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Mar 12, 2022

Colcannon | Irish Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato dish, typically made with kale, cabbage, leeks, or assorted chopped greens, along with butter and milk.

Colcannon mashed potatoes in a casserole.

This version of colcannon is loaded with kale, but still totally tastes like mashed potatoes. It's a great way to get a serving of leafy greens in your favorite comfort food.

This colcannon dish is really easy to make and incredibly flavorful. Even your favorite veggie hater will love it.... just get them to close their eyes if they have an aversion to green.

Colcannon in a bowl.

I've read that colcannon is traditionally served at Halloween in Ireland. A ring or a coin is hidden in the dish, and the recipient is supposed to be blessed with marriage or wealth in the following year.

In the U.S., we love our adopted and adapted Irish traditions, even if they are not celebrated across the pond. For example, St. Patrick's Day, which, until recently, was much more popular in the Irish diaspora than in Ireland. Just ask Mr. Kitchen, who is Irish born and raised. He totally didn't understand the big deal, although lately, he has gotten on board. 

Colcannon mashed potatoes with kale.

That being said, this colcannon would be a wonderful dish to serve on St. Patrick's Day... or any day. It's loaded with greens, and not loaded with calories.... and Mr. (Irish) Kitchen approves.

While this recipe is fairly low fat, the traditional way to eat these potatoes is with a big pat of melted salted butter in the middle of the dish to dip each forkful of potatoes. I could get behind that.

Colcannon mashed potatoes with kale and onions.

Ingredients you will need to make colcannon with kale:

Russet potatoes: These are the starchiest and lend themselves to making the best mashed potatoes. 

Onion, finely sliced.

Bunch of kale, stalks removed.

Butter and milk. 

Colcannon mashed potatoes with kale, onions, and butter.

How to make this colcannon:

First, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are softened. 

Drain the potatoes and add them back into the saucepan. Meanwhile, cook the onions in milk until soft. Strain the onions from the milk, reserving the milk.

Next, simmer the kale in salted water until the kale is tender. 

Finally, mash the potatoes with a potato masher with butter and add the onions and kale. Add the milk and mix until the mixture is creamy and dot with lots of butter.

Irish colcannon in a bowl.

If you have any leftovers, be sure to make colcannon potato pancakes. They are delicious! And, if you love garlic, be sure to try garlic mashed potatoes

Welcome to this week's Sunday Funday, hosted by Amy's Cooking Adventures. We are celebrating recipes for St. Patrick's Day! 

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Check out these recipes for more ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Colcannon mashed potatoes with kale.

First published March 7, 2017, updated March 13, 2022 with new instructions and a printable recipe card. 

Colcannon with Kale Recipe

Colcannon with Kale Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 40 Min
Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato dish, typically made with kale, cabbage, leeks, or assorted chopped greens, along with butter and milk.


  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bunch of organic kale, stalks removed, and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of salted butter, plus more to serve
  • Salt to taste


  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the pot.
  2. In another pan, simmer the onion slices in the milk until the onion is soft. Strain the onions from the milk, reserving the milk.
  3. In a four quart saucepan, bring one inch of salted water to a boil. Add the kale, cover, and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the kale is tender but still bright green. Strain.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher with 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and kale, and mix with a spoon. Add the milk and mix until the mixture is creamy. Salt to taste. Dot the top of the potatoes with the rest of the butter, and serve with more butter.

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Potatoes, kale
Side dish
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Adapted from Community Table

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a yummy dish Karen! We only recently read about colcannon, since we don't have Irish people over here, and what you mentioned with the coin is the same thing we do on New Year's Eve with the vasilopita! :) It's amazing how some traditions transcend borders isn't it?:)
    We'd love to try your version, it really looks fantastic!
    Great work.

    1. It is amazing. Holiday breads are a lot like that too. In New Orleans, for Mardi Gras, they bury a baby Jesus or a coin in King Cake, which is really a sweet yeasted bread.

  2. After just eating a a plateful of pancakes, I still want to eat this! Yum! This reminds me of the colcannon soup I need to make again.

    1. Thanks Cathy =) Colcannon soup sounds delicious! I bet it's really green but still has the flavor of potatoes.

  3. This looks great Karen! My kids love potatoes and kale, so this is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with them. Can't wait to try it!

    1. That's wonderful that they love kale! This would definitely be a big hit with them!

  4. Love colcannon and this recipe sounds perfect Karen. Happy St. Pat's day.

  5. Karen, finally a Colcannon recipe without any meat. Looks so inviting. It actually reminds me of the traditional Kenyan dish called irio which is mashed potatoes with the local kale like greens called sukuma wiki and peas are added.

    1. It's amazing how similar the dishes are! And potatoes being originally from the western hemisphere!

  6. Really delicious recipe. Really love it yummy!!!

  7. I love this Colcannon recipe. Finally found a recipe that will work well for us! Love the idea of pancakes with colcannon.

  8. Love this version of colcannon with kale!


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