Irish Colcannon ~ Potatoes with Bacon and Cabbage

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Fluffy mashed potatoes with sauteed cabbage and bacon add up to Colcannon – a side dish that everyone loves for pretty much any occasion! This Colcannon Recipe is the ultimate in mashed potato dishes.

This traditional Irish and Scottish food combines mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale and often bacon for a creamy savory side dish that was an instant hit in my family when I first made it almost ten years ago.

Irish Colcannon | get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

We tried Colcannon for the first time a few years ago, and served it alongside our Baked Honey Mustard Corned BeefThese potatoes were the biggest surprise hit that I made that year.

Most of my family enjoys bacon, cabbage, and mashed potatoes on their own, so their enthusiasm for this Colcannon recipe should have come as no surprise. Still, I had no clue that each member of the family would declare this dish awesome and eat every single spoonful.

Even my boys, who were extremely leery of the “green stuff” in their potatoes requested seconds and kept talking about how delicious the “ko-cannon” and corned beef dinner was. All three of them requested this again the next day for lunch and they were very disappointed that there was not anything leftover.

Colcannon Potatoes

Colcannon originates from Ireland where it became popular as a filling, inexpensive and tasty food to serve year round.

The dish found its way to Scotland where it’s also sometimes known as “Rumdlethumps”. Can you say that word without smiling? I definitely can’t.

Whatever you call it, this easy combination of comforting mashed potatoes, leafy greens and cream has won our American hearts and stomachs.

What is Colcannon?

At its most essential, the colcannon recipe is mashed potatoes mixed with chopped cabbage or kale. Other additions like bacon, ham, scallions or yellow onions are also common.

My preferred Colcannon recipe starts with a simple mashed potato recipe. Peeled chopped potatoes are boiled, then mashed over low heat with butter and milk.

Colcannon potatoes are a hit all year round! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

How To Make Colcannon

I prefer red potatoes in this recipe; the starch and moisture ratio makes them perfect for mashing. You can also use white or Yukon gold potatoes if you prefer but steer clear of Russets (also known as baking potatoes). They tend to be crumbly and waxy when mashed and the texture won’t be quite right.

Crisp bacon, lightly cooked cabbage and browned yellow onions are added to the finished mashed potatoes to create a hearty and satisfying dish. We often lean into the Irish theme by eating it alongside corned beef or ham.

In all, honesty, though I think Colcannon could be treated as a meal in and of itself. After all, it includes meat, starch, and vegetables all in one dish!

Double the recipe and everyone at the table will be thrilled to dig into a big bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes, smoky bacon, and flavorful cabbage.

Irish Colcannon is a crowd favorite!

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

Irish or not, St. Patrick’s Day is a prime opportunity to create a Celtic feast. If you’re looking to expand your St. Paddy’s repertoire beyond dyed green beer and shamrock shakes, I have a TON of delicious, easy yet somewhat more authentically Irish, recipes to share with you.

When it comes to Corned Beef for your Irish celebrations, it’s hard to go wrong with a traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew. For a fun spin on tradition, give this tasty Baked Honey Mustard Corned Beef a try. It’s by far the best baked corned beef recipe I’ve made and delicious enough to add to your year-round dinner rotation.

When I make corned beef I intentionally make too much just so I’ll have leftovers for Corned Beef, Cabbage and Red Potato Hash. It’s a hash so delicious that I sometimes find myself making corned beef for dinner just so I can make hash the next day.

Hosting a party? A crock of Irish Pub Cheese served with crackers or crusty bread (and maybe a pint or two of Guinness) will get your soiree started on the right foot.

When I think of favorite Irish recipes, my mind also leaps to Irish Raisin Soda Bread. I first discovered the recipe when visiting Belfast, Ireland and it’s been a favorite to serve for tea, breakfast or a snack ever since. If you’re interested in my experiences in Belfast and exploring the British Isles, you can check out some more of my travel stories here.

This Irish Dark and White Pudding looks like the perfect dessert to cap off a dinner celebrating the Emerald Isle.

Everyone loves Irish Colcannon! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Mashed Potato Recipes

Looking for more creative mashed potato recipes to mix things up? These smooth and fragrant Paprika and Pepper Mashed Potatoes are a winner for sure. Those potatoes are so easy to make and go with just about any main dish.

Marsala Mashed Potatoes are another take on the tradition my family’s loved for years. Like Colcannon potatoes, they take a basic mashed potato foundation and mix-in additions (in this case marsala wine sauce and mushrooms) that take the whole thing to another level.

If you enjoy these potato recipes and Colcannon potatoes, you might also enjoy our Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Green Chile and Garlic Smashed Potatoes. We really can’t get enough of creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes around these parts and can you blame us?

Irish Colcannon - mashed potatoes with bacon and cabbage | get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Colcannon Recipe

  1. Place the potatoes in a pot, along with enough water to cover them. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15-18 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. When the bacon has browned and is slightly crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease and drain the rest. Leave the rest of the drippings in the skillet. Add the onions to the hot skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the cabbage and toss lightly while it sautes and wilts, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper as it cooks.
  3. Drain and place the potatoes back in the hot pot. Place the pot back over the still-warm burner (or if your stove is gas, set the heat to the lowest setting). Mash the potatoes over very low heat and add the milk, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold in the cooked and crumbed bacon, cabbage, and onions. Transfer to a serving bowl, form a small well in the center and fill with the butter. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Colcannon can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top with a little extra butter before serving hot.

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Irish Colcannon ~ Potatoes with Bacon and Cabbage

4.67 from 3 votes
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to allrecipes.com
Pin Print Review
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 small head of napa cabbage about 4 cups chopped small
  • 1 small yellow onion about 3/4 cup chopped small
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter soft or melted

Instructions

  • Place the potatoes in a pot, along with enough water to cover them. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15-18 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. When the bacon has browned and is slightly crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease and drain the rest. Leave the rest of the drippings in the skillet. Add the onions to the hot skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the cabbage and toss lightly while it sautes and wilts, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper as it cooks.
  • Drain and place the potatoes back in the hot pot. Place the pot back over the still-warm burner (or if your stove is gas, set the heat to the lowest setting). Mash the potatoes over very low heat and add the milk, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold in the cooked and crumbed bacon, cabbage, and onions. Transfer to a serving bowl, form a small well in the center and fill with the butter. Serve hot. Enjoy!
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{originally posted 3/13/13 – recipes notes and photos updated 9/24/2019}

Irish Colcannon is a St Patrick's Day favorite that you'll enjoy year round! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Vanessa says

    Do you think it would still be good if I use Idaho potatoes? I’m making for a crowd and I don’t have enough reds to go around? What do you think?!

  2. Mimi says

    Absolutely wonderful. I spent three lovely weeks all over Ireland, and never came across this dish. I can’t wait to make it!

  3. Helen says

    Just one issue for me. This Scottish great gran was brought up knowing the similar Scottish dish as Rumbledethumps, not as you have it written in your article. It is, along with colcannon, delicious!
    Thank you.

    • Mary Younkin says

      What a fun name for the dish, Helen! I’ve never heard of Rumbledethumps before but a quick search online tells me it’s the Scottish version of Colcannon. I love learning new facts like this about the foods that we love.

  4. Mary Menis says

    I can’t wait to make this tomorrow.it sounds delicious.I was taught to make this with boiled cubed russet potatoes.I never thought of mashing the potatoes.4 stars

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