This is my family's authentic Irish Colcannon recipe. In this easy side dish, mashed potatoes are mixed with scallion-infused milk, plus kale or cabbage. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
Colcannon is an ever-popular Irish potato side dish. And what's not to love with mashed potatoes livened up with scallion-infused milk and greens (kale or cabbage).
It turns mashed potatoes from okay to WOW!
Seriously, just a few simple ingredients and you can not only add green goodness to your potatoes, but tons of flavor.
My Dad is Irish and my mum is Northern Irish, so this is the traditional colcannon recipe that we grew up on.
Make colcannon from scratch in 20 minutes with 5 ingredients.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Colcannon turns plain mashed potatoes into something special with loads of flavor.
Added greens give extra nutrients.
A budget-friendly side dish.
Irish potatoes are perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
It's a traditional Irish dish that is still regularly served in Irish homes, pubs and restaurants.
Try it as a side dish or as a topping for shepherd's pie.
Quick to make in just 20 minutes.
Ingredients & Tools
You only need a few simple ingredients for Irish mashed potatoes! You can even use leftover mashed potatoes and quickly turn them into colcannon potatoes.
Potatoes - use potatoes that are good for mashing, like Yukon Gold, Russets, Maris Piper or King Edward.
Greens - You can use kale or cabbage for the greens in colcannon potatoes and both are traditional and commonly used.
- Cabbage: Avoid red/purple cabbage, but most other varieties will work (napa, pointed, white, green, savoy).
- Kale: use any type, such as regular kale, lacinto, dinosaur kale, cavolo nero. Just cut out any woody stems and just use the leaves.
Scallions/Spring Onions - you can leave them out if you don't have any, and colcannon is traditional with them or without. But I love spending a minute or two to heat the milk, butter and scallions together so the subtle onion flavor infuses the milk, then infuses the potatoes. So tasty!
Milk - this will make the Irish potatoes lovely and creamy. Use your favorite plain milk: whole milk, 2%, soy etc...
Butter - any butter or margarine works, but if you can, try it with a good quality Irish butter like Kerrygold. Also, be sure to serve the warm colcannon with a good knob of butter on top. It melts into the potatoes and everyone will fight over the buttery first scoop.
The only seasoning it needs is a little salt and pepper.
Masher or potato ricer
How to make colcannon
Follow this step-by-step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Boil the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, for 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain well then mash.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large frying pan and add the kale or cabbage. Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring, until soft.
Add the remaining butter, milk and scallions/spring onions to a small pot and heat, but don’t boil.
Add the scallion milk to the mashed potatoes and stir, then add the kale and stir it in.
Serve warm topped with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.
You can use leftover mashed potatoes for this colcannon recipe. Just use less milk so they don't get too soft.
Use cabbage or kale - both are traditional. Just avoid red cabbage. Spring greens, collard greens or chard will work too, they just aren't as typical.
Be sure to cut out any woody stems in your kale.
Go for a good butter. I love Kerrygold Irish butter.
Choose potatoes that mash well, such as Yukon Gold, Russets, King Edward or Maris Piper.
Don't blend or over mash the potatoes. You don't want them gluey!
Traditionally, colcannon is served with cooked ham, bacon or corned beef and cabbage.
Serve up for an authentic St Patricks Day dish!
Trust me, you want to serve them with a knob of butter melting into the top. My sisters and I always fought over who got the first, butteriest scoop.
Serve with sausages, peas and gravy (try my mushroom gravy) for Irish Bangers n' Mash.
Stir in some cooked bacon (or veggie bacon).
Some traditional recipes include leeks. Slice the leeks and sautee along with the cabbage, then stir into the potatoes. If using leeks, leave out the scallions.
Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder and some chopped chives for a different flavor.
Try it with either cabbage or kale, or even a mix of both.
Make it more decadent by swapping the milk for heavy cream.
Can I make vegan colcannon?
Yes! Just use dairy-free butter and a plain unflavored vegan milk (such as soy).
How long does colcannon keep?
Colcannon can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Is colcannon served hot or cold?
Colcannon is served hot/warm.
What is the difference between colcannon and champ?
Champ is more popular in Northern Ireland, as opposed to Colcannon which is more popular in the south of Ireland, and doesn't include cabbage or kale. Champ is made of mashed potatoes with chopped scallions/spring onions added.
Why is it called colcannon?
Irish gaelic: cál ceannann, pronounced cole-cannon, it translates as white cabbage. It is a traditional Irish side dish of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
More Irish recipes for St Patricks Day
If you love this colcannon recipe, you'll also love these other Irish recipes too!
Be sure to check out these Naturally Green Cakes for St Patricks Day.
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- 2 lbs 900g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter divided, plus extra to serve
- 2 cups 60g kale or cabbage, chopped
- ½ cup 125ml milk
- 2 scallions / spring onion chopped
- ¼ teaspoons each salt and pepper
- Boil the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, for 15 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large frying pan and add the kale or cabbage. Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring, until soft.
- Add the remaining butter, milk and scallions/spring onions to a small pot and heat, but don’t boil.
- Drain the cooked potatoes, then mash with the scallion milk and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the cooked kale.
- Serve the colcannon warm, ideally with an extra knob of butter melting into a well in the top
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.