Colcannon

Colcannon is an Irish favorite that blends the creamiest mashed potatoes with sautéed greens. It’s comforting and deliciously buttery, with a dose of healthy veggies. Who doesn’t love that?

Colcannon in a bowl.

What Is Colcannon?

I ate plenty of colcannon on travels through Ireland and it has a special place on an Irish dinner table. It’s a hearty side dish made of creamy mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage, kale, chard or other greens, and a generous slab of butter. And while it’s commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day, I’d say a bowl of buttery mash and greens is always welcome!

But if you ask different Irish regions how they make it, you might come across a few variations. Chopped cabbage and a sprinkle of green onions is pretty common. While others may add in kale, leeks, chard, or chives and other herbs. In my version, you’ll find freshly chopped kale and loads of green onion!

But how do you pronounce it? It’s one word that’s actually pronounced much like it’s spelled, it’s col-cannon (yes, cannon like the old artillery gun). Now that that’s established, let’s get cooking!

Colcannon ingredients on a table.

Ingredients For The Best Colcannon

You’ll love how a handful of leafy greens lends a pop of flavor and color to one of your favorite side dishes. Here’s a few things you’ll need. 

  • Potatoes: The answer to a fluffy and creamy texture is using starchy potatoes! I’m using Yukon Golds in this recipe, but Russets works too.
  • Milk: Traditionally, these are made super creamy with dairy milk. But you can use a nut milk as well! They all work great.
  • Butter: Opt for a great Irish butter like Kerry Gold, or swap in ghee if you’d like.
  • Kale: For a beautiful deep green, I’m using Tuscan kale, but curly kale works as well. 
  • Green Onion: A few green onions gives that mild oniony flavor that’s really quite delicious.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make Colcannon

Boil the potatoes. Place them in a large pot with cold water (about an inch over the potatoes), bring it to a boil, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until fork tender.

Boiling potatoes in a pot for colcannon.

Cook the greens. In a separate large pot, melt the butter and add in the chopped kale. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the green onions and saute for another minute.

Cooking kale in a pot for colcannon

Get mashing! Drain and add the potatoes to the pot of greens. Then pour in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and mash everything together until perfectly fluffy. 

Mixing colcannon ingredients in a pot.

Serve it up. Scoop it into a large serving bowl and top it off with a sprinkle of green onions and extra buttery goodness.

A bowl of creamy colcannon with kale.

Serve Colcannon With…

A hearty main! You can go the traditional Irish route and serve it with a glazed ham or grilled lamb chops. But here’s a few other ideas to complete your dinner. 

More Comforting Irish Recipes

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just looking for hearty, Irish meals, you can’t go wrong with any of these options!

If you make this colcannon, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

A bowl of colcannon with butter.

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)

5 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Colcannon is an Irish favorite that's a comforting blend of creamy mashed potatoes, warm, leafy greens, and a slab of buttery goodness.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, or ghee
  • 4 cups (lightly packed) chopped kale or cabbage
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup milk, any type works
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, with about an inch of water above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a separate large pot over medium heat and add the chopped kale. Cook the kale for 3-4 minutes, until wilted. Add the green onions (reserve a small amount for garnish) and stir together for another minute.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander, then add them to the kale. Pour in the milk, and season with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes with the greens until fluffy and well combined.
    Mashing colcannon in a pot.
  • Transfer the colcannon to a serving bowl and top with a light sprinkle of green onion and a pat of butter.
    A small bowl of colcannon next to a napkin.

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal, Carbohydrates: 61g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 127mg, Potassium: 2146mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 24254IU, Vitamin C: 330mg, Calcium: 394mg, Iron: 5mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Colcannon, Colcannon Recipe
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28 comments on “Colcannon”

  1. I had some organic kale in my Mama Earth Organics basket and I decided to try this Irish recipe…COLCANNON.
    It came out great! I love it!!5 stars

  2. Love the way some extra healthy ingredients are incorporated into this dish. One of my husband’s favorite recipes is mashed potatoes, so he was less than impressed when he realized I was about to add kale to mashed potatoes, but I convinced him to give it a try and he loved it too, said he always wants mashed potato make like this in future!!5 stars

  3. Excellent!! Will try it for sure.

  4. Very comforting dish, I make mine with leaks and cabbage, grew up eating this in Scotland.

    Love your recipes and have told my friends about your site.

    Thank you for sharing healthy recipes with us. Connie5 stars

  5. I am 85 years of age and from a big extended family and colcannon was part of our family diet. It was usually a monday dinner made from left over cabbage and extra boiled potatoes and finely chopped onion. Some people liked to fry it as a cake in the frying pan with good beef suet dripping. Curly kale was used at Halloween time traditionally.

    • Thanks for sharing Marley! Frying it as a cake sounds absolutely delicious. I’ll have to try that sometime.

    • What a great idea to fry it as cakes. Going to use my leftovers that way and add a fried egg for breakfast.

      This was so delicious!5 stars

  6. Must try this with kale! I’ve made with savoy cabbage before and it’s a favourite. A few fennel seeds in with the sauteed greens is a tasty addition too.

  7. We *love* traveling in Ireland, and in all our times there, we *never* had colcannon prepared with anything else but cabbage!  It’s not a St. Patrick’s day “gimmick” food, any more than corned beef and cabbage is an Irish staple!!  It’s simply a fabulous ethnic side dish, that needs no re-inventing.  Especially not with plants that not too long ago were considered “weeds”, not to be allowed to take root in your garden patch.

    • So just because *you’ve* never had colcannon with anything other than cabbage, that means it’s a gimmick? Oh, geez. I didn’t reinvent it with kale. I’ve had it with kale in Ireland and there are numerous regional variations of it, as there are with many cuisines. Perhaps you should do a little bit more research next time. If you go to Irishcentral.com (clearly, an authentic resource) you’ll see they say, “It normally includes chopped kale or green cabbage mixed with hot, floury mashed potatoes.” Even Wikipedia notes that it’s often made with kale.

  8. Yum! My Northern Irish Mum always made this on Bonfire Night – we loved it! I now have a houseful of carnivores, so I’m thinking of adding crispy bacon bits…5 stars

  9. OMG! I’m originally from Northern Ireland and my mum made something very similar. We called it Champ. I’m making this for sure this month in tribute. Thank you, Lisa! I love all your recipes!

  10. My mouth started watering as I read this post, it looks SO good! Anything with potatoes already has my attention. Some great suggestions for main dishes too, though I could probably eat just this and be happy!5 stars

  11. The kale is such an interesting addition to these potatoes! What a great way to add some green into this delicious side dish!5 stars

  12. This recipe sounds like a keeper! My husband and kids are all excited to try this new fabulous recipe ASAP. I hope you have a great week, and we are all looking forward to your new recipes!5 stars

  13. I need to try this – it looks incredible, and SO easy to make! I’ve been to Ireland but don’t remember coming across this dish while I was there. Clearly I’ve been missing out!5 stars

  14. It’s one of my favorite side dishes to make to accompany any meal. I love the idea of adding kale, so healthy.5 stars

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