Shamrockin' Ideas for St. Patrick's Day

From recipes to crafts to decorating ideas, we’ve got your DIY projects covered for March 17.

By: Laura James

Parades, shamrocks, beer, Irish dancing and green everything – what’s not to love about St. Patrick’s Day?

The holiday originated as a day of feasting to honor Saint Patrick, the primary patron saint of Ireland, and is celebrated on his reported date of death on March 17. Established as an official Christian feast day in Ireland in the 1700s, St. Patrick’s Day spread to the United States in the 1800s and has become a widely-celebrated religious and secular holiday around the world. 

While my exact percentage of Irish heritage is unclear, I can totally get behind any excuse to feast, celebrate, share a drink with friends and wear the color green. And what's a celebration without festive food and drink recipes? First on my to-make list is this rainbow layer cake. Get the step-by-step instructions to make this easier-than-pie recipe >>

rainbow layer cake

Rainbow Cake

Baking colored cakes can be tricky – the cake may go in one color and come out a very different color. Why not avoid the trial and error by using rainbow colored icing to create a rainbow cake instead? Add sparkling gold sanding sugar on the top as a special added touch.

Photo by: Ellen Foord

Ellen Foord

More Mouth-Watering Recipes from HGTV

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Matcha Green Tea Gimlet

Give your St. Patrick's Day outfit the full effect with a green cocktail in hand. Sweet matcha powder, lime, simple syrup and gin combine to create a drink that's sweet, tart and incredibly delicious.

Chocolate Stout Pudding

St. Patrick's Day is perfect for combining dry stouts, like Irish favorite Guinness, with dessert. This stout-infused chocolate pudding and topping is the ideal treat for the holiday.

Irish Nacho Dip

Flavored with stout beer, this hearty nacho dip is delicious served with potato chips, or turn it up a notch by serving it with French fries or tater tots.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Naked Rainbow Layer Cake

Get the luck of the Irish this St. Paddy's Day with a naked rainbow layer cake. This cake is simple to make, but your friends will think you're a pro.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Lucky Vanilla Cupcakes

Give family and friends St. Patrick's Day luck with festive vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate horseshoes and colorful ground pistachios.

Irish Soda Bread

Reminiscent of an American buttermilk biscuit, this Irish soda bread is quick and simple to make. Hot out of the oven, it's perfect to serve along with savory meals or with a bit of jam for breakfast.

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Whiskey Cake in a Jar

Attention whiskey lovers: We have a recipe that combines your favorite alcohol with cake batter — in a jar. Plus, it's infused with a creamy Irish whiskey butter sauce that's irresistible to taste buds.

Celtic Knot Cookies

This year for St. Patrick's Day, replicate a traditional Celtic knot in the form of a graham cracker-flavored cookie. Don't worry, it's easier to make than it looks, and is the perfect accompaniment to a strong cup of coffee.

Chocolate Stout Cake Pops

These cake pops have an Irish twist because they're infused with stout. Decorate them with gold sprinkles to represent a pot of gold.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Apple Amber

Apple amber is an Irish dessert of pureed apples topped with sweet, airy meringue. Many modern versions of the dessert, like this one, repackage the basic dish as a pie or tart, but with few ingredients and simple preparation, it remains a great way to celebrate the holiday with a traditional dessert from the Emerald Isle.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Shamrock Crispy Rice Treats

Your kids will love this take on the classic crispy rice treats, and so will you because they're naturally dyed with spinach.

Boozy Irish Coffee Sundaes

Enjoy a taste of the Emerald Isle with a dessert-style twist on traditional Irish coffee. Top coffee ice cream with rich, Irish whiskey-spiked hot fudge sauce, then top with whipped cream and a liberal dose of Irish cream liqueur.

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Colcannon Soup

Go green for the holiday with this recipe for potato, cabbage and kale soup.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Stout Pancakes

Serve these stout pancakes for breakfast this St. Patrick's Day. The bacon topping provides the perfect sweet and salty bite.

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Detox from all that green beer with a healthy version of the traditional shamrock shake.

Avocado Pistachio Cheesecake

This is for the avocado lovers out there. This dessert gets its green color and rich, creamy texture from your favorite fruit. If you're a fan of key lime pie, this just might be your new favorite treat.

Dublin White Cheddar Potatoes O'Brien

This cheesy potato dish is the perfect wake-up call the morning after festivities have ended. A perfect blend of vegetables, starches and meat are a great start (or end) to any day.

Irish Coffee

Top off the morning (or evening) with a warm Irish coffee. This tasty beverage is perfect on its own or as a sweet after-dinner treat.

Key Lime Cake

If you need a little green at your party, this key lime cake will do the trick. Serve fresh seasonal fruits on top for extra flavor.

Pub Pretzel + Beer Cheese Sauce

What goes better with your stout beer than pub pretzels and beer cheese sauce? Not much. Serve this at your party for the perfect accompaniment to Irish beer.

Dark Chocolate Stout Mini Pie

You can use cupcake tins to bake these stout-flavored dark chocolate pies.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Cranberry Orange Irish Soda Bread

Add a punch to traditional Irish soda bread with dried cranberries and orange juice and zest. Make them into individual sizes by baking in a muffin tin.

Festive Fruit Spread

Play with fruit this St. Patrick's Day to create luscious rainbows and lucky green fruit kabobs. These fruity creations are great to do at home with kids and might even inspire them to eat more healthy snacks.

Salted Stout Caramel Popcorn

Serve a snack alongside beer and cocktails, such as this stout caramel popcorn. The distinct stout flavor will have you coming back for more.

Stout Corned Beef With Roasted Vegetables

An Irish meal isn't complete without corned beef. This version includes a stout broth and colorful vegetables.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Bloody Rosemary

Put a twist on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail by adding Irish whiskey and stout. Place a skewer of garnishes like turkey, olives and grilled potatoes.

Photo By: Abigail Barnes

Mini Matcha Tea Cakes

Transform your afternoon tea into dessert with this matcha tea cake filled with black sesame mousse.

Green Bloody Marty Martini

Made with green heirloom tomatoes, this twist on the classic Bloody Mary will become a new weekend favorite with its peppery spirits and earthy flavor.

Frozen Irish Banana Cocktail

This cold concoction may not seem like a traditional St. Paddy's Day treat, but it will definitely make you feel like you're leaving winter behind. Combine rum, bananas, Irish cream and coconut to create an icy beverage that feels beachy with a touch of Irish charm.

Shamrock Marshmallows

Serve these festive shamrock marshmallows with your Irish coffee or hot cocoa for St. Patrick's Day, or skip the green food coloring to enjoy them any time of year.

Although St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a day of indulgence, we’ve got recipes for the health-minded, too.

Eat Your Greens

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If you're looking for healthier food and drink options for St. Patrick's Day, try one of these naturally-green recipes from HGTV.

Mini Lamb Pot Pies With Minted Peas

Brussels Sprout Flatbread

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Detox from all that green beer with a healthy version of the traditional shamrock shake this St. Patrick's Day.

Try our twist on the traditional shamrock shake that features more greens and less guilt. Get the recipe >>

Healthy Shamrock Shake Recipe

How To Make A Healthy Shamrock Shake

If you wait impatiently each year for the arrival of the Shamrock Shake, but this year, you’re trying to eat healthier, have no fear. Blogger Ellen Foord recreated a healthy Shamrock Shake - all the deliciousness, none of the guilt.

If you wait impatiently each year for the arrival of the Shamrock Shake, but this year, you’re trying to eat healthier, have no fear. Blogger Ellen Foord recreated a healthy Shamrock Shake - all the deliciousness, none of the guilt.

After you've set your menu, set your table to fit the occasion. Instead of going with a more common all-green tablescape, make a rainbow table runner and floral arrangement the central features of your tablescape, and add hints of green and gold. 

St. Patrick's Day table setting and floral arrangement

Add Water

Carefully fill the vase with water before setting on the table.

Photo by: Ellen Foord

Ellen Foord

St. Patrick's Day Table

Create this St. Patrick's Day table setting with these DIY projects.

Take the decorations to the door and welcome luck into your home with a holiday wreath.

Last but not least, don't forget to have an outfit game plan that involves green to avoid any possible pinching incidents. Get wearabale craft ideas for you and the kids. 

Green St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Make one of these wearable crafts and ensure a pinch-free St. Patrick's Day.

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