boxty for brunch


Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan.
If you can't make boxty
You'll never get a registered domestic partner.

If you're American, The Great Food Holiday is coming up next week and you may soon have a more mashed potatoes than you can eat. I know the idea of leftover mashed potatoes sounds like heresy, but it can happen, and it's worth skipping thirds because you can make tasty things with them, like boxty.

This recipe comes for the Bette's Diner Pancake Handbook 1st edition. Sadly, the recipe was cut from the 2nd edition, so I don't mind printing it here. Of course, I've made some minor changes, as I usually do. Do pick up a copy of the Pancake Handbook if you get a chance, though.

Boxty can be pancake-like, biscuit-like, or bread-like. This is a pancake-like recipe, and would be excellent with fried or poached eggs.

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 cup cold leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 large peeled russet potato, about 1/2 pound
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • butter or oil for frying

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Melt the 2 Tbs butter. Add the mashed potatoes, milk, melted butter, flour, and caraway seeds to the bowl. Grate the potato and the 1/2 onion, and add those to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper as you please. Stir together until well mixed but don't overmix. Stir in the baking powder.

The batter should have the texture of lumpy pancake batter, or oatmeal:

boxty batter

Heat up a large pan or better a large griddle. Grease it with oil and/or butter. Fry the boxty over medium heat (325 on an electric griddle). Flip when the cakes are mostly set and starting to brown on the bottom, 5-7 minutes. They will be delicate and hard to flip, so use a wide spatula and flip carefully. Cook until browned on the other side, another 3-6 minutes.

Serves 2-4 depending on what else you're having.

Notes and Variations:

  • If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes for this, you can often buy prepared mashed potatoes at deli counters. I don't know if instant would work; if you try it, leave a note in the comments.
  • Cheesy Boxty: add 1/2 cup grated Irish cheddar to the batter
  • Garlic Boxty: add 2-4 cloves roasted or poached garlic, mashed, to the batter. Omit the onion.
  • Sweet Potatoes: it should be possible to substitute grated sweet potato for the grated potato. I have not tested this.
  • Gluten-Free: this could probably be made gluten-free by using rice flour or corn flour. In that case, you'd probably want the cheese as extra binder.