Colcannon Recipe

Colcannon, the Irish version of buttery mashed potatoes with cabbage and green onions, is a dish that tastes like so much more than the sum of its humble ingredients.

Colcannon is likely the dish most often associated with Irish cooking, says food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table. With its simple staple ingredients, easy preparation and affordable price tag, colcannon feels like the embodiment of Irish philosophy: humble, comforting and unassuming, but oh-so-delicious.

No one expects the combination of potatoes and cabbage to taste that good. But bolster them up with a bit of butter, hot milk for creaminess, and a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper, and you've got a great one-pot dish that can feed the whole family for under $5 — without dirtying any more dishes than absolutely necessary. What could be better than that?

Colcannon pairs beautifully with corned beef and other cheap cuts of meat. It also tastes lovely with fish or sausage.

Try the colcannon recipe you can prepare with anything, and discover why this Irish classic remains a favorite for the ages.

Gather the ingredients for colcannon

All the ingredients for colcannon will cost you less than five dollars, and they're easily available in any grocery store. How's that for an easy dish?

The main ingredients in colcannon are potatoes and cabbage. We recommend getting yellow potatoes like Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, as they mash really beautifully and create a lovely, creamy puree. For cabbage, go with a simple green cabbage, though a Savoy cabbage will also be beautiful here.

Butter and hot milk provide the creamy texture this dish is known for. Green onions and garlic cloves provide a delicate punch of flavor — more like a pat on the shoulder, really. Season everything with salt and pepper, and you've got the makings of an easy, classic colcannon.

Prep the veggies for colcannon

To make the rest of the preparation as easy as possible, let's get our mise en place set up and out of the way.

First off, let's start by peeling the potatoes. This is not absolutely necessary, but it helps make the dish a bit more easily digestible and elegant. If you're short on time or are ok with a more rustic texture, just scrub the potatoes well and leave the peel on.

Dice the potatoes into large cubes – no need to get too finicky here, as we just want them to cook faster.

Once the potatoes are done, mince the garlic. Cut the cabbage into thin strips, like you would for coleslaw.

Get the rest of the ingredients measured and set up.

Cook potatoes for colcannon

Grab a large pot, and transfer the potatoes to it. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes fully, plus maybe an inch or two.

Set the pot on high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium-high and boil the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Depending on the size you cut your potatoes, they may be ready sooner, so start checking at about 20 minutes. If you overcook your potatoes, no harm done – it actually makes it easier to mash them!

Drain the potatoes in a colander, and discard the cooking water.

Cook cabbage in butter, and then add onions and milk for colcannon

Return the empty pot to the stovetop (you don't even need to wash it in between!). Add four tablespoons of butter and all the cabbage to the pot and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted, for about 10 minutes. You're not looking to brown the cabbage or get it so soft it's falling apart — once you combine the cabbage with the mashed potatoes, it'll actually continue cooking and softening from the residual heat.

Add garlic and half the green onions to the pot, and cook for another minute. Add all the milk and bring it to a simmer.

Mash potatoes inside the pot for colcannon

Return the drained potatoes to the pot and turn off the heat. In fact, take the whole thing off the stovetop — it'll make seasoning your colcannon much easier.

Season the colcannon with salt and pepper, and then mash the potatoes and cabbage coarsely with a potato masher. The more you mash it, the creamier it'll be, and the more elegant it'll taste. Remember that for a typical family meal, it's perfectly fine to leave it in a more rustic presentation — we're not looking to bring out the potato ricer over here! Taste the colcannon and correct the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper or butter, as needed. This should really be like the kind of dish your Irish grandmother would make and bring to the church potluck, if you had one. 

Serve colcannon with green onions and more butter

Transfer the prepared colcannon to a large serving bowl. Top with remaining two tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with remaining green onions. Add a few generous grinds of black pepper — peppers are lovely with potatoes.

The prepared dish should look like an Irish mount in the beginning of spring: mostly grey and white, with tufts of green cabbage and onions peeking through, interspersed with golden rivulets of melted butter, a sprinkling of black pepper and a dusting of flaky sea salt. Inviting, unassuming and smelling delicious? That's colcannon for ya.

Colcannon will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for five days.

Colcannon Recipe
4.9 from 29 ratings
Colcannon is a classic Irish mashed potato dish swimming with butter and garlic flavor, along with some green onions and pepper for a kick.
Prep Time
Cook Time
colcannon in bowls
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes (about 1¾ pounds), peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 cups of diced cabbage
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp freshly grated black pepper
  1. Peel potatoes and dice them into large cubes. Mince garlic. Dice cabbage.
  2. Transfer potatoes to a large pot. Fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes in a colander.
  3. Return pot to stovetop.
  4. Add 4 tbs butter and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and half the green onions and cook for another minute.
  6. Add milk and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add potatoes to pot and turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Mash potatoes and cabbage coarsely with a potato masher. Taste and correct seasonings.
  9. Transfer colcannon to a large serving bowl. Top with remaining butter and sprinkle with green onions.
  10. Colcannon will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 days.
Calories per Serving 344
Total Fat 20.5 g
Saturated Fat 12.7 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 54.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.5 g
Total Sugars 7.3 g
Sodium 640.6 mg
Protein 7.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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