Mashed Potatoes & Clouds

Mashed Potatoes & Clouds Recipe

I posted these mashed potatoes years ago, but(!), seeing as mashed potato season is just around the corner, I thought I'd update them with a few notes and suggestions. The bottom line? They're incredibly delicious. Buttery peaks and cloud-like potatoes drizzled with a saffron garlic butter, and topped with a toasted almond, coriander, sesame sprinkle. Simple, but with a enough of a twist to make them special.

This post originally started with some musings on all the cloud photographs in my phone. A disproportionate number. I noticed it when scrolling back, back, back looking for a picture I took in Fez. I saw lots of clouds, sky scapes, shots out a plane window, and (hands covering face) sunsets. The cloud shots are my favorite. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of them with you. And that got me thinking about figuring out a recipe tie-in. Meringues, right? Giant billowy ones - we make them often. But then it occurred to me, the holidays are near, and maybe I should do a new version of mashed potatoes? So, here we go.

Mashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes RecipeMashed Potatoes with Saffron Garlic Butter

Mashed Potatoes with Saffron Garlic Butter

I like the creamy texture new potatoes, Yukon golds, and yellow finns lend here, but good russet potatoes yield light, fluffy, beautiful mashed potatoes and are delicious as well. You can easily make these vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter, and your favorite non-dairy milk. Enjoy!

3 pounds potatoes, washed and cut into 2-inch chunks
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium garlic cloves minced
1 pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 cup whole milk, gently warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste

To a large pot of boiling, salted water add the potatoes. Cook until tender throughout, but not falling apart, about 15 minutes - it really depends on the potatoes.

In the meantime, prepare your toppings. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter gently in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic, and allow to steep there over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. You can either leave the garlic bits in, or strain them out. Either way, at this point, stir in the saffron, and a pinch of salt, and set aside.

Crush the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle. Add the almonds, and crush them, but not so much that they turn to paste. Stir in the sesame seeds, and then the oregano. Crushing the oregano in between your palms as you add it.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them, and return to the cooking pot over the lowest heat. Mash together with the milk, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and the salt. Serve hot, topped with the garlic butter and almond mixture.

Serves 6.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 15 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I want to eat all of this, the clouds and spuds, alike.

Re: the potatoes, my mind is spinning with applications for the coriander-almond-sesame sprinkle. Sauteed cabbage! Potato leek soup! Salads of all sorts! Roasted cauliflower! Cardboard!

Kidding, of course, that last one, but I trust you know you have a true talent for toppings. The browned butter rosemary ginger that ran atop a pumpkin soup, several years ago, is still in such steady circulation around here, I leave a pan of the stuff out on my stove, all winter long. So, so good.

And yes, there are particularly good cloud seasons. One more thankful.



I too take so many pictures of the sky! I'm obsessed with sunrise and sunset but anytime I get inspired by the clouds I snap a pic! These potatoes looks seriously so good - the saffron butter is an awesome touch!


That sprinkle immediately made me think: furikake!
Looks fantastic.


I'm always taking photos of clouds, they're just so pretty and trippy!

Gorgeous potato mash; that butter looks spectacular.


hi heidi, such pretty clouds!!! makes me want to go out just to look up and admire those up there. would be perfect to come home to this mash too. just reading the list of ingredients makes me daydream!! x


Oddly have never thought about putting garlic and saffron together in mashed potatoes! That sounds heavenly though- thanks for sharing.

I also have a disproportionate amount of cloud/sky shots on my phone :)


Beautiful! I'm not usually a fan of mashed potatoes but... such a simple, and delicious sounding combination.


Holy, these look fabulous! I love the almonds and sesame seeds in there. I've been flying a lot too recently...these clouds definitely represent my state of mind over the past few days.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

What a great way to dress up plain mashed potatoes! Love these gorgeous skyscapes!

Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits

I love taking pictures of the sky as well, but I'm more of a sunset person. I love late summer nights when the sky is colored red/pink and there are a few clouds in the sky reflecting the light.
I also love me a bowl of good 'ol mashed potatoes, I have to try them with this fantastic saffron garlic butter though!


I do the same with sunrises. Sadly, this time of the year the sun rises when I am already at my desk, and it is part of the reason why I dislike winter so much, and I love late spring. Yet, the comfort of a spud mash makes the cold dark season so much better – especially when they are festively spiced like these. Love them and making them soon – as saffron is on the shopping list to make buns on December 13th. P.S.: thank you for the link to Anna Jones's home on Remodelista in the previous post – I love Anna's work and living in London myself, that home inspired me to greater things in my own dwell, too. xx

Valeria | Life Love Food

What great cloud pictures, they remind me of a friend who used to almost drive off the road whe he spotted a great cloud (hey Kit, watch where you are going ! )
Cloud watching is one of the great (secret) pleasures in life.
So are mashed potatos. Your topping sounds very different and special, I will have to make it this weekend.


Love the cloud pics! I'm an avid cloud gazer as well though I don't have as many photos to prove it. And I love the cloudy potatoes with a hint of saffron. Beautiful!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth

Love your creative toppings, Heidi, from the garlic/saffron infused butter to the almond, coriander sprinkle. . .definitely more than "enough of a twist to make them special."


The cloud pics are gorgeous. I love clouds. The potatoes look like heaven to me. Will try.


Wonderful skies and a recipe to make. I love mashed potatoes :-)


I am so there. The potatoes, the sky! And, ooh, the market! Missed it last year with the wee babe. Hope to catch you all.


I think I recognize some of those clouds :)
Just love the light of these gloomy fall days. And these mashed potatoes look like the perfect match - I can almost smell the saffron, garlic, coriander & oregano ...

Julia {dinners with friends}

Clouds are beautiful. Hope you don't mind but I used one as my background.....thanks

Modeane Collins

Bookmarking your blog. Wow, why have I not found you before now?


Beautiful. Heidi, I trust your recipes and good sense on flavours so I'm asking a substitution suggestion for almonds. I'm allergic. How about roasted pumpkin seeds or is there another seed that gives a better near-almond effect?

HS: I'm feeling like walnuts would be a nice swap!

Cynthia Moffat

I miss San Francisco skies so much it brings tears to my eyes! After moving back east last year, I think about the beauty I took for granted. Thank God my daughter was smart enough to stay, hence my yearning for San Fran is ever deeper. Thanks for the pics!


Saffron! What a great twist on the traditional mashed potato. Love it!

Sarah from Soymilk + Honey

Heidi.....oh my.......the things that inspire you! It's a blessing to us all. Thankyou for being.
And the potatoes? Oh yes. Gonna try.


You can never take too many pictures of clouds or dogs. There is something so magical about them, and their capability to look so different every single time. I must have thousands of those too, I know .. Don't judge ;)


Clouds are so mystical, I was mesmerized by their unsuspected appearance that I missed two exits admiring them! Beautiful dish, my kiddos won't eat mash but I would make them if I had that beautiful bowl. Good luck at Remodelista...I'm trying to make the LA one if my schedule can work things out.


Beautiful. Heidi, I trust your recipes and good sense on flavours so I'm asking a substitution suggestion for almonds. I'm allergic. How about roasted pumpkin seeds or is there another seed that gives a better near-almond effect?

HS: I feel like walnuts would be an A+ substitution Cynthia :)

Cynthia Moffat

on the list! what a stellar combination. this may be a silly question, but did you peel the potatoes here?

HS: I don't - I like them on the rustic side.


You should join the Cloud Appreciation Society! They welcome cloud spotters photos :)


I love everything about this! I like to take pictures of the sky, too. Specifically photos of trees against the sky... I never thought of making mashed potatoes with saffron, but saffron, garlic, and butter can do no wrong. So I will make this. And I know I will love it. I'm glad the sky gave you inspiration in the kitchen :)

genevieve @ gratitude & greens

This mash looks heavenly! Wouldn't mind just having that on its own for dinner! T'was only yesterday I tried using saffron in a savoury (also potato!) dish, and it worked a treat :D Thanks for sharing this :) x

Jules @ WolfItDown

Don't tell my husband, but every day I make sure I am home for sunset to watch the beautiful, crazy cloud formations before the sun goes down. I sit on a love set I have set up in my kitchen in front of 2 large windows which face Southwest. I too have photographed on my Android, but nothing beats eyeballs. Ahhhh the beauty. Time to make dinner!


Mmm these look divine! I think I'll make with sweet potatoes and coconut milk. Can't wait.


I once took a photo of the sunset outside of the cabin in the mountains I worked at for an six months. At the end of the six months I looked at all of the photos and was amazed at the variations of clouds/colors/moods. I have kept the photos and look at them often for inspiration.
These potatoes look insane, in the best way. You do everything better!

kristie {birch and wild}

Your phone-full of cloud shots sounds like my phone-full of blue sky + tree shots I find myself snapping almost daily! Lovely spuds xx

Emma Galloway

Cloud photos just in time for the Turner movie.
Wonderful mashed potatoes


Heidi, Lisa and I are coming to the R Market on the 13th! We've invited G too. Can't wait to see you!


This was spectacular Heidi. We had it last night with steak and a broccoli salad. Beautiful thank you!


I absolutely love mashed potatoes and how airy your blog looks.

Amby Felix

I'm with Laura - you clearly qualify for Cloud Appreciation Society membership!


I love the creative element in your recipe, the idea of adding almonds is original. I can easily adopt this as my favorite mashed potato recipe as almonds is my favorite snack.

Clarise McQuay

Mashed potatoes have never looked so beautiful! They're my ultimate comfort food - looking forward to whipping up your version soon.
- Hannah (


Give me Meringue clouds any day over mashed spuds!


Oh my word... I need to up my mashed potato game! This looks utterly wonderful. And I am in the same boat with cloud photos - I'm a sucker for a nice sunset/sunrise ;)

Jeanne Horak-Druiff

I too take so many pictures of the sky! I'm obsessed with sunrise and sunset but anytime I get inspired by the clouds I snap a pic! These potatoes looks seriously so good - the saffron butter is an awesome touch!


I am so there. The potatoes, the sky! And, ooh, the market! Missed it last year with the wee babe. Hope to catch you all.

Cilt Maskesi

You really know how to gussy up a dish! That saffron butter and nut topping would work wonders on just about anything and turns these potatoes into a main attraction.


I have just tried the potatoes and I seriously love it! I love simple recipes that just reconnect us with good taste while giving this comfy childhood feeling celebrating everything simple and pure in our mouths. I volunteer to make videos of recipes that I love and would love to make one for you for this one. It's a hobby and I just did it for a vegetarian burger with couscous: ... would love your feedback on it and happy to connect to see how I can make a funny video to celebrate this delicious yet very simple recipe :)


You have a knack for combining typically segregated spices- I never would have guessed oregano, sesame and coriander would be a match made in (cloud) heaven.

Maggie @ Veg Fiend

I love the beauty of your posts--your photos are so awesome of skies and of mashed potatoes. Love looking at the sky, especially after the last storm. I see that you were there today in San Francisco. Wish I could have been there to say Hello and Thank you.

Anne Kim

I love the crunchiness added to the potatoes with almond and sesame. I also like the use of saffron :)


Super taste. Clouds: Fourth photograph right side of clouds looks like INDIA outline map. I am very proud of that India inner map looks mashed potatoes with saffron garlic butter. Thank you.


If the mash potato tastes as good as the picture, job well done! i love garlic, sea salt and butter in my mash too!

Jason Galletti

I made these for christmas! they were fantastic, thank you, there are very few mashed potato recipes out there on blogs I admire.


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