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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

Kitty says …

Ok, this is going to sound like apple-polishing, but the real secret to MY mashed potatoes is to buy organic Yukon gold at Whole Foods. I have no idea why yours are better than everyone else's - I mean a potato is a potato, right? But with WF potatoes, I can totally skip the butter and milk/cream (or I can add them if I'm feeling decadent) because they mash up totally smooth. No peeling. No mess.

Kitty says …

Ok, this is going to sound like apple-polishing, but the real secret to MY mashed potatoes is to buy organic Yukon gold at Whole Foods. I have no idea why yours are better than everyone else's - I mean a potato is a potato, right? But with WF potatoes, I can totally skip the butter and milk/cream (or I can add them if I'm feeling decadent) because they mash up totally smooth. No peeling. No mess.

Noella says …

Roasted garlic!

Amanda says …

I always leave some skin on my potatoes. I like the texture they add. Sour cream and butter are a must in my mom's recipe. Sour cream gives mashed potatoes the perfect taste!

Amanda says …

I always leave the skin on a couple of the potatoes. I really like the texture it adds. My mom taught me to always use plenty of sour cream and butter.

Edith Schneeberger says …

Add a can of rinsed, pureed white beans, a bit of butter and milk or cream. Adds protein, fiber and tastes good. A good ratio is 3 parts potatoes to one part white beans. Season as usual.

Shruti Sachar says …

I boil potatoes and mash them with a fork and add dollops of sour creme, salt and pepper.

Jennifer says …

The best mashed potatoes I make, have yukon gold potatoes, real butter, heavy cream, and my secret ingredient, mayonnaise, it seems to bring a certain tanginess that cuts through the richness. My favorite herb to use in them is dill, but chives are great too!

Allison says …

Horseradish, Greek yogurt, blue cheese, and spinach!

Rocio says …

Use red potatoes, boil peeled cubes with bay leaf. Mix in butter first, then cream cheese..add milk to desired creaminess. Sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper..........and......powder oregano!!! Heaven :)

NAVNEET KUMAR says …

I usually boil potatoes and then peel off after cooling.Cut the boiled potatoes into small pieces. separately roast 1 spoon of cumin seeds and then add fenugreek leaves.cook for few minutes and then all ginger garlic paste.cook for some time and the mix it up with boiled potatoes.It gives excellent aroma and its very healthy recepie.

Jennifer says …

I like to start with Yukon Gold potatoes, butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper, chives or dill weed, and my secret ingredient is light mayonnaise. It gives the potatoes a tangyness and cuts through the richness.

Michelle D says …

My not so secret ingredients are lots of butter, sour cream, and garlic!

Carol says …

To Elizabeth Smith: When you say you "cook the potatoes cold", does that mean you refrigerate them first? Out of curiosity, how does that affect the mashed potatoes?

Carol says …

The secret to getting creamy mashed potatoes is not to peel them until after they’re cooked. Then, briefly put them in a bowl of water and icecubes. The outside will be cool enough to touch, but the inside will still be hot. That will make it easy to peel off the skin, like it is when you blanch a peach or tomato. In addition to butter, salt and pepper, I add Frontier All-purpose Seasoning. It's so easy, and I always get rave reviews!

Rosie says …

I'm Scottish, and a favorite dish of Scotland with mashed potatoes is called clapshot. It is a delicious mix of mashed potatoes (tatties), turnip (called neeps in Scotland) and onion, and a healthy chunk of good butter. Och! That's guid!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CAROL - I was able to get in touch with Elizabeth and she clarified that she puts the room temperature potatoes in the cold pot of water before she begins boiling. Rather than dropping them in the boiling water. She believe that this technique allows for the potatoes to cook more evenly from inside to outside. There is not proven theory for this but she loves the outcome from this method. Hope this helps!

Carol says …

@Nikki, Community Moderator - Thanks for getting in touch with Elizabeth to clarify that she puts room temperature potatoes in a cold pot of water before she begins boiling. I generally use Yukon Golds for my mashed potatoes. Its best to store them in a cold environment, 40 to 50 degrees F, so I take them out of the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator, put them in a cold pot of water, and bring it to a boil. Next time, I'll let them warm up to room remperature before boiling. Thanks again.

Sherry Bowen says …

The secret to great mashed potatoes is the potatoes themselves. You have to find good looking Idaho potatoes that have a rich dark brown color without eyes poking out and must be fresh. I always buy local, organic potatoes. Oh and it doesn't hurt if there is still some dirt left on the spud. It adds to the authenticity. When you get ready to boil them, leave some of the skin on. Add 2 tbsp of salt to the water. Boil for 20 min. Blend the potatoes in a blender. That makes the potatoes really smooth. Add half cup of butter, 1/4 cup of whole organic milk and a big ole spoonful of mayonaisse. They will make your eyes roll in the back of your head!

Catherine says …

Garlic. Lots of it!

Lisa August says …

Boil six large potatoes, peel and mash them with one-half cup almond milk. Add two beaten eggs and one-fourth cup feta cheese. Mix well and bake 350 degree oven for 30 minutes in uncovered baking dish. Delicious! Double recipe for 16 people.

Doris-Jean Panyko says …

My husband and I love getting a lump of hot potato here and there - perfectly smooth is not our goal. That being said, softening minced shallots in butter and adding them to the potatoes before using the hand blender to whip them (and easily keep some of those aforementioned lumps in there!) creates an additional delicious treat to find amongst the otherwise smooth, buttery, potatoes. They are otherwise flavored with just freshly ground pepper and kosher salt. It is a celebration of potato flavor!

Dawn Scire says …

secret mash potato ingredient: golden potatoes

MARCIA BRADFIELD says …

My secret ingredients that I add to my mashed potatoes are heavy whipping cream and fresh chives.

gary evans says …

My secret is to have my wife prepare the mash potatoes.

Judy Anderson says …

I mash my potatoes wiht chicken broth, garlic and parmasan cheese.

Faithtobin says …

Dear Crew it sounds awesome.luv,Faith

anne says …

Mashed potatoes with whole milk, basil and lemon.

Maureen says …

I add some rosmary and some garlic and chicken broth that is low in sodium.

Samantha Levy says …

cream, salt, cheese!!!!

A-M says …

I boil my potatoes (no particular kind) in a couple of inches of water after washing but not peeling. When the potatoes are soft, I mash them in the cooking water with salt, pepper, butter and add milk to desired consistency.

Beth says …

Organic chicken broth, parsley and himilayan crystal salt!

Shirley says …

My husband can't have dairy, so we make mashed potatoes (preferably with yukon golds) with Earth Balance and warm soy milk. We found out that it works best to salt the water you are boiling the potatoes in and sometimes (for a twist), we add an onion in with the potatoes while they are boiling. The warm soy milk ensures that the potatoes do not cool down too quickly and helps in the mashing process -- whether with a potato masher or with a hand held mixer.

Julie says …

Cut up Yukon Gold potatoes into 1 inch pieces and boil with 2 cloves of garlic. Drain potatoes and remove garlic cloves. Mash potatoes while adding milk and olive oil to taste. Then, add in crumbled, bacon bits and scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded, cheddar cheese. Yum!

paula says …

our secret is fresh basil leaves and fresh lemon juice added to regular butter, buttermilk and pepper and salt. fresh and delicious!

Mary says …

It's the holidays so calories do not count! I love to add sour cream and chives to my mash potatoes. Later left overs can be used as twice baked by adding bacon and cheddar cheese. Eating it twice with two different flavors make eating potatoes something my family always looks foward to at this time of the year!

MAUREEN FOGERTY says …

I use a tablespoon of nutmeg, Earth Balance for a quickly disappearing bowl of mashed taters, and vegan too!

amy says …

My mashed Suds; peel n boil "red" pototes, in a mixer add sour cream and or condense milk , smart balance, chives, bacon and sea salt n pepper. Yum!

Maureen Fogerty says …

tablespoon of nutmeg, Earth Balance make our mashed taters vegan and delicious!

KATHY says …

Cheesy Garlic Vegan Mashed Potatoes I use Nutritional Yeast instead of cheese and pre bake elephant garlic then mash prior to adding into the mashed potatoes. To get the desired consistency I use coconut oil. Enjoy this vegan side!

Sandra K says …

Using Yukon Gold potatoes in the first place makes the whole thing yummy no matter what I do to mess it up.

Laura Schofield says …

I always put sauteed garlic and onions in my mashed potatoes. I leave the skins on and also add almond milk and a butter substitute. Cracked black pepper and sea salt. Then, for an extra kick, I add a little horseradish!

Anna says …

Garlic, chives and butter...yum.

Linda says …

The trick is to drain your potatoes as soon as they finish cooking and mash them. If left in the water, they will get watery and lose much of the creamy texture. Mash the potatoes, add canned evaporated milk, stick margarine and season well with salt and pepper. YUM!

Andrea says …

Oven-roasted garlic (the whole bulb), half and half, salt and pepper....mmmm.....

Zoe says …

My secret ingredient is... horseradish! It adds a subtle kick and tastes incredible with chopped parsley, butter, and sour cream. In the summer, I buy purple potatoes from the farmer's market and smash those instead for a really beautiful pop of color and a health boost - they're believed to lower blood pressure!

Shirley A says …

My smashed potatoes are somewhat rustic looking, but tasty. I slow roast a head of garlic in some olive oil in the oven and mash a few heads well to include in my smashed potatoes. I like to use smaller red skinned potatoes, leaving the skin on. When it comes time to mix up the potatoes, I add warmed butter & milk, and some chopped fresh parsley along with salt & pepper. I prefer not to whip the potatoes, instead leaving it someone chunky with lumps. For added zing, I sometimes add a bit of wasabi.

jen rivera says …

boil the potatoes first easy to peel. then after draining water. put potatoes in a pot. add butter salt/pepper milk. . use beaters to mash. put a layer of potatoes in a cake pan. spread shredder cheese. add another layer of potatoes and more cheese on top bake in the over for 10/15 mins. and enjoy!!

John Goltsis says …

Choose nice heavy russets, roughly chop leaving skins on, place in cold salted water--just enough to cover, bring to boil, add Kosher salt, lower fire, poach till tender. Drain well, skin, return to hot pan to dry further. Throw in very generous proportion best unsalted butter, dash olive oil, and the special seasonings: finely ground fenugreek and cumin, pepper, dusting of lemon zest. Taste for salt, pepper. Mash coarsely. Serve at once or do in advance and heat under hot broiler, briefly. Few will guess at the fenugreek.

Kristina says …

My kids love plain mashed potatoes. The key is to use quality potatoes. My secret ingredient, besides sea salt and (butter)milk, is nutmeg. When ready, my daughter and I like to put a little bit of apple sauce on top of each forkful of mashed potatoes. Yum.

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