Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » Traditional Irish Champ

Traditional Irish Champ

Traditional Irish Champ - creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with bright green onions perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any other day of the year!
4.9 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Traditional Irish Champ - creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter. https://www.lanascooking.com/champ-a-st-patricks-day-tribute-to-my-irish-ancestors

Serve your family an authentic recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Traditional Irish Champ – creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter.

Champ is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes, scallions, and rich creamy butter. It’s the perfect comfort food for cold winter days, but it’s also great for any other day of the year.

Traditional Irish Champ in a serving bowl with a well of melted butter in the center.

If you’re looking for an easy, authentic side dish straight out of Ireland to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, your whole family will love Champ!

This Irish potato recipe is very easy to follow and only takes about 30 minutes to make. Champ is best served warm with extra melted butter on top for good measure.

My Irish Roots

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been acutely aware of my Irish heritage. I’m not really sure why. It was something that everyone in our family was aware of, but it wasn’t emphasized that much. It was just always there.

Ireland – that mystical far-off land – was simply a part of me and I was a part of it. And even though I had no idea that I’d ever have an opportunity to travel there, I longed to see it. To experience that magical place.

Years ago, long before I started blogging, I had another hobby. Genealogy. I spent a lot of time tracking down ancestors.

Tracing Family History

It was so fascinating! Finding out the names, births, deaths, and places that are a part of my heritage. People who lived very long, rich lives, and those whose time here was short.

Like all families, there were both funny stories and sad stories. Stories of regular people with regular lives. But they were my people and that made those regular lives all the more fascinating.

My Dunn Ancestors

William "Irish Billy" Dunn
William “Irish Billy” Dunn

Throughout all the research, though, the one branch of the family that most interested me was my Dunn family from Ireland. It wasn’t difficult to find my Irish great-great-great-great grandfather William J. Dunn. Always known as “Irish Billy” to our family, all we ever knew about him was that he came to America at a very young age as a stowaway on a ship.

The family tale was that he jumped onto the ship on a whim on his way to school one morning. His mother never knew what happened to him and grieved for her lost little boy all the rest of her life.

However, as so often turns out with family stories, our William Dunn’s tale wasn’t entirely accurate. After years of researching, here’s what I found out about William Dunn.

He was born in 1807. His parents were Michael Dunn and Elizabeth Entwhistle Dunn of Derryaghy Parish, Antrim, Northern Ireland. He sailed on the ship Vesper in 1835 with 4 of his 10 siblings. There is also some evidence to suggest that he had been here for three years before he traveled back to Ireland to bring them here with him.

Southwest Georgia Settlers

I still don’t know how Irish Billy wound up in southwest Georgia. From what I’ve seen, his other siblings mostly settled in Illinois around Chicago. In 1843, William married Charity Elizabeth Faircloth in Miller County, Colquitt, Georgia.

William and Charity had nine children, one of whom was my great-great-great grandmother Ella Fain Dunn. Pretty name Ella Fain, isn’t it?

Trip of a Lifetime

A few years ago, BeeBop and I were talking about celebrating our wedding anniversary. We tossed around a few ideas and then BeeBop said, “why don’t we just go to Ireland?” It took me about 2 seconds to agree.

Let me tell you all – it was the trip of a lifetime! We spent ten days there and when it was time to board the plane to return, I thought my heart would break.

From the moment the plane landed in Shannon until we departed from Dublin, I’ve never felt so much at home in my life. Besides the breathtaking beauty of the countryside, the people are the warmest and most welcoming I’ve ever encountered anywhere.

We just thought we had the corner on hospitality in the South! Given the chance, I’d go right back to Ireland on the next flight leaving Atlanta. It’s simply where my heart lives.

My Irish Champ Recipe

So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and as a tribute to all my Irish ancestors, I’m sharing a very simple, very Irish recipe – Champ.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • One word – Butter! This dish is loaded with butter and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re a fan of comfort food, then you’ll love this recipe.
  • It’s easy to make – it takes only about 30 minutes – and it’s perfect for any occasion.
  • The contrast of the scallions, butter, and potatoes is absolutely amazing.
  • It’s a perfect side dish for many meals.

Ingredients


The ingredients are really simple and you likely have all of them in your kitchen right now.

  • Potatoes (Choose a variety with a high starch content like Russets or Yukon Gold. Russets are my preference because they mash with a more fluffy texture than some others.)
  • Scallions (Nice, plump, fresh green onions give a lovely flavor to the Champ.)
  • Milk (For the best flavor, use whole milk or even half and half.)
  • Butter (Don’t skimp on the butter!)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Traditional Irish Champ

Photo collage showing potatoes steaming (left) and being mashed (right).
STEPS 1-2.

STEP 1. Cook the peeled, cubed potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain them and return them to the pan with a clean tea towel on top to help absorb extra moisture.

STEP 2. Use a handheld potato masher or potato ricer to mash the potatoes thoroughly.

Milk and scallions simmering in a small pot.
STEP 3.

STEP 3. While the potatoes are cooking, simmer the milk and scallions together for about five minutes. Do not let the milk boil, keep it at a low simmer only.

Potatoes, scallions, and milk being mixed with a wooden spoon.
STEP 4.

STEP 4. Add the hot milk and scallions, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and everything is well combined.

STEP 5. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Keep it warm to user for serving.

A bowl of champ with a well of melted butter in the center.

STEP 6. Serve the champ piled high on the plate with a well of melted butter in the center. Eat from the outside, dipping each spoonful into the well of melted butter.

Recipe Options


For most of my recipes, I offer options for changing the flavors. For an everyday mashed potato recipe, I’d probably recommend adding bacon or cheese or any number of other “improvements.” However, because this is a very traditional recipe, if you start making lots of changes to the ingredients you really won’t be making Champ. You’ll be making some other kind of mashed potatoes.

Recipe Tips


Storage: Keep any leftovers in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. May be reheated in the microwave (use high power stirring every 30 seconds) or in the top of a double boiler.

Freezing: Freezer storage is not recommended for this recipe.

Questions About Traditional Irish Champ

Why is it called Champ?

I wondered why this recipe is called Champ, too. So I did a little research and found that it’s because the word champ means to bruise, pound, or smash. Makes more sense now.

Can I use plant-based milk in this recipe?

You can substitute plant-based milk if you like, but note that the flavor profile will change accordingly. Try to use an option that won’t alter the flavor too much. For instance, unflavored oat milk would likely work better than coconut milk for this recipe.

What is the difference between Irish Champ and Colcannon?

The major difference between champ and colcannon is that colcannon has cabbage in it while champ does not. Both recipes are made with mashed potatoes and scallions (or green onions), but they each have a distinct flavor profile.

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Recipe

Traditional Irish Champ - creamy mashed potatoes with scallions and loads of butter. https://www.lanascooking.com/champ-a-st-patricks-day-tribute-to-my-irish-ancestors

Traditional Irish Champ

Traditional Irish Champ – creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with bright green onions perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any other day of the year!
4.86 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 282kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed (Russet or Yukon Gold preferred)
  • 8 ounces scallions (green onions) chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups milk or half and half
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the peeled, cubed potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain them and return them to the pan with a clean tea towel on top to help absorb extra moisture.
  • Use a handheld potato masher or potato ricer to mash the potatoes thoroughly.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, simmer the milk and scallions together for about five minutes. Do not let the milk boil, keep it at a low simmer only.
  • Add the hot milk and scallions, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Stir until the butter has melted and everything is well combined.
  • Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Keep it warm to use for serving.
  • Serve the champ piled high on the plate with a well of melted butter in the center. Eat from the outside, dipping each spoonful into the well of melted butter.

Notes

Ingredient Tips:
  • Choose a variety of potato with a high starch content like Russets or Yukon Gold. Russets are my preference because they mash with a more fluffy texture than some others.
  • For the best flavor, use whole milk or even half and half.
Storage: Keep any leftovers in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. May be reheated in the microwave (use high power stirring every 30 seconds) or in the top of a double boiler.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 611IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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35 Comments

    1. Hi Karen – I think you could make it ahead, but it’s so easy and quick to do there’s no problem making it last minute. If you make it ahead, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator. I would reheat it over boiling water in a double boiler.

  1. Dear Lana,

    I too am a descent of William Dunn from Derriaghy in Antrim County. I went to Ireland, and found the Dunn home in Irish Hills of Belfast. Went to the Linen Museun Lisborn. The Dunn’s were weavers of flax.

  2. I love genealogy stories. I am from deep central south Georgia. I have some Carter’s in my Phelps tree. Genealogy can be fun and also an Excedrin headache.

  3. Be still my heart…genealogy, Ireland, and Irish food in one post? Thank you for sharing! Genealogy is my favorite hobby, and I too feel a connection with Ireland. I haven’t made my way there yet, but I hope to one day.

  4. I discovered Colecannon several years back and loved it! I began to collect Irish recipes, therefore I am delighted to find you. My history Is British. I yearn to go to England before I die. I’m 79 and beginning to think I won’t make it. Oh well, maybe in the next life. Ha! I will try the Champ this weekend. To my way of thinking, a little sour cream would fit right in to that recipe, only for really special occasions. Vey fattening. I can hardly wait to try most of your recipes. Thank you!

    1. Champ is wonderful, Shirley. You’re going to really like it. If you want more Irish recipes, just put “irish” in the search box on the blog and you’ll get quite a few more.

  5. Loved reading about your ancestors. Glad you enjoyed your time in Ireland, and your photos are very nice. Hubby and I always holiday in the ould country. There is so much to see and even though we retrace our steps we always find some spot we haven’t seen before. As long as you can take whatever the Weather decides to throw at you a great time can be had. Champ is one of my favourite dinners and later in the year when our Kale season is here you can make the same dish with Kale. Yum.

    1. Deirdre – it was the most wonderful vacation we’ve ever had. I’d so love to go back again if only airfare wasn’t so expensive!

  6. Lana: Today’s post was most interesting to me in that my maiden name is “Dunn”. I have arrived at my genealogy a little late in life, but I was determined to know something about my beginnings. So far, it has been fascinating. I have leads on a Samuel Fowler Dunn being in my line in early America. Once I heard that our Dunn from Ireland boarded a ship surreptitiously out of Liverpool to America. So that made your story even more interesting.

    1. Genealogy is a fascinating hobby, Stella, and one that is really never ending. I just might get my research notes back out one of these days and start it up again.

  7. Now I am wanting Champ, BUT to late in the day to fix…………. BUT I will be having these friday.

    1. We’ll be enjoying some Champ this weekend, too, Gloria! It’s one of my all-time favorites for St. Pat’s.

  8. Lana,
    What a beautiful post! I have Irish ancestors also. On my grandmothers side the come from county cork. I’ve always been intrigued with all of the UK. It’s also my favorite country to visit in Epcot. Love the fish and chips!!

  9. They look absolutely delicious Lana! Grumpy would love that well of butter….well, who am I kidding? I’d love it too!

  10. Their were three Billy Dunns. One was fighting Billy, one was Irish Billy, one was snorting Billy. Fighting Billy was not our relation, snorting Billy was not related & was called that because he had his nose cut off in an Indian fight. Our relative was just plain Irish Billy Dunn, (per history of Miller county GA written by Nellie Cook Davis).

  11. My recollection of family lore is that William Dunn was known as “Fighting Irish Billy Dunn” due to the fact that he made his living by the sporting art of fisticufs.
    Or, at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
    Miss P

  12. Your champ is going viral on Pinterest, Lana! And it’s no wonder, it’s simple, honest food from a country that many call “home”. We visited the Emerald Isle a few years ago – were in County Cork and County Kerry and Dublin. Unfortunately he had little information about his ancestors other than his grandmother was an O’Rourke and the family emigrated from Cobh, along with millions of others.

    1. Yes, Cobh was one of the major emigration ports during the potato famine. And O’Rourke, like Dunn, is probably a fairly common Irish surname. Difficult to trace those ancestors unless you have family documentation that has been passed down.

  13. Very cool. I’ve always wanted to get into genealogy and I’m not sure why I haven’t. I love the idea of uncovering stories like these.
    Love the simplicity of your champ. It looks delicious.

  14. How fun to find out about your family history! My Grandmother’s last name was Kelly, so I have Irish in my blood. I don’t make enough treats to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day….I should, but not enough time in a day, LOL! Thank you for sharing your photos! I went to Ireland right before my senior year in high school. It was seriously amazing, I can’t wait to go back with my sweet hubby:-) Your Champ looks DELISH! Hugs, Terra

  15. I’m part Irish and I feel some of the same way…a part of this magical, mystical isle that I may never see. But I celebrate it every year with foods favorite to me and guess what I made last night. Really. One guess.
    I hope you were thinking Champ…with a mornay cheese sauce. It’s supposed to be a part of a dish with cod but I had no fish and so my dinner was potatoes and sauce and I was OK with that.
    I’m also curing some corned beef and right now, this very minute I am sipping the cocktail I made for tomorrow’s post. Ahhhh…I love an Irish coffee!! Now I need a nap. :)

  16. Glad to have the history on William Dunn. Did not know all of this. Of course we have always known that Polly was most definitely Irish. Will try to make this dish for her St Patrick’s Day. Good job and beautiful pictures.

  17. I would love to send the recipe for Champ- A St. Patrick’s Day Recipe to my email recipe folder but you don’t have the email icon, is there any way to have that added, or would you please email it to me from your end? I appreciate any assisstance in getting this recipe Thank-you for your help.