Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato recipe with kale and scallions. It’s irresistibly delicious and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day too.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato recipe, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.
Try it once and you’ll be hooked!
With only five ingredients this dish is easy to whip up and a great authentic Irish dish.
It’s a familiar cousin to the iconic American comfort food, mashed potatoes.
What is Colcannon?
Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage, scallions and butter.
Some recipes include milk or cream; some do not (this does not).
It also can contain other ingredients in the onion family such as leeks or chives.
Like many traditional recipes, there are family or regional variations, such as including boiled ham or bacon.
It’s a hearty, affordable recipe that is particularly satisfying in the cold weather months.
Colcannon Fun Fact
Colcannon is traditionally served in Ireland on Halloween with charms hidden in it!
The charms are simple but with significant meanings foretelling future events!
How to Pronounce ‘Colcannon’?
Ingredients in Colcannon
The ingredients are simple. This Colcannon recipe includes:
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Curly Kale leaves
- Unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
What Type of Potatoes to Use for Colcannon?
In a traditional Irish Colcannon recipe, ‘floury’ potatoes would be used.
The closest in the United States would be a russet potato.
Though Yukon Gold potatoes may not be an indigenous Irish potato variety, their creamy nature makes this traditional Colcannon recipe perfection.
Colcannon is perfect traditional dish for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
What Does Colcannon Taste Like?
If you have not enjoyed it before you may imagine a strong taste of kale making it seem like more of a “green vegetable” dish.
It is not!
The curly kale is lightly blanched and processed with the scallions before incorporating into the buttery potatoes.
The heady aroma of the kale and onion when freshly diced coming out of the food processor is truly divine; light, fresh and singing of springtime.
This Colcannon recipe is truly irresistible.
Tip for Removing Kale Stems
There is a trick that makes removing kale leaves from the kale stem a breeze:
- Hold the end of the kale stalk (the stem) in one hand.
- With the other hand, place the thumb and forefinger at the base of the leaves on the stalk.
- Pull the stalk with the first hand (the hand holding the stem), holding the other thumb and forefinger firmly in place.
Leaves will peel off the stalk easily and are ready for chopping.
How to Make Colcannon – Step by Step:
Colcannon is very easy to make. There are four basic steps:
STEP 1: Boiling the potatoes
STEP 2: Blanching the kale (blanching = quickly adding the kale to boiling water then an ice bath to barely cook it)
STEP 3: Processing the kale and scallions in a food processor
STEP 4: Making the Colcannon
Specific recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
STEP 1: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes by at least an inch (the potatoes should have plenty of room) and bring to a boil.
STEP 2: Add a large pinch of salt.
STEP 3: Place the potatoes into the boiling water until done (about 20 minutes). Drain and return to the pot.
STEP 4: While the potatoes are cooking….bring a second pot of water to a boil (for blanching the kale).
STEP 5: Set up a large mixing bowl of cold water and ice.
STEP 6: Place the kale into the boiling water for 2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water for 2 minutes.
STEP 7: Combine the blanched kale and scallions in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely diced.
STEP 8: Add the butter to the potatoes and allow it to melt.
STEP 9: Mash the potatoes and stir in the kale and scallions.
Recommended Tool: Potato Ricer
The Colcannon may be mashed with a traditional potato masher or a potato ricer,which is my preferred method.
If you have not used a potato ricer, it makes quick work of mashing potatoes and gives them a wonderful texture.
Potato Ricers come with a few disks with different sized holes which are fitted into the end of the cylinder.
How Does a Potato Ricer Work?
Add potatoes to the main cavity fitted with disk.
Pull the handles together which depresses a solid metal piece forcing the cooked potatoes through the perforated disk.
Milk (or cream in some cases) is another variable ingredient in Colcannon.
The type of potatoes used may affect how moist the Colcannon recipe turns out.
If desired to make a lighter, creamier Colcannon, feel free to add a bit of warm milk in the last step.
More Irish and St. Patrick’s Day Recipes You’ll Love!
- Dublin Coddle
- Irish Potato Champ
- Cottage Pie
- Authentic Irish Coffee
- Irish Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Corned Beef Brisket cooked in Guinness
- Irish Chocolate Mousse with Baileys
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Authentic Irish Colcannon
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pinch Kosher Salt
- 4 ounces Curly Kale leaves (about 6 ½ ounces with stem)
- ½ cup Scallions trimmed, white and lower green of stalk rough chopped
- 1 stick (8 TB) Unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with scallion slices (about ¼ cup needed for whole recipe)
Cooking the potatoes
- Fill a large pot of water with enough room to cover the potatoes by 1 inch (with plenty of room for the potatoes). Bring to a boil.
- Add a large pinch of salt to the boiling water.
- Place potatoes in boiling water until done (about 20 minutes; poke a fork in them to ensure they are no longer hard and are cooked through). Drain and return to cooking pot.
Preparing the Kale (blanching)
- While potatoes are boiling, bring a second pot of water to boil for blanching the kale and fill a large mixing bowl of ice and water.
- Place the kale leaves into the boiling water for two minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they all become submerged.
- Remove from boiling water, and place immediately into ice water bath. Allow them to remain there for two minutes then place them in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the rough chopped scallions to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse for 10-15 seconds until kale and onions form a finely diced mixture.
Making the Colcannon
- Add the stick of butter to the potatoes; mix together to allow butter to melt.
- Once the butter is melted, mash the potatoes with a masher. NOTE: if using a ricer, rice the potatoes first then add the butter.
- Add the diced kale and scallion; stir to fully combine.
- Serve hot garnished with scallion slices.
Originally published March 8, 2013
Your instructions sound like we add a stick of butter to the whole cooked potatoes, is that correct? If so, where is all that melted butter to go? Is it that you mash or rice potatoes into the same pan with the butter?
Toni Dash says
Hi Katii. Just making sure you are following the recipe card at the end of the blog post (not just the process notes) which has all the specifics. Yes you add the butter to the cooked potatoes. When the potatoes are mashed with the butter the butter combines with the potatoes and then the other ingredients (to answer the question about where does all the butter go). Just like when you make regular mashed potatoes. In step 3 under ‘cooking the potatoes’ in the recipe card, the potatoes are drained and returned to the cooking pot. This will still be warm which helps the butter melt. If using a ricer you’ll rice the potatoes back into the cooking pot then add the butter. Hope this helps!
Maureen McDermott Ausbrook says
I’m Irish-American and have been eating Colcannon for 70 years and had it in Ireland as well. I never knew anyone who put kale in Colcannon. Traditional Colcannon has cabbage. My family always added leeks or scallions but Colcannon is a essentially a humble marriage of potatoes and cooked cabbage. We also used cream and butter and often leeks. I like it topped with fresh dill. But kale? Never. However, if you love kale, go for it. Just understand the real McCoy is cooked cabbage and potatoes. I boil the cabbage (separate from the potatoes) and then cut it up and add it to the mashed potatoes. About 50:50. I add cream and leeks I’ve sauteed in butter and S&P to taste.
Toni Dash says
We are going to have to agree to disagree Maureen! My Irish grandmother who emigrated to the U.S. always made it this way, with kale. My extended family who still live in Ireland also make it this way. If you research culinary history it can be made with cabbage OR kale. I appreciate that you have not met anyone who makes it with kale, but now you have!
'Barbara G says
This is the first time I made colcannon with kale instead of cabbage. Much prettier and very tasty. I used less butter but added some cream, Just delicious. the two of us could have eaten the full recipe (to serve six).
Toni Dash says
I’m so glad you liked it Barbara! It really is delicious so I can relate to eating it all! Thanks for leaving your comment.
This recipe is fantastic and so delicious! I will definitely be making this again!
Allyson Reed Zea says
Adding this to my list of recipes for this St. Patrick’s Day!