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Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min


  • 2lb Fresh Red or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 6 Tablespoons Buttermilk
  • 6 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Onion or Onion Powder
  • Fresh Chives or Thyme for Garnish (optional)
  • Salt to Taste



  1. Scrub the potatoes well and remove any blackened spots. Cut them into a 1-2 inch dice. I prefer to leave the peel on. Cut your butter into a few pieces and set aside.
  2. Place the cut potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water by a few inches. Add a few good pinches of salt and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until quite tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, add your heavy cream to a microwave-safe dish or a small pot. Shortly before the potatoes are done, heat the cream just until warm to the touch, about 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir the buttermilk, granulated onion, and garlic into the cream and set aside.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Immediately add the butter and begin mashing until the butter is incorporated. Add the cream/buttermilk mixture and salt. continue mashing until your desired consistency is reached. Taste the potatoes and adjust as needed. I usually end up adding almost a full teaspoon of coarse, kosher salt. Add less if using a fine salt.
  5. Hold warm in a crockpot or cover with foil and put in the oven on its “hold warm” setting. Serve with an extra pat of butter and fresh herbs if desired.

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Make It...

  1. Vegetarian: Yes! This dish is naturally vegetarian.
  2. Gluten Free: Yes! This dish is naturally gluten free.
  3. Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:

    1. Chop your potatoes and cover them with cold water, then store in the fridge for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to make the potatoes simply drain them, rinse, and follow the recipe. You can also complete this recipe all the way through. Mashed potatoes reheat well in the microwave, just be sure to stir them every 30 seconds to a minute. If they get a bit dry during reheating add a bit of warm cream.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Salt. Salt is probably the answer. The answer to the eternal question of what else the mashed potatoes need to really make them good. It is astounding, the amount of salt, cream, and butter those starchy little tubers can swallow and then sit there asking for more like a needy baby bird.

I once worked a dinner for 30 people. It was early on in my career and I didn’t know how to calculate the amount of potatoes needed to feed a large number of people. And so we peeled, and peeled, and peeled some more until I do believe we’d peeled more pounds of potatoes than there were people. Silly, really.

Operating in the state of low-key panic that is the norm when preparing dinner for a special event, I boiled those potatoes in several large stock pots and mashed them by hand in hotel pans. I mixed in butter, salt, and some milk I think. I tasted and tasted and thought “Surely, I have added enough salt!” but the potatoes were as bland as the off-colored beige walls of the cheap apartment I rented, and eventually, I gave up.

That dinner was a disaster, though the potatoes turned out to be the least of our problems. The person scheduled to do most of the early prep was a former alcoholic and had a relapse the day before the event. No one else was aware of this until another chef walked into the kitchen 6 hours before the event began. The main course was titled “Perfect lemon chicken” and the entire case of chicken destined to feed 30 people was perfectly frozen into a brick on the bottom shelf of the walk-in freezer. The event was a bar mitzvah and the adults were to be served their chicken dinner while the children competed to make an entirely separate menu in another kitchen consisting of sliders and macaroni and cheese. This, of course, meant double the prep. Mazeltov.

We pulled it together somehow, hacking frozen chunks of chicken apart to be force-thawed in questionably-warm running water before being slapped on a hot grill where we counted on a trick that every chef will pull out of their hat more than once throughout their career and that is that the Maillard reaction can cover a multitude of sins. That day passed like all the others, but those boring-ass potatoes still nagged at me until one day, working at a restaurant in Portland, ME, my line-cook buddy Emily threw some red potatoes casually into the stand mixer for family meal, dumped a few things into it and handed me a spoon. Lord almighty, she had done it. They were the best potatoes I’d ever had. I bugged her and bugged her about what she put in them until she finally decided it would be easier to write it down and shut me up. And ever since that day I determined that my mashed potatoes would never go by the term “bland” again.

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