These are the ultimate Garlic Mashed Potatoes, made with both whole garlic cloves and garlic powder in a rustic mash of red potatoes with their skin on – no peeling required! Rich, creamy, and absolutely irresistible, they are the perfect side dish for any meal.
Can you have a mashed potato recipe that requires no peeling potatoes? One that’s loaded with garlic, is ultimately creamy, rich, and so easy to make? Why, yes, yes you can. This rustic mashed potato recipe is here to make all your potato side dish wishes come true!
And while I absolutely love a variety of vegetable side dishes, potatoes just might be my favorite of them all. And I bet you can guess why if you’ve been around here for any time at all… they are the most carb-y veggie side dish of all, and you know I love my carbs.
So while yes I can’t get enough of stacked potatoes, or roasted potatoes, or scalloped potatoes, there’s something about a rustic mashed potato that brings the ultimate comfort. They’re nostalgic, cozy, and whether they’re served at holiday dinners, Sunday family supper, or even a quick weeknight meal, they always feel special.
Smashed vs. Mashed Potatoes
Alright, aside from the one-letter difference, what is the real difference between smashed and mashed potatoes? If you haven’t tried smashed potatoes before, they are when smaller potatoes are boiled, then literally smashed with a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup. They are smashed into a flat disc that is then baked. It results in super crispy potatoes on the outside, that are tender on the inside.
Mashed potatoes, on the other hand, are boiled and then using a potato masher, or sometimes a ricer. They are mashed together into a smooth puree that’s creamy, usually including milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream, and butter.
What are rustic mashed potatoes?
Rustic, generally meaning a plain and simple fashion. More suitable for the country, more natural, rough, unpolished. When it comes to potatoes, rustic potatoes are those that are unpeeled, simply made, more on the unrefined side.
Whereas more traditional mashed potatoes require peeling of the skin and then mashing them into a completely smooth puree of potatoes once they’re cooked. These rustic potatoes are not peeled, leaving the red skin on, adding texture to the mashed potatoes and in fact, with a few more lumps than if they were not rustic.
They’re delicious, hearty, and honestly, I love the texture and pop of color that the red potatoes have in this rustic mashed potato recipe. If you haven’t tried it before, I’m so excited for you to give it a whirl!
5 Simple Ingredients
There are just a few simple ingredients needed to make rustic garlic mashed potatoes!
- Red Potatoes: they are more waxy, similar to Yukon Gold potatoes, which means they have more moisture and are naturally creamy, making them an excellent potato for mashing.
- Garlic: whole garlic cloves go into these potatoes along with garlic powder to supplement the extra garlic flavor.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter in order to control the amount of salt that goes into the potatoes, but you can use either. Use a high-quality butter for the yummiest, richest results!
- Whole Milk or Half-and-Half: use half-and-half for ultra rich and creamy potatoes, but you can use whole milk in its place too. If you want to be really indulgent, go ahead and try heavy cream in there, too.
- Salt: potatoes absorb a lot of salt, so be sure to taste test so that you have enough in the potatoes (it will probably seem like a lot, but it’ll be ok!).
How to Make Garlic Mashed Potatoes
There are two simple steps to making mashed potatoes: boil the potatoes and mash. Ok, there are a couple more nuances but essentially that’s it. They are super easy to make and the only thing you need is a good potato masher.
Dice the potatoes into equal-sized chunks. This will make sure the potatoes cook evenly. I dice them into about 2-inch pieces or so, halving then quartering the potatoes depending on their initial size.
Add the diced potatoes and whole garlic cloves to a saucepan and cover with water. Make sure the water goes about 1 inch above the potatoes. And yes, you read that right, the whole garlic cloves go in the water with the potatoes. Cooking the garlic with the potatoes transforms the garlic from pungent raw garlic to a mellow, sweet garlic flavor. It’s incredible in the potatoes.
Cooking the potatoes and garlic together also makes life really easy – as they both just get mashed together, infusing garlic flavor throughout the potatoes.
Add a generous pinch of kosher salt to the water, similar to pasta, it will help infuse flavor into the potatoes since they will absorb the salt.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter and heat the cream, so when it comes time to add the liquid to the potatoes, they are warm. This prevents cold liquid from shocking the potatoes and helps it all combine together beautifully.
Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them completely and place them back into the saucepan. Pour in the liquid, and begin mashing. Don’t add all the liquid at once. Add about half and continue adding while you mash until the texture is smooth and creamy, but not overly liquidy. If you do need to add more liquid than you’ve heated, be sure to warm it before adding as we first did.
Because these are rustic mashed potatoes, a few lumps are perfectly fine, and delicious, and because the skins are on the potatoes it adds to the rusticness of them, too. Be careful to not over-mash them, as the result could be gluey potatoes.
Taste test (the best part!) and add salt until it’s the perfect amount. Garnish with chives (so good!) and a dollop of extra butter if you’d like, and enjoy!
Make Ahead Potatoes
Cover the finished mashed potatoes in the saucepan to keep them warm for up to 30 minutes or so before serving. Alternatively, you can transfer them to a crockpot on the ‘warm’ setting for up to 2 hours.
Alternatively, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time. Dice the potatoes, add them, along with the garlic, to the saucepan and cover with water. They can sit in the pan for a few hours until you’re ready to prepare them.
What to Serve with Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a forever favorite when it comes to side dishes. They are so versatile and can be served alongside so many main dishes!
When it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, mashed potatoes often find their appearance alongside pot roast, turkey, or ham. Or next to steak dinners, roasted chicken, and more. They are a given with meats and are obviously excellent with gravy in these instances, but even if you don’t eat meat, there are so many ways to enjoy them.
And P.S. even though gravy (and yes vegetarian-friendly gravy) is delicious, because these potatoes are ultra garlicy, they’re great on their own too.
Storage and Reheating
Store any mashed potato leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It’s easy to reheat mashed potatoes, but you’ll want to be sure they don’t end up dried out. Heating them low and slow is best, whether it’s done in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
In the microwave: spread them on a plate or in a bowl, heating them in 30-second intervals stirring in between, adding additional butter or cream as needed.
To reheat in the oven, spread them in a baking dish with additional butter, cover, and heat at 350F for 15-20 minutes until heated through. On the stovetop, stir them frequently, with additional butter or cream, until heated through. Stirring them frequently will help them heat the most evenly.
Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds red potatoes
- 5-7 garlic cloves peeled
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt more or less to taste
- Chives for garnish, as desired
- Cut potatoes into approximately 2-inch chunks, or evenly sized pieces, and place in a large saucepan. Add whole, peeled, garlic cloves. Cover with water, about 1 inch higher than the potatoes. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add butter and half-and-half to a skillet. Warm over low heat.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain and return to the saucepan (along with the garlic). Add the garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and about half of the butter mixture. Begin mashing with a potato masher. Continue adding liquid as needed. Taste test and adjust salt levels.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, or leave in the saucepan to serve. Garnish with fresh chives and butter as desired and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: In the microwave: spread them on a plate or in a bowl, heating them in 30-second intervals stirring in between. To reheat in the oven, spread them in a baking dish with additional butter, cover, and heat at 350F for 15-20 minutes until heated through. On the stovetop, stir them frequently, with additional butter or cream, until heated through. Stirring them frequently will help them heat the most evenly.