Introduction: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Picture of Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes are now traditional, at least at our house, and for good reason.

Step 1: Chop Potatoes

Picture of Chop Potatoes

Chop potatoes* and add to cold, empty pot. The smaller the chunks the faster they'll cook. Here I've used ~2lbs of yukon golds in a 2.5qt pot.

Add lots of garlic. I generally use a handful/pound of potatoes, but I'm a big fan. You can also choose to roast your garlic separately for mashing-in later, or to grate fresh garlic into the hot potatoes to be lightly cooked during mashing. Boiling** the garlic with the potatoes is a lazy but efficient way to go.

*You can use most any type of potatoes except those waxy new potatoes. Super-starchy potatoes like Russets work well, as do varieties like Yukon Golds (shown here; they've got a buttery taste) and those awesome-looking blue/purple ones. Choose what you like, and what fits your color scheme.

**Don't worry about losing nutrients to the boiling water- these are mashed potatoes! Nobody but the pre-famine Irish get their vitamins from potatoes anyway- that's what real vegetables are for. Mashed potatoes are a delicious vehicle for butter, cream, salt, cheese, garlic, and other wonderful flavors- sort of like french fries. Don't even bother pretending they're health food, and life will be much better.

Step 2: Boil

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Add water to cover, and bring to a boil.

Be careful about covering the pot- potatoes are prone to boiling over and creating a gigantic starchy mess. Setting the cover on at an angle isn't sufficient- you really need to yank it before the pot comes to a full boil.

Step 3: Drain and Mash

Picture of Drain and Mash

When the potatoes are fork-tender, drain* them and get out the potato masher. This is a fine way to put kitchen loiterers or volunteers to work.

Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste as you mash. Add cream and mash some more. Make sure you're adding enough fat- this is a decadent holiday dish, not health food. Do it right. I added a stick of butter to my 2lbs of potatoes, but didn't have any cream on hand- sad.

*You can drain them in a collander then dump them back into the pot, or carefully angle the pot lid and drain the scalding water out of the crack. Don't try this last one unless you're strong enough to handle the full pot and are sure you know what you're doing.

Step 4: Add Extras & Serve

Picture of Add Extras & Serve

Potential extras:
chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, oregano, tarragon, etc)
dried spices (chili powder, allspice, cumin, etc)
cheese (parmesan, cheddar, chevre, blue, etc)

Select additional flavorings to match your mood and stir or mash them in.

You want to serve mashed potatoes warm, so if you're not serving immediately cover the container and either wrap it in an insulating towel or store it in a warm space. You can also tuck it in the oven for a few minutes just prior to serving, then fluff the surface before you put it on the table.

Sorry for the lack of carefully-posed picture, but we were entirely too hungry.


potatosimon (author)2011-06-30

Great recipe, but i would suggest to add some roasted bacon and a little bit sugar.

titanvince16 (author)2009-11-24


Blastfurnace (author)2009-11-23

Very nice instructable. I have an all potato cook book that says "after you drain put back on the heat and watch carefully turning the whole time, potatoes will turn chalky looking and 'floury'. Then HAND mash"   Must be a pro thing cause for me it just makes em stick. But anyhow...       

    I find if I use a bit of butter and the rest sour cream, nno milk,  they taste the same but leftovers from the microwave are as smooth as fresh cooked.
   I roast garlic and put in mine also. Oven to 325, head of garlic in glassware dish, cook for one hour.  Wait till you find out how well this makes a house smell.

   Take two roasted cloves, cut tip off and squeeze "paste" into potatoes when adding the butter.

  The number one mashed tater trick......  Yukon Gold  nuf said

rattyrain (author)2009-11-22

I have that same green Old Navy belt!

dsalter (author)2009-11-22

yummy!  i've also added half and half, whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream, etc (you get the picture) and lots of butter.  Double yummy!

Tobita (author)2008-04-22

this would be good in a salmon pie!

iglo1234 (author)Tobita2008-11-24


Tobita (author)iglo12342008-11-24

it's flaked salmon and mashed potatoes (with seasoning as desired) in a pie crust, it is then best to eat with ketchup

Gwiz (author)2007-11-22

Sounded delicious; so I made it for Thanksgiving. It came out... Excellent. I used small red potatoes with the peel and did not skimp on butter and cream with lots of garlic as the instructions said. Again Excellent and a big hit at the table.

canida (author)Gwiz2007-11-25


radiobath (author)2007-11-22

Sounds delicious, but still a bit too bland for my tastes (I'd toss in more butter, cream, garlic, and rosemary). When I was younger, my mom would use her full spice cabinet at every chance she could. If I can get the ingredients, I'll make an instructable on her amazing potato pie. Definitely will send those with cardiovascular problems to the hospital, but damn, is it delicious.

canida (author)radiobath2007-11-25

Sounds perfect for Thanksgiving- that's the kind of food you really only eat once/year. Please share!

mensmaximus (author)2007-11-25

scary amateur chemistry in the kitchen

Bas (author)2007-11-15

Canida you're my hero, when my albums sell a lot and i'm rich, i ll hire you as my cook :p

canida (author)Bas2007-11-16


bumsugger (author)2007-10-03

W-O-W I would'nt mind coming to your house for dinner Canida,but I'd probably get trampled in the rush................................

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-02-05

These look realy good, but i must add, it tasts much better with Red Potatos, crap load o garlic, 1/4cup sour cream, and some mixed in "whipped whipping cream. :- (| |)

canida (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-02-05

Red potatoes are tasty, but usually don't mash well because their starch content is much lower than Yukon golds or the standard Russets. They're better suited for potato salads. Sour cream is a perfect substitute for cream, especially since it keeps longer in the fridge.

shangrilarcadia (author)canida2007-08-11

I don't know about that. Chicken Out (a rotiserie chain resturaunt) has the best mashed potatos ever and they use red-skinned potatoes. By the way, I make my potatoes the same way as this nistructable, but one thing I suggest people try is adding a little bit of chicken stock when mashing - it adds a great flavor.

dizzydave (author)2006-11-20

the most important tip is not included above: you must melt your butter and heat your cream before adding to your potatoes! Cold milk or cold butter will cause the potatoes to turn into a glue-like blob...

And0 (author)dizzydave2007-01-25

Over-stirring causes mashed potatoes to gum up. Maybe if the butter takes too long to melt (one big block instead of many small pieces) you'll have to mix it more. This might be the actual cause of what you mention.

canida (author)dizzydave2006-11-20

It's always worked beautifully for me with milk and butter straight from the fridge, but then I'm generally doing this with a large volume of potatoes (large thermal mass), and mash them in the original pot while they're still dangerously hot. If you let the potatoes cool off while mashing the result will certainly be sub-optimal.

dataphool (author)2007-01-21

My mother, her mother, her sisters, her daughter-in-law (my wife), and her grand-daughter (my daughter) all cook mashed potatoes the same way, with absolutely no frills except the gravy. As a result, I have never cared for masher potatoes. I look forward to the next time, so I can try some embellishments. Thanks

canida (author)dataphool2007-01-21

That's the way my grandmother did it, and when I was a child my parents had to mash in carrots to get me to eat her potatoes! Added flavor makes everything better. Some people like to add cheese as well, but I find it a bit much.

johncar (author)2006-12-08

My mother is Irish, which means she is a potato expert! When they are cooked and drained, return the pot to the hot plate, replace the lid and allow them to steam/dry out a little, carefully shaking the pot to prevent burning. That removes more water from potatoes and makes them tastier. As a lazy guy (don’t tell my mum) I don't peel the potatoes but I do use a potato masher. Most of the skins get hooked up in the hasher. Remember it is only the part just under the skin that contains vitamins, the rest is starch

sumguysr (author)2006-11-15

mashed potatoes are even better if you add a dash of truffle oil to them. truffle oil is much cheaper than truffles and has all the flavor. white truffle oil tends to have a stronger mushroomy flavor while black truffle oil is a little more subtle yet bold, black truffle oil tastes alot more like olive oil with a mushroom undertone while white is pure mushroom.

radiorental (author)2006-11-14

try diced onions or even pickled dills in your potatos

and a more simple version of this instructable

0.775volts (author)2006-11-14

that is a massive amount of garlic! truly massive, like waay more than I thought would be in these. How well do they turn out. (i.e: How garlicky?)

canida (author)0.775volts2006-11-14

What Randy_che said. Boiling the garlic mellow it even more than roasting; if I had more time I'd have grated a couple of fresh cloves into these potatoes to punch up the garlic flavor. (The scalding-hot potatoes at least partially cook finely-grated garlic, so it's not really raw.)

Of course, I like my garlic. Lots. But boiling it gives you a good bit of leeway.

0.775volts (author)canida2006-11-14

ahh. I actually was wondering about that after I posted (figured the best way to get an answer for sure was to leave the comment up). I usually use three large cloves minced and added at mashing for a batch about half the size of yours, seems to have a good garlic flavor, but not too much. I've also found that mixing your varieties of potatoes yields a good flavor. I mix yukon gold with red and russet potatoes. I love the yukon golds, you don't really even need butter with them.

Randy_che (author)0.775volts2006-11-14

Boiling the garlic with the potatoes really mellows the flavor. If it were raw garlic, it would be overpowering.

Crash2108 (author)2006-11-14

How many hours a day do you spend making dinner?

canida (author)Crash21082006-11-14

Probably a lot less than you think. Most of the things I cook require a bit of prep up front, then are tossed into the oven or simmer on the stove for a while, requiring only periodic checkups. I usually set my laptop up at the kitchen table so I can work while monitoring for flaming disaster.

We cook in bulk, so we've got leftovers to eat for lunch/dinner for a couple of days. Eric and I usually collaborate on the prep, and we're both pretty speedy. It usually takes far longer to put up the instructable than to prepare the food.

The Thanksgiving-themed instructables I'm putting up right now all came from one dinner party. We certainly put more effort into that than we do into a normal dinner, but there were plenty of extra hands available and everyone ends up in the kitchen at a party anyway.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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