Garlic Mashed Potatoes

published Oct 3, 2023
Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mash tender Yukon Gold or russet potatoes with garlic-infused milk and melted butter for the creamiest garlic mashed potatoes.

Serves4 to 6

Makes5 cups

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

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Overhead view of mashed potatoes in a grey bowl, topped with chives and a pat of butter and a spoon in the bowl.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

Every year, my mom asks all of her guests what their “must have” dish is for the Thanksgiving table. Creamy, garlic mashed potatoes is my answer every time —  it’s impossible to get the perfect Thanksgiving forkful without them. 

This is my go-to recipe for luxuriously rich, garlic mashed potatoes using either russet or Yukon Gold potatoes. To get the perfect level of sweet garlic flavor, but with none of the spicy bite, I call for infusing warm milk and butter with six (yes, you read that right!) smashed garlic cloves. These garlic mashed potatoes are so good, you’ll be coming back for seconds. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

 What Ingredients Are Needed for Garlic Mashed Potatoes?

  • Potatoes: Russet (or Idaho) potatoes are starchy potatoes. They are great for baking but also make impossibly fluffy mashed potatoes. You can’t go wrong with Yukon Gold potatoes for mashing when you’re looking for a rich golden hue and a creamy texture.
  • Garlic: Coax the best garlic flavor from six cloves, without the bite, by smashing the cloves and simmering them in butter and milk. Remove and discard the softened garlic cloves before mashing, and save them for spreading on toasted bread or adding flavor to soups and stews. 
  • Unsalted butter: Use either unsalted or salted butter.  For unsalted butter, add the salt amounts listed in the recipe, but for salted butter, start with 3/4 teaspoon salt in the milk, then add more to taste. Make sure you save some butter for topping the finished mashed potatoes.
  • Milk: Warm whole or 2% milk with the butter and garlic until the butter melts and the milk is infused with sweet garlic flavor. 

How to Make the Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe in 3 Easy Steps

  • Warm garlic-infused butter and milk. Gently heat the milk, smashed garlic cloves, salt, and butter until the butter melts, then cover to keep warm. Do this first so that the garlic has time to really infuse its flavor.
  • Boil potatoes until tender.  Cover peeled and cubed potatoes with cold water, then boil until tender. It’s better to overcook the potatoes than undercook them, so make sure they are easily crushed with tongs before draining. 
  • Mash potatoes. Strain the garlicky milk and butter directly into the drained potatoes and mash until smooth and creamy. The mixture may seem loose at first, but will absorb the moisture. 

How to Keep Garlic Mashed Potatoes Warm for Serving

Transfer the garlic mashed potatoes to a small or medium slow cooker (a large slow cooker can cause the mashed potatoes to dry out). Set the slow cooker to warm and serve within four hours. 

What to Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mash tender Yukon Gold or russet potatoes with garlic-infused milk and melted butter for the creamiest garlic mashed potatoes.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 5 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 6 cloves


  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 2 1/2 pounds

    Yukon Gold or russet potatoes (about 8 medium Yukon Gold or about 5 medium russet)

  • Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)


  1. Smash 6 peeled garlic cloves with the flat part of a chef’s knife. Place the garlic, 1 cup whole or 2% milk, 1 stick unsalted butter, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

  2. Peel and cut 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes into rough 1-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon 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 and can be easily crushed with a pair of tongs, 15 to 20 minutes. It is better to overcook the potatoes than undercook them.

  3. When the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot. Pour the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over the potatoes, pressing on the cloves to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the garlic cloves. (Alternatively, use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic cloves.)

  4. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and combined. The potatoes may seem loose at first, but will quickly absorb the milk mixture. Don’t overstir. Top with more butter and finely chopped fresh chives before serving if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Store peeled and diced potatoes in cold water up to 4 hours in advance. Alternatively, the prepared mashed potatoes can be kept warm in a slow cooker on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours.

Storage: Leftover mashed potatoes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.