Traditional Irish Colcannon

What is in Colcannon?

There are as many recipes for this mashed potato dish as there are cooks in Ireland. Each household and region has a favorite way of cooking colcannon. What seems to be commonplace in all of them is generous amounts of butter, potatoes, and cabbage or kale as the vegetable of choice to add volume and flavor to this tasty side dish.

Colcannon is a favorite Irish recipe made of potatoes, dairy, and cabbage or kale. Although usually associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, colcannon is actually most seen on Irish tables on Halloween nights when the cook hides little trinkets in the mash, each representing a fortune or blessing.

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, but not everyone loves kale or cabbage. But mix them together with plenty of butter, and you have a versatile, nutritious side dish that is sure to please even the most finicky taste buds. The key is to chop the cabbage or kale into bitesize pieces, or as this recipe calls for running it through a food processor.

We enjoy this dish, as it combines some of our favorite ingredients together and it is pretty easy to make. We serve it in a lentil/vegetarian meat-based shephard’s pie, but any protein would work well, especially if you are having it during your St. Patrick’s Day festivities or even as a pot luck dish!


  • 1 dash salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (22 ounces)
  • 4 ounces curly kale, chopped and stems removed (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 2 spring onions or the white and light green parts of 1 small leek, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, optional for serving

Put it all together

  • Lightly salt a pot of hot water and simmer the potatoes until soft in the middle when pierced with a sharp knife.
  • In a different pot, blanch the curly kale or cabbage in boiling water for 1 minute.
  • Drain the kale or cabbage and reserve.
  • Place the spring onions or leeks and the blanched kale into a blender or food processor and pulse for 10 seconds until roughly mixed. (You want the vegetables to have some texture.)
  • Drain the potatoes and add 4 ounces of butter.
  • Mash the potatoes and butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the kale and spring onion mixture and stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top the mash with the optional 2 ounces of butter, if desired.

Serve and enjoy.