Carb Diva's Colcannon Recipe (Irish Mashed Potatoes)

Updated on December 5, 2019
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes)
Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes) | Source

Mashed potato is the Gentile’s chicken soup. It’s nature’s tranquilizer. I take it instead of valium.

— Andrew Payne

I Love Mashed Potatoes

I really like mashed potatoes. Actually, I love mashed potatoes. A few nights ago, my husband was watching a travel show on Ireland; they featured a local cook preparing colcannon, and it looked amazing! I'll explain what colcannon is in a moment. Anyhow, my husband turned to me and said "That looks really good. Could you make that for us?" How could I possibly say no? Thanks to my paternal grandma, I'm one-quarter Irish. And potatoes are a daily dietary requirement, aren't they?

Now, for an explanation of colcannon: simply put, it's buttery mashed potatoes swirled with green cooked cabbage and (occasionally) bits of pork in the form of Canadian bacon or ham.

Now, let's be honest; colcannon isn't exactly "health food." Potatoes and cabbage, on their own or together, are certainly health-conscious additions to one's diet. But the smoked pork and ample nobs of butter applied to the final product quickly reduce this recipe from a thoughtful dietary choice to a planned act of temporary insanity.

Call me crazy—I love colcannon.


  • 2 pounds smoked pork neck bones
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 head cabbage or 1 bunch kale (stems and ribs removed), about 3 cups sliced
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided


  1. Place pork neck bones in a crockpot (slow cooker). Cover with water and cook on low for 6-8 hours (3-4 hours on high) or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the cooker and set aside to cool. Reserve the water in the crockpot.
  2. Chop cabbage into small (1 inch) dice and add to water in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low one hour. Drain the cabbage and set aside.
  3. When cool enough to handle, remove all bones and fat from cooked pork. Set aside.
  4. Place potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan with a lid. Cover and steam over low heat until the potatoes are done; a sharp knife should easily slide into the potato. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle remove skins; place peeled potatoes in a large bowl. Mash until no lumps remain; add 1/4 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until all butter is incorporated. Heat milk in the microwave; add to potatoes and continue to whip until potatoes are creamy.
  5. Using a large spoon, stir cooked cabbage and cooked pork into mashed potatoes.
  6. Divide mixture among 4 serving bowls. Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the middle of each serving. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each well.
  7. Luxuriate!

*Makes 4–6 servings

What About Corned Beef and Cabbage?

Two days ago, I was at my local grocery store, and I bought a head of cabbage specifically in preparation for making this dish. The clerk at the checkout line asked if I was making corned beef and cabbage. (Almost everyone who meets me assumes correctly that I'm part Irish. If the reddish-blonde hair and green eyes were not enough of a hint, the leprechaun stature is usually a dead giveaway.)

I laughed and tried to explain that corned beef and cabbage is an American dish. Any true Irishman seeing such a large chunk of meat on his table would have thought that he had died and gone to Heaven.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Linda Lum


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      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        2 years ago from Washington State, USA

        Good morning Lorelei. It is truly a "guilty pleasure" in the Carb Diva household. I am looking forward to making this on St. Patricks Day. Thank you for stopping by. I do hope you will try this.

      • Ladymermaid profile image

        Lorelei Cohen 

        2 years ago from Canada

        I was surprised to see the cabbage added in with potato but thinking of it all cooked up it does sound like a very tasty dish. Many of these old country recipes have so much flavor they put modern cooking to shame. Thank you for sharing. This is the first that I have heard of this dish.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        3 years ago from Washington State, USA

        Hello Devika - So happy to hear from you; I think this is the first time you have left a comment on my page. I do hope that you have an opportunity to try this dish. If you do, please let me know if you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        A lovely photo of this recipe. I will try it!

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        This recipe looks so delicious!

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        3 years ago from Washington State, USA

        Flourish - I would love to visit Ireland. My dad's mother was Irish; she went to Canada in 1896 as an officer with the Salvation Army--the first mission work of the SA in North America.

        The grocer where I typically purchase my smoked pork has gone out of business, and I'm scrambling to find a new source. Wish me luck, and I do hope that you give colcannon a try.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        3 years ago from USA

        I missed this when you first published it, but I'm glad to have read it now. I would like to try Colcannon, as I am a sucker for butter and mashed potatoes. I'm Irish, too, and my father has traced our lineage way back. We had a chance about 10 years ago to visit both Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it was amazing.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 years ago from Washington State, USA

        The crockpot is already busy was work in the CarbDiva house. Looking forward to dinner tonight (and no, there will be no green beer. That's also a {gross} American thing).

      • peachpurple profile image


        4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        very good hub, irish mashed potato is different from the normal one


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