Roasted garlic mashed potatoes are a savory twist on a classic side dish. Oven-roasting whole garlic bulbs transform the cloves into a soft buttery consistency with a slightly caramelized flavor. Fold them into light and fluffy potatoes to add a rich taste to each serving.
One way to instantly elevate the taste of traditional mashed potatoes is to incorporate roasted garlic. Infusing the lightly sweet and earthy notes creates a more interesting flavor profile while adding more depth to each bite. This recipe yields a light and fluffy potato puree using simple steps to remove as much excess starch are possible, followed by an important technique that incorporates all the ingredients together.
To be most efficient with your time, it’s important to follow the order of the preparation steps. Roast the whole bulb of garlic right at the start as it takes just under an hour to soften. Peel, cut, boil, and mash the potatoes as you wait. The potent and luxurious smells of the buttery and caramelized cloves will gradually fill the room. You’ll be happy that you took a few extra steps to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes to accompany your meal. You may never want to eat them plain ever again!
Roast the garlic
When whole cloves of garlic start roasting in the oven, it turns into a completely different culinary experience. The flesh becomes spreadable with the slightest of pressure, making it easy to incorporate into any recipe. The sharp, spicy, pungent flavors mellow out, due to the alliinase enzyme that causes the sulfurous aroma and taste halts in activity. The high oven temperatures and consistent heating give it a golden hue, paired with Maillard browning to produce more flavors. It’s really easy to make roasted garlic and it’s a healthy way to boost the flavor of any dish.
Make sure to choose the right type of potato for an airy product. I use Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold because they are high in starch content and have a mealy texture. This allows for the milk and butter to be readily absorbed for the desired consistency while staying fluffy in texture.
Control the starch levels
The key to keeping the mashed potatoes airy and creamy is to control the amount of starch in the dish. Too much starch causes the spuds to thicken up and become gummy in texture. To regulate the levels, the potatoes are cut into 1-inch pieces and then rinsed twice, before and after cooking to wash away excess starch. Cutting the potatoes into smaller pieces ensures that the pectin in the cell walls soften quickly, about 15 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a knife.
To bump up the fluffiness factor, I press the cooked potatoes through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill. The small holes separate the potato particles, preventing them from becoming too dense or heavy. It’s a more gentle process than using a potato masher because there’s less rough shearing of the potato cell structure, and it minimizes starch release. I use this technique whenever I make a batch of homemade mashed potatoes.
Mixing the ingredients
Before any liquid is added to the potatoes, fold in the butter first. The fat helps to coat the starches. This reduces the interaction of the starch with the milk, keeping the potatoes smooth in texture. To ensure that the garlic is infused into the potatoes, mash the cloves into a paste and then whisk it into the warmed milk and salt mixture. Take your time folding in the garlic-infused milk into the potatoes. I shoot for three additions, so the starches have time to absorb and gradually thicken.
Using these key techniques, you will become a pro at making light and fluffy garlic mashed potatoes. I often make a large batch of roasted garlic and store it in my refrigerator waiting for the right occasion. It’s a quick and simple way to add a subtle seasoning to any dish.
More potato recipes
Roasting transforms the flavor of garlic
Roasting garlic cloves can remove the raw, bitter, and sulfurous flavor notes. When garlic is heated to about 150°F (67°C), the alliinase enzyme that produces new pungent flavors like allicin is destroyed. The heat from the oven gradually transforms the existing flavor compounds into a sweet and caramel-tasting product.
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Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 1 head garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 8 cups water
- 1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup whole milk
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Peel the white papery skin off the head of garlic, making sure to keep the cloves intact with the root.
- Cut about ¼-inch off the top of the head of garlic. If any cloves on the sides do not get cut, carefully use the knife to slice the top off.
- Place the garlic in a center of a piece of foil, large enough to completely wrap the garlic.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut cloves. Tightly wrap the head of garlic in the foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast until garlic until lightly browned in color, and tender when pierced with a fork, 40 to 60 minutes. Check at 40 minutes, then every 10 minutes for doneness.
- Remove garlic cloves using a knife to dig out the flesh, then press into a paste.
- In a large pot add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil.
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes to a bowl and rinse under cool water to remove the starches. Drain potatoes and add to the boiling water.
- Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse with hot water to remove any residual starches, 30 seconds.
- Set a food mill, ricer, or fine mesh strainer over the pot used to cook the potatoes and pass the potatoes through it into the pot.
- Add butter and gently fold into the potatoes.
- Microwave the milk for 45 seconds to warm.
- Whisk together the milk, ¾ teaspoon salt, and garlic paste.
- Gradually fold into the potatoes in three additions until the milk is absorbed. If needed rewarm the potatoes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Taste the potatoes and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Garnish with black pepper and chives.
- Butter can be substituted with vegan butter or olive oil, however, will change the flavor of the mashed potatoes.
- Non-dairy milk like cashew, almond, coconut or soy can be substituted for dairy milk. The flavor will differ slightly and may not be as creamy.
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5 Comments Leave a comment or review
Do you recommend using a food processor to bump up the fluffiness of the potatoes?
Jessica Gavin says
Hi There- I haven’t found that I needed to use a food processor, and if you over whip it, the mashed potatoes could become more dense. If you do it for a few pulses, maybe, but not necessary.
Outstanding recipe. Very well-written, and even science-y. I really dug it–I love learning.
Anyways, made it tonight. No quibbles. 4.5/5 stars. Light and fluffy like I’ve never seen before and I wanted a little bit more density (to stretch them out.) So I will not rinse the starch off as many times as advised here. I bet one good bath/rinse would give that balance…I think. The author’s thoughts?
That explains the -.5 deduction.
I’m glad you left seasoning to reader’s taste. The S&P was a good base.
Did all this over charcoal this afternoon and it made my wife and I very happy.
Thanks, this recipe is a keeper.
Hi Jessica ??
I don’t have whole milk, can I sub heavy cream instead? Would I reduce to half a cup? Or still use 3/4?
Jessica Gavin says
Hi there! I would add about 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup water so it doesn’t feel too thick unless you like your potatoes super creamy.