Colcannon — The Irish Trifecta

Colcannon — The Irish Trifecta

My colcannon recipe is made with the Irish trifecta: potatoes, cabbage and Irish whiskey.


  • 1 pound russet potatoes (rinsed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks)
  • 1 pound red potatoes (rinsed peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound green cabbage (cored and shredded)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey (or more if you insist)
  • 4 ounces warm whole milk
  1. Combine all of the potato chunks and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a 4-quart saucepan. Add just enough cold water to cover the potatoes, slap on the lid and bring to a boil over high heat, about 15 minutes. Then remove the lid, drop the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are easily crushed with tongs, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter just starts to brown then carefully pour half of the butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the cabbage to the pan along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and all the pepper. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and lightly browned. Kill the heat and deglaze the pan with the whiskey, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Shake for 30 seconds so the excess water can evaporate. The drier the taters, the better.
  5. Move the pot to a trivet, hot pad, or towel on the countertop and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the cabbage and milk and mash the potatoes to desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Transfer the potato mixture to the serving vessel of you choice and use the back of a spoon to create a crater in the top of the potatoes. Pour the reserved brown butter into said rater and serve immediately to a thankful planet populated entirely of Irishmen.


Add yours
  1. 1
    Princy Doss

    I made this last St. Patrick’s day for a friend’s party. It was a hit and I was asked if I could bring it this year.

  2. 3

    Yum! Whiskey added a really great flavor, I’d try not to skip that ingredient! I used sour cream instead of milk, turned out great.

  3. 4

    Used the water from the corned beef braising. The water still had carrots, onions and celery in it. It was dirty and delicious. Had no whiskey but brandy worked fine.

  4. 7

    From Rick Steves program on Ireland :


    Did you ever eat Colcannon
    When t’was made with yellow cream,
    And the Kale and the praties blended
    Like the picture in a dream?
    Did you ever take a forkful
    And dip it in the lake
    Of heather- flavored butter
    That your Mother used to make?

  5. 8

    My family made this last year and it was absolutely wonderful. Browning the butter along with the Irish Whiskey made it out of this world delish!

  6. 9

    We enjoy Colcannon throughout the year. Bacon is a traditional ingredient, but we like to splurge by adding a bit of Dubliner cheese for holidays. It adds a sharpness that goes well with the cabbage.

    I am definitely going to try browning my butter next time! We use vegan butter year-round for tummy troubles, but I buy a single pound of Irish butter every March as a special treat!

    • 11

      Kevin… It would NOT be Colcannon.
      However, it would be a reasonable facsimile.
      Try roasting the cabbage first.
      I also do low carb (Ketogenic ). For this classic dish. I think I would add just a few red potatoes.
      While adding carbs.. it would enhance the flavor
      And texture.
      Then only eat a small serving so that it doesn’t completely throw me off. … judy1

  7. 12

    I made this (St. Paddy’s 2016) exactly as instructed and it was delicious! I made it ahead of time and kept it warm in my crockpot, which worked very well – it didn’t dry out at all. I would absolutely make this again.

  8. 15

    This was fantastic. Made my Paddy’s day. As a good southern woman I used Bourbon. Can’t see making this without the whiskey. It adds SO much flavor. Yummy.

  9. 16

    I saw the picture first and was thought the pool of brown butter was actually the whiskey–I like whiskey as much as the next person, but couldn’t imagine wanting a well of it in my potatoes! Was very relieved when I clicked through to the recipe. 🙂

    • 19

      its your meal make it what ever way makes you happy if you like vegan change up whats not vegan who cares what anyone else thinks. just note that non animal product milks and butters do not taste the same as the real stuff and may change the taste and browned vegan butters wont taste the same as browned real butter so the finished taste is gonna be different.

  10. 23

    I’m going to make this for my family, and one of us includes a two-year-old! Can I deglaze with chicken broth instead of whiskey? Wow it won’t be as exciting for my husband and me, I think that my daughter would much prefer that!

    • 24

      Nay! I mean, ya can, but it’s not the same then. Alcohol is a solvent and dissolves the goodies on the bottom of the pan differently than water based liquids. If the alcohol bothers you, the amount the child would get is miniscule, especially since when you deglaze, the pan is so hot much of the alcohol boils off. Also, many cultures use wine or other alcohols to numb a baby’s gums during teething. There is no way the child will get any amount of alcohol that will affect their nervous system in the amount of colcannon you’re going to feed them. Plus, the more flavors they are exposed to as babies, the less they will be picky, finicky eaters when they are older. Just do it.

    • 25

      You don’t need the whiskey. I accidentally dumped in the reserved half of browned butter instead of the 2 oz. whiskey (they looked so similar and I was distracted. Beware!) and it was still delicious. Weirdly, with the addition of the extra butter, the pan deglazed beautifully. Realizing my mistake, I tasted it and it was wonderful, so it got served as it was. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend chicken broth because it would change the flavor. Perhaps just skip the deglazing if you are wary of the alcohol? Or try it and let us know how it goes!

    • 26

      Alcohol evaporates fairly rapidly at room temperature. At the temperature of the pan? Gone in a second or less. The whiskey is contributing flavor to the recipe, but not even the tiniest amount of the alcohol is still present after using it to deglaze a hot pan. It can be served to any child old enough to eat solid food with no worries about the whiskey.

    • 28

      When you deglaze the pan, the cabbage is still in it. the whiskey will partially evaporate and partially coat the cabbage and become part of the cabbage portion of the final dish.

+ Leave a Comment