This Colcannon recipe is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dish (or any other day you’re craving true comfort food)!

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish combining creamy mashed potatoes with sweet cabbage and fried onion. It’s the ultimate cozy side.

This dish is great served with corned beef or glazed honey ham.

colcannon with pats of butter shown overhead

What is Colcannon?

When we think of cabbage recipes we often go to cabbage rolls, coleslaw or fried cabbage but this Colcannon recipe will quickly become a favorite!

Colcannon is a traditional dish from Ireland made with fried cabbage and onion (or scallions or leeks) fried until tender and gently folded into rich and creamy mashed potatoes (I sometimes add a little bit of bacon too).

You can use kale instead of cabbage, but I personally prefer the softer and sweeter taste of cabbage. Colcannon is traditionally topped with melted butter – because let’s be honest, mashed potatoes and butter are a match made in heaven.

Colcannon ingredients on a wood board

Ingredients

Potatoes – You’ll need a good starchy baking potato. Our favorite choices are Russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Once boiled, mash them with lots of butter, light or heavy cream. While it’s not traditional, you can also add sour cream or cream cheese to taste.

Cabbage – Green cabbage becomes tender and sweet when fried with butter. However, you can substitute curly kale (about 1lb) or savoy cabbage if you prefer.

Onion –  Fried onions pair beautifully with mashed potatoes. Use a white onion, or green onion, or try using leeks for an extra special dish. Leeks are mildly flavored and look like extra large scallions.

Butter & bacon – Could anything be better?! I love the flavor bacon adds although it’s not a traditional addition. If I have it on hand, I add it but if I don’t this colcannon recipe is equally delicious with just butter.

frying cabbage and leeks for colcannon

How To Make Colcannon

To make homemade colcannon:

  1. Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan until fork-tender and drain well per the recipe below. Mash the potatoes with cream and butter.
  2. Soften onion or leeks and cabbage in a skillet.
  3. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Stir the cabbage mixture into the mashed potatoes and top with lots of butter.

Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, chives, and/or crisp bacon.

mixing mashed potatoes with cabbage and onions for colcannon

What To Do With Leftover Colcannon

Store Colcannon 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge in a container or covered. To reheat it, place it on the stovetop with a little cream to keep the consistency of the mashed potatoes.

Leftovers can be used to top shepherd’s pie or turned into crispy potato patties.

a bowl of colcannon with butter

More St. Patrick's Day Favorites

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4.94 from 92 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes)

Colcannon combines the flavors of sweet cabbage, fried onion, and creamy mashed potatoes to create a traditional Irish dish that the family will love!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients  

  • 3 pounds Russet or baking potatoes peeled & quartered
  • ½ cup cream warmed
  • ¼ cup butter melted, more as needed
  • 1 white onion or 2 leeks
  • ½ head cabbage (approx. 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the onion or leeks, and cabbage. Dice the white onion into ½-inch pieces or slice the white and light green parts of the leeks thinly and rinse well. Cut the cabbage into 1-inch pieces.
  • Melt ¼ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion or leeks and cabbage in the butter until the onion is translucent and the cabbage is tender.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and return them to the warm pot. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, adding cream and butter as needed to reach a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Gently fold the mashed potatoes, cabbage, and onions together.
  • Top with additional melted butter if desired.
  • Gently fold together mashed potatoes, cabbage & onions. Top with additional melted butter if desired and crumbled bacon if using.

Video

Notes

If desired, replace 1lb of potatoes with 1lb of parsnips. Russet potatoes are nice and starchy and make great mashed potatoes, Yukon gold is another good choice. Potatoes can be mashed with a masher or potato ricer.
Kale can be added to the cabbage or used in place of cabbage in this dish. 
To Add Bacon: We love the flavor bacon adds to colcannon, so we often use it in place of butter to fry the onions/leeks and cabbage. 
  1. If you love bacon, cook 4-6 slices of bacon in a pan until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon drippings.
  2. Cook onion or leeks and cabbage in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent and the cabbage is tender.
  3. Mix the bacon, cabbage, and onions with the mashed potatoes per the recipe above.
 
4.94 from 92 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 293 | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 843mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Irish
bowl of Colcannon Recipe with butter and a title
Colcannon Recipe with butter and a title
close up of Colcannon Recipe with a title
ingredients to make Colcannon Recipe in a bowl and plated dish with a title

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

    1. Hi Elizabeth, you can make this dish ahead of time and when you’re ready to reheat, take it out of the fridge to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Pop it in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes (or until heated through), stirring at the halfway mark. Let us know how it goes for you!

  1. My very first time making this was for my in-laws and hsbd and I this October. We all thoroughly enjoyed this side dish that I served with homemade cabbage rolls and roasted baby carrots. What a terrific use of scrap pieces of cabbage! I sautéed leeks with the cabbage and my russet potatoes were thickened with heavy cream, a dollop of cream cheese and plenty of real salted butter. My in-laws were VERY happy to keep all the leftovers to have the following morning with breakfast eggs! I’m currently making this again (today) to have with a pork roast. It’s my daughters turn to try this now… I will continue to make this delicious recipe, what a great find!!5 stars

      1. Great recipe! I had so much leftover cabbage from st Patrick day parades and got tired of the same recipes. I had leftover pot roast and I added it to the cabbage mix, put the mashed potatoes on top and topped it with some cheese I had lying around. I put it in the oven at 375 until all the cheese melted and the edges got slightly brown. kinda like shepherd’s pie. I know this is a huge deviation, but I never would have thought of it if I didn’t see this recipe!5 stars

  2. Can’t wait to try it! New cabbage fan here (isn’t it funny how our tastes change…suddenly discovering I DO like cabbage at 57 years old!) Could I use red cabbage for this? Would there be a big taste difference?

    1. I have not tried using red cabbage so I can’t say for sure but I think it would taste great Denise! If you try it be sure to let us know how it turns out!

    1. We haven’t made this recipe with radishes but I don’t see why not, Rachael. I think that would work well.

  3. Sorry I didn’t see the potato info until after I posted my question and didn’t know how to delete the question.

    1. As mentioned in the post Lorraine, our first choices are Russet potatoes or Yukon gold! Enjoy!

  4. Amazing! Thanks for the great recipe!
    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before.
    Made it with cabbage rolls.5 stars

  5. Have you ever tried using the potatoes and cabbage that cook with the Corned beef in your slow cooker recipe?

      1. That’s the only way I make it – mash the potatoes (I make extra just for this dish) and fold in any leftover cabbage, then add the fresh fried cabbage and onions4 stars

      1. I did the same thing. I clicked on the link from the Crockpot Cabbage Roll recipe, that did contain rice, to this recipe. Trying both!!5 stars