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

Combining the flavors of sweet cabbage, fried onion, and creamy mashed potatoes create a traditional Irish dish that the whole family will love.

This dish makes a great side dish served with Corned Beef or perfectly glazed honey ham.

colcannon with pats of butter shown overhead

When we think of cabbage recipes we frequently think of cabbage rolls, coleslaw or even just simple fried cabbage with bacon! Colcannon is easy and delicious, it’s great any time of year!

What Is Colcannon?

Cabbage and mashed potatoes! This recipe comes from Ireland and it’s a super cozy. Cabbage is an inexpensive ingredient and adds such a nice sweetness to almost any dish from haluski (cabbage and noodles) to soups and stews!

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of cabbage and onion (or leeks) fried until tender and gently folded into rich and creamy mashed potatoes (I add a little bit of bacon too).

This can be made with kale in place of cabbage but I personally prefer the softer sweeter flavor of cabbage. Colcannon is traditionally topped with melted butter (and we all know that mashed potatoes and butter are a match made in heaven).

Colcannon ingredients on a wood board

Ingredients

POTATOES Just like when making mashed potatoes, use a good starchy baking potato. Our first choices are Russet potatoes or Yukon gold! Mash them with lots of butter, light or heavy cream.

While it’s not traditional, feel free to stir in your own favorites from sour cream to cream cheese. You can also make colcannon with leftover mashed potatoes!

CABBAGE Fried cabbage becomes tender and sweet. We use regular green cabbage in this recipe but you can use curly kale (about 1lb) or savoy cabbage in place of green cabbage if you’d like.

ONION Buttery fried onions seem to make almost any dish better! I use a white onion if it’s what I have on hand but leeks make this dish extra special. Leeks are mildly flavored and look like extra large green onions. You can find info about preparing leeks here. Any type of onions work in this colcannon recipe from green onions to white. Stir in a couple of minced garlic cloves if you’d like!

BUTTER & BACON Could anything be better?! I love the flavor bacon adds so if I have it on hand, I add it. I’ve made this many times with just butter and it’s equally delicious.

frying cabbage and leeks for colcannon

How To Make Colcannon

To make homemade colcannon:

  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until fork-tender and drain well. Meanwhile, crisp bacon if using (it’s optional).
  2. Soften onion or leeks and cabbage in the bacon drippings until tender per the recipe below.
  3. Mash the potatoes with cream and butter. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Fold in the cabbage and onion mixture.

Top this tasty dish with lots of butter, a sprinkle of parsley and/or crisp bacon. Heavenly.

mixing mashed potatoes with cabbage and onions for colcannon

What To Do With Leftover Colcannon

Colcannon will keep up to 3 days 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.

If you have more leftovers use it to top a shepherd’s pie or turn it into crispy potato patties.
a bowl of colcannon with butter

More Irish Favorites

Did you love this Colcannon Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

colcannon with pats of butter shown overhead
4.88 from 41 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes)

Colcannon is the perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day! Combining the flavors of sweet cabbage, fried onion and creamy mashed potatoes creates a traditional Irish dish that will fill the family and leave them feeling satisfied!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 3 pounds potatoes peeled & quartered
  • ½ cup cream warmed
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • 6 slices bacon optional, see note
  • 1 white onion or 2 leeks
  • ½ head of cabbage (approx. 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook potatoes 12-15 minutes or until fork tender.
  • If using white onion, dice into ½-inch pieces. If using leeks, cut off the dark greens and discard. Thinly slice the whites and light green parts, rinse well. Set aside. Cut cabbage into 1-inch pieces.
  • Meanwhile, if using, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Set aside to cool, reserve drippings.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon drippings. If you are not using bacon, add 3 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet.
  • Cook onion or leeks and cabbage over medium heat in the drippings or butter until onion is translucent and cabbage is tender.
  • Once cooked, drain the potatoes and place them back into the warm pot. Mash potatoes with a potato masher adding cream and ¼ cup butter as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Gently fold together mashed potatoes, cabbage & onions. Top with additional melted butter if desired and crumbled bacon if using.

Video

Notes

We love the flavor bacon adds to colcannon so we often use it in place of butter to fry the onions/leeks and cabbage. 
If desired, replace 1lb of potatoes with 1lb of parsnips.
Kale can be added to the cabbage or used in place of cabbage in this dish. Use russet or Yukon gold potatoes. We like russet potatoes because they are nice and starchy and make great mashed potatoes. 
4.88 from 41 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 322 | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 870mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 587IU | 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 Irish

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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. 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.

  2. 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!

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

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