Irish Colcannon with Bacon

My absolute favorite meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is this Irish Colcannon with Bacon served with Irish Whiskey Steak. Rich and hearty and what a true Irishman might serve for this annual event celebrating all things Irish.

Irish Colcannon with Bacon in a Blue Bowl

I know my Dad’s side of the family is from Germany and my mother’s maiden name of Vaden is English…but I’ve been told my maternal grandfather who died when I was young was part Irish, so I own it. Plus I could imagine enjoying this Irish Colcannon with Bacon at their table; they ate hearty meals.

I can’t deny that some of what I love about the thought of being Irish is just how much I love Irish food. I’m not sure the Irish would think my love of the Reuben sandwich qualifies for it’s a totally American invention out of Nebraska but I do love a great corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut (cabbage) so it’s close!

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I loved the delicious boxty at Fado’s Irish Pub when they had a location in Denver, had to make this Irish Soda Bread with Tart Cherries that is slightly sweet, and crave this truly Irish dish of Colcannon which combines mashed potatoes with cabbage and crispy bacon.

When first considering this dish; I did question the combination. Fluffy mashed potatoes combined with sautéed cabbage?

But I forged ahead and am so glad I did. Plus I added one component that is considered optional (no it is not!) and that’s the crispy bacon. Irish Colcannon with Bacon – a side dish that we now love for more than one March celebration!

I’ve been noticing recipes that call for kale instead of cabbage but the word colcannon is derived from the Gaelic term ‘cal ceannann’, which means “white-headed cabbage” so the traditional recipe is cabbage. (Thanks to Robert, a Facebook friend, for sharing that with me.)

It’s a great mashup, literally, of creamy potatoes combined with onions, carrots and celery, slightly crisp sauteéd cabbage, and crispy bacon, for a totally lovely and savory side dish.

I remember having to convince one guest that was here for dinner to give it a try…and they commenced to devouring more than their fair share!

I don’t know why I don’t make this more often, maybe because I could sit and eat the entire bowlful for dinner? It has everything…meat, veg, and a starch all rolled into one! It’s an Irish meal in a bowl isn’t it?

But I don’t do that; nope, for our St. Paddy’s Day meal I love to serve these with an incredible Irish Whiskey Steak. I actually published the colcannon and steak together almost a dozen years ago; it was time for new photos and to separate the two. It’s hard for someone looking for Colcannon to know they must search for my Irish Whiskey Steak…so this is the first post of that combo.

I may have jumped the gun in making this so I could share it with blog readers but I will be doing it again for St. Patrick’s Day. It is a definite ‘Oh My Yum’ moment. This was a fantastic meal; the Colcannon, the Irish Whiskey Steak that’s tender and tasty (I’ll be publishing that recipe in a couple of days!), all served with the only beer I love; a Guinness on the side!

Irish Coffee Dessert Cake

Dessert? I do have a couple of cocktails I make that could serve for dessert (they’re listed below) but no matter; I always make this ‘Irish Coffee’ Dessert Cake for a St. Patrick’s Day meal. Not to be confused with a breakfast ‘coffee cake’ which might not have a drop of coffee, this delicious cake does have coffee in it along with a touch of Irish Whiskey and is meant to be dessert reminiscent of an Irish Coffee. Although don’t tell; I’ve had it for breakfast too! 🙂

By the way, this makes a LOT! I was having a crowd but more than that I don’t make a lot of potato dishes so wanted to use all of a 5 pound bag plus a whole cabbage. No worries…it went fast. For breakfast I made potato patties and fried them to serve with eggs and as I typically do; I sent some leftovers home with friends. Still, cut the recipe in half if that works better for you. Here’s to all of my Irish (and non-Irish) family and friends…now try something new!

PIN IT! ‘Irish Colcannon with Bacon’

Irish Colcannon with Bacon in a Blue Bowl

Irish Colcanon with Bacon

For a truly Irish experience, try Colcannon, a blend of mashed potatoes and cabbage with onion, celery, carrots, and bacon. Serve it with our Irish Whiskey Steaks for a real treat.
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Beef, Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 549 kcal


For the Cabbage

  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large onions diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and minced
  • 2 celery stalks minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pound cabbage green, shredded
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 pounds red potatoes cut into even pieces (or use Yukon Gold)
  • 2 cups sour cream or buttermilk
  • 8 ounces butter
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

To Put Together the Colcannon

  • Cabbage Mixture
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 bunch bunch green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 pound bacon cooked until crisp and crumbled, save a bit for garnish.

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 bunch parsley rough chopped


To Make the Cabbage

  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf to the pan.
  • Saute until the vegetables are tender and translucent; approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute another minute; remove the bay leaf.
  • Add the shredded cabbage and saute until tender but still crisp.
  • Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Make the Mashed Potatoes

  • Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender (depends on size; start checking at 15 minutes by piercing with a fork; it should easily penetrate the potato). Drain thoroughly.
  • Add sour cream and butter and mash to desired consistency (I like mine rustic so I leave the skin on and smash more than mash).

To Make the Colcannon

  • Fold the cabbage mixture, green onions and bacon into the mashed potatoes.
  • Add parsley to garnish, if desired.




Nutrition Facts
Irish Colcanon with Bacon
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword bacon, cabbage, colcannon, irish, mashed potatoes, st patricks day
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. What a wonderful opportunity, to learn about cattle ranching and grass fed beef. I admit, that I am not a whiskey drinker at all– I just can’t handle it. BUT, cooking with whiskey is something I do enjoy, because it imparts such a beautiful flavor. I agree, that you did a beautiful job with these rib eye steaks. It’s mouthwatering, for sure. Then you pair it with Irish colcannon, which is definitely one of my favorite side dishes. Well played.

    1. I’ve gotten to know two Colorado ranchers and they epitomize the best of them; they care about the land, their cattle and the consumer and it shows. AND while I will make the occasional cocktail with bourbon and like them, I’m much more inclined to use it in food; both sweet and savory and this savory rendition? So good. Glad to know someone other than me even knows what colcannon is…most of my friends say, ‘What?’

      I’m glad I remembered it; steak is now on the grocery list!

  2. Oh my stars! B, you have truly outdone yourself! I am salivating…drool, drool! Thank you for sharing your story on Dr. Temple Grandin and her life’s work, too. Such an excellent blog post…it deserves a blog award for recipe, story and photography! In fact, just nominated you in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards! Could this BE the best Colcannon recipe ever?! Must make soon for The Big Lug! Thanks again! xoxo

    1. You are too sweet; thanks a bunch! This colcannon is such a favorite I quit making any others…had some this morning I fried as a potato pancake. YUM!

    1. Thank you Jacqueline and it is. Amazing. Five pounds of potatoes made a LOT and I’m still loving the leftovers. Made a potato pancake this morning for breakfast; yes, that was good too!

  3. I would love to visit a big American ranch one day. And if we go together I will tell you my husband’s theory on American beef and mad cow disease 🙂 But really the whole process of where our food comes from is fascinating! Especially when it ends up as something so incredibly luscious as your elegant version of beef and cabbage! Wow! If that is what the Irish do with ingredients so simple, so humble, well it puts my own Russian Jewish roots to shame! Beautiful dish, Barb! xoxo

  4. Oh yum. This looks like the perfect meal to me. I love colcannon made with leftover ham too. You just can’t go wrong with this combination. Now I’m really in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day.

  5. Temple Grandin is amazing – pretty cool to attend an event where she spoke. And this steak looks amazing too! Irish whiskey is nice, and although I’ve never tried it with steak, I’m sure it’d go quite well. Great idea to add bacon to colcannon, too. Thanks for this.

  6. Being Irish, this meal calls my name but Irish or not I’m sure everyone who lays eyes on it will fall in love. This sounds like an amazing, deeply satisfying meal. I love colcannon and have never made it at home. I don’t know why but I do know that I will make it now. This meal will be made this week!

    1. I wish we were neighbors I would give you half of mine! So good but 5 lbs is really a company dish huh?

  7. Oh my goodness. Yum Yum. My favorite type of steak and the most excellent sounding colcannon that I’ve seen. I’m trying this for sure.

    One question….how many people would this recipe serve?

    1. Well, the colcannon recipe I’ve always used calls for 5 lbs of potatoes; that’s a LOT of colcannon, much more than necessary to server the folks who are getting fed from 1.5 to 2 lbs of meet. So I would halve it for 4-6 and for the full recipe say 8-12.

    1. The potato/cabbage dish alone is such a favorite…but steaks with that whiskey marinade. I do believe I actually swooned. 🙂

  8. Barb, quick question, where can I pick up a bottle of that beautiful Concannon Irish Whisky? I called my local store, Parker Payless Liquor and sadly, they don’t carry it. Any Denver area liquor stores you know of that carry it (or close to south Denver…GV, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree…)?

    1. I am chuckling…I found a product locator on their site and seems it has not yet made it to the shores of Colorado! I can offer you one of my sample bottles if you want to trek over here; near the Tech Center. Or just use Jamison; it’s different but in this application probably less evident than if making a cocktail.

  9. I have been looking forward to this post all day! Thank you for sharing this with the world. Cannot wait to make this over the weekend. DELISH!

    1. So good Liz; while I’ve made the colcannon dish before I had never used the Conconnan whiskey. That marinade is amazing…do enjoy and thanks for stopping by. Barb

  10. I can’t remember trying colcannon on any of my trips to Ireland to visit my husband’s grandmother. The potatoes were nearly always boiled at her house. Tasty but this would have been an improvement for sure!

  11. Exceptional is all I can say Barb! the Colcannon looks out of this world, I must make this for my British Hubby 🙂 Thanks so much for this timely post.

    1. Why yes you must! It would be perfect for him, certainly a dish served in England as well according to a friend who lived there.

  12. What an honor to hear Temple speak. Her work to raise awareness and change practices in the cattle farming industry it truly amazing. Hats off to you for taking the time to get to know some of your local ranchers and learn not only how hard they work but often the passion that comes along with it! BTW, this looks amazing! I’m a sucker for all things cabbage and bacon …..especially over a good steak!

    1. It was a wonderful event and she is a kick and a half. No filter for sure; one guy was taking photos, she stopped speaking and pretty much told him to stop. SO glad it wasn’t me!

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