Irish Dish For Leftovers: Traditional Food Recipes

When you want to make the most of your leftovers you must try an Irish dish for leftovers.

irish dishes on a table

There are countless potato-based dishes based in Northern Ireland and other parts of the British Isles that will be a delicious way to make a hit with your party guests. 

Irish cuisine offers versatile and comforting dishes that not only satisfy your taste buds but also save you time and resources, leaving plenty of leftovers after the main meal on feast day. 

Irish Dishes

In Ireland, Ireland’s native dishes are often prepared using simple ingredients such as green cabbage, russet potatoes, and pork meat, and traditional cooking techniques.

Creating flavors that are rich and hearty, just as you would expect from the country’s culinary heritage.

Many of these dishes have been prepared for centuries, even during the 18th century, when the Irish experienced the Potato Famine. 

The country’s favorite traditional Irish foods offer different worlds of comfort in a number of ways. 

Dublin Coddle

One such Irish dish ideal for utilizing leftovers and creating a new main dish is the coddle.

Also known as Dublin coddle, which is a one-pot stew that combines leftover small pieces of sausage, strips of bacon, potatoes, and onions.

This stew is a common dish from the late 1700s that is perfect recipe for the leftover main ingredients you happen to have. 

As a favorite dish in Dublin, the coddle offers flexibility in its preparation as other leftovers in the Irish population’s diet can be added depending on your preference, such as leftover cabbage or pork sausage. 

This means that you can adapt the recipe to suit the ingredients you have on hand.

Making it an excellent option for reducing food waste and providing better opportunities for embracing sustainability in the kitchen.

Not only does the coddle offer a great way to use leftovers, but other Irish dishes like fluffy colcannon can also provide delicious and creative ways to transform your leftover potatoes and vegetables.

A colcannon recipe is a good reason for breaking out your extra kale or cabbage and start cooking like the Irish cooks! 

So next time you find yourself with a surplus of ingredients, why not explore the world of Irish cuisine and discover the many delicious ways to turn your leftovers into satisfying, flavorsome meals?

These recipes could be the perfect addition to the recipes you already have. 

Take a look at various recipes below for new ideas to try!

dubin coddle in a bowl with a spoon

Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle is a dish born from leftovers, typically made with pork sausages, bacon, onions, and potatoes. 

It’s a hearty stew that gained popularity among the working class due to its simplicity and resourcefulness, much like an Irish fry-up or a beef hash were also easy to make. 

To make it, simply simmer sausages and bacon in a stock, adding onions and potatoes. 

Some cooks even add a splash of Guinness for extra flavor.

You can even experiment with the type of sausage you use, or add a few tangy additions of sour cream. 

Irish Stew

Irish Stew is another versatile dish using leftovers. It often includes lamb, sausages, carrots, and potatoes. 

However, you can experiment with other ingredients depending on what’s available. 

Cook the meat and vegetables on a medium high heat in a stock until tender, letting the flavors meld together for a comforting meal.


Colcannon is a satisfying dish to use up leftover mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale, so if you have anything left over from your cabbage recipe, put your leftover to good use. 

Combine mashed potatoes with cooked, chopped cabbage or kale and season to taste. 

You can also add some heavy cream. 

It’s a simple yet delicious side dish that highlights the best of Irish ingredients, and it also encompasses the most popular cooking method of combining leftovers. 

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect vehicle for leftover meat such as lamb from your soul-warming lamb stew or beef. 

Simply layer cooked meat in a baking dish, top with vegetables like carrots and peas, and cover with a layer of mashed potatoes. 

Bake until the top is golden and crispy, making this a great comfort food meat pie that repurposes leftovers.


Boxty, an Irish potato pancake, is ideal for using up leftover mashed potatoes. 

Like potato farl, potato pancakes like Boxty are made from several ingredients. 

Combine mashed potatoes with grated raw potatoes, then mix with flour and egg to form a batter. 

Fry in a skillet until golden brown on both sides. 

You can serve Boxty with breakfast, lunch, or dinner as a side dish or with toppings.

Bread Pudding

Don’t forget dessert when it comes to using leftovers. 

Bread Pudding is a sweet way to repurpose stale bread. 

Soak slices of bread in a mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, spices, and dried fruit. 

Bake until set, and you’ll have a warm, comforting dessert that makes use of those odds and ends.

Other recipes to research include Irish soda bread, Irish fruitcake, and dingle pies, all which involve ingredients that are the cornerstones of Irish farming and perfect for the typical Irish family. 

Ingredients and Preparation

food in pots in a buffet style

Common Ingredients

When it comes to Irish dishes for leftovers, you will often encounter the following common ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Root vegetables (such as carrots and onions)
  • Pork sausage
  • Corned beef
  • Cabbage
  • Milk

These ingredients are staples in Irish cuisine and provide a hearty, comforting base for most leftover dishes.

Alternative Ingredients

While the common ingredients mentioned above are typically used in Irish dishes for leftovers, you may also experiment with these alternative ingredients:

  • Guinness: Adding a bit of this iconic Irish stout can provide a rich, deep flavor to your dishes.
  • Whiskey: A splash of Irish whiskey in your cooking can elevate the flavor and complexity of certain dishes.
  • Leeks: A popular alternative to onions or green onions, leeks can provide a milder, slightly sweeter flavor.
  • Cream cheese: For a creamy twist to your Irish leftover dishes, consider incorporating some cream cheese.
  • Black pepper and parsley: Enhance the flavor of your dishes with these simple seasonings.

​Some additional alternatives for meat include black pudding, a type of blood sausage. 

Preparation Tips

To ensure you’re making the most out of your leftover Irish dishes, consider these preparation tips:

  1. Repurpose leftovers: Transform leftover potatoes into traditional Irish dishes like a champ (mashed potatoes with plenty of butter, milk, and green onions) or bubble and squeak (pan-fried potato and vegetable mix). For leftover corned beef, create a comforting corned beef and cabbage dish.
  2. Use quality ingredients: Try to use authentic Irish ingredients like Irish butter, soda bread, and brown bread to ensure a genuine taste experience. When making an oven-baked loaf of soda bread, make sure to use quality bread soda, or baking soda as well. 
  3. Incorporate Irish beverages: Adding Guinness or whiskey to dishes, such as stews, can give them a unique, flavorful twist. You can also include wine. 
  4. Don’t rush the cooking process: Many Irish dishes are best when cooked slowly, allowing flavors to meld together and producing tender, flavorful results.

Following these tips, you’ll be sure to create delicious and satisfying Irish-inspired meals from your leftovers.

Irish Cuisine History

ingredients and dishes for food

Origins and Influences

Irish cuisine has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. 

As an island nation, Ireland’s culinary traditions were heavily influenced by the surrounding seas, as well as the diverse groups that settled on the island. 

In the early days, the Irish diet relied heavily on dairy, oats, and coarse bread.

The 1700s saw the introduction of the potato, which had a significant impact on Irish cuisine. 

Potatoes quickly became a staple in the Irish diet and led to the development of many traditional Irish dishes, such as colcannon and boxty. 

Around the same time, French culinary techniques also began to influence Irish cooking, resulting in dishes like coddle, a popular Irish dish made from leftovers.

These French word recipes became a staple crop in Irish cuisine throughout that part of history. 

Impact of Famine and Immigration

The Great Famine of the mid-1800s had a profound effect on Ireland’s food culture. 

With potato crops decimated by disease, the Irish were forced to rely on other food sources or face starvation. 

This difficult time in history led to increased interest in preserving food and utilizing every available resource for sustenance.

Many Irish people immigrated to other countries across planet earth during and following the famine, which led to a blending of culinary traditions. 

Irish immigrants brought their traditional dishes and ideas with them, incorporating local ingredients and adopting new techniques. 

This cultural exchange helped to shape the modern Irish culinary scene while also spreading Irish cuisine around the world.

Modern Developments

In recent years, Irish cuisine has continued to evolve and adapt. 

Inspired by global culinary trends, modern Irish chefs are redefining the nation’s food culture with innovative dishes and techniques, while still paying homage to their traditional roots. 

Some of the most popular modern Irish dishes include twists on classics, such as shepherd’s pie and soda bread.

New influences in Irish cuisine have also led to the rise of culinary arts competitions and food festivals, celebrating the nation’s culinary heritage and newfound creativity. 

At these events, you’ll often find culinary groups and enthusiasts sharing their love of Irish food, exchanging recipes, and participating in puzzles and games that test their knowledge of culinary history.

Other recipes are prepared for traditional Irish festivals such as the Ancient Celtic harvest celebration Samhain. 

To explore the vast world of Irish cuisine, you may wish to join online groups, follow food blogs, or attend local food events. 

By doing so, you’ll deepen your understanding of Ireland’s culinary traditions and learn how to incorporate these timeless dishes into your modern kitchen.

Traditional Irish Comfort Foods

different types of dishes in pots and bowls

Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage is a classic Irish comfort food made with boiled bacon and cabbage, often served with potatoes. 

It’s the ultimate dish for using up leftover bacon or ham from festive celebrations. 

Simmer the bacon in water, add chopped cabbage and potatoes in the last 20 minutes, and serve with a creamy parsley sauce. 

The combination of flavors makes it a simple yet satisfying meal.

Irish Potato Soup

Irish Potato Soup is a delicious and filling way to use leftover potatoes.

This hearty soup combines potatoes, onions, leeks, and celery in a savory broth, with a dash of cream for extra richness. 

To make it, sauté the chopped vegetables in butter, then add chicken or vegetable broth, and potatoes, then simmer until the potatoes are tender. 

Finally, blend the soup and stir in cream for a velvety finish. This soup is perfect for a chilly day and can be served with some crusty bread.

Full Irish Breakfast

A Full Irish Breakfast is a great way to use up various leftovers and turn them into a satisfying meal. 

Include staples like rashers (bacon), sausages, black and white pudding, fried eggs, and a side of vegetables such as grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. 

You can also serve it with leftover fried potatoes or homemade soda bread. 

Enjoy your full Irish breakfast with a cup of hot tea, and you’ll have the energy to face the day ahead.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is another popular Irish dish that’s perfect for using up leftovers. 

It’s a one-pot meal made with corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, simmered together in a flavorful broth. 

To prepare it, place the corned beef in a large pot with water, spices, and onions, then cook until tender. 

Add potatoes and carrots, and finally, the cabbage during the last few minutes of cooking. 

The blend of flavors creates a comforting and filling meal that’s perfect for family dinners.

These traditional Irish dishes make delicious use of leftovers while providing warmth and comfort. 

So the next time you find yourself with excess ingredients, don’t hesitate to whip up one of these Irish classics.

Desserts and Beverages

irish apple pie on a plate with a fork

Irish Apple Cake

Irish Apple Cake is a popular traditional dessert, perfect for using up those leftover apples. 

It’s a moist, hearty cake filled with apple chunks and commonly enjoyed in autumn. 

You can bake this cake in a round or square pan, and it’s often served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. 

The ingredients you’ll need include apples, flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. 

Don’t worry about being an expert in the kitchen; this dessert is simple, delicious, and loved by all.


Another fantastic way to use up your leftovers is by making a traditional Irish dessert called Barmbrack. 

This fruitcake is packed with dried fruits, such as raisins and currants, and is often enjoyed during Halloween. 

Traditionally, items like a coin, rings, or peas are baked inside, and finding one of these hidden treasures comes with its special meaning. 

Making Barmbrack is an excellent opportunity to involve the whole family in a fun and tasty baking experience.

Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread is an excellent option if you’re looking for a versatile dish to use leftovers. 

This dense, hearty bread is typically made with wholemeal flour, wheat bran, and rolled oats. 

It can be enjoyed as a quick on-the-go breakfast, dessert, or even alongside a bowl of soup or stew. 

The process of making Brown Bread is simple, and you can easily modify the recipe by adding ingredients like nuts, seeds, or honey for added flavor and texture.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee is a delightful, warming beverage that combines the richness of coffee with the smoothness of Irish whiskey. 

To make it, simply brew a strong cup of coffee, add sugar to taste, and stir in a measure of Irish whiskey. 

Top it off with lightly whipped cream for a comforting, flavorful drink. 

Irish Coffee is a hand-warming treat on a cold day and an excellent way to end your meal with flair.

Irish Beer

If you’re a beer lover, you know that Ireland is known for its brewing expertise. 

The country is home to several classic Irish beers, such as stout, ale, and lager. 

The best-known Irish stout is, of course, Guinness, which has a distinct creamy texture and a rich, roasted flavor. 

Pair your favorite Irish beer with one of the Irish desserts mentioned above or simply enjoy it on its own. No matter how you choose to savor it, Irish beer is not to be missed.

Festive and Seasonal Irish Dishes

cabbage and bacon in a small pot

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

On St. Patrick’s Day, indulge in traditional Irish dishes that showcase hearty flavors and warmth. 

One classic recipe to consider is colcannon, a combination of creamy mashed potatoes and cabbage. 

It’s the ultimate comfort food, often served with boiled ham. Additionally, you can savor Irish seafood chowder, which features a rich and creamy broth filled with various types of seafood. 

These dishes are perfect for celebrating the festive holiday and embracing Irish culinary traditions.

Winter Warmers

During the colder months, cozy up with Irish recipes that focus on hearty, satisfying ingredients. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cabbage Recipes: Incorporate the humble cabbage into your winter meals by making dishes like bacon and cabbage, a simple yet flavorful combination, or spice up things a notch with Irish-style stuffed cabbage rolls.
  • Seafood: Seafood has always been a staple in Irish cuisine due to its coastal location. Warm-up with dishes like steamed mussels in an Irish whiskey cream sauce or smoked haddock and potato pie.
  • Hens: Traditional Irish recipes, such as Dublin coddle, combine hens with comforting ingredients like bacon and potatoes to create a warming winter dish.
  • Tenements: Hearty stews, like lamb and vegetable Irish stew, were popular in Ireland’s tenement buildings. These one-pot meals bring together meat, vegetables, and potatoes for a simple but satisfying winter meal option.

As you explore these festive and seasonal Irish dishes, remember to embrace the comforting and satisfying flavors that are characteristic of Irish cuisine.

Enjoy your cooking journey and the warmth these dishes bring to your table during special occasions and winter months.

potato cakes on a plate with sour cream

Ireland has a rich culinary history that features potatoes prominently in many dishes, making them the perfect way to use up leftovers. 

Here’s the scoop on some of the most popular Irish potato dishes, such as Irish Potato Cakes, Champ, and Cottage Pie.

Irish Potato Cakes

Also known as boxty, Irish Potato Cakes are made with both grated raw potatoes and leftover mashed potatoes, along with flour and egg. 

To prepare them, you simply mix the ingredients together to form a thick batter, then shape them into patties and fry them on a griddle or in a skillet until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

These potato cakes are versatile and can be enjoyed as part of a traditional Irish breakfast with sausages, bacon, and tomatoes, or served for dinner alongside pork chops and cabbage.


Champ is an Irish potato dish that not only uses leftover mashed potatoes but also incorporates scallions, butter, and milk to create a creamy and flavorful side dish. 

To make Champ:

  • Finely chop a bunch of scallions and sauté them in some butter until softened.
  • Add some milk to the sautéed scallions, heating until warmed through.
  • Mix the scallion-milk mixture into your leftover mashed potatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

The end result is a tasty side dish that works well alongside roasted meats or a hearty Irish stew.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie makes excellent use of leftover cooked potatoes (mashed or otherwise). 

This dish combines a savory meat filling, typically made with ground beef and vegetables, with a layer of seasoned potatoes on top. 

To make Cottage Pie:

  1. Cook some ground beef (or lamb for Shepherd’s Pie) along with diced onions, carrots, and optional vegetables like peas, corn, or celery.
  2. Season the meat mixture with salt, pepper, and herbs like thyme or rosemary.
  3. In a baking dish, layer the meat mixture at the bottom and top with a layer of potatoes. You can use mashed or sliced potatoes – just ensure they are cooked and seasoned.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes, or until the top layer of potatoes is golden and crisp.

Cottage Pie is a hearty, satisfying meal that makes the most of your leftover potatoes and can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences.

Things to Remember

top view of different types of dishes

You now have some great ideas to use leftover ingredients and transform them into delicious Irish dishes. 

Indeed, with options like Coddle and traditional Irish stew, you have the opportunity to embrace the simplicity and practicality of these meals.

Remember to start with basics such as potatoes, onions, and sausages, and don’t hesitate to add any extras you have on hand that you think would complement the dish. 

If you’re looking to make a Dublin Coddle, you might also consider incorporating bacon or a splash of Guinness stout for extra flavor.

As you continue to explore Irish cuisine, keep in mind that the key to these dishes’ success lies in their hearty and comforting nature. 

So grab your favorite stockpot or skillet and get creative with the Irish tradition of using leftovers to create these satisfying meals.

Final Thoughts

a pot of food and bread

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and enjoying an Irish dish made from leftovers can be a delightful way to pay homage to Irish traditions.

St. Patrick’s Day, a widely celebrated holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland, brings forth a festive atmosphere filled with cultural significance.

When it comes to repurposing leftovers into an Irish dish, creativity and resourcefulness are key.

Just like the famous newly released game by James Joyce, assembling ingredients such as quality fish and corn kernel-sized salt crystals can result in a flavorful and unique creation.

Whether it’s transforming leftover fish into a delicious seafood chowder or incorporating leftover corned beef into a bit of mustard-topped sandwich, the possibilities are endless.

By utilizing leftovers and drawing inspiration from Irish cuisine, you can create a dish that not only reflects the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day but also showcases your culinary ingenuity.

irish dish for leftovers Pinterest image

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