In my family, Saint Patrick’s Day has always been a very important day. Whether I was seven years old and leaving school early to watch the parade in New York, or party-prepping for weeks with my mom, the Irish half of me is fully invested in my shamrock-rocking, green-wearing, Saint Patrick's Day food-eating traditions. Lucky for you, I'm here to share all of my secrets, so you can have the best Saint Patrick's Day foods at your upcoming celebrations.

The Traditional Stuff

Because the fam throws a giant party every year, I like to think that I’ve discovered the perfect balance of traditional Irish food and funkier, more modern dishes to create a menu full of Saint Patrick's Day foods that are a must for any good St. Patty’s Day event.

Of course, there’s the classic corned beef and cabbage, cooked in broth and beer, accompanied by a slew of other slow cooked vegetables, like carrots, celery, and potatoes. Corned beef gets a lot of hate, but I look forward to it all year: it’s savory, salty, tender and I love it

steak, beef
Eddie Ngai

We also make not one, but two types of Irish Bread:

One is a more traditional Irish soda bread, passed down from my great-grandma, and it's a little more labor intensive, but believe me, the kneading is totally worth it. I mean really, who knows soda bread better than Irish grandmas?

bread, wheat, sweet, cereal, cake, pastry, soda bread
Eryn White

The other Irish soda bread was discovered by my grandpa years ago, and it immediately became a family classic. Both are chock full of raisins, and to mix it up a little we sometimes add cranberries and caraway seeds.

#SpoonTip: Irish Soda bread also makes an awesome breakfast the next morning (if you’ve got any room left), so you’re totally winning whenever you eat it.

Our traditional Saint Patrick's Day foods finish off with a massive crock pot full of potato leek soup that just warms your heart (and your stomach) on what is an inevitably cold March day.

Not Irish? Not a problem.

vegetable, potato, soup
Molly McGeeney

Obviously, my family is pretty darn Irish, but we love our non-Irish and less adventurous friends too. So, we keep a lot of options on the table.

No meat for you? We keep with the green theme and have pasta slathered in homemade pesto, made from basil and other herbs that we grow fresh in our yard.

pasta, penne, asparagus, pesto, vegetable, herb, macaroni
Alexandra Tringali

If the slow cooked corned beef is not your thing, we also have deli-sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, mustard and other cold cuts to make your own customized sandwich.

beef, sandwich, pastrami, meat, corned beef, bread, pork
Victoria Guo

In previous years, we’ve experimented with combining Saint Patrick’s Day foods and Saint Joseph’s Day foods for a mixture of Irish and Italian food, to represent my other heritage (and to please picky eaters), but my mom considers that selling out.

Drinks...Because Duh

bread, dairy product, cake, milk, cream, chocolate, sweet, coffee
Tess Wei

No Saint Patrick’s Day event would be complete without traditional Irish drinks like black and tans, stouts, weird looking green drinks, and obviously, Irish cream. Basically, anything you’re in the mood for, we’ve got.

We also serve green Sambuca that my mom discovered in Italy a few years back. It creates this crazy natural green color from the dozens of herbs that are used to give it a unique, spicy flavor, and people go absolutely wild for it.

Then, of course, Irish cream is must, and my family has passed down a “secret” recipe for years. I’m not kidding—this stuff is not your regular Bailey’s. The recipe is closely guarded because of the sheer power of its deliciousness. We make it both with and without whiskey, so the creamy, sweet drink is part of the day for everyone, no matter what age.

Celebrate Right with Cupcakes

caramel, peanut butter, peanut, chocolate
Therese Boccini

And while the main course is mouthwatering and Irish af, everybody knows that the most important part of every meal is the sweet, sweet dessert. I am a self-proclaimed cupcake queen and with years of baking experience under my apron, I make sure that every family event has AT LEAST one type of treat.

To go along with all of our other Saint Patrick's Day foods, I pull out all the stops with car bomb cupcakes and matcha green tea cupcakes. Sounds odd, I know, but I swear that they’re incredible.

The car bomb cupcakes are pretty boozy: luscious Guinness chocolate cake filled with a dreamy dark chocolate whiskey ganache topped with homemade Irish cream buttercream. They’re super rich, chocolatey, and utterly irresistible, but the matcha green tea cupcakes are worth saving room for too.

tea, cream, herb, green tea
Gabby Phi

I discovered the recipe for these green cupcakes of goodness a few years ago, and their color from the matcha powder fits right in with the holiday. Not to mention, matcha is said to have some great anti-oxidant qualities, so that makes them healthy, right? They are light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness: the perfect complement to the heavier car bomb cupcakes. We always end up with a ton of desserts, but these are by far the best of them.

While the wild party that my family throws every year may not be for you, Irish foods should definitely still be part of your Saint Patty’s Day fest. Whether you go traditional or new, have corned beef or pasta, soda bread or cupcakes, may your Saint Patrick's Day foods fill you with joy and the luck of the Irish.