Have you ever had colcannon? A St. Patrick’s day favorite, it’s a mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and usually kale or cabbage. I first encountered colcannon while doing research on traditional Irish cooking. Not surprisingly the Irish have all sorts of ways of cooking potatoes, with festive names like champ, bruisy, pandy, boxty, and this one, colcannon.

In the following colcannon recipe, we mix the mashed potatoes in with chopped cooked kale, green onions, milk or cream, and lots of butter. To serve one makes a depression in the middle of the mashed potatoes and puts a knob of butter in it. To eat it, you dip a forkful of the potatoes in the melted butter. If ever there was a recipe to get one to eat one’s greens, this is it.

By the way, if you are looking for books on traditional Irish cooking, I can recommend two excellent ones. The first is Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen, of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. The second is The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, which won the James Beard award for cookbook of the year in 2010.

From the recipe archive, first posted 2011.

Colcannon Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish

For a variation, sub out half of the potatoes with parsnips. Can add chives, leeks, or bacon too.



  • 4 russet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt
  • 5-6 Tbsp unsalted butter (with more butter for serving)
  • 3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, cabbage, chard, or other leafy green
  • 3 green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup milk or cream


1 Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain in a colander.

2 Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it's hot, add the greens. Cook the greens for 3-4 minutes, or until they are wilted and have given off some of their water. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.

3 Pour in the milk or cream, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.

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Colcannon with Cabbage and Garlic - from The Culinary Life

Colcannon with Broccoli Rabe - from A Veggie Venture

Champ, Potatoes mashed with Green Onions - from Recipe Girl

Karina's kicked-up colcannon from Karina's Gluten-free Goddess

Colcannon, an Americanized version - from Jerry, Cooking by the Seat of My Pants

Colcannon with Wild Greens - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook


Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage - by Darina Allen

The Country Cooking of Ireland - by Colman Andrews


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Showing 4 of 61 Comments

  • mirjam

    Hi, I didn’t know this was an Irish dish, over here in Holland we have something similar as a traditional winter dish, although we use a double (or maybe even triple) amount of kale to make “stamppot boerenkool”. Potatoes and chopped kale are cooked in the same pot, and mashed together. We like to add some mustard with the butter, and serve it with smoked sausages (which are also typical dutch).
    Served this way, it’s a main rather than a side dish :)

  • jo0ls

    Yum. We always have the similar dish, champ, on boxing day. We make mash and put in the leftover sprouts (chopped up) and some spring onions. This mix is then left to brown slowly in a big frying pan. It is the highlight of the boxing day meal.

  • Susan

    This looks like a great alternative to boiling potatoes in with corned beef and cabbage. Though, I suppose you still could then use them to mash in this recipe. I’ll have to think about that. I like the added greens, too. Nice contrast in flavor and color.

  • Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

    Yes. I love this dish. Sometimes I add greens to potatoes by just putting chopped greens to the hot potatoes right before I mash them, usually swiss chard or spinach, kale is a little sturdy but still good. The lazy cook in me still wants the nutrition!

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