International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

50 Ways to Mash Your Taters

Bowl of mashed potatoes

Image Creative Commons by Stephanie

Everyone loves mashed potatoes. Creamy, buttery, smooth. The ultimate comfort food. Your basic ingredients are quite simple: potatoes, milk or cream and butter. But why not mix it up a little? With just a bit of tweaking your basic mashed can be transformed into a high culinary masterpiece. So get on the bus, Gus! Here are 50 Ways to Mash your Taters.

  1. Toss 4 or 5 cloves of whole garlic into the water with the potatoes. Mash the boiled garlic with the potatoes.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish for some spiky heat. Bottled horseradish can be used in a pinch.
  3. Substitute 1 or 2 peeled turnips or rutabagas for 1 or 2 of the potatoes.
  4. For a nutty, caramely flavor, brown the butter before stirring it into the potatoes. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium flame, stirring occasionally, until the solids reach a light brown color, 4 to 5 minutes. Take care not to burn the butter.
  5. Use half sweet potatoes and half regular potatoes for a classic combination.
  6. Sauté some shredded cabbage or kale in butter and stir into mashed potatoes to make colcannon, a popular Irish side dish.
  7. A French classic, pommes duchesse, is a beautiful accompaniment to roast meats. Cut out the cream and use half the butter. Stir 2 or 3 egg yolks into the mashed potatoes and place the potatoes into a piping bag. Pipe decorative portions onto a baking sheet and bake at 400°F until lightly browned.
  8. Goat cheese! A revelation. Stir around 1/2 cup into hot mashed potatoes.
  9. For extra fluffy mashed, bake the potatoes whole in their jackets. Peel them carefully (they're hot) and mash.
  10. For a low cholesterol version, use chicken or vegetable broth in place of the cream and a good fruity olive oil instead of butter.
  11. A teaspoon or two of curry powder will give the potatoes great flavor and a rich color.
  12. Mashed potatoes fit for vegans: use soy or almond milk instead of cream and a soy-based margarine.
  13. Stir in grated cheddar, Swiss, fontina or Gouda cheese for cheesy mashed potatoes.
  14. For a southwestern touch, add 1 tablespoon of chili powder to the melted butter.
  15. Leave the peels on for a rustic (and more nutritious) version.
  16. For a colorful, if startling, twist, use Peruvian blue potatoes.
  17. Cook chopped cauliflower in a separate pot of salted water and puree in a food processor when done. Stir into the mashed potatoes.
  18. For roast garlic mashed potatoes, toss a whole head of garlic with some oil and roast in a 450°F oven for 30 minutes. Cut the garlic in half horizontally and squeeze the cloves into your mashed potatoes.
  19. Stir 1 to 3 tablespoons of chopped herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon or chives into mashed potatoes.
  20. Peel and chop 2 or 3 carrots and cook then mash with the potatoes. The orange color is especially popular with kids.
  21. Try using evaporated milk in place of the cream or milk.
  22. Add a dollop of Dijon or whole grain mustard. Especially good with pork.
  23. Sauté onions in butter over medium-low heat until they are cooked down and lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir into the potatoes.
  24. Make your mashed spicy by stirring in a teaspoon or two of chili flakes or a big pinch of cayenne.
  25. Enjoy mashed potatoes Ligurian-style by stirring in a 1/4 cup pesto sauce.
  26. Use sour cream instead of regular cream or milk.
  27. Stir in 1 cup of fresh peas for a springtime treat the kids will love.
  28. Add 2 teaspoons of ginger powder to the potatoes for a subtle zip.
  29. To make smashed potatoes, don't fully mash them. Leave some large chunks.
  30. Season your potatoes with a few dashes of soy sauce.
  31. Chop up some sun-dried tomatoes and stir them into the potatoes, along with a little of their packing oil.
  32. Dice some bacon and sauté it until crispy and add to the potatoes along with some of the bacon drippings.
  33. Season your potatoes with a big squeeze of lemon juice and a good grinding of black pepper. Especially good with grilled fish.
  34. Sauté diced red and green bell peppers in some olive oil until softened then stir into the potatoes.
  35. Stir grated Parmesan cheese for a great side dish with braised meats.
  36. Thinly slice 1 cup mushrooms and sauté in the butter before stirring into the potatoes.
  37. Simmer 1 cup of fresh corn kernels in the cream or milk.
  38. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of a flavored herb oil.
  39. Substitute coconut milk for all or part of the milk or cream.
  40. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of Thai green curry paste in the simmering cream or milk.
  41. Stir in 1/3 cup of crumbled blue cheese for a great accompaniment to grilled steak.
  42. Toss Brussels sprouts with some oil, salt and pepper and roast them in 400°F oven until they are cooked through and caramelized. Mashed them lightly and stir them into hot mashed potatoes.
  43. Make spicy wasabi mashed potatoes by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of the Japanese condiment.
  44. Sauté 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage in the butter to flavor it.
  45. Use buttermilk instead of the milk or cream.
  46. Sauté some chopped scallions in the butter and stir in to make the Irish side dish champ.
  47. Stir in rinsed and diced artichoke hearts.
  48. Give mashed an Italian twist by stirring in some capers and chopped anchovies.
  49. Stir some barbecue sauce into mashed potatoes to accompany grilled meats.
  50. Use melted cream cheese for a decadent alternative to cream or milk.

Phew! All right, now I'm really hungry! I think I'll make the roast garlic version (#18) to go with some Spanish braised beef I'm cooking for dinner tonight.

Got any other ideas? How do you make your mashed potatoes special? I'd love to hear.