Mashed red potatoes are buttery, garlicky, and have a rustic texture from red potato skins. This recipe is perfect as a simple dinner side and can easily be made vegan/dairy-free.
As much as I love sharing creative recipes, sometimes you just need a classic go-to staple. That's why I love these mashed red potatoes.
This is an easy recipe with simple ingredients, comforting flavors, and a reliable outcome.
We're using just red-skinned mashed potatoes, milk, butter, salt, and garlic. These potatoes aren't as garlicky as my garlic cream cheese mashed potatoes but the sauteed garlic does add a little extra something to an otherwise simple version of mashed potatoes.
- Flavors: Creamy and buttery mashed potatoes with a pop of texture from the potato skins. We keep the seasonings simple with salt, pepper, fresh sauteed garlic, and chives.
- Simple ingredients: All you need is 5 main ingredients to make mashed red potatoes. This recipe can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many you're serving.
- Easy to make: Unlike other mashed potato recipes, red potatoes aren't peeled before boiling and mashing. This adds extra texture to otherwise smooth mashed potatoes.
- Versatile: You can easily make this recipe dairy-free/vegan and it won't compromise the outcome. Serve as a side with weeknight meals or double the recipe for Thanksgiving.
- Red potatoes: These come in a few different sizes, from baby potato-sized to about half the size of a russet potato. Either kind owrks. Red potatoes are subtly sweet with a waxy, white interior.
- Milk: I use whole milk. Reduced fat milk does also work (I tested with 2% but not skim). I did test this recipe with unsweetened, unflavored soy milk and it works well but does have a slight soy milk flavor to it.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for the most control over salt. If you only have salted butter, just adjust the added salt to taste.
- Garlic: I personally just like adding garlic to everything and I think it makes the potatoes a little more interesting than just milk and butter. That being said, the garlic can definitely be omitted if you're not big on garlic.
- Salt: Don't skimp on salt when it comes to mashed potatoes. Kosher salt (Red Diamond brand) is my go-to, but any kind works.
How to boil potatoes
Wash the potatoes well. Slice the potatoes into similarly sized pieces, about 1". For baby potatoes, you only need to slice the potatoes in half. For larger potatoes, slice into 4 pieces.
Place the potatoes in a large pot. I use my Dutch oven. Cover with an inch of well-salted cold water.
Bring the water to a boil over medium-high to high heat. Once boiling, the potatoes should be ready in 12-15 minutes.
The potatoes are ready when fork tender. This means that a fork can be inserted into the thickest part of the potato very easily.
Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.
Steps to make mashed potatoes
To the same pot, add the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add in the minced garlic. Saute the garlic until golden, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the milk and remaining salt, stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for just a minute. Turn off the heat if the milk starts simmering.
Warming the milk makes it so that the mashed potatoes are hot and ready to eat as soon as everything is combined, instead of adding cold milk directly to the potatoes which cools them down.
Add in the cooked potatoes. Use a potato masher to carefully mash the potatoes (I say carefully because the warm milk/butter mixture can splash up).
Taste for salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste and top with sliced chives.
Tips and variations
- Dairy-free option: Use plant butter and non-dairy milk. Choose unsweetened milk like soy milk or oat milk.
- Roasted garlic: If you have extra time or just happen to have a bulb of roasted garlic, I highly recommend omitting sauteed garlic and adding in a few cloves of roasted garlic.
- Food processor method: Note that I have only tested mashed red potatoes with a potato masher, but this method has worked with other mashed potato recipes. For smoother potatoes, process the potatoes and the warmed milk/butter. I recommend pulsing the potatoes to avoid gummy/overprocessed mashed potatoes.
- Leftovers: Leftover mashed potatoes are best within 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated in a closed container.
- Reheating: Mashed potatoes are best reheated in the microwave in single servings. To reheat a large serving in the microwave, stir every minute until heated through. To reheat in the oven, place in a covered dish and heat at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Add additional milk and butter as needed.
- Making in advance: This recipe can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. The potatoes will thicken as they refrigerate, so additional milk may need to be added prior to serving.
- Freezing: Mashed potatoes freeze well, but as with other methods they will need additional milk after thawing. Let cool to room temp before transferring to an airtight container.
Looking for more easy sides?
Did you try this recipe? You can leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in the recipe card or a review down in the comments section. I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow along on my YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest or sign up for my newsletter!
Mashed Red Potatoes
- 2 pounds red potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ¼ cup unsalted butter see note #1
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced (optional)
- ½ cup whole milk 2% also works
- ¼ cup sliced chives
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Clean the red potatoes. Slice into 1 inch pieces. Place into a large pot and cover with 1 inch of cold water and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium high to high heat. Boil until tender, about 12-15 minutes. The potatoes should be easily pierceable with a fork when ready.
- Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.
- In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the minced garlic. Saute until golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and salt. Cook another minute, until warmed. Reduce the heat if the milk starts simmering.
- Return cooked potatoes to the pot. Use a potato masher to break the potatoes down to desired consistency.
- Stir in the sliced chives. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and taste for salt. Enjoy!
- Butter: If using salted butter, adjust the salt in the recipe to taste.
- Vegan option: Use plant butter and non-dairy milk to make this recipe dairy-free. Choose unsweetened, unflavored milk like soy milk or oat milk.
- Leftovers: Best within 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated in a closed container. Can be made up to 24 hours in advance, but will need extra milk to loosen and reheat.
- Reheating: To reheat in the microwave, add a splash of milk and heat until warmed through, stirring every minute. To reheat in the oven, place in a casserole dish and cover. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.