This Instant Pot Colcannon Potato Soup is a modern twist on an Irish tradition. This Colcannon soup is made with creamy potatoes, nutritious kale that is simply seasoned and garnished with crispy bacon. With a vegetarian option.
Last year, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with this Instant Pot Potatoes Colcannon which is a terrific Irish mashed potato dish that is made with cabbage or kale. This year, I’m celebrating again with this Colcannon soup!
It’s perfect for the season and easy to make using the Instant Pot. If you’ve never had Colcannon, then consider this your lucky day! 🍀
- Garlic cloves
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- Heavy cream
- Cornstarch, optional
How to make it
For full recipe instructions, scroll to the bottom of the page. Here’s an overview.
- Crisp the bacon in the Instant Pot on Saute-Normal, leave the grease in the pot.
- Saute onions – then the kale – then the garlic.
- Add potatoes, stock, and stir and attach the lid to sealing position.
- When time is up, do a quick release.
- Set on Saute-Low and add heavy cream and butter.
- Whisk cornstarch with some soup broth, then add to soup.
- Cook on saute for an extra 5 minutes to thicken the soup.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with bacon and cheese, and enjoy!
This recipe is easy with just 10 minutes of prep time. With a total cook time of 20 minutes, you’ll be serving 6 guests a traditional Irish soup.
- Yukon gold potatoes make the creamiest soup, but russets or red 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.
- To keep the dairy from curdling, salt should be added just before it is served.
- You need to use a full-fat dairy like heavy cream or half and half (so, not fat-free half and half). The fat content keeps the soup from curdling when you add dairy.
- Don’t add the cream to a boiling mixture of liquid because it will surely curdle. Make sure you set the IP on saute-low and let the temperature go down a bit before adding the cream.
- Don’t bring dairy to a hard boil if reheating the soup.
- If you freeze the soup, see the section below on the best practices.
How to store
This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
If 6 servings are too much for your family to consume within these three days, you may want to freeze it, but definitely keep reading for best results.
Can I freeze potato soup?
I don’t recommend freezing this Colcannon soup once the dairy has been added.
Freezing a soup with dairy increases the probability that the cream will separate and curdle. Plus, the potatoes will soak up the moisture and will turn grainy when defrosted.
Thus, the soup loses its creaminess and becomes gritty. The best is to plan to eat it up within 3 days.
That being said, if you made the full recipe and you’re only feeding two, consider cooling and freezing a portion of the soup before adding the dairy.
Place the cooled soup in a freezer bag, label and date, and place it in the freezer.
It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months, and when you’re ready to reheat it, you can add the dairy once it comes to temperature, and then reduce the heat to stir in the cream.
Know that it may not have the same texture as when you first made it, but it’s an option.
How to reheat
To reheat the soup, gently warm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts steaming. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle.
You can also reheat the soup in the microwave. Just reheat it in 1-minute intervals and stir in between to avoid it separating or splashing all over your microwave.
How to keep cream from curdling
If you add dairy to hot liquids, it most likely will curdle. To avoid this you can temper the cream, meaning you let the dairy come to room temperature, then gradually add small amounts to the hot liquid.
Or heat the dairy slowly then add it to the soup. Never bring the dairy to a boil.
The fat in dairy is an important part of reducing the chance of it curdling, so use full-fat, heavy cream, half and half or whipping cream.
Anything less than full-fat dairy won’t produce the right texture.
How to fix the soup if the dairy curdles
So, the dairy curdled when you added it to the base of the soup, now what?
If it curdles, you can whisk in an ice cube which will shock it back together.
You can remove most of the potatoes and kale, then add the contents into a blender and whirl it smooth or you can use an immersion blender to bring it back together. Then add the potatoes and kale back in.
You may need to add a little warm stock to get it to the consistency that you like.
Separately heat the dairy, but don’t boil it and stir to keep it together.
I hope you won’t have this problem, but at least there are some tips and hacks you can use to keep the soup from curdling.
How to thicken it?
This potato kale soup is thick and creamy, but how thick will depend on how much you like to smash up the potatoes once it is cooked. Using the immersion blender will help get a great texture.
Be careful to not over blend because then you might get more of a mash than a soup.
How to thin it
Too thick? No problem, you can fix it by gradually adding more warm stock or warm cream and stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
Or leave out the cornstarch altogether.
What is Potato Colcannon?
Potato Colcannon is a traditional dish in Ireland. It’s normally made of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
This Colcannon soup uses simple yet rich ingredients to get a creamy, nutritious soup made with butter, cream and best of all kale!
In different parts of Ireland, you’ll find different ingredients like some will have onions, other regions will not. Others will have chives or cabbage, and it’s often served with ham, bacon or corned beef.
In fact, if you’re going all out for St. Patrick’s Day, try this Smoked Corned Beef Brisket! Then you can add chopped brisket on top, instead of crispy bacon – you decide!
What is kale?
If you’ve never tried kale, don’t be shy, it’s a great addition to add more nutrition to your meals. Just like spinach, the kale will wilt, leaving swirls of delicious healthy greens in this hearty soup.
It’s essentially a leafy green that is milder in flavor than you might expect. It comes in many different shapes and varieties. Some leaves are soft and tender like spinach, but mostly you’ll see large leaves that seem quite coarse.
It’s loaded with antioxidants, is high in iron and fiber, and adds vitamins and nutrients to your everyday dishes.
Because there are many different types and the flavors are diverse, take a look here to familiarize yourself, so you get the best variety for your tastes. It tells you everything you need to know and more!
Easy! Just leave out the bacon and garnish with chopped chives or whatever you think is best.
If you want a little crunch, try these vegan “bacon” bits that you can easily make on your own. This recipe uses textured vegetable protein and it seems easy enough to make in 60 seconds.
You’ll also want to sub out the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
If you want to sub out the heavy cream, try canned coconut milk. It’ll give you a creamy texture without tasting coconuty.
I must confess, I have not tried this Colcannon soup with a dairy substitute, but if you do, I would love to hear how it turned out!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries! It’s easy to make on the stovetop.
Just follow the directions, but take note that the potatoes will take a little longer to cook. Once they’re tender and cooked through, continue to follow the recipe to add the cream and finish it off.
Allow 30 minutes for the potatoes to cook through.
What are the best potatoes for soup?
For this and other potato soup recipes, I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes. They’re creamy and hold up well, so you get an amazing flavor with a rich texture. Yukons are also less starchy, and they hold in moisture, so it’s perfectly balanced and not too starchy or grainy.
Russets and Idaho potatoes are mostly too starchy and are best for baking like with these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes. They hold their shape well and won’t fall apart if you make these Air Fryer Potato Skins. Using this type of potato might give you a mealy texture because they are low in moisture content.
Since I prefer soft and creamy, Yukons are definitely the way to go.
If, however, you only have red potatoes, you could use those. They keep their shape and are low in starch, so they are best for brothy soups.
Do I have to peel the potatoes?
This is a personal preference, but I prefer to peel them before they go into the pot. Otherwise, you’ll have brown flecks in the soup, which can be slightly unappealing.
If you leave them on, before adding the cream, you could strain the liquid through a fine sieve to get as much of the skin out of the soup as possible. But that sounds like a pain!
What are the best onions for the soup?
Yellow onions are ideal. They’re flavorful without being overpowering. They get milder in taste as they cook and are great for caramelizing. Since we are sauteing the onions to build in flavor, I think the yellow onions are the best.
If all you have is a white onion, then ok, it is suitable to use in this soup. The thing about white onions is that they don’t last as long as yellow onions, so if you have some in the pantry, then, by all means, use them up before they need to be tossed.
Yellow onions are certainly the most popular all around.
Which Instant Pot did I use?
I used this 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1. It has many functions like a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and even a yogurt maker.
To me, it’s perfect for soups like this Instant Pot Bean Soup! It makes it easy to use one pot for one exceptional meal.
And if you are looking for more easy recipes for your Instant Pot, you might like to try some of these:
- Instant Pot Tortellini Soup
- Instant Pot Turkey Soup with Noodles
- Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip
Why use an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is an easy way to get wholesome food on the table without having to have your full attention on the entire cooking process. You basically just add ingredients, select a time and function and turn your attention elsewhere.
Most soups made in the Instant Pot call for high-pressure for about 10 minutes of cook time!
But the time it takes to come to pressure is not included in the cooking time. So know that the clock doesn’t start until the pot has built up pressure and doesn’t end until the pressure is released.
So if you’re timing a meal for guests, you can anticipate 5 to 20 minutes to come to pressure and 30 minutes for a natural release, and up to 5 minutes for a quick release. This should be added to your total time to get the meal on the table.
For example, this Instant Pot Broccoli takes ZERO minutes of cook time, but in reality, it cooks in the time the IP comes under pressure. It’s still quick and great, but something you’ll want to factor in timewise.
The saute function is what sets the Instant Pot apart from other pressure or slow cookers. It can caramelize onions without using another pan! Less mess = less hassle and to me, it’s worth it!
The IP is great because it helps reduce soups and sauces by simmering, which a slow cooker just can’t do.
One thing I’ve noticed using the Instant Pot is that you basically just dump in the ingredients. You won’t be able to just lift the lid and get a sniff of the flavors being infused like you would on the stovetop. It might take some getting used to if you just bought your Instant Pot.
But no worries, the Instant Pot famously produces amazing flavors consistently!
Quick release vs. natural release
Pressure builds up in the Instant Pot while cooking and there are two different ways to release the pressure. Let’s take a look.
For this kale potato soup recipe, we do a quick release. This releases the pressure in the quickest amount of time. It takes anywhere between 2 to 5 minutes.
If you press the knob to release the pressure right after cooking, this is called a quick release.
Be careful. ⚠️ Whenever you release pressure, steam will come out very quickly. I recommend using oven mitts when depressurizing the cooker.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot, read the instructions before attempting a quick release for the first time.
So when a recipe calls for a quick release, once the timer goes off at the end of the cooking cycle, you turn the venting knob from sealing position to venting position. You’ll see a burst of steam. Don’t try this with bare hands because you could burn yourself.
You’ll keep the knob open and in a venting position until the steam has stopped and the floating valve has dropped completely. Then you can carefully open the lid, and follow the rest of the directions for the soup.
If a recipe calls for a natural release, it means that the Instant Pot will sit after pressurizing and will gradually depressurize naturally. It will take up to 30 minutes to do a natural release.
To do this, once the timer has sounded, just wait. Gradually pressure will release, and steam will billow as it cools.
It’s mostly used for foods that can continue to cook even after the cooking cycle is over, like with this Instant Pot Turkey Breast.
But for soups and dips, a quick release is just as effective because the food doesn’t need to continue cooking after the pressurizing process.
One thing to keep in mind is if you do a natural release, the floating valve will start to lower, but you won’t be able to open the lid until the pressure is low enough to do so. Don’t force it because it means there’s too much pressure and you can burn yourself.
What to serve with Colcannon potato soup
A hearty salad would also be great alongside this potato kale soup. I like this Panzanella Salad. It’s satisfying all on its own, but also great with soups.
Or maybe try serving the soup as a starter with this Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe.
Keeping with the Irish theme, these Mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes would certainly bring out the charm for dessert.
That’s it for today! I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot Colcannon Soup! If you try it, leave a comment below or tag #fooddoodlesrecipes on social media so I can see your creations. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Colcannon Soup
- 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 (950 ml) chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional
- Heat the Instant Pot using the Saute function.
- Add the chopped bacon and cook it, stirring frequently, until crisp, which will atake bout 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving behind the grease in the Instant Pot.
- Add the onion and cook, while occasionally stirring, until the onions have started browning and they've softened. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the kale and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Toss in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add in the potatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Stir them in gently.
- Put on the lid and make sure that the valve is in the “sealing” position.
- Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure Cook Manual mode for 7 minutes.
- When it's done, do a quick release by switching the valve to the “venting” position. Remove the lid.
- Gently stir in the heavy cream and butter.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of liquid from the Instant Pot to a small bowl. Then whisk in the cornstarch until combined. Add the slurry to the soup.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency (if you like some texture, it's best to blend most of the soup, leaving some large chunks of potatoes). You can alternatively transfer the soup to a blender and blend in batches.
- Cook on Saute-Low for another 5 minutes, or until the soup has thickened enough for your liking. Serve warm and garnish with bacon and cheese, if desired.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.