I posted this mashed potato recipe years ago, and hundreds of you have cooked them! Seeing as mashed potato season is just around the corner, I thought I'd update the recipe with a few notes and suggestions. Creamy, buttery peaks and cloud-like potatoes are drizzled with garlic butter spiked with saffron. Top the potatoes with a toasted almond, coriander, sesame sprinkle - it's incredibly delicious. Simple, but with enough of a twist to make them special.
Best Type of Potato to Use
People really dig in with opinions about what type of potato is king when it comes to making the best mashed potatoes. I like the creamy texture most waxy "new" potatoes bring to the party. Yukon gold potatoes or yellow finns are my go-to. They both have great flavor and texture. That said, many people use russet potatoes because they're readily available and less expensive. Don't get me wrong, russet potatoes have high starch quantity and can contribute to a beautiful, fluffy bowl of potatoes. They're fine! But, smaller, waxy potatoes are superior here. They're creamy when mashed and lend a beautiful, naturally rich texture you can't get otherwise.
Skin off or Skin on Mashed Potatoes?
This is completely a personal preference. If you're serving a crowd that appreciates a rustic mashed potato, by all means, leave the skins on. If your people like uniform billowing clouds of mashed potato, get out the peeler. I tend to bounce back and forth between the two.
The Secret Drizzle Magic
A special butter drizzle is the thing that takes these potatoes over the top. It's a simple combination of butter, garlic, saffron and a pinch of salt. When you drizzle the butter mixture over the potatoes the scent is incredible. This is the perfect way to elevate a beautiful platter of mashed potatoes beyond classic garlic butter. As a last touch, a dusting of almonds and herbs brings an updated accent to classic mashed potatoes. The recipe is below.
Mashed Potato Variations
There are endless ways to top great mashed potatoes. A dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche paired with lots of black pepper is never a bad idea. And regardless of what other toppings you decide on, minced chives are always welcome to the garnish party. Some people love adding cream cheese, but I tend to skip that approach - too heavy. An alternative on the cheese front could be a strong cheddar grated along with chopped jalapeno or Serrano chiles. Grated parmesan on mashed potatoes is another match made in heaven. For my greens enthusiasts, I love these Kale Mashed Potatoes from forever ago. Or, if you're open-minded about a sweet potato variation - these Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes are in need of an updated photo (laugh/cry), but so good.
What is the Best Method for Mashing Potatoes?
It's best to start with the worst methods for mashing potatoes. Avoid using a food processor. It breaks up the cellular structure of the potatoes and creates a glue-like texture. No good! Correspondingly, hand blenders cause the same problem. A potato masher is my first choice. A strong wooden spoon or large fork can also work. keep in mind it takes a bit of time for the potatoes to absorb the liquids. If you're committed to automating the process, an electric mixer with paddle attachment is an option, but avoid over-mixing. A pro-tip at this stage is to use warm milk as opposed to cold milk. It keeps hot potatoes hot, and makes them easier to mash.
Keep them warm!
I get this question on occasion. What is the best way to keep the potatoes hot? If you have a slow cooker this is option number one. It allows you to work on other dishes and easily keep the potatoes hot. Specifically, mash the potatoes and hold them in the slow cooker. Then, add any butter drizzles just before serving. Another idea, hold them in a foil-covered oven-proof bowl in warm oven.
Perfect, Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Butter
I like the creamy texture new potatoes like Yukon gold potatoes and yellow finns lend here. That said, good russet potatoes yield light, fluffy, beautiful mashed potatoes and are delicious as well. You can read my notes above. Also, you can easily make these vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter and your favorite non-dairy milk. Lastly, don't be thrown off by the saffron, you can leave it out if you don't have any. Enjoy!
- 3 pounds potatoes, washed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 1 pinch of saffron (optional)
- 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 over high heat add the potatoes. Cook until tender throughout, but not falling apart, about 15 minutes - it really depends on the potatoes.
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 (if using), 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.