Have you ever heard of Colcannon Potatoes? This classic Celtic side dish is a staple for most Irish families. Creamy mashed potatoes are combined with crispy bacon, sautéed cabbage and onions, scallions, and butter to create decadent, starchy goodness. Serve it with some pot roast, roasted carrots, and Irish soda bread to complete the meal. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
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Homemade Irish Mashed Potatoes
There are few dishes more comforting than a heaping pile of creamy, buttery homemade mashed potatoes. But this version takes everything you know and love about this classic side dish to the next level. Loaded with bacon, cabbage, green onions, butter, and garlic, this will quickly become your new favorite way to enjoy mashed potatoes.
Even better, the red potatoes are quartered and boiled with the skin on, adding more texture and nutrition to this dish. Cooking the potatoes this way help this entire recipe come together in under 30 minutes from start to finish!
What Are Colcannon Potatoes, Exactly?
Have you ever heard of Irish colcannon potatoes? A St. Patrick’s Day favorite, this is an Irish potato dish comprised of creamy mashed potatoes and a hearty, leafy green like cabbage or kale.
Although it’s often associated with St. Patty’s Day because of its green color, colcannon is actually most traditionally served on on Halloween. The chef is known to hide small trinkets in the mash, each representing particular fortunetelling traits like wealth, love, or future children.
Colcannon’s name comes from the Gaelic terms cál and caineann, which mean “cabbage” (or “kale”) and “leek.” The end result is a hearty, colorful, and flavorful take on classic mashed potatoes that will have you rethinking the way you’ll prepare this classic side dish moving forward!
- 3 pounds of red potatoes (scrubbed clean with the skin left on and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 5 slices bacon (thick-cut is preferred, but use your preference. You could also swap the bacon for turkey bacon, but will need to cook veggies in additional oil)
- 5 cups shredded green cabbage (roughly half of a medium-sized cabbage. You could also use kale or spinach instead. Basically anything green!)
- 1 small white or yellow onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk (whole is best, but you can use your preference)
- 4 scallions (sliced thin)
- Salt and pepper to taste, plus more for serving
How To Make Colcannon Potatoes
- Cook the Potatoes: Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 12-15 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
- Cook the Bacon: Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat, and cook until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces. DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT from the skillet!
- Cook the Cabbage: Add the shredded green cabbage and diced onion to the same pan the bacon was cooked in, and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.. Take off the heat, and set aside.
- Mash the Potatoes: Add butter and milk, and continue to mash until lump-free.
- Add Mix-Ins: Stir in the chopped bacon, sautéed cabbage, onion, garlic, and raw green onions. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Garnish and Serve: Top with more green onion slices and freshly cracked pepper. Serve hot, and enjoy!
What To Serve With Colcannon Potatoes
Complete your St. Patrick’s Day meal with these recipes:
- Easy Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
- Slow Roasted Beef Brisket
- Roasted Carrots
- Roasted Broccoli
- Side Salad
- Irish Soda Bread
- Green Mojito
- Green Mint Chocolate Mousse
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store leftover colcannon mashed potatoes in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheat in a microwave-safe bowl or plate for 2-3 minutes, until warmed through.
- Freeze cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe, airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw in the fridge before reheating. Be prepared to add more milk or chicken stock to get a smooth texture. Will not be as fluffy or smooth as when first served.
- Try different greens! Leafy kale and Lacinato kale would work well here. You could also add spinach, but you’d need to also use a heartier leafy green since it would cook down a lot.
- Spice it up! Add some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or a seeded and diced jalapeño to incorporate some heat into this dish.
- Make it Vegan or Vegetarian by omitting the bacon or swapping for a compliant alternative, use your favorite dairy-free milk in place of the whole milk (almond or full-fat coconut would work well here), and use plant-based butter.
- Turn these into potato cakes by forming chilled leftovers into a patty or ball shape. Then, roll in some Panko bread crumbs and fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Salt while hot, serve, and enjoy!
- Make leftover potato gnocchi! All you need is flour, eggs, and leftover mashed potatoes. Serve as is or use to make Italian Gnocchi Soup.
How To Make Colcannon Potato Soup
I love mashed potatoes because, yes, they’re delicious, but they’re also incredibly versatile! I’ve made gnocchi, potato pancakes, and Italian soup with leftover creamy mashed potatoes. So, naturally, I knew there was a way to turn these colcannon potatoes recipe into something new, yet familiar, and scrumptious.
These already have the makings of a delicious loaded potato soup. It just needs to be thinned out and slurppable. But that’s easy! Just follow these steps:
- Cook your bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Once golden brown and crispy, place on a paper towel-lined plate and chop once cooled.
- Return the pot to medium heat with the fat, and add cabbage, onion, and garlic. Toss to coat, reduce heat to low, and cook until greens are wilted (about 10 minutes).
- Add the raw diced potatoes to the pot with 6 cups of chicken stock, 2 bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (approx. 20 minutes).
- Remove the pot from heat, and stir in the milk and scallions. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Mash with potato masher or blend with emersion blender to desired consistency. Serve hot with some crusty bread; garnish with bacon crumbles, sliced green onions, and freshly cracked pepper; and enjoy!
More Potato Recipes To Try
If you loved these Colcannon Potatoes, then you’ll love these other carb-loaded recipes:
- Crispy Parsley Pesto Gnocchi
- Warm German Potato Salad
- Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges
- Baked French Fries
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender 12-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in bacon. Cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate. (Do not drain bacon grease!) Chop up bacon into bite size pieces.
- Add cabbage and onion to the same pan the bacon was cooked in. Increase the heat to medium high to get the cabbage and the onions caramelized and tender, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Take off the heat and set aside.
- Mash the potatoes and add in butter and milk and continue to mash until smooth, creamy and lump free.
- Stir in the chopped bacon, sautéed cabbage and onion, and green onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!