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Irish Colcannon Recipe

This easy Irish Colcannon recipe is made with cabbage (or kale), crispy bacon and a hefty dose of butter. It’s the perfect side dish for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime!

Colcannon is a mashed potato lover’s dream food. You can’t go wrong with creamy mashed potatoes and flavorful, seasoned greens and is a tasty dish served alongside Corned Beef and Cabbage and other Irish dishes.

Best Irish Colcannon Recipe

What is Colcannon?

Colcannon, also known as Irish mashed potatoes with cabbage, is a traditional Irish (and Scottish) dish made with mashed potatoes, mixed with cooked greens (such as cabbage or kale), scallions then loaded up with cream and butter. While Americans might serve Colcannon on St. Patrick’s day, in Ireland, Colcannon is a traditional Irish Halloween dish.

Traditionally, charms were hidden in colcannon which were seen to foretell the future such as a ring which meant marriage within the next year. Other charms included hiding a coin (wealth in the coming year), a thimble (spinster), or a button (remain a bachelor).

Irish Colcannon Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes: Traditionally, Colcannon is made with floury potatoes so I use Russet potatoes. Yukon Gold, Idaho or a combination works too.
  • Cabbage: It’s really the addition of the greens that makes the dish special. I’ve made it with cabbage, kale and even leftover garlic spinach.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter to control the salt. Alternatively, you can use the bacon grease in equal parts to sauté the greens and cut the coarse salt in half.
  • Green onions: I like the flavor of green onions but onions, shallots or leaks are acceptable substitutions.
  • Heavy cream: The cream adds a rich and creamy texture.
  • Coarse salt: To enhance the flavor of other ingredients.
  • Bacon: Crumbled, crispy bacon works best.

How to Make Colcannon

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

  1. Boil the potatoes
  2. Sauté the kale and onions
  3. Mash the potatoes and mix in the cream and onions
  4. Add the butter and serve

I recommend using a potato masher for this recipe.

Irish Colcannon Recipe

Difference Between Colcannon and Champ

I asked an Irish friend to clarify this difference. According to him, who considers himself an expert in Irish cuisine, these two dishes are almost identical, with Champ being made with only green onions and colcannon with cabbage or kale. Colcannon may also include green onions.

What to Serve with Colcannon

  • Main Dishes: Corned beef and cabbage, beef and Guinness stew, boiled ham and cabbage, Guinness lamb stew, lamb chops, Irish spiced Beef, shepperd’s pie, fish and chips, corned beef sandwich, Reuben sandwich, coddle.
  • Vegetables: Glazed carrots, brussels sprouts, asparagus.
  • Soup: Irish Colcannon soup, potato leek soup, potato and bacon soup.
  • Bread: Irish Barmbrack, Irish soda bread, rye bread, Irish brown bread.
  • Drinks: Guinness or stout beer, Irish cider, Irish whiskey, Irish Coffee.
  • Dessert: Bread pudding, Irish tea cake, shamrock shakes.

Make Ahead, Storing, Reheating

Irish colcannon is best served immediately but it can also be made ahead. Simply store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also freeze this side dish in a freezer safe bag or airtight container for up to 2 months. Make sure it’s at room temperature before freezing.

Leftovers can be reheated in an oven, stove top, slow-cooker and even a microwave for individual servings or in a pinch. To reheat them, it’s best to let them sit for about 30 minutes once removed from the fridge.

Rehydrate: You’ll want to rehydrate the colcannon with a liquid such as milk, cream, half-and-half or chicken or vegetable stock. Add extra butter as well.

  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F, place the potatoes in a baking dish and heat for 15-30 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Stovetop: Reheat on low until warmed through.
  • Slow cooker: Set the slow cooker to ‘low’ or ‘warm’ until warmed through.
  • Microwave: Place in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat in 30-second bursts at 50% power until warmed through.

When I make traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage, I’ll often make colcannon the next day with the leftover cabbage and potatoes. Sauté the potatoes in butter, breaking them up as you go, then stir in chopped leftover cabbage.

Best Irish Colcannon Recipe

Irish Colcannon Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This easy Irish Colcannon recipe is made with cabbage (or kale), crispy bacon and a hefty dose of butter. It's the perfect side dish for St. Patrick's Day or anytime!


  • 3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 cups lightly packed kale or shredded cabbage
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/3 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with cold water. Bring them to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the potatoes in a colander.
  2. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Melt 6 tbsp of the butter, then add the greens. Sauté the greens for 4-5 minutes, then add the green onions and cook another minute or so.
  3. Return the potatoes to the pot and add the cream. Mash the potatoes right in the pot, then stir to incorporate the cream and greens. Season well with salt, adding more if necessary. Stir in the bacon if you're using it.
  4. Place the Colcannon in a serving dish and make a small well in the center. Put the remaining butter into the center and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 954Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 33gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 1311mgCarbohydrates: 84gNet Carbohydrates: 73gFiber: 11gSugar: 8gProtein: 26g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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