These traditional Irish mashed potatoes (called colcannon) are made with cooked cabbage, creamy potatoes, milk, and green onion, then topped with crumbled bacon.

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Side view of irish colcannon in a bowl topped with slices of butter, bacon, and parsley.

About Irish Colcannon

Classic mashed potatoes are always a fan-favorite side dish, but what if I told you they could be even better? As in, creamy mashed potatoes with even more flavor and even more toppings?

Well, it is totally possible, and they’re an Irish-style mashed potato dish called colcannon.

If you haven’t tried this traditional Irish dish yet, there’s no better time than the present (perfect for St Patrick’s Day!) and I promise you’ll be so glad you tried it. Your side dish game will never be the same.

What is colcannon?

Colcannon is a traditional Irish and Scottish dish (and there’s even a song about it!) The main two ingredients are mashed potatoes and either kale or cabbage, which are typically flavored with butter, milk, and mild seasonings. Other popular additions include green onion or cooked, crumbled bacon.

Top down view of prepared irish colcannon in a bowl.

How do you pronounce colcannon?

Thankfully, this dish is spoken much like it’s written:

Colcannon is pronounced kol-cannon. 

If you’d like to hear the word pronounced, check out this video.

Can you make colcannon in advance?

Yes! This dish stores and reheats well, so prepared Irish colcannon can be stored in a sealed container or refrigerator for up to one or two days. From there, you can add the colcannon to a casserole dish, add a dash of milk and butter, then cook at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through.

How long is colcannon good for?

Once prepared, Irish colcannon can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three to five days.

Top down view of Irish colcannon topped with butter, bacon, and parsley.

Can you freeze Colcannon?

In most cases, freezing potatoes usually doesn’t work very well, but mashed potatoes are the exception – as long as you add butter to them before freezing.

So the answer is yes, this can be frozen, but you should mix in a healthy dose of butter while the potatoes are still hot. Then you can safely seal them in a freezer bag or container of your choice for up to two months.

What to serve with colcannon?

This side dish is a great addition to any Irish cuisine or Saint Patrick’s Day menu. Some popular items include:

Notes & tips for this Irish side dish

  • When making this recipe, I used a dutch oven for cooking both the cabbage that the potatoes. You can also use a stockpot, but the more I use my dutch oven the more I appreciate having it in my kitchen.
  • To save yourself some time, I highly recommend having a potato masher on hand for this recipe!
Wooden spoon scooping up a serving of Irish colcannon.

Other festive Irish recipes

How to make Irish colcannon

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – First, cook cabbage in a large pot with a few cups of water. Drain the cabbage, but reserve the water it cooked in. Place cabbage in a bowl, cover, and set aside, ideally in a place where the cabbage will stay warm.

Step 2 – Place potatoes in a large pot. Pour in the cabbage water, then fill the rest of the pot with fresh water until the tops of the potatoes are covered. Cook potatoes until tender.

Step 3 – While potatoes cook, add milk, green onions, and seasonings to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 20-30 seconds, then remove from heat.

Step 4 – Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them to whatever consistency you like, then add in the cooked cabbage and milk mixture. Gently stir everything together.

Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Side view of irish colcannon in a bowl topped with slices of butter, bacon, and parsley.
4.78 from 18 votes

Irish Colcannon

20 mins prep + 50 mins cook
248 kcal
Yields: 6 servings
These traditional Irish mashed potatoes (called colcannon) are made with cooked cabbage, creamy potatoes, milk, and green onion, then topped with crumbled bacon.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 8 cup water, divided
  • 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon salted butter, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • cooked and crumbled bacon, for garnish (optional)
  • fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add cabbage and 2 cups water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered, until cabbage has cooked down (about 1/2 the original size) and is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain cabbage, but reserve water cabbage cooked in. Transfer cooked cabbage to a bowl, cover, and set aside.
    1/2 head cabbage, 8 cup water
  • In a large stockpot, add cabbage water and potatoes, plus more water so that the top of the potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and allow to cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 15-25 minutes.
    6 medium russet potatoes, 8 cup water
  • While potatoes cook, add milk, green onions, salt, and pepper to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to simmer for 20 seconds, then remove from heat. Set saucepan nearby.
    1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup green onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch black pepper
  • Once potatoes are cooked, drain excess water and add potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Mash potatoes to desired consistency (having some lumps is okay).
  • Add cooked cabbage, milk mixture, and butter to mashed potatoes, then gently stir to combine.
    2 tablespoon salted butter
  • Serve colcannon immediately with crumbled bacon, fresh parsley, and butter.
    2 tablespoon salted butter, cooked and crumbled bacon, fresh chopped parsley

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 480mg | Potassium: 1095mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 342IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating




10 comments

    • Carol Rommevaux
    • 5 stars

    I was raised on Colcannon! Now that I am an adult, I make it more than once a year- why wait? It’s a great side dish that goes with so many other
    main dish foods, so enjoy it whenever you have a craving for Colcannon.
    Happy cooking!
    Carol

    • Melissa
    • 5 stars

    Made this for dinner tonight—delicious!

    • Bec
    • 5 stars

    Awesome recipe! I made two batches over the weekend. We ate one and froze one to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day. I added 4 tablespoons of butter to it before freezing, so hopefully, it will reheat well.

    • Jillian
    • 5 stars

    I made these potatoes last year for St Patrick’s Day and I can’t wait to make them again this year!

    • Deborah

    I am Portuguese, but always open to new ethnic foods! I was blessed enough to visit Northern Ireland U.K. in 2003, but found most foods to be bland, with the exception of “sticky toffee pudding!” I am having my best friend who is Irish, & an old friend of mine over for the true meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day. When Saint Patrick brought the Gospel to the Irish people! I want to make the Colcannon along side the Traditional Corned beef and cabbage, instead of just boiled potatoes with rainbow carrots, Parsnips, onions, and the corned beef in the Crock Pot! Her Soda bread, should top off the authenticity and it will be a grand Celebration!

    • Vicky
    • 5 stars

    We make this but with center cut ham slices. It’s a Dutch dish called Potasi. My Grandma used to make this. Boil all together, and pour off extra water. Mash ham right in with the potatoes and cabbage. Salt and pepper to taste. OMG to die for. Potatoes on bottom then ham slices then cabbage. Water to cover potatoes. Cook about an hour pour off extra water but save in case you need to pour some back in to get the right consistency.

      • Mimi

      Huteaspoonot or stampot in Dutch. Use cabbage, kale, sourkraut, or carrots and onions. Serve with smoked sausage and you have yourself a hearty and totally delicious dinner!

    • Danielle
    • 5 stars

    All I could see was the butter. That delicious, meted pooling butter. Any potatoes with that butter and bacon and onions have just got to be delicious. I’ve heard of colcannon before, but never really knew what it was. I’m glad I know now because apparently it’s something I would LOVE.

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    I’ll take potatoes and bacon any way I can get them! Bring it on!!!!

    • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    • 5 stars

    The mashed potatoes certainly look delicious — not fair since I haven’t had lunch yet and all I can think of is eating some potatoes. I imagine that the cabbage and bacon really rachet up the taste of the spuds. A keeper of a recipe.