Mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food that I just can’t live without. My favorite way to serve mashed potatoes is to dollop them on top of a steak, but they’re great for so much more.
I make them creamy, cheesy, or both, so they’re a perfect side to any kind of dinner. They’re so simple to make, so I’m excited to share a basic recipe with you today.
You can also add a little cream, or even some milk, to these mashed potatoes for a creamier texture. If you don’t want to use dairy, you can use a whole cup of heavy whipping cream instead. This will still make a pretty decadent side dish, trust me.
In addition to potatoes, you can also serve mashed potatoes with cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, or even a combination of them all.
How To Make The Best Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Garlic mashed potatoes are one of my all-time favorite side dishes for a variety of reasons.
They are absolutely creamy, they are flavorful, and they are easy to make.
In fact, these creamy garlic mashed potatoes are so good that it might just be the best thing you’ve ever made, or at least the easiest.
1. Use high-quality butter
The butter in this recipe will give the potatoes extra richness. However, you want to avoid using an inexpensive tub of regular butter. If you use a tub of butter made with cheaper ingredients, it will taste very strong and overpower the garlic flavor.
2. Choose the right potato
I used red potatoes for this recipe since they are less starchy and have more bite than other potatoes, but you can use any potato that works for you. The main point is to select a potato that has a high moisture content, so it will hold its shape during mashing. The starchy potatoes such as Russet, Idaho and Yukon Gold tend to make mushy mashed potatoes.
3. Mash them up
Mash your potatoes with a fork to ensure that the potatoes get broken down and smooth, while also leaving a little bite in the potato pieces. If you use a food processor, you will end up with a lot of lumps, so you will want to avoid using one here.
4. Add garlic
If you’re using fresh garlic cloves, peel them and mash them up into the potatoes. If you’re using jarred garlic, just add it to the pot of boiling water along with your potatoes. If you’re using powdered garlic, add a little at a time to your pot of boiling water until you reach your desired garlic level.
5. Season with salt and pepper
The garlic will add plenty of garlic flavor, but you don’t want to overload your mashed potatoes with garlic flavor. A pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper will do the trick.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- To make your mashed potatoes extra creamy, add heavy cream to the water in which they’re cooked. This will give the potatoes an even richer taste.
- For a simple and easy way to get those mashed potatoes looking like the pictures above, just toss some salt over them and bake at 400°F until golden brown and crispy.
- If you want to make your mash as healthy as possible, use low-fat milk instead of cream.
- You can also make your mashed potatoes with frozen green beans instead of peas. Frozen green beans are already cut and ready to go. They have a crisp texture, and their flavor is not lost.
How to Store and Make Ahead of Time
What I love about creamy garlic mashed potatoes is that you can make them in advance and serve them with a main dish later in the week. They are easy to make ahead of time.
You can make the mashed potatoes in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, bring the covered dish back to room temperature, then microwave until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes. You can also cook the dish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also freeze the dish in an airtight container for up to two months. To reheat, thaw, drain the potatoes and then bake or microwave until heated through.
What Side Dish to Serve Along with Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
For this meal, I think it is important to have a side dish that is just as delicious as the main dish.
It’s the perfect pairing to complement the rich, creamy mashed potatoes.
The combination is so good, it makes me want to serve mashed potatoes with every meal!
For me, my favorite way to pair mashed potatoes with a side dish is by adding a small amount of cheese.
A sprinkling of Parmesan or Asiago will add a lot of flavor and bring the two dishes together.
I like to use a small amount of sour cream for a similar effect.
Or, how about a little bit of bacon? The saltiness and smokiness will round out the flavor and make the combination even more delicious.
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Variations
Use this recipe as inspiration for mashed potatoes that suit your style. Try any of these options, or make your own!
Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Add butter, cream and salt to your potatoes, then blend them with an immersion blender until smooth. You could finish it off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and chives, or a little fresh dill.
Lighter Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Try using a hand mixer instead of an immersion blender. If you’re using a hand mixer, you might need to add more milk for a creamy consistency. This is especially true if your potatoes are large, which tend to absorb more liquid.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Sautéed Onions
Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 medium-sized onions (cut into thin slices), and 3 cloves garlic (minced) to a non-stick skillet. Sauté over medium heat until lightly browned, then set aside.
Once the potatoes have been cooked and cooled, transfer them to a bowl, then add butter, cream and salt. Using an immersion blender or hand mixer, blend the mixture until it’s smooth. Add in the onions and garlic, and stir. Serve topped with additional Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower
Use cauliflower instead of potatoes, then add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. This variation is good with any number of dishes, but I think it’s especially delicious with grilled salmon or shrimp.
Mashed Potatoes with Herbs
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1/8 teaspoon dried basil, 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Spread this herb blend over the top of your mashed potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes with Parsley
Mix in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and 1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese.
Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Scallions
Sprinkle some chopped bacon and/or diced green onions on top. Sprinkle some paprika and/or salt over the top as well.
Chunky Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Add a handful of shredded cooked chicken to this recipe for more substance, and some crushed red pepper flakes if you’d like.
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Toss a small handful of fresh chives into the potatoes while cooking. They’ll turn them a beautiful bright green color. Add a few chive blossoms for extra color and flavor.
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 5 large russet potatoes, washed, peeled
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup half and half or milk (more as needed)
- 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the potatoes by washing, peeling and cutting them into roughly 1″ cubes.
- Place them in a large pot and cover with water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and allow them to simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Reserve a small amount of the water from cooking the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and set them aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the potatoes, 1/2 cup half and half (or milk), 2 tablespoons sour cream (optional), salt and pepper.
- Using a potato masher or fork, mash in your salt and pepper until you get the desired level of smoothness.
- Continue mashing until it reaches your desired consistency. If the potatoes appear to be too thick, add a small amount of the reserved cooking water and continue mashing until smooth.
- If you like, serve with additional butter and sour cream if desired. Garnish with chives (optional).