Colcannon

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

Stir buttery kale or cabbage into classic mashed potatoes and you’ve got Colcannon, a traditional Irish side dish that’s easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Colcannon on a white serving platter.


 

Colcannon is associated with Imbolc, a pagan holiday that celebrates the first day of spring, and with Halloween. You can make colcannon with either kale or shredded cabbage, but on Halloween, curly kale is standard. You also hide a ring inside the colcannon, and whoever finds it is predicted to get married in the next year! Isn’t that fun?

I chose kale for the photos here for the color contrast, but flavor-wise, they were both equally delicious. Serve colcannon for any special occasion, but especially with other Irish favorites such as Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness Stew, or as the topping for your next Shepherd’s Pie.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for colcannon.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: For the fluffiest, smoothest, and most flavorful mashed potatoes, choose high-starch potatoes like Russet, Idaho, or Yukon gold potatoes.  Waxy potatoes (such as new, red, or white varieties) require more mashing to become creamy which could result in gluey, pasty spuds.
  • Butter before milk: Always add the butter first so the butter fat coats the potato starch molecules. Then, add the hot milk to make them creamy. If you mix up the order, you could end up with gluey spuds.
  • Cabbage: substitute 4 cups (10 ounces) of shredded cabbage for the kale.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch.
Potatoes being boiled in a silver pot.
  1. Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
Potatoes in a strainer.
  1. Wipe pot dry. Over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add kale and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Colcannon being made in a silver pot.
  1. Return potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency.
Colcannon being scooped out of a silver stock pot.
  1. Slowly stir in ¾ cup hot milk. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust the consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Colcannon in a silver stock pot.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipes makes about 7 cups of Colcannon, enough for 14 (1/2-cup) servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Peel and cube the raw potatoes up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with water and chill in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: As long as you use butter and dairy, colcannon freezes beautifully. Let it completely cool, then spoon into a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Slow cooker: Once the Colcannon is ready, you can put it in a crock pot and heat on the LOW setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. 
  • More Irish recipes: Discover Reuben and Rachel Sandwiches, Irish Potato Nachos, Corned Beef Hash, Hot Reuben Dip, and Irish Coffee.
Bowls of Guinness Stew with Colcannon.
Bowls of Guinness Stew served with Colcannon.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between champ and colcannon?

Champ is mashed potatoes with scallions, chives, parsley, or even green peas mixed in and is especially associated with Northern Ireland. Colcannon is mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage, and sometimes leeks or green onions too.

Why is it called colcannon?

The word colcannon comes from the Gaelic term “cal ceannann” which means “white-headed cabbage.” Cabbage is the most common vegetable stirred into mashed potatoes, although kale is often used (and sometimes leeks are added).

More Irish recipes

Join Us

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and follow along on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for our latest recipes! Tag all your glorious creations #culinaryhill so we can eat vicariously through you.
Colcannon on a white serving platter.

Colcannon

Stir buttery kale or cabbage into classic mashed potatoes and you've got Colcannon, a traditional Irish side dish that's easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 14 servings (½ cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 122
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into large, uniform sized pieces (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, see note 2)
  • 1 bunch curly kale stems removed and torn into 1” pieces (or cabbage, see note 3)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3/4 cup milk hot, plus more if desired (up to 1 cup)

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
  • Wipe pot dry. Over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add kale and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Return potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency.
  • Slowly stir in ¾ cup hot milk. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust the consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. Potatoes: For the fluffiest, smoothest, and most flavorful mashed potatoes, choose high-starch potatoes like Russet, Idaho, or Yukon gold potatoes.  Waxy potatoes (such as new, red, or white varieties) require more mashing to become creamy which could result in gluey, pasty spuds.
  2. Butter before milk: Always add the butter first so the butter fat coats the potato starch molecules. Then, add the hot milk to make them creamy. If you mix up the order, you could end up with gluey spuds.
  3. Cabbage: substitute 4 cups (10 ounces) of shredded cabbage for the kale.
  4. Yield: This recipes makes about 7 cups of colcannon, enough for 14 (1/2-cup) servings.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: Peel and cube the raw potatoes up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with water and chill in the refrigerator. 
  7. Freezer: As long as you use butter and dairy, colcannon freezes beautifully. Let it completely cool, then spoon into a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (½ cup)Calories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 331mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1152IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
15 simple recipes for busy weeknights.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.