Is there any better way to express your Irish side than serving Irish food recipes to friends and family? We can't think of one! We would like to share some of our favorite Irish recipes with you, as well! We'll start with some quick information about the traditional Irish diet and then describe some of our favorite Irish meals.
Much like her people, Ireland’s traditional foods are straightforward, hearty and thrifty.
Historically, many Irish people (particularly those in the countryside) were not particularly prosperous, so most traditional Irish dishes evolved from an assortment of inexpensive, basic ingredients.
Grains such as oats and barley have always been a staple on the island. A vegetable garden was part of many Irish households, and thanks to the Celts’ arrival around 500 B.C., sheep and pigs became common throughout the island. And fish were always available along the long Irish coastline.
The Spanish conquered much of South America in the 1500s, and they brought the potato back with them when they returned to Europe. It quickly made its way to Ireland, where it became an important part of the Irish diet – especially in the Irish countryside.
Because these were the foods that were readily available and relatively inexpensive, many traditional Irish food recipes use grains, potatoes, vegetables, dairy, and lamb, pork or fish as their core ingredients.
We'll start by describing the basic daily meals. We'll offer links at the end of this section to take you to specific recipes.
Breakfast is probably our favorite meal, and we love a traditional Irish food recipe - the Irish fry-up.
A fry-up can include almost anything you have in the kitchen – from eggs, potatoes and bacon or sausage (or both!) to tomatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, leeks, garlic and onions. You’ll want to serve it with fried bread or buttered toast (I suggest wheat or potato bread) and a pot of steaming hot tea.
You couldn’t ask for a more traditional Irish breakfast because all the ingredients (except for the tea) could be found on a typical Irish farm. Some Irish cooks add a side of baked beans, like their British neighbors.
A full Irish fry-up is filling and will keep you going for hours. If you’d prefer a lighter Irish breakfast, just whip up some Irish soda bread. It’s yummy and very easy to make.
For several different Irish soda bread recipes, and many other Irish foods, have a look at our section on Irish recipes.
A flavorful leek and potato soup is a great opportunity to fill your belly while warming your entire body on a cold winter’s day.
Leeks have been on the Emerald Isle for many centuries (invading Normans and British brought them to Ireland), and they add a tasty touch to traditional Irish potato soup.
Serve it with some bread and you have a simple but hearty Irish lunch.
A traditional Irish dinner always includes some type of meat and vegetables. A good example is Irish bacon and cabbage.
A lot of non-Irish people associate corned beef and cabbage with Ireland, but bacon and cabbage is a much more traditional Irish meal.
The Irish have always been thrifty, and “waste not, want not” has long been a byword on the island.
Bacon and cabbage is a traditional Irish dinner that allows Irish cooks to combine leftovers into a scrumptious meal.
Apples are one of the few fruits that grow well in the Irish climate, and apple trees are found all over Ireland. The ancient Celts believed apple trees were under the protection of one of their most powerful goddesses.
Apple pie is a traditional Irish dessert, and many Irish cooks have their own “secret recipe” that’s been handed down from mother to daughter for countless generations.
If you’d like to try a traditional Irish dessert that’s a bit more unusual than apple pie, consider a Carrigaline whiskey pie (made with potatoes and Irish whiskey, among other ingredients) or a Donegal oatmeal cream (oats, fruit and heavy whipped cream). All three desserts use traditional Irish ingredients.
Apple cider, served warmed or cold depending on the season, is a non-alcoholic favorite. But I could never talk about Irish beverages without mentioning Irish coffee, with its tot of Irish whiskey and dollop of whipped cream. It’s the perfect beverage to follow a traditional Irish dinner.
Other traditional Irish beverages for later in the day include a shot of aged Irish whiskey or a pint (or two) of Guinness stout or Harp lager. Whiskey has been a part of life on the Emerald Isle for at least 1,000 years, and Irish mead (made from honey) was an early forerunner of ale and stout. You can’t get much more traditional than that.
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