Colcannon (Cabbage and Potatoes) – Spend With Pennies


This Colcannon recipe is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dish (or any other day you’re craving true comfort food)!

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish combining creamy mashed potatoes with sweet cabbage and fried onion. It’s the ultimate cozy side.

This dish is great served with corned beef or glazed honey ham.

colcannon with pats of butter shown overhead

What is Colcannon?

When we think of cabbage recipes we often go to cabbage rolls, coleslaw or fried cabbage but this Colcannon recipe will quickly become a favorite!

Colcannon is a traditional dish from Ireland made with fried cabbage and onion (or scallions or leeks) fried until tender and gently folded into rich and creamy mashed potatoes (I sometimes add a little bit of bacon too).

You can use kale instead of cabbage, but I personally prefer the softer and sweeter taste of cabbage. Colcannon is traditionally topped with melted butter – because let’s be honest, mashed potatoes and butter are a match made in heaven.

Colcannon ingredients on a wood board


Potatoes – You’ll need a good starchy baking potato. Our favorite choices are Russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Once boiled, mash them with lots of butter, light or heavy cream. While it’s not traditional, you can also add sour cream or cream cheese to taste.

Cabbage – Green cabbage becomes tender and sweet when fried with butter. However, you can substitute curly kale (about 1lb) or savoy cabbage if you prefer.

Onion –  Fried onions pair beautifully with mashed potatoes. Use a white onion, or green onion, or try using leeks for an extra special dish. Leeks are mildly flavored and look like extra large scallions.

Butter & bacon – Could anything be better?! I love the flavor bacon adds although it’s not a traditional addition. If I have it on hand, I add it but if I don’t this colcannon recipe is equally delicious with just butter.

frying cabbage and leeks for colcannon

How To Make Colcannon

To make homemade colcannon:

  1. Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan until fork-tender and drain well per the recipe below. Mash the potatoes with cream and butter.
  2. Soften onion or leeks and cabbage in a skillet.
  3. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Stir the cabbage mixture into the mashed potatoes and top with lots of butter.

Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, chives, and/or crisp bacon.

mixing mashed potatoes with cabbage and onions for colcannon

What To Do With Leftover Colcannon

Store Colcannon 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge in a container or covered. To reheat it, place it on the stovetop with a little cream to keep the consistency of the mashed potatoes.

Leftovers can be used to top shepherd’s pie or turned into crispy potato patties.

a bowl of colcannon with butter

More St. Patrick’s Day Favorites

Did you love this Colcannon Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

colcannon with pats of butter shown overhead

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Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes)

Colcannon combines the flavors of sweet cabbage, fried onion, and creamy mashed potatoes to create a traditional Irish dish that the family will love!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 50 minutes

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until fork-tender.

  • While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the onion or leeks, and cabbage. Dice the white onion into ½-inch pieces or slice the white and light green parts of the leeks thinly and rinse well. Cut the cabbage into 1-inch pieces.

  • Melt ¼ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion or leeks and cabbage in the butter until the onion is translucent and the cabbage is tender.

  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and return them to the warm pot. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, adding ¼ cup of butter as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Gently fold the mashed potatoes, cabbage, and onions together.

  • Top with additional melted butter if desired.

  • Gently fold together mashed potatoes, cabbage & onions. Top with additional melted butter if desired and crumbled bacon if using.

If desired, replace 1lb of potatoes with 1lb of parsnips. Russet potatoes are nice and starchy and make great mashed potatoes, Yukon gold is another good choice. Potatoes can be mashed with a masher or potato ricer.
Kale can be added to the cabbage or used in place of cabbage in this dish. 
To Add Bacon: We love the flavor bacon adds to colcannon, so we often use it in place of butter to fry the onions/leeks and cabbage. 

  1. If you love bacon, cook 4-6 slices of bacon in a pan until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon drippings.
  2. Cook onion or leeks and cabbage in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent and the cabbage is tender.
  3. Mix the bacon, cabbage, and onions with the mashed potatoes per the recipe above.


Calories: 322 | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 870mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 587IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Irish
bowl of Colcannon Recipe with butter and a title
Colcannon Recipe with butter and a title
close up of Colcannon Recipe with a title
ingredients to make Colcannon Recipe in a bowl and plated dish with a title


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