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Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon)

If you’ve never had Irish mashed potatoes, also known as colcannon, you’re truly missing out!

They’re a lot like the much-beloved classic mashed potatoes, only 10 times better. What makes these spuds stand out? Butter – lots and lots of it!

With a bowl of colcannon, you’ll get incredibly fluffy mashed potatoes made even richer and silkier with butter and half-and-half.

How can anyone say no to that?!

Homemade Irish Mashed Potatoes Colcannon
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This recipe is so delicious, it’s impossible to stop at one serving.

If you are serving a crowd, I suggest you double it for good measure. Trust me, these creamy potatoes won’t last more than 5 minutes.

Whether you’re serving them for St. Patrick’s day or simply as a delectable dinner side dish, Irish mashed potatoes are sure to be the star of the show!

Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon)

Colcannon is the Irish version of classic mashed potatoes.

Most often served on St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, colcannon is an ultra-rich and fluffy potato dish that’s definitely celebration-worthy.

Apart from the butter, another thing that makes colcannon different from other mashed potatoes is the addition of shredded greens, may it be cabbage, leeks, kale, or spinach.

If you think it sounds strange, wait until you try it. There’s something truly special about the combination of potatoes, cabbage, and butter!

Don’t worry, even with the veggies, this dish is still a hit with kids.

Best of all, it’s just as easy to make as regular mashed potatoes. You’ll put out the same effort, but get more flavor!

This particular recipe does not call for greens, but feel free to add them for a more traditional colcannon.


  • Potatoes – Choose starchy potatoes for a fluffier mash. Here are some great options:
    • Russet 
    • Red
    • Yukon Gold
    • Rosamunda
    • Desiree
    • Melody
    • Blue Congo
    • King Edward
    • Maris Piper
    • Early Puritan
  • Cabbage – use something green, like savoy or napa cabbage, and be sure to slice it quite thin.
  • Bacon – this is optional but makes the dish incredibly indulgent!
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt that goes into the dish. Let the butter come to room temperature so that it blends easily with the potatoes.
  • Half-and-Half – For richer, creamier potatoes. Milk, heavy cream, or a combo of sour cream and cream cheese work great as well.
  • Salt – To taste.
  • Ground Black Pepper – For added heat. You can use white pepper if you don’t like the color. 
  • Garlic Powder – For more flavor.

Tips for the Best Traditional Colcannon

  • Salt the water when boiling the potatoes. The potatoes will absorb the flavor as they boil, so you won’t need to flavor them as much later on.
  • If using red-skinned potatoes, leave the peel on for a nice pop of color.
  • If adding cabbage, use savoy. It has a much nicer texture than other types of cabbage and has a deeper color, too.
  • Store leftover colcannon in a sealable container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding a bit of cream to keep it moist.
  • Use leftover colcannon to make shepherd’s pie or potato patties. 
Irish Mashed Potatoes

What Can I Serve With Irish Mashed Potatoes? 

Just like regular mashed potatoes, colcannon also pairs beautifully with almost any dish. But perhaps its most popular partner is barmbrack, a type of Irish bread.

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Barmbrack is a sweet bread loaded with dried fruit. Together with colcannon, it makes a traditional Irish Halloween meal.

Fun fact: In Ireland, colcannon is so popular during Halloween that the holiday is also sometimes called “Colcannon Night.”

Apart from barmbrack, colcannon also tastes amazing with ham, sausage, bacon, corned beef, lamb chops, and any kind of meat, for that matter.

Easy Colcannon Variations

This recipe already yields a pretty perfect colcannon, but here are several variations you can also try:

  • Add cabbage and spring onions for tastier and healthier mashed potatoes. After all, the term “colcannon” is derived from the Gaelic phrase “cal and cainnean,” which means “cabbage and leek.” It’s the best way to sneak more veggies into your dinner!
  • If you can’t get a hold of cabbage, shredded kale, spinach, and collard greens, all make great alternatives. Just pulse the greens with spring onions for more flavor.
  • How about some mashed potato cakes? A colcannon cake is another popular Irish treat, and for good reason. How can you say no to creamy potatoes in cake form? 

For this variation, just add all-purpose flour and egg to the mix and shape the mashed tots into a cake.

Pan fry until golden, top it with a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce, and voila!

  • Everything tastes better with bacon, so why not make bacon colcannon? Simply top the potatoes with crisp and smoky bacon and you’ll have a delectable dish. You can even swap some of the butter with bacon grease for more flavor!
  • For an even more sinful colcannon, top the potatoes with cheddar cheese or sour cream. Potatoes, cream, and cheese are a match made in heaven!

Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon)



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 3 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half, more if needed

  • 1/2 small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional

  • 5 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)


  • Place the potatoes in a large pot over high heat. Pour cold, salted water into the pot until the potatoes are completely submerged. Bring the potatoes to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and transfer the potatoes into a large bowl.
  • While the potatoes cook, fry the cabbage in a skillet over medium heat with a few tablespoons of the butter. Add the bacon, if using, and stir for 5 minutes until the cabbage is soft and the bacon is cooked. Set aside.
  • Mash the potatoes with a masher, fork, or electric mixer until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the remaining butter and the half-and-half until melted and combined, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour the butter mixture into the bowl of potatoes. Add the salt, black pepper, and garlic, and beat until light and fluffy. Add more half-and-half, one tablespoon at a time, if needed, until the desired creaminess is achieved.
  • Finally, add the cabbage and bacon, stir, and enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

3 thoughts on “Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon)”

  1. When I boil my potatoes I season them with garlic pepper and pass on the salt until last. Taste the water for the amount you desire in your potatoes. The flavor is unbelievable once drained and mashed.
    Try it you will be pleasantly surprised.

    • Hi Lynn, this is such a great tip! I’m all about trying anything that makes mashed potatoes even better. Thank you so much for sharing!


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