Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a crowd-pleasing side dish that is an amazing twist on the classic. Roasting a whole head of garlic makes the cloves soft, rich, and buttery, and folding them into creamy mashed potatoes is a great way to amp up the flavor of your dinner.
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Stop looking for mashed potato recipes, this is the one. THE one. The one everyone will love, the one that will start a fight between that one friend and his wife, neither of whom can cook (That happened at our house once when we were still in the military, true story!), the one that will have no leftovers. Ever.
Mashed potatoes are a huge love in this house year-round but especially during the holidays. These roasted garlic mashed potatoes are legendary.
Making fluffy, creamy, and flavorful mashed potatoes from scratch
I keep my mashed potato making pretty classic; boil, mash, add the good stuff. But here are my tips for making great mashed potatoes:
Chicken broth, not water
Want your potatoes to have all the flavor? Well, of course ya do! Cooking the potatoes in chicken broth (low sodium, please!) makes them take on the flavors of the chicken stock, giving them richer, more complex flavors than simply boiling in salted water. I would suggest using homemade chicken stock or buying Roasted Chicken Better than Bouillon so you’re not using many cartons or cans of pricey store-bought chicken stock or those really salty chicken bouillon cubes.
Use starchy potatoes, not waxy ones
I find that russet potatoes make great, fluffy mashed potatoes. Red potatoes are considered ‘waxy’ potatoes, which means that they have less starch, more sugar, and higher moisture levels than a starchy potato, like russets.
All that means is that they make denser mashed potatoes instead of fluffy. So if you have some yellow or red potatoes, they’d be great in a potatoes au gratin or some potato salad but they may make this mashed potato recipe a little too dense or even gummy, especially with so much butter and milk. Hey, it’s the holidays, I don’t skimp on the good stuff.
The best trick to fluffy mashed potatoes ever
I know that the potato masher has been used for eons, but hear me out: the potato ricer is an inexpensive, easy, and (in my opinion!) the best way to get lump-free, creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes. A ricer presses the pieces of cooked potatoes through tiny holes, which incorporates air, removes lumps, and makes the potatoes in teeny rice-like pieces, hence the name ‘potato ricer’. So if you love smooth mashed potatoes as I do, definitely pick one up.
The best flavor ever!
Not only are we having that God-given roasted garlic (I’m so serious when I say it’s heavenly. Roasted garlic is amazing!) but an easy herb-infused butter mixed in as well to add rich, herbaceous creaminess.
I promise that making an infused butter is the easiest thing! I actually melted the butter with a sprig of fresh rosemary in it which gave it the most amazing flavor. Instead of being a super-powerful rosemary flavor, it gave a little hint of rosemary to the entire batch of mashed potatoes that just elevates it so much.
It’s delicious and if you have some other fresh herbs like sage, thyme, etc. add them into the butter while it melts as well. This is a great way to incorporate any Thanksgiving/fall flavors if you’re making this for Turkey Day.
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Let’s roast some garlic.
We’re using an entire head of garlic for this recipe, but don’t worry about having that sharp, spicy garlic flavor. When you roast garlic the cloves soften up, the flavor becomes more mellow and rich, and it’s fantastic in so many different recipes.
If you’ve never roasted garlic, no worries. While I have a full post about the ins and outs of roasting garlic, I’ll give the cliff notes here:
- Cut the garlic in half.
- Cover in oil.
- Wrap in foil.
- Roast for an hour.
It’s that simple and your house will smell like pure, unadulterated heaven like in the Bible. And the oil that is left in the foil can go into the mashed potatoes, too. It’s full of really great flavor and who wants to waste flavor?
How to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes
- Starchy potatoes, like Idaho or russets, preferably.
- The cloves of a head of roasted garlic.
- Melted butter with a sprig of rosemary. This is not the time to skimp on the butter, y’all.
- Warmed half and half. You can use whole milk or even heavy cream, but make sure that it’s warmed up. This keeps the potatoes hot, keeps the butter from clumping up, and the potatoes will absorb the ingredients a lot better.
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Peel the potatoes and chop them up, then boil them until fork tender. Drain then press in a ricer.
- Pour in the melted butter and half and half, mix well.
- Add in the garlic cloves. Yes they are a lot of cloves, but remember, this isn’t the usual strong, spicy garlic flavor we’re getting.
- Taste while seasoning with salt and pepper. Remember to season generously, potatoes need salt!
- Serve up with gravy!
I love how easy and simple this recipe is, yet it really does elevate your mashed potatoes!
Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time?
Mashed potatoes can be made completely ahead of time, up to two days, so it’s perfect to make ahead for Thanksgiving or any other holiday.
When it’s time to serve, reheat the potatoes then mix in a pat of butter. It tastes just like it was freshly made!
Can I freeze roasted garlic mashed potatoes?
Freezing your roasted garlic mashed potatoes is easy. I like scooping them with a 1-cup measuring cup onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (make sure it’s a baking sheet that fits in your freezer!), pressing flat for quicker and more even reheating, and then freezing them completely. Place the frozen mash into a freezer-safe zip-top bag and keep in the freezer for up to six months.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes and other things baked with dairy like baked mac and cheese, potatoes au gratin, etc, just aren’t their best when reheated in the microwave, they become gluey and dried out so I don’t suggest doing it if you’re reheating them to serve at your event or dinner.
To reheat mashed potatoes in the oven, mix a hearty splash of milk or cream into the potatoes then spoon them in an oven-safe dish. Don’t add too much liquid or you’ll end up with soup. Cover with foil or an oven-safe lid then reheat in a 350 degree F (180 degrees C) oven for 20-30 minutes.
To reheat mashed potatoes on your stovetop, stir in the milk and keep the potatoes over medium heat. Stir frequently so the bottom won’t burn and serve when hot.
If you’ve got a sous-vide machine, simply reheat it in a vacuum-sealed bag at 165 degrees F for about 30 minutes per 5 cups.
Don’t forget to add that pat of butter, about a tablespoon or two. Taste for seasoning before serving and add salt and pepper if needed.
How can I make mashed potatoes healthy?
You can make these taters lighter, more diet-friendly, and even vegan by substituting the whole milk and butter for a plant-based milk and vegan butter or olive oil. The taste will differ slightly because of the olive oil.
Looking for more potato dishes? Check out:
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- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Cold water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 pounds (1.5 kg) Russet potatoes
- 4 tbsp (57 g) unsalted butter
- 1 sprig rosemary, optional
- 3/4 cup (180 g) whole milk
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place the garlic in a center of a piece of foil that's large enough to completely wrap the garlic. Optionally, cut the top of the garlic cloves so they are exposed.
- Generously drizzle olive oil over the cut garlic cloves then tightly wrap the head of garlic in the foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast the garlic in your preheated oven for 40 to 60 minutes. The garlic cloves will be soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, golden brown and extremely fragrant. Let cool enough to touch.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves from their paper skin into a small bowl or container. Set aside.
- Peel the russet potatoes and cut them into smaller, equal-sized pieces.
- In a large pot, add the potatoes and add enough water to cover them over an inch above the top of the potatoes. Add the tablespoon of kosher salt and bring the pot of water to a boil.
- Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
- Mash the potatoes or push them through a potato ricer back into the pot or into a large serving bowl.
- Melt the unsalted butter in a microwave-safe container with the sprig of rosemary until fully melted.
- Remove the rosemary sprig from the butter then stir the unsalted butter into the potatoes. Gently fold and mix in the roasted garlic and milk with a wooden spoon until well combined and the butter and milk are absorbed. Smash the garlic against the sides of the bowl as well to help incorporate great flavor.
- Taste the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- If needed, rewarm the potatoes in the same pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Serve warm to hot.
- Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Add other herbs like thyme, sage, etc. to your butter for a Thanksgiving/autumnal flavor in your mashed potatoes!
Make Ahead and Reheat Instructions
To reheat mashed potatoes in the oven, mix a hearty splash of milk or cream into the potatoes then spoon them in an oven-safe dish. Don't add too much liquid or you'll end up with soup. Cover with foil or an oven-safe lid then reheat in a 350 degree F (180 degrees C) oven for 20-30 minutes.
To reheat mashed potatoes on your stovetop, stir in the milk and keep the potatoes over medium heat. Stir frequently so the bottom won't burn and serve when hot.
If you've got a sous-vide machine, simply reheat it in a vacuum-sealed bag at 165 degrees F for about 30 minutes per 5 cups.
Don't forget to add that pat of butter, about a tablespoon or two. Taste for seasoning before serving and add salt and pepper if needed.
Freezing your roasted garlic mashed potatoes is easy. I like scooping them with a 1-cup measuring cup onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (make sure it's a baking sheet that fits in your freezer!), pressing flat for quicker and more even reheating, and then freezing them completely. Place the frozen mash into a freezer-safe zip-top bag and keep in the freezer for up to six months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 787mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.