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


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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4.92 from 72 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


  • 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


  • 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.



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.
4.92 from 72 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

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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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Recipe Rating


  1. Very good and easy! I did add more milk. The potatoes were dry at first, but the extra milk helped.4 stars

  2. U don’t say what to do with the cabbage before adding it- obviously don’t mix whole leaves in with the potatoes, so maybe could clarify for others. I shredded for 6 cups3 stars

  3. My being Vegan; I made it this way:

    • 1-Small head Cabbage
    • 6-yellow potatoes
    • 5-6 sprigs of parsley
    • 1 medium-size parsnip
    • 3 cloves of fresh garlic
    • 1/2 medium-size yellow onion
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
    • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 &1/2 teaspoon of snipped Fresh Basil

    Directions: • Dice (very small) All Veggies
    (Do NOT BOIL Potatoes)

    • Place enough Olive Oil to
    completely cover bottom
    of fry pan.

    • Place all Veggies in fry pan
    with cabbage on top. Saute
    for about 20-25 minutes but
    Stirring about every 6 or 7
    minutes, until veggies are
    tender but not too soft.

    • Place on Serving Dish and
    Sprinkle Salt, Pepper and
    the snipped Basil on top.

    • Makes 4 Servings5 stars

  4. This is a Great Recipe for Vegans as well.
    I just diced (instead of mashed) small peeled yellow potatoes, instead … (No butter or cream/milk) The Olive Oil is plenty of moisture … so this dish doesn’t even taste “dry” at all! I also left out of the recipe any meat that is called for.
    Experiment and try adding one or more of these: diced parsnips or cauliflower; leeks; kale; red pepper seeds; snipped fresh basil leaves; celery seed and/or Spring onions! Delicious!

    1. I’ve only tried the recipe as written, but think that would work. You’d want to increase the butter since there won’t be any bacon drippings. Let us know how it works out for you!

    2. iv’e tried it with diced ham and corned beef is also nice with tuna mixed through and make patties flatten with bread crumbs and fry until golden brown5 stars

  5. This was delicious! I added five clothes of garlic into the water  to boil with the potatoes . The potatoes only need to be cooked eight minutes and I used red potatoes.  I also added yellow mustard seed into the cabbage, super yummy thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  6. I made this last year for St. Patty’s Day. It was so very delicious! I’m making it again today! I have been looking forward to it!

  7. We had an annual St Patrick’s Day dinner last night (a week early). Our friends LOVED this dish! It was so so easy and delicious. It’s a keeper for all year round. Versatile too!5 stars

  8. This recipe is delicious…I have made a few times now since reading it!! I do add garlic to it and more onions , but that is just a tweak. The leftovers were wonderful and a ‘changed them up’ by adding a bit of flour and and egg and making little pancakes and frying them up in a pan…Yum. Thank you!!5 stars