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How to Make Cabbage Colcannon


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Cabbage colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with milk, butter, and cooked finely chopped onions and cabbage. Easily you can substitute leeks for the onions and kale for the cabbage.

Colcannon is a warming and hearty dish commonly served alongside corned beef, boiled pork, or bacon.

The Irish often serve colcannon on Halloween, if you do, you can substitute out a third of the cabbage with shredded carrots.

Be careful not to overcook the cabbage; it leaves the kitchen smelling like rotten eggs. Kale is a great substitute for cabbage in this recipe; it’s loaded with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. Use Tuscan, also called dinosaur kale—the variety called Lacianto.

Cabbage Colcannon

Yield 4-6 servings


  • 1½ – 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large, evenly sliced chunks (you can use russet potatoes but peel them before cutting into pieces)
  • ½ head green cabbage, remove tough ribs and coarse or medium-fine chop leaves (you can use Tuscan kale if you like)
  • 2 medium leeks (white part and 1 inch of green), trimmed and sliced, or 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ – ½ cup whole milk or cream, warmed
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the cabbage (or kale) and leeks and sauté until very tender and sweet, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (If you prefer, you can steam the cabbage: pour ½ inch water into a saucepan, set a steamer basket in the bottom, bring water to a boil, add the cabbage, reduce the heat, and simmer covered, turning the cabbage occasionally with tongs until tender, about 20 minutes.)
  2. Put potatoes in a small or medium saucepan, cover with about 1 inch cold salted water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 25 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes well, return them to pan, and add milk, and remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and salt. Mash with a potato masher, keeping potatoes slightly chunky (if you want them creamy potatoes press the potatoes through a ricer or whip them with a standing mixer until they are light textured). Fold half to two-thirds of the cabbage into the  potatoes and stir to combine. Stir in a little more milk if mixture seems too thick. Dress the remainder of the cabbage atop the mashed potatoes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish and serve hot.


Serve colcannon with more butter if you like. This dish is ideal served with corned beef.

Courses Side Dish

Cabbage articles at Harvest to Table:

How to Plant and Grow Cabbage

Cabbage Seed Starting Tips

How to Harvest and Store Cabbage

Cabbage Growing Problems Troubleshooting

Imported Cabbage Worm Organic Pest Control

Cabbage Looper Organic Pest Control

Seven Ways to Cook and Serve Cabbage

Sliced Cabbage Salad Simply Made

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How to Make Cabbage Soup with No Recipe

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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