Chris’ Kinda-Famous Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

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An easy & ultra-creamy Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes recipe! Yukon gold potatoes are mashed with butter & buttermilk until perfectly creamy, & finished with deeply caramelized roasted garlic. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any comfort food dinner! Make-Ahead, Stovetop, Slow Cooker, & Instant Pot instructions provided.

Planning your Thanksgiving menu? Be sure to check out Sidesgiving! This year PWWB is doubling down on the BEST part of a Thanksgiving plate…the side dishes! Sidesgiving is a holiday side dish extravaganza, including traditional dishes you already know & love, as well as some new & fun takes on the classics.

Roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface. A gold spoon is nestled into the potatoes.

Pin this Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes recipe for later!

The BEST buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe: Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, some people are all about the turkey. Others are all about the stuffing. Or the green bean casserole. Or dowsing everything in gravy.

But for me? When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I am ALL about the mashed potatoes.

&…um HELLO…can you blame me? 

Macro view of roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes topped with melted butter & chives.

In our house, Chris is our designated potato masher. He’s been in charge of making the mashed potatoes ever since the Infamous Nearly-Flooded Kitchen Incident of Friendsgiving 2014.

ICYMI: Friendsgiving 2014 was the first holiday dinner Chris & I hosted as a couple, & it was NOT one of our best days. **One of us** was feeling a little under the weather from having a little too much fun the night before & **the other one of us** was feeling a little overwhelmed from taking on too much for the meal. Can you guess who was who?!

In rushing around to get everything prepped for our guests’ impending arrival, it seemed like running the garbage disposal would be the quickest way to clean up all the potato peels in the sink.

…BOY was I wrong. I nearly flooded our kitchen!!!

Ever since then, Chris has been on mashed potato duty at Thanksgiving. & That’s honestly totally okay with me because the dude makes a MEAN batch of buttermilk mashed potatoes. They’re kinda famous amongst our family & friends because everyone flips out over how perfect they are: fluffy, creamy, buttery, & perfect for dousing with tons of turkey gravy.

A white plate full of Thanksgiving foods including Maple Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts topped with parmesan cheese, a single Swirled Cranberry Cornbread Muffin, two large slices of Maple Glazed Spatchcock Turkey and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes topped with gravy. The plate has a fork & a knife resting on it and is surrounded by purple flowers a plaid dinner napkin and bowls of fresh cranberries.

This roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe is Chris’ kinda-famous recipe, with a couple of my own touches to take them completely over the top:

  1. Yukon gold potatoes, which have the most insane tender & buttery texture, perfect for mashed potatoes.
  2. A full head of roasted garlic, which gets swirled into the potatoes just before serving & adds deep, rich, & caramelly garlic flavor to every single bite.

The result? Mashed potato perfection. ♡ Read on to learn more about this Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

What goes in roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes:

Aside from the fact that they’re so freaking delicious, one of the things I love most about these mashed potatoes is that they’re made entirely with the simplest pantry staples. This is truly the type of recipe that transforms some of the most humble ingredients into something that’s magically greater than the sum of its parts. (My favorite type of recipe!)

Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

You will need…

  • Yukon Gold potatoes – My favorite potato for mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes have an insanely tender & buttery texture, lending them to mashing insanely well. Plus, Yukon Golds have very thin & tender skins, meaning you can totally leave the skins on for a little bit of texture in your mashed potatoes.
  • Butter – Plain & simple! I always use the standard unsalted butter I keep stocked in my fridge, but if you want to take your mashed potatoes to the next level, try something like Kerrygold, which has a higher butterfat content & therefore richer flavor than standard American butter.
  • Buttermilk – They wouldn’t be buttermilk mashed potatoes without buttermilk, after all! Buttermilk adds rich, tangy flavor to these mashed potatoes.
  • Garlic – A whole head, for roasting!
  • Olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper – Simple, simple!

Substitutes for buttermilk in roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes: You can make buttermilk substitute by simply adding vinegar or fresh lemon juice to plain milk. For this specific recipe, you’ll add 2 tablespoons vinegar or fresh lemon juice to a scant 2 cups of milk. Let it sit for a minute to curdle, then give it a stir – voila! Homemade buttermilk that still adds a great tangy flavor to these roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes without an extra trip to the store. Easy!

How to make Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes:

Other than the fact that they’re made with really simple ingredients, this roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes is my favorite because it’s really freakin’ easy! While it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, or for a special holiday dinner, you really can make them any day of the week & any time of the year.

These mashed potatoes come together in 3 simple steps. (Note: full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.)

First, roast the garlic.

Roasting garlic is one of those things that might seem a little intimidating, but it’s really so simple: lob the top off of a whole head of garlic & place it in some aluminum foil. Drizzle it with some olive oil & give it a good sprinkle of salt & black pepper before wrapping it up and popping it in the oven. 

While you definitely don’t need roasted garlic to make epic buttermilk mashed potatoes, it definitely takes them to the next level! The garlic slowly roasts & caramelizes in the oven (which, by the way, will make your whole house smell a-freaking-mazing), until it’s totally soft & filled with perfectly roasty, garlicky flavor.

Next, boil the potatoes.

Boil the potatoes in salty water, which helps season them from the inside out as they cook. The potatoes will be ready to go as soon as they’re fork-tender, which takes about 20-25 minutes total.

Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes in a large Dutch oven, ready to mash into buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Last comes the mashing…

I like to add butter & buttermilk gradually as the potatoes mash, working them to just the perfect texture.

Since we prefer slightly more rustic mashed potatoes, I just use a potato masher. If you’re really particular about super creamy mashed potatoes, run your boiled potatoes through a potato ricer once or twice to achieve an ultra-creamy texture.

Mashed buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large Dutch oven, topped with ground black pepper.

Once the potatoes are mashed, stir in the roasted garlic. The garlic should be so soft that it squeezes right out of the bulb, making it easy to fold caramelly garlic flavor into every bite of buttermilk mashed potatoes. YUM.

Tips for perfect roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes:

#1 – The best potatoes for making mashed potatoes…

The best potatoes for mashed potatoes, IMHO, are Yukon Gold potatoes. Yukon Golds have an insanely tender & buttery texture that lends them to mashing insanely well. A little more expensive than your standard Russet, but the payoff is there – Yukon Golds have a perfect, fluffy texture & add tons of buttery flavor to these roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Yes. Puh-lease.

#2 – To peel, or not to peel?

One of the more controversial points of any mashed potato discussion is whether you should peel the potatoes.

Here’s my stance on the matter: we personally prefer our mashed potatoes to err on the rustic end of the spectrum, & I’m a notoriously lazy prep cook, so I forego peeling the potatoes altogether. This is another reason why I love using Yukon Gold potatoes so much – their skins are paper-thin & super tender!

If you prefer to peel your potatoes for an extra smooth & creamy mash, have at it! I recommend grabbing some of these y-peelers – they make peeling potatoes a pretty quick & painless job!

#3 – Don’t skimp on the butter!

Whatever you do, please, please, please don’t skimp on butter when you make mashed potatoes! Butter adds so much flavor & helps make the mashed potatoes super creamy. Potatoes need butter, plain & simple.

While this roasted garlic mashed potatoes recipe proudly calls for a full stick of butter, remember that you’re making a big batch of mashed potatoes, & it really only boils down to 1 tablespoon of butter per serving.

Thanksgiving 2020: Meal prep, make-ahead, & portions.

In the spirit of flexibility – especially since the 2020 holiday season is unlike any other holiday season we’ve experienced before – all of our Sidesgiving recipes include guidance for meal prep & for scaling the recipe up/down based on the size of your holiday gathering.

Roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, next to a checkered linen napkin & a small cutting board with fresh chives & a small paring knife.

Here’s everything you need to know about these roasted garlic mashed potatoes:

  • Alternate cooking methods: If you’re worried about space on the stovetop as you plan out your Thanksgiving dinner timeline, know that you can prep these mashed potatoes in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
  • Meal prep: By roasting the garlic & prepping the potatoes ahead of time, all you have to do on Thanksgiving Day is boil & mash the potatoes – easy! See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
    • Roast the garlic up to 3 days in advance, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
    • Potato prep: Dice the potatoes up to 1 day in advance, storing submerged in water in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Make-Ahead: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes can also be made up to 3 days in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator, & reheated just before your Thanksgiving dinner. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
  • Portions: As written, this roasted garlic mashed potatoes recipe yields a medium batch, serving up to 8 as a side dish. For a different sized crowd…
    • Scaled up: To serve up to 14 as a side dish, double the recipe. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
    • Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
Side angle of roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface. A gold spoon is nestled into the potatoes.

I hope you try this Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes recipe this holiday season. It’s so simple to make, & the potatoes are seriously perfect, every single time.

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

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Roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, next to a checkered linen napkin & a small cutting board with fresh chives & a small paring knife.

Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
  • Method: Boiling, Roasting
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

An easy & super creamy roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe. Yukon gold potatoes are mashed with butter & buttermilk until perfectly creamy, & finished with deeply caramelized roasted garlic. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any comfort food meal!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 23 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 2 cups buttermilk (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • for serving: freshly snipped chives, tons of freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Chop just the top off of the head of garlic, to just reveal its cloves. Lightly rub the garlic to loosen and remove any excess paper. Wrap the garlic in foil, drizzling it with the olive oil before you seal the foil, then place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.Roasting garlic for roasted garlic mashed potatoes. A head of garlic placed in a piece of tin foil, topped with olive oil, salt & ground black pepper.
  2. Cook the potatoes: Meanwhile, as the garlic roasts, cook the potatoes. Place the diced potatoes in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and cover with 8 cups cold water, or enough to completely submerge the potatoes. Season with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Carefully strain the potatoes, then return to the pot.
  3. Mash the potatoes: Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. As you’re mashing the potatoes, slowly add in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, and the buttermilk. Alternate as you go – a little butter, then a little buttermilk. Once the potatoes have reached your desired consistency, add in the roasted garlic – the cloves should squeeze out of the garlic bulb very easily. Stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and ground black pepper, to taste. I add ½ teaspoon each, taste, go from there.
  4. Serve the roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes immediately, with lots of freshly cracked black pepper & freshly snipped chives, as desired. Enjoy!Roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, next to a checkered linen napkin & a small cutting board with fresh chives & a small paring knife.

Notes

  • Substitutes for buttermilk in roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes: If you don’t have buttermilk at home, you can easily make a buttermilk substitute by simply adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or fresh lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit & curdle for a minute, then give it a stir. Voila! Homemade buttermilk!
  • Alternate cooking methods: If you’re worried about space on the stovetop as you plan out your Thanksgiving dinner timeline, you can prep these mashed potatoes in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot:
    • Slow Cooker Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: Roast garlic according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions. Place potatoes in the slow cooker, covering with 6 cups cold water (or enough to completely submerge the potatoes) & seasoning with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Slow cook on high for 2-4 hours, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Strain & mash according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above. Serve immediately or hold in the slow cooker, using its “Keep Warm” setting for up to 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 
    • Instant Pot Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: Roast garlic according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions. Place potatoes in the Instant Pot, covering with 6 cups cold water (or enough to completely submerge the potatoes) & seasoning with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook with manual high pressure for 8 minutes. Let Instant Pot naturally release pressure for 2 minutes before carefully manually releasing the remaining pressure. Strain & mash according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above. Serve immediately or hold in the Instant Pot, using its “Keep Warm” setting for up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 
  • Meal prep: By roasting the garlic & prepping the potatoes ahead of time, all you have to do on Thanksgiving Day is boil & mash the potatoes – easy! Here’s what you’ll do:
    • Roast the garlic up to 3 days in advance, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
    • Dice the potatoes up to 1 day in advance, storing submerged in water in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Make-Ahead: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes can also be made up to 3 days in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator, & reheated just before your Thanksgiving dinner. 
  • Portions: As written, this roasted garlic mashed potatoes recipe yields a medium batch, serving up to 8 as a side dish. For a different sized crowd…
    • Scaled up: To serve up to 14 as a side dish, double the recipe. Be sure to cook the potatoes in a stockpot or a vessel large enough to cover the potatoes with at least 2 inches of water. 
    • Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. Use the whole head of roasted garlic for extra garlicky mashed potatoes, or put half of it to use in another Thanksgiving side dish, such as risotto, gratin, or mac & cheese.

Keywords: buttermilk mashed potatoes, roasted garlic, easy, stovetop, slow cooker, instant pot, comfort food, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, Easter, side dish

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat

If you love this Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes recipe, here are a few other Thanksgiving recipes you’ll love!

Roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes in a large blue serving dish, topped with melted butter & chives. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface, next to a checkered linen napkin & a small cutting board with fresh chives & a small paring knife.

Ready for Thanksgiving?

Sidesgiving starts on Sunday, November 8th! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be sharing step-by-step video demos & Q&As for each Sidesgiving recipe, so be sure to follow along! 

To make things even easier, we’re sending the recipes + more Thanksgiving tips to our email friends. Use the form below to sign up to have Sidesgiving delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe below! 

Hosting for the first time? No worries! If you’ve never hosted before, I encourage you to head over to our 3-Hour Thanksgiving, where we share all of our best recipes, tips & how to make this your EASIEST Thanksgiving yet!

Launched in 2018, I created the Plays Well With Butter 3-Hour Thanksgiving Guide with one goal in mind: simplifying Thanksgiving. 3-Hour Thanksgiving is the ultimate guide to your easiest (& tastiest!) Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner yet.

3-Hour Thanksgiving is a free downloadable guide that contains everything you need to plan & host Thanksgiving dinner – a full Thanksgiving menu, turkey prep guidance, a grocery list, timelines, prep notes, checklists & more.

Sign up to receive your 3-Hour Thanksgiving Guide. It’s free & easy – simply fill out the form below!

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest for more easy, modern recipes & fun!

Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

Don’t forget to pin this roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe for later!!!

roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes. an easy & ultra creamy roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe! yukon gold potatoes get mashed until perfectly creamy with butter & buttermilk, then finished with deeply caramelized roasted garlic. the perfect side dish for thanksgiving or any comfort food dinner! #playswellwithbutter #buttermilkmashedpotatoesrecipe #roastedgarlicbuttermilkmashedpotatoes #easymashedpotatoes #bestmashedpotatoes #thanksgivingsidedish #thanksgivingrecipe #comfortfood

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 12.3.20
    Carrie B. said:

    Made these for our small Thanksgiving this year and OH MA WORD…the yummiest!!
    Sad truth: I had never roasted garlic at home before.
    Beautiful truth: It’s the easiest thing in the world, and now I’ll never not do it. Thank you so much!!

    • 1.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hahah roasted garlic on everything!! We are so glad you enjoyed Carrie!

  2. 1.7.20
    Dali said:

    My sister used this recipe for thanksgiving and they were amazing! I have russet potatoes on hand, will I have to adjust anything to use this recipe?

    • 1.8.20
      jess said:

      I’m so glad you love them, Dali! Russets will work great. You may want to add a little more butter, as gold potatoes naturally have a beautiful butteriness about them, but just taste & see what you think as you mash the potatoes. Let me know how it goes! xx

  3. 11.13.19
    Anna B. said:

    You haven’t lived until you’ve tried these mashed potatoes. SO CREAMY. SO GARLICKY. SO PERFECT. Honestly, I could just eat these for dinner and be perfectly happy.

    • 1.14.20
      jess said:

      Girl, SAME. So glad you love them as much as we do!! xx