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What Are the Different Types of Irish Desserts?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cakes and pies are some of the most popular and common Irish desserts, traditionally served in homes and restaurants around Ireland. Many of these contain fruits, particularly apples and berries; fresh fruit is used in the warmer months, while dried options are often substituted when the weather turns cooler. Irish desserts that make use of favorite Irish liquors are popular as well; whiskey cake, for example, is a favorite in many Irish kitchens, and is often topped with a rich, creamy frosting. Cakes may also be made with Irish lager beer. Pudding may also be served as a dessert in Ireland, though is less commonly than cakes and pies.

Irish desserts often make good use of fresh fruits. A simple mixed berry and cream dish is easy to make and enjoyable in the warmer times of year, or a hot berry crisp is another excellent option. Apple cakes and cobblers are also favorite Irish desserts. Citrus is sometimes used in desserts, such as in frosting or toppings for cakes, to give them a sweet and tangy taste. It may also be used to make a tangy citrus pudding for a more unique taste than the more traditional chocolate or vanilla puddings.

By far, the most commonly prepared Irish desserts are cakes, pies, and cheesecakes. Many of these make use of Irish liquors, any more than a few are based around plain Irish whiskey, or an Irish whiskey mixed with cream for a more mellow taste. Lager may also be added to certain cake recipes to give them a rich, dense texture, and a unique flavor. Often, these ingredients are baked right into the cake recipe, and then whipped into the frosting if applicable for a more intense flavor. Of course, not all Irish cakes and pies contain liquor, however; there are plenty of other options for more traditional desserts appropriate for all ages!

Sweet breads are also frequently served with meals or for dessert in Ireland. Irish soda bread, for instance, is a very simple bread that is made with just a small bit of sugar, and typically contains raisins for added sweetness. Seedcakes containing caraway are another example of these sweet dessert breads. There are thousands of recipes for various Irish desserts to be found online, many of which can be modified based on the ingredients on hand; some even provide a nice history of the recipe and the ways in which it was first prepared in Ireland.

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Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Mar 03, 2013

My dad is Irish and he loves his bread and butter pudding. It's made with bread, butter, raisins and milk, cream, eggs and sugar. It's served with brandy cream which is cream, icing sugar and brandy.

Brandy cream and fresh cream is important in Irish desserts. It's served alongside most pies and crumbles.

My favorite Irish dessert is Banoffee pie and no one makes it better than my grandmother. It's made with bananas, cream and toffee and my piece has to have three large scoops of vanilla ice cream with it. I'm craving it now! "Where's me pie?!"

By fify — On Mar 03, 2013

@anamur-- You don't have to put green food coloring unless you're trying to do a fun St. Patrick's day theme or something. Many of the desserts we have in the US are also eaten in Ireland.

When I was there last year, I ate a lot of cheesecake, apple crumble (basically apple cobbler) and fresh fruits with Irish cream. Fresh strawberries with cream or custard is the best!

By serenesurface — On Mar 02, 2013

Do desserts with green food coloring count as Irish desserts? Such as green cheesecake and green pistachio ice cream?

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