Mashed potatoes are one of the most beloved side dishes across cuisines. Their creamy, smooth texture and versatility make them an easy crowd-pleaser. While plain mashed potatoes are delicious on their own, there are so many ways to jazz them up and take this humble side to new heights.
Mashed potatoes have been popular for centuries, with some of the earliest recipes dating back to the sixteenth century. Their popularity stems from a few key factors. Potatoes are inexpensive, abundant, and easy to grow, making them accessible. When mashed, their neutral flavor absorbs surrounding flavors easily. They have a creamy, soft texture that provides comfort and satisfaction. And perhaps most importantly, they pair well with almost any meat or vegetable.
Statistics show that mashed potatoes are the most popular potato dish in America. Their prevalence in classic American comfort foods like meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roasts, and pot pies contributes to their favored status.
With such versatility, mashed potatoes can be so much more than a basic side. Mix in cheese, herbs, spices, or other vegetables to bring this blank canvas of a dish to life. From loaded baked potato flavors to global twists, the possibilities are endless. Keep reading for some of the most creative mashed potato recipes to add to your repertoire.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
No mashed potato recipe roundup would be complete without classic garlic mashed potatoes. The combination of creamy, smooth potatoes and mellow roasted garlic is hard to beat. Garlic adds a pop of flavor without overpowering the potatoes’ natural sweetness.
Garlic mashed potatoes pair perfectly with any beef, chicken, or pork entrée. The garlic notes complement the meat well. You can also serve them alongside a hearty vegetable stew or pot pie.
To make them, start by roasting a head of garlic drizzled with olive oil to mellow out the sharpness. Once cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mash them into your potatoes. For an extra kick, use the roasted garlic olive oil in the potatoes as well. Let this garlicky version become your new go-to.
Loaded Baked Potato Mash
Capture the flavors of a loaded baked potato in mashed form with this fun twist. Loaded baked potatoes are a favorite appetizer or meal for good reason – the combination of smooth potato, cheese, bacon, and scallions is hard to beat.
Transform your mashed potatoes by mixing in shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, crumbled cooked bacon, and sliced scallions. The cheese becomes an ooey, gooey binder while the bacon adds a smoky crunch. The scallions provide a pop of freshness. This mash is delicious served alongside any grilled or roasted meat.
To make this loaded mash extra decadent, top it with more cheese and bacon once plated. The possibilities are endless when you use a loaded baked potato as inspiration.
Cheddar and Chive Mash
For a more elegant twist, a sharp cheddar and chive mash brings out the best in both ingredients. Aged cheddar offers a tangy, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the mild grassy flavor of chives.
Stir shredded extra-sharp cheddar into the mashed potatoes after removing them from the heat so the cheese melts thoroughly without clumping. Then mix in minced fresh chives. The result is a sophisticated mash that complements seafood or poultry dishes nicely.
Garnish this mash with extra chives before serving. The pop of green against the creamy potatoes makes for an elegant presentation.
Colcannon Irish Mash
For a delightful Irish twist, try colcannon mashed potatoes. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. The greens add texture and freshness.
Sauté chopped kale or cabbage in butter or olive oil until tender. Then mix it into the mashed potatoes along with some minced scallions. The result is a hearty, healthy mash that pairs well with corned beef, sausages, or fish.
Colcannon is traditionally served at Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Embrace this festive seasonal side year-round.
Sweet Potato Mash
Trade white potatoes for sweet potatoes in your mash for a nutritious twist. Sweet and white potato mashes taste delicious together, so you can also make them half and half.
Sweet potatoes lend a creamy, sweet flavor and orange hue. Mix in spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to complement their natural sweetness. Top sweet potato mash with toasted pecans or maple syrup for added texture and flavor.
This mash pairs especially well with roasted or smoked turkey, ham, or pork. It also makes a unique base for shepherd’s pie.
Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mash
For a rich, decadent mash, try roasted garlic and parmesan. Roasting mellows garlic’s bite and brings out its natural sweetness. At the same time, parmesan offers a savory, nutty punch.
Mash roasted garlic cloves into the potatoes, then stir in shredded parmesan. The garlic nicely cuts through the cheese’s saltiness. You can also top the mash with more melted parmesan for an extra layer of gooey goodness.
This indulgent mash is delicious alongside Italian dishes like chicken parmesan, lasagna, or osso buco. The garlic and cheese also pair nicely with grilled or roasted meats.
Horseradish and Dill Mash
Give your mash a kick of flavor with prepared horseradish and fresh dill. Horseradish has a spicy, sinus-clearing heat that pairs boldly with cool, grassy dill.
For the best flavor, fold in prepared horseradish and minced dill just before serving. Horseradish can become bitter when cooked. The horseradish heat cuts through rich meats like prime rib while the dill cools things down.
This mash also pairs well with smoked salmon, grilled fish, or light seafood dishes. The bold flavors hold up nicely to fish without overpowering it.
Chipotle and Lime Mash
For a Tex-Mex twist, spice up your spuds with chipotle and lime. The smoky heat of chipotle peppers and the bright acidity of lime juice liven up basic mashed potatoes.
Stir in one minced chipotle pepper and the juice of one lime. Start with just half a pepper if you’re spice-averse. The lime adds freshness to balance out the smokiness. Top with shredded Mexican cheese like cotija or queso fresco for more flavor.
This southwestern mash complements any Mexican food like fajitas, tacos, or enchiladas. The cool, creamy potatoes provide relief from spicy dishes.
Mashed potatoes are so much more than a basic side dish. With endless flavor combinations, they can be transformed into a memorable accompaniment. From classic garlic mashed to loaded baked potato inspired, adapt this blank canvas of a dish to complement your meal.
When making mashed potatoes at home, use Yukon gold or russet potatoes and avoid over-mixing for the creamiest texture. Fold in fresh herbs, spices, cheese, or veggies right before serving to keep flavors vibrant. With a little creativity, the possibilities for jazzing up humble mashed potatoes are endless.