RECIPE: Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)

People & Culture

Colcannon Irish Mashed Potatoes

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of potatoes with kale or cabbage. While there are a few regional variations to the dish, it is usually eaten with ham or bacon.

An old Irish tradition is to serve colcannon on Halloween, with a ring and a thimble or button hidden away in this fluffy potato dish. The idea is to predict marriage. If one finds the thimble or button, they would stay single, but if they find the ring, it means that they will marry.

Colcannon is also served on St. Patrick’s Day, with its specks of green making it all the more festive, but of course can be served year round, as it makes a simple and delicious side dish and great comfort food.

The following recipe uses a leafy savoy cabbage and other fabulous ingredients, also making it a perfect accompaniment to your Easter dinner.

Ireland Tours, Vacations, & Experiences

Shannon River Scenery in Limerick City, Ireland
Shannon River scenery in Limerick


  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1¾ pounds)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups packed shredded savoy cabbage (approx. ¼ large head), divided in half
  • cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced


  1. Cover potatoes with water in a small pot; season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for approx. 30-40 minutes until a paring knife slides easily through the flesh. Drain the potatoes, letting them cool slightly, and then peel.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently until very soft, approx. 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and stir frequently.
  3. Once garlic is fragrant and leeks are just beginning to brown around the edges, add 1 cup cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Add milk and cream and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add cooked potatoes and remaining 1 cup cabbage, and coarsely mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer colcannon to a large serving bowl. Top with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and garnish with the sliced scallion.