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Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)

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This Irish kale colcannon recipe is perfectly buttery and fluffy and easy to make with a handful of basic ingredients.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and I vote we celebrate with homemade colcannon. ♡

We love making these classic Irish mashed potatoes anytime during the year that we happen to have some leftover kale and scallions in the fridge. But I recently learned that colcannon is traditionally served in Ireland on Halloween, when little trinkets are often hidden inside to predict your future for the coming year. Fortune-telling mashed potatoes…so fun!

Well whether you decide to make colcannon on Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, or any other time of the year, these Irish mashed potatoes are always a great idea. They are traditionally made with either sautéed kale or cabbage and lots of scallions, which add a vibrant pop of green color as well as extra nutrients, flavor and texture to classic mashed potatoes. I also always love adding cream cheese to mashed potatoes for an extra pop of tang, plenty of garlic and bay leaf for seasoning, and a generous sprinkling of extra scallions on top. They’re the perfect side dish to complement a range of entrées and the perfect greens-filled comfort food as we move into spring.

Let’s make some colcannon!

Colcannon Ingredients

Here are a few brief notes about the colannon ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Potatoes: Colcannon is traditionally made using starchy potatoes, such as Russet or Idaho potatoes. But I often like to use a 50/50 blend of Yukon Golds and Russets when making mashed potatoes to lend some additional buttery flavor and creamy texture to the mix.
  • Kale or cabbage: Either (or both!) of these greens can be used to make this traditional dish. I generally opt for kale (either curly or lacinato) which adds a vibrant green color and loads of nutrients to this recipe.
  • Green onions: I say the more the merrier when it comes to adding green onions (scallions) to this recipe! They are traditionally used to bright a delicious pop of fresh onion flavor to the dish and also add a nice bit of crunchy texture.
  • Garlic: I love adding a generous amount of garlic to give this recipe even more savory depth of flavor.
  • Butter: Butter helps to make these potatoes extra rich and creamy and delicious.
  • Cream cheese: I always love adding cream cheese to my mashed potato recipes, whose tanginess helps to balance out the other rich flavors and also lend an extra hint of creaminess.
  • Milk: We will add in some plain milk (you can use dairy or non-dairy) to help smooth out the potatoes and bind all of the ingredients together.
  • Seasonings: Finally, we will add bay leaf and fine sea salt to the water in order to season the potatoes while they cook. Then be sure to also taste test and season the mashed potatoes once more with salt and pepper before serving.

Colcannon Tips

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe box below for how to make colcannon, but here are a few extra tips to keep in mind!

  1. Avoid waterlogging your potatoes. Too much water is the enemy of good mashed potatoes! Thankfully it’s easy to avoid by evenly cutting your potatoes before boiling (versus boiling the potatoes whole, which causes them to cook unevenly) and ensuring that the potatoes are not over-boiled. Just keep a close eye on the potatoes and drain them once a knife can easily be inserted in the potatoes.
  2. Use your preferred kind of masher. If you like slightly chunky mashed potatoes, I recommend using this OXO masher. If you prefer smoother mashed potatoes, I recommend using this smooth OXO masher.
  3. Don’t overmix. In order to avoid overmixed mashed potatoes, which tend to have a gummy texture, simply stir the fillings into the cooked potatoes until they are just combined…and then serve.
  4. Season generously. Mashed potatoes famously need lots of seasoning, so don’t be shy! We will season the cooking water with bay and sea salt, but then be sure to taste test and season the potatoes once they have been mashed with plenty of salt and pepper.

Colcannon Variations

Here are a few (non-traditional, yet delicious!) variations that you’re welcome to try with this colcannon recipe:

  • Add cheese: Stir a handful of shredded cheese into the mashed potatoes, such as a sharp cheddar or Gruyere. Or you could opt for a soft cheese, such as goat cheese or feta.
  • Add bacon: Mix crumbled crispy bacon into the mashed potatoes, and sprinkle some extra on top as a garnish.
  • Add herbs: Mix your favorite fresh herbs into the mashed potatoes, such as rosemary, chives or thyme.
  • Use cabbage: Use green cabbage or Savoy cabbage in place of the kale.
  • Use sweet potatoes: Use sweet potatoes for a sweeter take on this classic dish.

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Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x


This Irish kale colcannon recipe is perfectly buttery and fluffy and easy to make with a handful of basic ingredients.


  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 4 cups (~2.5 ounces) loosely-packed chopped kale, tough stems removed
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced and divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Boil the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into evenly-sized chunks, about 1-inch thick, and transfer them to a large stockpot. Fill the pot with enough cold water so that the water line sits about 1 inch above the potatoes. Add the 2 teaspoons salt and the bay leaf to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat then continue cooking for about 10-12 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of a potato goes in easily with almost no resistance. Transfer the potatoes to a strainer to drain completely and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Sauté the garlic and kale. While the potatoes rest, melt 1 tablespoon butter in the (same) stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the kale and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Turn off the heat.
  3. Mash. Return the potatoes to the stockpot with the garlicky kale and add half of the green onions, cream cheese, whole milk and the remaining butter (cut into cubes) to the stockpot. Use a potato masher to mash the mixture together until evenly combined and the potatoes reach your desired level of smoothness, pausing to stir the mixture with a rubber spatula if needed to help combine the ingredients.
  4. Season. Taste and season with additional salt and a few twists of black pepper if needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with the remaining green onions, and enjoy!

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4 comments on “Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)”

  1. Great tip to try cutting the potatoes before boiling them. thank you! Will give that a try. That is my main complaint with my homemade mashed potatoes.

    • I’m not sure this would be classed as colcannon. Definitely sounds like delicious mashed potato though!

  2. In the description, it talks about cheddar, cheese and leeks, but in the list of ingredients neither of those are mentioned. Instead, I see cream cheese, and green onions? Can you advise?

  3. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try this. Yummy!