Potato Farls or Potato Pancakes

Potato Farls are an essential component of an Ulster fry (cooked breakfast) and for many many years they were the only way I would eat potatoes (I have a bit of a food phobia about potatoes especially mashed potatoes, no idea why and it was a bit of a problem growing up in an Irish family). But I love these little potato pancakes, and I used to make them a lot in my first year at university.

The word farl originates from the Gaelic word fardel meaning four parts and the pancake would have filled the frying pan and split into four quarters. I prefer to make these as small pancakes. I made 30 pancakes using the quantities below for 8 people for brunch. This included 3 teen boys. Everyone thought I’d made too many but I only just managed to save  3 to reheat for breakfast tomorrow (I was aiming to save 4).


  • 1kg peeled floury potatoes
  • 500g self raising flour (or 500g plain and 2 tsps baking powder)
  • 100g butter (50g melted into the potatoes and 50g for frying)


  1. Boil potatoes until a knife goes in cleanly, drain and leave with lid off for the steam to escape.
  2. Mash potatoes thoroughly and add 50g of the butter.
  3. Mix the baking powder into the flour if using plain flour.
  4. Gradually mix in the flour to form a dough.
  5. If making large farls put dough on a floured board and knead the dough before rolling out into rounds about the size of your frying pan.
  6. If making small farls get about 50g in your hand and knead before flattening out in your palm to about 5mm thick.
  7. Heat some of the remaining butter in a frypan (medium to high heat) and add as many pancakes as you can easily fit into the pan (I usually manage 5).
  8. Fry for a few minute on one side then flip over
  9. Cooked farls can be kept warm in the oven until they are all ready.

My favourite way of eating the farls is with a runny fried egg on top. Your eggs should be as freshly laid as possible. We keep 6 chickens in the back garden so our eggs are very fresh.


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