Traditional Irish Colcannon Recipe

Colcannon recipe

 The Spruce

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
223 Calories
16g Fat
20g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 223
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 68mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 3g
Calcium 42mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Colcannon is a favorite Irish recipe, especially on St Patrick's Day. Seriously, what is not to like? Creamy mashed potatoes, fresh, crunchy curly kale, a bit of spring onions, and pats of butter.


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  • 22 ounces floury potatoes (baking potatoes, peeled and quartered)
  • 4 ounces curly kale (or spring cabbage, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup spring onions (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup spring onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 ounces butter
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked—when pierced with a sharp knife, the potato will be soft in the middle.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Blanch the curly kale in boiling water for 1 minute.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Drain and reserve.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Add the 1/2 cup of roughly chopped spring onions to the drained kale and pulse in a blender for 10 seconds.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Drain the potatoes and add the butter.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  7. When the butter has melted, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Add the kale mixture and mix.

    The Spruce 
  9. Finally, add 1/4 cup of finely chopped spring onions and season to taste.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce
  10. The dish is the perfect accompaniment to many traditional Irish dishes, not the least of which is a hearty Irish stew.

    Colcannon recipe
     The Spruce

Recipe Variations

  • Cabbage Colcannon: If finding fresh, seasonal kale is not possible, then it can be replaced with cabbage, although this will never be acceptable to a purist. Use a dark green leafy cabbage, such as savoy or spring cabbage, and finely shred it.
  • Colcannon Cakes: A lovely and delicious alternative to colcannon is to shape it into cakes. These potato cakes make a delicious side dish in the same way the regular one does. You can top them with a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise sauce in order to create a very sophisticated breakfast or brunch dish. Making the cakes is also a great way of using up leftovers.
  • Bubble and Squeak: While not an Irish dish, bubble and squeak is the great British recipe that uses up leftover vegetables from a Sunday lunch, the backbone of which is mashed potato. The potato is fried in a pan with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper.

A Brief History of the Folklore Surrounding Colcannon

Colcannon was traditionally used for predicting marriage on Halloween. Charms were hidden in the mashed potatoes and any unmarried girl who found one would place socks with spoonfuls of Colcannon and the charms on her front door handle. The first man to enter the house was her intended. Goodness, that must have been a worrying time waiting to see who arrived.