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Not-So-Humble Mashed Potatoes

“As long as there are mashed potatoes, I’ll be happy,” said a guest joining us for our Thanksgiving meal. He didn’t seem to care if the turkey was dry (it wasn’t) or the cranberry sauce was fresh (it was). He simply wanted creamy smooth mashed potatoes. And they were.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone that entered. Congrats to Julie P., our randomly chosen winner!

As arguably the most important side dish of the season, everyone seems to have a preferred method to cook mashed potatoes. (Me? I cook the potatoes cold and don’t peel them until after they’re cooked.) There are tons of recipes out there, but many are tame and traditional. Potatoes. Butter. Milk. Salt. Pepper. When done right, those five staples are heavenly. But is something missing?  

Some home cooks work to ensure potato perfection by adding secret ingredients. Sour cream? Roasted garlic? Blue cheese? Why not! Here are a few of our favorite recipes that move beyond the classic mashed potato recipe in the quest for a celestial side dish.

Do you smash the everyday mash recipe? Share your secret ingredients in your not-so-humble mashed potatoes in the comments below by December 31, and you could win a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends December 31, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

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263 comments

Comments

Rose says …

My nephew as a teenager loves mashed potatoes, he would have a mountain of them on holidays (and any day he could)! I recall when my sister had him video the Thanksgiving holiday, we thought he'd take pictures of all the company, and, of course, the food! When watching the video it was all just food, zeroing in on his favs, but especially the mashed potatoes. Considering what great cooks had prepared dishes for the dinner, from turkey, to pies, to all kinds of veggies, his adoration of mashed potatoes was so cute!!!

Joanna says …

I make my mashed potatoes healthier by adding buttermilk. It makes it creamy, without all the fat, and gives my mashed potatoes a wonderful tangy flavor. This year, I swirled in some pesto, which gave it a lovely green hue, and topped it with a bit more pesto. Each bite was savory, with a delicious herb-y flavor.

Beth says …

I put cooked peeled cooled potatoes through a food mill...medium disc...then use buttermilk to mash...buttermilk is creamy and tangy...perfect...add salt pepper...serve with perfect gravy.

Rose-Marie says …

First take freshly chopped thyme and crush it in a mortar and pestle. Add unrefined walnut oil (not roasted walnut oil). Use Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cooked whole, then smash, adding a little freshly grated horseradish, the chopped thyme with the oil, a good chunk of Kerrygold Pure Irish butter, non-ultra-pasteurized half-n-half cream from the Farmer's Cow (ultra-pasteurized does not have as much flavor); a small amount of Fleur de Sel Celtic Sea Salt. They look a little rustic, but the flavor is nuanced and sophisticated if done with a gentle hand.

Laura says …

I agree that mashed potatoes are the best part of a holiday meal. My aunt makes the best mashed potatoes with cream cheese. They're so delicious.

Jacinth says …

Take the tiniest smigeon of saffron, preferably Kashmir Mogra Cream Indian Saffron from Penzey's, a small amount of zest from a Satsuma (now at WF), and heat gently with a small amount of La-Tourangelle roasted pistachio oil and organic sea salt (the idea is to release the flavors & oils, not to cook). Boil whole Yukon Gold potatoes, then put them through a ricer, removing skin as you do. Add Organic Valley Heavy Cream, Organic Valley Cultured Butter, unstalted, and a small amount of Satsuma juice. Add organic sea salt to taste. Take the peel of a Satsuma and twist it over the potatoes (it releases the oil in a spray over them), ttop with a small amount of chopped, salted roasted pistachios.

Melissa says …

I like to boil 2/3 potatoes with 1/3 celery root and mash with Greek yogurt and roasted garlic!

Jocelyn Mo says …

I chop up my potatoes and I smash them with a potato masher. This part is the hardest part I would say. Then I would cook it in a sauce pan with milk and cream and some butter. My family loves it!

Matt says …

Mix in sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onion, then bake em for 20 minutes. Om nom nom nom

Janis Sokol says …

I use small red potatoes, skin on and boil. Mash coconut oil, fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme. Whip it whip it. Delicious

Molly Pellegrino says …

Peel & boil white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Mash with heavy cream, shredded gruyere, dash of pepper. Heavenly!!!!

michael giroux says …

For my mashed potatoes I add some heavy cream, butter, sour cream, creamcheese, and sea salt.

Katie says …

I also love making mashed potatoes with buttermilk, and usually go with either yukon gold or red potatoes (or a mix).

brad says …

my secret ingredient is "spice islands beau monde" seasoning. it's a blend of celery, onion and salt. makes them perfect.

Sue Coates says …

I use the Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed potatoes. They are the best in my opinion and also do not take quite as long to boil as the others. I drain them, pour them into a huge bowl, add some butter and a little 2% milk. I mash them with a hand masher at first then finish up with a blender. I have to make 15 lbs of them, as 10 lbs is not enough, and our family is not that huge! I put them into a slow cooker on super low, so they don't burn, stir frequently until dinner time. I usually do not add other additives, just on the plain side compared to some others, but they are sooo good. I love to make homemade gravy too!!

Laura @Pistachio Fitton says …

My new trick for getting rich flavor into smooth mashed potatoes: boil half of your potatoes but oven roast the other half. 1) Scrub all potatoes. Leave skins on. 2) Chunk up half of them and set aside (later to be boiled in salted water til tender) 3) THOROUGHLY dry the other half and then rub the skins with your preferred fat - butter, olive oil, bacon grease, lard, etc. 4) bake these potatoes to get really crispy jackets outside and really tender, slightly carmelized flesh inside. (optional: roast some garlic alongside your preferred baking method) 5) towards the end of their baking boil the other half of potatoes, aiming to have both "done" at about the same time 6) chop up and then mash the baked potatoes first, carving off, coarsely chopping, and setting aside the flakiest parts of the now-crispy skin. be sure to get them smooth but not over whip. add all your butter & cream now, as these drier potatoes are going to need it. add all your seasonings now too, i like black pepper, salt, a little finely minced rosemary and if your guests love it, the optional roasted garlic from above. 7) now mash the boiled potatoes (they will mash much more easily than the baked) and combine with the mashed baked potatoes. 8) last, add bacon crumbles and crispy bits of the skin you set aside and chopped up

Tanya Bishop says …

I use some milk and vegetable broth, shredded cheddar, parmesano and mozzarella cheese. Salt, pepper garlic powder and butter :)

Amanda Jorjorian says …

I love using the yellow creamer potatoes since they already look creamy and buttery without adding any butter or cream yet. I love roasting the potatoes (more flavor) mashing them with roasted garlic, butter and sour cream, putting them in a casserole dish and dotting them with butter and chives or green onion. Yum!

jodi says …

i put olive oil in a glass roasting pan, cut the potatoes into quarters (small chunks), and roast them w/ garlic. then when they r all brown n crispy (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm) i put them in a mixer and mix em up w/ milk or vegan cream cheese. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Lisa says …

Over thanksgiving, I had mashed potatoes with cream cheese, cream and parmasean cheese. It was divine!

Liza Brazzil says …

BUTTERMILK!!!!! :) That's my secret ingredient.

Shanna says …

My favorite mashed potatoes is mashed with milk and butter, but for those who are lactose intolerant mashing with chicken broth gives them a great creamy flavor.

John Ferreira says …

I start with a red skin potato. I clean cut and boil with skin on. When cooked I drain add sour cream butter milk if necessary. Add fresh chopped rosemary and a small clove fresh garlic minced. I use a wire whisk to whip by hand. The texture is amszing!Never has anyone disliked this!

Rose says …

An easy idea to change it up a tad but keep to your own favorite recipe pretty much is to add some salsify. You need to peel it and get it into milk asap or it will brown, but it will add a taste a little bit like parsnip. It is good to experiment before the holiday! You can also do this with celeriac, or Jerusalem artichockes. None of these will change the color of the mashed potatoes, so it won't scare off anyone who is afraid trying something different before they taste it and wonder what you did to make them so yummy (and :) good for you)

Ilene says …

yukon golds, butter, sour cream, chives, salt, black pepper!

Joyce Gentilella says …

Cut unpeeled potatoes into large chunks peel several cloves of garlic bake till potatoes are browning and garlic cloves are almost burnt then smash until you have worked out all your frustration and reached you're desired consistency adding butter salt pepper etc as you go lastly mix in shredded cheddar cheese top w sour cream and bacon crumbles take your high blood pressure medication and enjoy

Sarah says …

Start with peeled potatoes and cold water (just over the top of the potatoes) add cloves of garlic to the water and bring to a boil and cook until potatoes can be easily broken with a fork. Drain water, but leave potatoes in hot pan. Mash slowly and add hot milk and butter until they are fluffy. A few lumps are okay. Add salt and pepper and serve hot!

Erika Kerekes says …

My favorite mashed potato mix-in right now is sauteed kale. It's like a riff on colcannon - except I use thinly sliced kale that's been sauteed in olive oil with garlic. Then I mix that into the mashed potatoes, add some butter, and poof! Health food!

plantmaven says …

I use vanilla soy milk. No butter or any seasoning except black pepper,

Keri says …

I don't have a secret ingredient but there are two things I really like- skin and lumps. I can't stand mashed potatoes that are overly creamy!

Jessie H says …

I like classic mashed potatoes with a LOT of butter and whipped with a mixer so they're really creamy!

Deb Christie says …

I love to mash potatoes with boiled salsify, also know as Oyster plant. I just mash them altogether with hot milk and butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. It is a heavenly combo and people keep asking "what did you do to these potatoes?" between mouthfuls. Salsify is hard to find but oh, so worth it.

Kathy says …

I use warm milk, butter and half a package of cream cheese in my mashed yukon golds. A pinch of nutmeg and salt to taste,then add 2 tbls of butter scattered on top and bake for 30 mins. A dusting of Pamesan on top is so delicious!

Rose says …

POTATO MOUSSELINE. This is a little bit of work, but wait!!! It is a great recipe to do ahead, and has a richness due to secret ingredient (egg yolk) that ppl will covet your recipe. Bake unpeeled ptoatoes in the oven, then rub them through a sieve. Stir with good butter over heat, mash, then add egg yoks. Season with salt, white pepper and a little freshly ground nutmeg. Remove from heat and add some whipped cream (remember to use pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized for best taste). Put into a casserole dish - you can keep it in the refrigerator, covered, until dinner time, or cook asap. Top with a few bits of butter and brown in a preheated oven until slightly browned.

j.J. says …

I put in garlic powder and parmeasan cheese. (or similar hard Italian cheese) Although, for Thanksgiving, we do a potato filling from Verl's.

Taylor says …

I add roasted, pureed garlic. Take a head of garlic, slice off the top to reveal the bulbs, drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Puree or mash and add to mashed potatoes, prepared however you like. You don't need a lot of fat for flavor since the garlic is there.

Alicia says …

I use boiled red potatoes with some skin, mashed with some lumps, a good helping of sour cream, butter, a splash of milk, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, sauteed garlic and mushrooms, with a little parm mixed in.

Eleanor says …

Mash Yukon Gold Potatoes with Pistachio Nut Oil! Some Chopped Pistachios on Top! Nuff Said.

Bridget says …

Mashed sweet potatoes with coconut palm sugar and coconut oil :)

Jeanine Bradley says …

Boil the potatoes in milk and then reduce that milk to the proper yield for the potatoes to use it when you smash the potatoes. I like to hand smash the potatoes. Add butter, salt pepper....deliciously delectable

Buzz Cohen says …

Best add-in? Horseradish! (It adds character and cuts through the richness of the standard mash.)

Colleen says …

My favorite part of holiday meals, and many regular weekday meals for that matter, has always been fluffy mashed potatoes. After my lactose intolerance became an allergy to ALL dairy, I was thankful to discover that adding sea salt, Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine), almond milk, and roasted garlic still made it possible for me to enjoy my scrumptious potatoes.

Terri David says …

I add various things, not all at the same time. Sometimes I throw in some cranberry pieces, mushrooms, green onion, peas, etc. Try to make the potatoes a little different each time. You can use anything you want.

Kate says …

I chop potatoes first, then boil with olive oil, salt, pepper added to water. Then I hand mash with roasted garlic, high quality butter, and 365 whole milk. For a finishing touch, fresh chopped chives from my garden!

Dana says …

Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, buttermilk, freshly ground black pepper, a bit of sea salt, Earth Balance spread

Karla Hudson says …

The secret key ingredient is Cream Cheese! I personally love Tarragon and Rosemary, so you can throw in some of either one of those, depending on your guests' tastes.

Shannon Kroll says …

Best garlic mashed ever! Smash and mince 6 cloves of garlic and saute in 4 tbs butter in a large pot. when fragrant, add 2 boxes chicken stock and 5 pounds of peeled and cut yukon golds. add 1 cup of milk. cook until tender, drain. mash with an 8 oz cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup light cream. not something to eat everyday, but they make the whole dinner table better on the holidays!

Bonnie Fahje says …

Here are my secret ingredients in my Mashed Potatoes--Cilantro and Shredded Nacho cheese. It is my South of the Border Tater mash.

Doreen says …

Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite foods-I like to cook them in chicken broth instead of water. After they are done, I mash them with a whisk and add half & half or sour cream-delicious.

Marianne says …

I cook them in chicken broth, don't take off all the skins,and leave them a little but lumpy - they are mashed not pureed. Finish with butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh chives.

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