Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

published Sep 22, 2021
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed potatoes just got a bit more sophisticated with a dairy swap-out.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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A bowl of buttermilk mashed potatoes with green garnish.
Credit: Laura Rege

Mashed potatoes just got a bit more sophisticated. Rather than milk or half-and-half, this recipe pairs tangy buttermilk with buttery Yukon Gold potatoes for a just-as-creamy, but lighter, take on the classic side dish. Freshly chopped chives folded into the warm mash add the perfect touch of delicate allium to balance out the tartness and richness.

For the fluffiest mashed potatoes, don’t overmash. As soon as everything is incorporated and the potatoes taste amazing, stop mixing. Stirring can overdevelop the starch, creating gluey (rather than light) potatoes.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Versus Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk mashed potatoes have the same consistency as traditional mashed potatoes. Buttermilk is substituted for the typical milk, half and half, or heavy cream. Buttermilk lends them a slight tang while keeping the overall dish a tad bit lighter, due to its lower fat content.

Credit: Laura Rege

How Is Buttermilk Different from Milk?

  • Besides its distinct tangy flavor and lower fat content, buttermilk isn’t a super-stabilized dairy product, which means that it will separate as it sits in the fridge. Shake the buttermilk before measuring to make sure it is fully incorporated. 
  • For mashed potatoes, we typically recommend warming milk and cream with the butter before adding it to the potatoes, which keeps it from cooling the boiled potatoes down. However, buttermilk has the potential to curdle when heated. To avoid this, simply bring it to room temperature before stirring it into the potatoes off the heat.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed potatoes just got a bit more sophisticated with a dairy swap-out.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 cups


  • 2 1/2 pounds

    Yukon Gold potatoes (5 to 6 medium)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, plus more for serving

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small bunch

    fresh chives


  1. Place 1 1/2 cups buttermilk on the counter and let sit until room temperature. Meanwhile, peel and cut 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes into rough 1-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cold to water to cover by 1-inch. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until potatoes are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Turn off the heat. Thinly slice 1 small bunch fresh chives until you have 1/4 cup.

  3. When the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot. Pour the melted butter and buttermilk over the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and combined. Don’t overstir. Add the chives and fold to combine. Taste and season with black pepper and more kosher salt as needed. Top with more butter before serving.

Recipe Notes

General tips: The level of tang in your mashed potatoes can depend on the brand of buttermilk used. For a milder, more subtle buttermilk taste, use 3/4 cup buttermilk and 3/4 cup whole milk.

Storage: Leftover mashed potatoes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.