard to resist completely devouring shepherd's pie. From the velvety gravy and tender vegetables to the flavorful meat and fluffy mashed potatoes, each bite is more enjoyable than the last. Serve it family-style in a large baking dish or in individual-sized crocks.
All aspects of this stew can be made ahead. In fact, it's better if you do — the pastry benefits from resting in the fridge, while the meat becomes more tender and flavorful after resting overnight.
This is one of Skehan's absolute favorite dinners. "Don't be afraid of shallow-frying the fish — once you have a nice high-sided pan and a controlled heat, everything will work out nicely, but do be careful when cooking with hot oil," he says. "Make sure not to overcrowd the pan when cooking the fish as this will reduce the heat. Also, preparing your batter in advance will speed up the process."
Comforting buttery colcannon, along with crunchy, juicy breaded pork chops is Irish comfort food at its finest. The honey dip is addictive, and so good served with chicken wings or pork ribs too. Play around with this dish and swap whiskey for Guinness, or lamb cutlets or chicken breasts instead of pork chops.
Upgrade a classic shepherd's pie with a topping of a creamy potato champ mash. Champ is a traditional way of serving mash from the north of Ireland; spring (aka green) onions are folded into the mix for a bold allium flavor and delicate crunch.
Beef stew doesn't have to take several hours to make. This recipe is quick and easy, yet still offers a long-braised flavor. Using higher-end cut of meats, such as sirloin or tenderloin, is more expensive but affords you more time spent out of the kitchen. They're naturally tender and therefore require less braising time.
For Skehan, pan-fried fish is the ultimate fast food made at home. Pair crisp, flaky fish with a bright side of peas and mint.
This is guaranteed crowd-pleasing chowder recipe. Applewood-smoked bacon is worth seeking out, as its smoky flavor really enhances the dish. Crispy potatoes take the place of the usual oyster crackers and add both flavor and texture to the creamy chowder.
Cabbage and bacon are two ingredients in this straightforward side, but the combination is a classic for a reason. Cooking the cabbage under a bacon blanket allows for the smoky, salty flavors to permeate the hearty layers of leaves, creating beautiful caramelization on the underside of the cabbage. Once cooked, the bacon gets chopped and crumbled over the tender cabbage to add a crispy finish.
Soda bread is an Irish staple that's as great for celebrating St. Patrick's Day as it is any time of year. Because it is leavened with baking soda instead of yeast, the dough doesn't need time to proof. So, once mixed, kneaded and shaped, it's right to the oven with it. Serve warm with a healthy smear of Irish butter.
Move aside, mashed potatoes. Hasselback potatoes look much fancier and more impressive than the amount of work required to make them. Fresh garlic and rosemary punch up the flavor while the slicing creates a crispy texture in each slice.
This is one of McKenna's all-time favorite dishes to make — especially "for a cozy fireside supper on a Friday with a delicious glass of white Burgundy." The combination of fluffy potatoes mixed with silky crème fraîche and flat-leaf parsley, topped with jewels of trout caviar and held within a crispy potato skin, is truly a revelation.
Smoked Irish bacon, balsamic cider vinegar and tender spinach make this a satisfying side dish for an at-home Irish feast. The best part is the whole thing comes together in under 10 minutes.
Champ is as classic Irish as it gets. This versatile side dish works with almost any main course, from fried fish to beef stew and beyond! Up the flavor ante with a few spoonful of basil pesto instead of (or in addition to!) the spring onions.
This is the bread that's always on McKenna's kitchen table at home. It's similar to the traditional Irish soda bread, but hers is made with yogurt and fresh rosemary. Bonus: no kneading or proofing involved!
Dress up vegetables with a kid-friendly zesty orange sauce. It adds a sweet, juicy brightness to the slightly bitter greens. Feel free to swap in any type of greens.
"This recipe actually was a gift for my bridal shower, from my husband's great-aunt Toots," says TODAY's Dylan Dreyer. "It was laminated and everything. Brian's side of the family is very Irish, and I don’t have any Irish on my side, but I’ve always loved Irish soda bread. It’s a fairly bland kind of bread, like a biscuit or a scone, so it’s really best with cold Irish butter and coffee or tea. It’s perfect for breakfast!"
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 delightful coffee flavor.
This festive recipe is totally customizable. Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the white chocolate and make it even more festive with green food coloring. The crushed potato chips and pretzels add extra crunch and a hint of salt, but can be omitted for a strictly sweet treat.
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with chocolaty Irish stout dessert? Individually sized cupcakes make these easy to transport and even easier to share.
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 a classic was born.
Guinness caramel brings a fun Irish twist to an originally Italian recipe. The delicious depth of flavor makes it an apt dessert to serve on St. Patrick's Day. Try making the tiramisu in individual cocktail glasses for personal-sized portions. Better yet, make it a day ahead to save prep time on the holiday.
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."
"My mother opened our bed & breakfast in our 19th century farmhouse, over 50 years ago," says Fulvio, the third-generation on her family's Ireland farm. "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 — what's not to love?"
Gur cake is an inexpensive but delicious cake that's 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."
McKenna makes this cake 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."