Colcannon Potatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Cook: 35 min.
Putting together your St. Patrick’s Day feast? Make sure there’s room for colcannon—one of Ireland’s most famous potato dishes—on the table.

Updated: Feb. 16, 2024

We’d like to introduce you to the Irish dish so good, there’s a children’s song about it! Colcannon is a delicious side dish that’s steeped in the Emerald Isle’s history. Our colcannon potatoes recipe stays true to the traditional recipe. It’s made with floury potatoes, shredded cabbage, pungent green onions and a generous helping of butter and milk. We do take the more modernized route by sprinkling crumbled bacon on top, but feel free to leave it out. (Here at Taste of Home, we can never say no to bacon!)

Colcannon is typically served on Halloween as a fortune-telling food, but you can’t go wrong serving this hearty Irish side dish on St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte!

What is colcannon?

Colcannon is an Irish dish that’s made of mashed potatoes, shredded cabbage or kale, green onions and tons of butter and whole milk. Sometimes crumbled bacon is added for an extra-succulent, salty flavor.

It’s up for debate how potatoes arrived in Ireland, but by the 1700s, the spud was an integral part of Irish cuisine. Since then, many beloved potato dishes have been born: boxty, champ and mash, to name just a few. Eventually, colcannon made its way into homes across Ireland, where the dish became so beloved that it became a famous children’s song: “The Auld Skillet Pot.”

Colcannon is typically served on Halloween night—a holiday that actually has Celtic origin—as a fortune-telling side dish.

Ingredients for Colcannon

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the cabbage

Boiling the cabbage in a large panTMB Studio

Place the cabbage and 2 cups water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cabbage, and reserve the cooking liquid. Keep the cabbage warm in a separate dish.

Step 2: Boil the potatoes

Boliling the potatoes in a large panTMB Studio

In the same saucepan, combine the potatoes with the reserved cooking liquid from the cabbage. Add additional water as needed to cover the potatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: The potatoes are done cooking when a fork pierced into them glides right through their middles.

Step 3: Heat the milk and green onions

milk and green onions in a saucepan a TMB Studio

Meanwhile, place the milk, green onions, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil, and remove the saucepan from heat.

Step 4: Assemble the colcannon

Boiled potatoes mashed in a bowlTMB Studio

Drain the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, and mash. (Don’t overmash the potatoes, or they’ll come out goopy and gluey!)

Add the milk mixture, and mash just until blended. Fold in the cabbage. To serve, drizzle with butter, and top with the bacon and parsley.

Editor’s Tip: After draining the potatoes, let them cool to the point where they’re no longer steaming. Steaming potatoes are evaporating excess moisture, which is great because no one likes a watery mash!

Colcannon Potatoes served in a plateTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Whip up garlicky colcannon: Any garlic lovers out there? If so, mash 10 cloves of oven-roasted garlic into your colcannon.
  • Swap for kale: Not a fan of cabbage? Kale works in a pinch—curly, Tuscan or your other fave variety!
  • Make it vegan: Substitute the whole milk with unsweetened almond milk and the butter with a really good vegan butter brand. Also, skip the bacon, or else use a vegan bacon!
  • Use a ricer: One of the best ways to mash potatoes is with a ricer. A ricer (or a food mill) produces fluffy and light mashed potatoes. However, some people prefer a chunkier mash. If that’s your case, stick with a potato masher.

How to Store Colcannon

Let the colcannon cool completely to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Colcannon Tips

What other greens can you use instead of cabbage?

The cabbage in colcannon can easily be substituted with any heartier leafy greens like kale.

What kind of potatoes should you use to make colcannon?

For the perfect colcannon, choose what is categorized as a floury potato. They should have more starch and less water, and they’ll produce a fluffier mash. In this case, Russet or Idaho potatoes will be your go-to picks.

What can you serve with colcannon?

To really get the full experience, serve colcannon with the traditional Irish bangers. Colcannon is a great substitute for a mash, and it is jam-packed with flavor! This colcannon recipe also makes for a great base to our delicious Irish beef stew.

Watch how to Make Colcannon Potatoes

Colcannon

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 35 min
Yield 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cabbage (about 2 pounds), shredded
  • 4 pounds medium potatoes (about 8), peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Minced fresh parsley
  • Crumbled cooked bacon

Directions

  1. Place cabbage and 2 cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid; keep cabbage warm in a separate dish.
  2. In same pan, combine potatoes and reserved cooking liquid. Add additional water to cover potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, place milk, green onions, salt and pepper in a small saucepan; bring just to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. Drain potatoes; place in a large bowl and mash. Add milk mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in cabbage. To serve, drizzle with butter; top with parsley and bacon.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 168 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 361mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

Every Irish family has its own colcannon recipe, since it's a classic potato and cabbage dish. My recipe comes from my father's family in Ireland. It's part of my St. Patrick's Day menu, along with lamb chops, carrots and soda bread. —Marilou Robinson, Portland, Oregon
Recipe Creator