Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish for your special holiday meal. This simple 3 ingredient recipe makes the dreamiest mashed potatoes you’ve ever had; creamy, buttery, and fluffy with just a small ‘tang’ from the buttermilk.
There are so many great side dishes to serve alongside your holiday turkey, sometimes it’s difficult to narrow it down. Mashed potatoes always make my list, as does our family’s classic Homemade Stuffing. We also love a zesty Green Bean Casserole packed full of green beans and mushrooms.
Simple Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
There is no greater side dish than fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. They are the perfect accompaniment to any roast meat, particularly roasted turkey, chicken, or beef.
Most of the time, I simply boil potatoes then mash them with cream and butter but when I want something a little more decadent, I reach for buttermilk.
This recipe makes the best buttery-rich potatoes kissed with a slight ‘tang’ from the acidity of the buttermilk. They truly are the most delicious mashed potato I have ever had.
What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashing?
For my mashed potatoes, I use whatever variety I have in the pantry; usually red or yellow skin potatoes. While some say they do not make the fluffiest mash, they work in a pinch and are great in a rustic sort of way.
These low starch varieties may become ‘gluey’ or ‘gummy’ if they are overworked. However, if you take care and do not mash the daylights out of them, they can be just as tasty as a mash made with starchy potatoes.
Many people prefer the high starch, fluffy Russet potatoes but I find they are much too grainy for me. Further, some chefs recommend a mix of starchy Russets (to soak up the butter and milk) and Yukon Golds.
I’m here to tell you it’s okay to use the potato you want in your mash…it’s all up to you!
Great Tips for Boiling Potatoes
Good news! Mashed Potatoes are very simple to whip up and contain very few (though important!) ingredients. However, I have a few tips and tricks to help you make the best potatoes ever!
- Peel and cut the potatoes into uniform sizes.
- Rinse potatoes to remove any dirt left over from peeling.
- Cover potatoes with COLD water to start. If you add potatoes to boiling water they may cook unevenly and still be raw and crunchy in the middle.
- Add salt to the potato water because we love seasoned food!
- Don’t over boil the potatoes…keep them at a slight simmer so they don’t break up.
- Drain cooked potatoes well, then allow them to dry. If they are watery, they won’t get fluffy!
How to Make Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
As with all vegetable recipes, begin by giving the potatoes a good scrub. Then use a potato peeler or paring knife to remove the peel. Next, cut the potatoes into 1 1/2 – 2 cm cubes.
Immediately place the cubed potatoes in a pot with cold water to cover. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp salt to the water and allow it to come up to a gentle simmer.
Simmer the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until a fork pierces the potatoes easily. Drain the potatoes using a colander and allow them to rest and dry out before continuing on. My mom likes to save the potato cooking water to use in the pan gravy later on.
Place the buttermilk and butter in the used saucepan and gently warm them over low heat until the butter melts. Do not boil this mixture.
In the meantime, process the potatoes using a potato masher, food mill, or potato ricer to physically break up the potatoes until no lumps remain.
Stir to distribute the warm buttermilk/butter mixture within the potatoes then top with chopped fresh chives.
Other Great Flavours for Mashed Potatoes
While Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes have my favourite combination of flavours, there are many great ways to elevate the humble mashed potato.
- soft cream cheese or Boursin
- other herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley
- boil the potatoes in chicken or vegetable stock instead of water
- add garlic or green onions…roasted garlic would be amazing!
- mix in sour cream or crème fraîche
- add in other hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Gouda, or Cheddar
BTW, if you don’t have any buttermilk, you can easily make a quick substitute using a cup of whole milk or light cream and a tablespoon of vinegar. Let the mixture sit 5-10 minutes so it becomes thick and slightly curdled.
How to Keep the Potatoes Warm and Ready to Eat
Let’s face it. Timing a multi-dish menu for extended family and friends can be challenging. That’s why Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes should be the first dish you cook!
To keep mashed potatoes warm until dinner is ready to serve, place them in the top of double boiler, cover, and allow it to simmer gently on the back of the stove as you prepare the other dishes.
Alternatively, place them in a slow cooker and keep warm on low temperature for up to 4 hours.
How to Re-warm Mashed Potatoes
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are a great make ahead side dish because they are so easy to re-warm.
- Place the potatoes in a lidded oven safe container (or cover with Aluminum foil) and reheat in a 350 F oven for 30-40 minutes. Stir and add more buttermilk, cream, or milk as needed.
- Reheat in a microwave for two minutes at a time, stopping to stir at regular intervals until hot. Add more liquid and stir gently if they have become dry.
Whichever method you choose, safely reheat the potatoes to 165 F before serving. For best results, add stock, cream, or buttermilk as needed and do not stir them too aggressively or they may become gluey.
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