Boxty, in a contemporary presentation served wrapped around beef with squash and sauce
Alternative names Poundy, poundies, potato bread
Type Potato pancake
Place of origin Ireland
Main ingredients Potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk; sometimes eggs
Cookbook: Boxty 

Boxty (bacstaí in Irish) is a traditional Irish potato pancake. The dish is mostly associated with the north midlands, north Connacht and southern Ulster, in particular the counties of Mayo, Sligo, Donegal (where it is known locally as poundy or poundies; also known as potato bread in Ulster), Fermanagh, Longford, Leitrim and Cavan. There are many recipes but all contain finely grated, raw potatoes and all are served fried.

The most popular version of the dish consists of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg.[1] The grated potato may be strained to remove most of the starch and water but this is not necessary. The mixture is fried on a griddle pan for a few minutes on each side, similar to a normal pancake. Traditional alternatives include using only raw potatoes, boiling it as a dumpling or baking it as a loaf. The most noticeable difference between boxty and other fried potato dishes is its smooth, fine grained consistency.

Boxty is seen as so much a part of the local culture in the areas in which it is made, that it has inspired folk rhymes, such as:

Boxty on the griddle,
And Boxty on the pan;
The wee one in the middle
Is for Mary Ann.[2]

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
If you can't bake boxty
sure you'll never get a man.[3]

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you don't eat boxty,
You'll never get a man.[4]

As the interest in Irish cuisine has increased, so the popularity of boxty has risen. It is not unusual to see boxty on the menus of restaurants outside the areas with which it is traditionally associated. Boxty may be bought in shops and supermarkets either in the dumpling form or ready cooked as pancakes. Some modern recipes use garlic and other spices to flavour the mixture. It is occasionally served as wrap, similar to tortillas for fajitas.

Origin of term

Likely Irish, possibly from the Irish arán bocht tí meaning "poor-house bread"[5] or bácús meaning "bakehouse".

See also


  1. ^ BBC; Boxty Recipe; retrieved 7 November 2008
  2. ^ Ulster folklife, Volume 6, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum., 1960
  3. ^ The south and the west of it: Ireland and me, Oriana Torrey Atkinson, Random House, 1956
  4. ^ The Macdonald farm journal, Volumes 27-28, Macdonald College, R. J. Cooke, 1966
  5. ^ Ayto, John (2012). The diner's dictionary : word origins of food & drink (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 42.