Colcannon Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup

Colcannon Soup or Irish potato and cabbage soup is creamy and filling. A popular Lenten winter soup, it’s also perfect to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavored butter that your mother used to make?

This famous Irish song exemplifies how important Colcannon is in Irish culture. Colcannon Potato Soup is a traditional Irish soup based on the original Colcannon dish; and it’s very popular around St. Patrick’s day. Along with Irish Trash Can if you wish.

Apart from the cultural significance, the Colcannon soup is a tad healthy too. A derivative of the Irish version of mashed potatoes, this filling soup is made from potatoes, onions, kale/cabbage, butter, milk, and spices.

What’s the History Behind Colcannon Soup?

Back in the 1600s, potatoes, leeks, and cabbages were thought of as the poor man’s food. No wonder the hearty mixture called Colcannon was created.

The world Colcannon may be a derivative of the Irish word “cainnenin” which means onions, leeks or garlic; or it could be derived from the Gaelic work “cal caennann” which means white-headed cabbage.

In Ireland, Halloween is often called “Colcannon Night” because Colcannon is served on that day. You’ll see a lot of Colcannon on Paddy’s Day too.

Colcannon is also popular in Irish legends.

Irish marriage traditions would require a young lady to save her first spoon of Colcannon in her stocking and hang it on the front door. The first man to walk through her door next would be her husband.

Another Irish tradition would require the hiding of coins, thimbles, twigs, and rings in the colcannon bowls. The person finding the twig would be in for a year of bad luck. The girl finding a ring would soon be due for marriage.

When the Irish immigrated to the US, they brought their traditions with them, including the Colcannon, boxty, and shepherd’s pie.

Colcannon has even been mentioned in the 1847 American Lady’s Cookery Book and the 1875 Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery.

No wonder some creative Colcannon lover decided to serve an old favorite in a new way and turned it into a hearty Colcannon Potato Soup.

Recipe Pointers For Colcannon Potato Soup Recipe

  • Yukon gold potatoes make the creamiest soup, but russet potatoes will also work.
  • If you don’t have kale, use cabbage.
  • The cornstarch helps thicken the soup to a hearty, creamy consistency, but you can skip it if you don’t need your soup thick.
  • Garnish with cream or cheese, pepper, and thyme.
  • For a meatless dinner, skip the bacon and replace the chicken stock with veg stock!
  • This recipe is gluten-free!
  • Serve with the Irish Trash Can Cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day.

FAQs about Colcannon Potato and Cabbage Soup

What do you serve Colcannon soup with?

Colcannon is traditionally served with corned beef and cabbage or with bangers (sausages). You can also serve with some toasty bread.

When is Colcannon traditonally eaten?

Colcannon is traditionally served during the Lenten season, for St. Patrick’s day, and on Halloween Night. But this creamy potato and cabbage soup can be eaten any time of the year, especially in winter!

Can I make this Colcannon Potato Soup vegan?

Yes, to make a vegan Colcannon Soup, make these substitutions.
– Replace the chicken stock with veg stock
– Replace the heavy cream with cashew cream
Skip the bacon and use a vegan cheese garnish, or simply garnish with thyme and pepper.

What’s the difference between Colcannon and Champ?

Champ is made of mashed potatoes, butter, milk, and scallions. Colcannon on the other hand uses mashed potatoes, butter, milk, and cabbage or kale. However, sometimes Colcannon has scallions in it too. The easiest way to differentiate is this – if it has cabbage or kale in it, it’s Colcannon.

Yield: 6 Servings

Instant Pot Colcannon Potato Soup

Instant Pot Colcannon Potato Soup

Colcannon Soup or Irish potato and cabbage soup is creamy and filling. A popular Lenten winter soup, it's also perfect to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2-3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, optional


  1. Heat the Instant Pot using the Saute-Normal function. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-- about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon but leave the grease in the Instant Pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and started to brown-- about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the kale and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Next, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add the potatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Stir gently.
  6. Attach the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure the valve is in the “sealing” position.
  7. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook Manual for 7 minutes.
  8. When the Instant Pot has finished, release the pressure manually by switching the valve to the “venting” position.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to the Saute-Low setting. Add the heavy cream and butter. Stir to combine.
  10. Remove 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid in a small bowl.
  11. Whisk in the cornstarch and then add the slurry to the soup.
  12. Use an immersion blender (or transfer the mixture to a blender in batches) and blend the soup to your desired consistency— I like to blend most of the soup but leave a few large chunks of potato so there’s some texture.
  13. Cook on the Saute-Low setting for an additional 5 minutes, or until the soup has thickened to your desired consistency.
  14. Serve warm, garnished with bacon and cheese, if desired.
  15. Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.


  • Yukon gold potatoes make the creamiest soup but russet potatoes will also work in this recipe.
  • If you don’t have kale, cabbage can be substituted.
  • The cornstarch helps thicken the soup to a hearty, creamy consistency. If you don’t want your soup as thick, omit the cornstarch.

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One Comment

  1. Yummy…used a bit more butter and half and half instead of heavy cream…added a bit of hot pepper jelly and extra fresh ground pepper…hubby liked it, too! Thanks!

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