Our Favorite Potatoes – the BEST Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic.
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 me? I am ALL about the mashed potatoes.
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 a little under the weather from having a little too much fun the night before & *the other one of us* was 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, running the garbage disposal seemed like the quickest way to clean up all the potato peels in the sink…but BOY was I wrong. I nearly flooded our kitchen!
Ever since, Chris has been on mashed potato duty at our house on Thanksgiving. That’s totally okay with me because he makes a MEAN batch of buttermilk mashed potatoes. They’re kinda famous amongst our family & friends – everyone flips out over how perfect they are! – hence the name: Chris’ Kinda-Famous Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes.
This buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe is Chris’ kinda-famous recipe, with a couple of my own PWWB touches to take them completely over the top:
- It specifies use of Yukon Gold potatoes, which have the most insane tender & buttery texture, perfect for mashed potatoes.
- It calls for a full head of roasted garlic, which is swirled into the potatoes just before serving & adds deep, rich, & caramelly garlic flavor to every single bite.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Recipe Highlights
These from-scratch buttermilk garlic mashed potatoes are…
- EASY. These mashed potatoes come together in three simple steps. Plus, they are easily made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot – be sure to check the Recipe Notes below for all the details!
- SERIOUSLY FLAVORFUL. These buttermilk mashed potatoes are fluffy, creamy, & buttery, infused with rich & caramelly roasted garlic flavor. The perfect elevated-yet-homey potato side dish!
- A THANKSGIVING CLASSIC. What is a Thanksgiving feast without mashed potatoes? These roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes take your mashed potato game to a whole new level. Plus, they are perfect for dousing with tons of turkey gravy!
The result? Mashed potato perfection. ♡ Read on to learn more about this Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
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Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
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 simple pantry staples. It’s truly the type of recipe that transforms some of the most humble ingredients into an amazing dish 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 to use 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!
Ingredient Spotlight ⇢ Buttermilk (The Secret for the BEST Mashed Potatoes!!!)
I absolutely love using buttermilk in mashed potatoes. Its tanginess adds bright flavor to cut through the creaminess & richness of the potatoes & butter without weighing the potatoes down. The result? Epic mashed potatoes that are light, fluffy, flavorful, & perfectly balanced. What’s not to love about that?! Buttermilk is one of my holiday season staples – it’s great to keep on hand for festive biscuits! – but if you don’t have any on hand, here are a couple buttermilk substitutes for this roasted garlic mashed potatoes recipe…
Easy Buttermilk Substitute ⇢ Make a buttermilk substitute by simply adding vinegar or fresh lemon juice to plain milk. For this specific recipe, you’ll add 2 tablespoons of 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!
Other Buttermilk Alternatives ⇢ Don’t like buttermilk? No problem! Feel free to substitute it with an equal amount of milk. Or try substituting with an equal amount of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche, all of which provide similar tanginess & creaminess as buttermilk.
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 recipe is my favorite because it’s really easy to prepare! While it’s perfect for Thanksgiving or any special holiday dinner, you really can make them any day of the week & any time of the year.
(Note: full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.)
These mashed potatoes come together in 3 simple steps:
- Roast a head of garlic: Lob the top off of a head of garlic, drizzle it with some olive oil & give it a good sprinkle of salt & black pepper before wrapping it up in foil & popping it in the oven. Why? ⇢ The garlic slowly roasts & caramelizes in the oven, until it’s totally soft & filled with perfectly roasty, garlicky flavor. While you definitely don’t need roasted garlic to make epic buttermilk mashed potatoes, it definitely takes them to the next level!(Added bonus: it makes your house smell amazing!)
- 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. Mashed Potatoes Tip! ⇢ If you’re short on stove space, you can just as easily cook the potatoes in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot! Full directions for both methods are provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Mash, mash, mash: Mash the potatoes, adding butter & buttermilk gradually as you work, until they reach your desired texture. 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! Mashed Potatoes Tip! ⇢ We prefer slightly more rustic mashed potatoes, so I simply use a potato masher when I make these buttermilk mashed potatoes. 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.
Other Tricks & Tips for Perfect Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes:
- Best potatoes for mashed potatoes: In my potato-loving opinion, the best potatoes for mashed potatoes are Yukon Gold potatoes. Yukon Golds have a wonderfully tender & buttery texture that lends them to mashing insanely well. They’re 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.
- To peel, or not to peel?: One of the more controversial points in any mashed potato discussion is whether you should peel the potatoes or not. My stance? We 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!
- Don’t skimp on the butter! Whatever you do, please, please, please don’t skimp on butter when you make mashed potatoes! Potatoes need butter, plain & simple. Butter adds so much flavor & helps make the mashed potatoes super creamy. 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 equals about 1 tablespoon of butter per serving.
Make-Ahead & Alternate Cooking Methods:
Here’s everything you need to know about these roasted garlic mashed potatoes:
- Meal prep: By roasting the garlic & prepping the potatoes ahead of time, all you have to do on Thanksgiving is boil & mash the potatoes – easy! See the Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
- 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 on reheating.
- 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!
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!Print
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!
- 1 head garlic
- 1–2 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, as desired: freshly snipped chives, tons of freshly cracked black pepper
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes immediately, with lots of freshly cracked black pepper & freshly snipped chives, as desired. Enjoy!
- 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 Megan McKeehan
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