Mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food dish that goes well with a variety of spices. The best seasonings to use with mashed potatoes include thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage.
Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?
They’re delicious, creamy goodness.
And if you want to spice up your mashed potatoes, we have a few recommendations for the best spices and seasonings to put in mashed potatoes.
See Also: 15 Sauces for Mashed Potatoes I Can’t Resist
Best Spices and Seasonings to Put in Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are an old reliable side dish that needs no improvement.
But maybe you’re bored and want to change things up a bit?
Or your family has a favorite recipe and it’s not working for you anymore?
Or perhaps you’re just looking for new inspiration?
No matter what the reason, here are some great spices you can try.
1. Garlic powder
Garlic powder is one spice that goes well with mashed potatoes.
The reason is because it enhances the flavor of the potatoes without overpowering their taste.
A dash of garlic powder on top of your mashed potatoes will make them taste even better than before!
Salt is an absolute staple in most people’s kitchens, and for good reason—it can be used for almost anything.
In mashed potatoes, salt brings out the natural flavors of the ingredients, leaving them with a satisfying salty taste.
Just don’t overdo it! Too much salt will leave you with a bland dish that’s more suited to feeding your dog than yourself.
Pepper is another classic that pairs well with mashed potatoes.
It adds a nice kick to the dish while also bringing out the flavor of other ingredients like garlic or onions (if you add those as well).
If you’re feeling adventurous, try using black pepper instead of white—it has a stronger flavor that might complement whatever else goes into your recipe better than its paler counterpart does.
I love cumin. I really do.
It has a warm, spicy flavor that can be earthy or smokey depending on the way it’s been prepared, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in the world that could go wrong with it.
But if there’s one thing that cumin makes better than anything else, it’s mashed potatoes.
The secret is in the way they complement each other.
Cumin adds a bold flavor to any dish, while potatoes themselves add a softness and smoothness that balances out the spices and blends them together seamlessly.
5. Curry powder
When it comes to pairing spices and seasonings with mashed potatoes, you can’t go wrong with curry powder.
Its unique flavor profile is at once spicy, rich, and complex, making it the perfect complement for a side of creamy mashed potatoes.
The secret to pairing curry powder with mashed potatoes?
It’s all about balance.
The key is to add enough curry powder to complement the richness of the potatoes but not so much that your dish becomes overly spicy.
And that’s not all! Curry powder is versatile enough to work well with other ingredients, too, like chicken or yogurt, so you can create a whole meal around your mashed potatoes if you want.
And don’t forget about adding some garlic and ginger as well—the combination of these flavors will really make your dish pop!
So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
6. Chili powder
Chili powder is a great addition to mashed potatoes, because it gives them texture and a distinctive flavor.
Chili powder, unlike many other spices and seasonings, is actually a blend of several different types of peppers.
This means that even though it tastes like one spice, it’s actually like getting a mixed bag of flavors!
If you’re looking to take your mashed potatoes to the next level, here are some ideas:
- Add chili powder to butter that you melt over the potatoes before serving.
- Sprinkle chili powder over the top of the potatoes just before serving.
- Mix chili powder into sour cream for dipping your potatoes in.
- Sprinkle chopped chives on top of your potatoes after sprinkling with chili powder.
7. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is one of the best spices and seasonings to put in mashed potatoes.
This hot powder with its intense flavor and spicy kick is sure to make your mashed potatoes a stand-out side dish!
Cayenne pepper is made from ground chili peppers, which means that it’s packed with capsaicin—the compound that gives chilis their heat.
The spiciness of cayenne can be used to balance out other flavors in a dish, or it can stand on its own as the star ingredient.
There are plenty of different ways you can add cayenne pepper to your mashed potatoes:
- Sprinkle it on top for a gorgeous garnish
- Stir it into the potatoes before you start mashing
- Or even use cayenne-flavored butter as a spread for your tasty taters!
8. Onion Powder
When you’re making mashed potatoes, you want to be sure that your seasoning is on point.
One of the best spices to add, which will add a lot of flavor and mouthfeel, is onion powder.
Onion powder is a great spice because it has a warm flavor and it’s easy to work with.
It doesn’t have a strong odor or taste that would overpower other ingredients in the dish.
You could use it in place of salt and pepper, or even just as an added bonus to your seasonings.
A little bit goes a long way!
9. Parsley Flakes
Parsley flakes are one of the most underappreciated spices out there.
It’s a classic herb that adds a fresh and earthy taste, but it’s also versatile enough to pair well with other spices.
And as far as mashed potatoes go, parsley flakes are right at home in this dish.
They add a subtle flavor boost that brings out the richness of this filling dish and complements everything else on your plate, from veggies to meat.
Parsley flakes are made from, you guessed it, dried parsley.
Parsley itself is a low-calorie herb, meaning you can add all the parsley flakes you want to your meal without worrying about breaking your diet.
It also adds a little bit of extra fiber and vitamins to your food, so it’s a win-win!
Here’s how to use parsley flakes in mashed potatoes:
- First, chop up any potatoes and boil them until they’re soft enough to mash or crush (about 15 minutes).
- Then drain the water and let them sit for 10 minutes before adding butter and milk or cream until you get the desired consistency.
- Finally, add parsley flakes (or dried parsley itself) to taste—usually about 1/2 teaspoon per serving—and mix them in.
Thyme is a fantastic spice because it has a very mild flavor, but it still adds something unique to the dish.
It’s also a common seasoning for a number of vegetables and meats.
Thyme goes particularly well with potatoes because it pairs nicely with other ingredients such as cream cheese.
Rosemary is a wonderful addition to mashed potatoes that gives it a unique flavor and rich aroma.
It’s a perfect match for the buttery taste of mashed potatoes, and its fragrance has a sweet lemon flavor that brings out the creamy texture of the potatoes.
Rosemary also adds a depth of flavor that can be hard to find in other spices.
Basil is another herb that goes well with mashed potatoes.
The herb has a sweet and peppery flavor. It also has a strong smell and is used in many dishes worldwide.
When you’re making mashed potatoes, basil can be added after you’ve boiled the potatoes in water for 10 minutes or less.
You can also add it before boiling the potatoes if you want a more subtle flavor.
How to Pick the Right Spices to Put in Mashed Potatoes
Picking the right spices for your mashed potatoes can make or break your meal.
Follow these tips to figure out which ones are right for you:
1. Think About What Sort of Mood You Want to Create with Your Meal
If you want something cozy and wintry, try black pepper, cinnamon, or sage.
If you want a summery feel, try garlic powder and basil.
2. Ask Yourself if You’re Feeling Adventurous
If so, try Chinese Five Spice – a common Asian seasoning blend – on your mashed potatoes instead of one spice at a time!
3. the Goal Is to Enhance the Flavors
Always remember that the goal is to enhance the flavors that are already there in the food (like creaminess, freshness, rich starchiness) rather than overpower the natural flavors of the food itself.
Experiment with different combinations until you strike gold!
4. Think About What Flavors Already Exist in The Dish
You don’t want to create a flavor clash.
If there’s already a lot of garlicky flavor, don’t add garlic powder to your mashed potatoes.
If you’re serving chicken alongside it, you might want to avoid garlic powder as well, since chicken is often served with garlic salt.
5. Start with A Familiar Spice
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t be afraid to stick with a classic.
A lot of people think that plain old salt and pepper is the best way to go, but don’t forget about other favorites like garlic powder and onion powder—they’re great when used in conjunction with salt and pepper!
3 Benefits of Putting Spices in Mashed Potatoes
Adding spices to your mashed potatoes can make the end result so much richer and more exciting.
Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll get from adding spices to your potatoes:
1. Spices Add New Layers of Flavor
When you add spices to your mashed potatoes, you can add a whole new layer of flavor that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
Spices can complement the potato’s natural flavor or they can give a dish an entirely new flavor profile.
This is especially important for people who want to experiment with flavors or make their meals more diverse.
2. Spices Can Give Them a Kick
Whether you like your food spicy or not, adding some spice to your mashed potatoes will certainly give them a kick—and it will give you one too! With just a dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper, your mashed potatoes will have just enough heat to keep things interesting without overpowering the other flavors on the plate.
3. They’re Easy to Use
Spices are incredibly easy to use because all it takes is one little pinch and voila!
Your mash has become something completely different (but still delicious).
The best part about using spices in cooking is that they don’t require any special skills—just sprinkle some over top before serving and dig in!
How Do You Season Bland Mashed Potatoes?
Sometimes, you make a batch of mashed potatoes, and they just taste… blah.
Maybe they came out too starchy or not starchy enough, or maybe you just didn’t put enough salt and pepper in.
Whatever the reason, you may be tempted to throw them away.
There are plenty of ways to spice up your mash!
Here are some of our favorites:
Add some cheese (cheddar, parmesan, blue cheese… whatever feels right), and pretend you didn’t make them bland in the first place.
If they’re just kind of bland, try adding some soy sauce or fish sauce.
The umami will kick in right away and cover up the other flavors that aren’t quite there—just don’t add too much!
Lemon juice is great at adding some brightness to mashed potatoes that need a little extra something-something.
Maybe throw some chives on top as well, just to drive home the point that sour cream isn’t the only way to glaze those taters.
If your potatoes have gone so wrong that they’re actually bitter, try adding some sugar or honey to see if you can turn them around!
5. Salt the water generously
One of the most common mistakes people make is not adding enough salt to their water. If you don’t add enough salt, the potatoes will taste bland, no matter what you season them with later!
But don’t worry—it’s really easy to fix. Next time you’re making mashed potatoes, be sure to generously sprinkle the water with salt before adding in your potatoes. They’ll come out much tastier!
What Can You Not Put in Mashed Potatoes?
Mashed potatoes are one of our favorite side dishes, so we’re glad you reached out.
Mashed taters can be flavored with a bunch of different things, but some ingredients just don’t belong in the mix.
We’ve included a few examples below.
Pickles are great on sandwiches and burgers, but they should probably not be making an appearance in your mashed potatoes.
They’re too acidic, and their unique flavor just doesn’t pair well with the rich, creamy taste of taters.
It would be like wearing a Hawaiian shirt to prom—you could definitely pull it off, but it would take a lot of confidence and effort.
2. Coffee grounds
We know what you’re thinking: what if they were ground really finely? Would that work? The answer is still no.
Coffee grounds shouldn’t go in mashed potatoes because they’re gritty and sharp-edged, which isn’t a good texture for this dish. Coffee grounds also have a very strong flavor that would overpower the subtle flavor of the spuds themselves.
If you want to try adding coffee to mashed potatoes, use a cup or two of brewed coffee instead! Just make sure it’s cooled down first!
3. Tomato sauce
Don’t put tomato sauce in mashed potatoes. It’s that simple.
There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t put tomato sauce in mashed potatoes, but I’m going to give you two.
First of all, it’s aesthetically displeasing.
Tomato-sauce-laced mashed potatoes are an ugly red/yellow color that give the impression that you either don’t know what you’re doing or don’t care.
You don’t want to seem like a slob—even if you just threw together some quick mashed potatoes that were left over from last night’s dinner, at least take the time to make them look good before serving them up!
Second of all, tomato sauce doesn’t go in mashed potatoes because it doesn’t go with any of the other flavors in mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are creamy and fluffy and buttery; they’re smooth and rich.
Tomato sauce is acidic, sharp, and chunky; it’s tart and tangy. These two things are opposites, so they do not belong together.
I know, I know.
They sound like a good idea.
You have this vision of a beautiful orange color complementing your deep brown gravy, and the tartness of the cranberries playing against the fluffy creaminess of the mash… but I’m here to tell you that it’s just not going to work out.
Even worse than having no cranberry pairing at all is having an off-brand cranberry pairing with your mash.
Trust me on this one.
12 Best Spices and Seasonings to Put in Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic powder
- Curry powder
- Chili powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Parsley Flakes
- Pick any of these spices to put in your mashed potatoes.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Enjoy your meal in less than 20 minutes!