Garlicky Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving

These garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes are chunkier than the usual restaurant style mashed potatoes, making them perfect for a cozy Thanksgiving. #thanksgiving #mashedpotatoes #garlicmashedpotatoes

still need some mashed potatoes for thanksgiving? perhaps something easier than the rest of your meal, but still tasty. i have something for you. voila, garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes for thanksgiving. they’re a little chunky and plenty rustic. i even like them better than the buttery, lush, so caloric you don’t want to know, too whippy steakhouse potatoes.

these potatoes show up without fail at thanksgiving. it wouldn’t be the same without them (or jello “salad,” for that matter). sometimes my cousins make it, but i like it better when my mom or i make mashed potatoes. they just don’t add enough buttermilk or garlic.

we use russet potatoes; generally, mom will try to force my brother into peeling them, but i end up doing it. i don’t mind, and the trauma from peeling off part of my thumb while prepping carrots at a sur la table class 5+ years ago has long since worn off. if you’re lazy or like rusticity, you can scrub the potatoes really well and use them peel and all (though you might want to go with a yellow or red or new potato, since they have thinner skins).

there are no potato mashers or ricers or food mills. nope, my mom uses a hand mixer. that mixer’s sole purpose is to make perfect mashed potatoes, especially since the arrival of a stand mixer in the kitchen. it keeps the potatoes light, but doesn’t overdo it. i guess you could mash the taters by hand, but i’m not itching for workouts; in fact, my mind is generally in the completely opposite direction when this side dish pops up.

the butter melts gorgeously into the hot potatoes, in big golden pools. though by no means do you need to adorn it with butter; in fact, i usually don’t. (but for aesthetic reasons, i did here. and the butter certainly doesn’t hurt). the buttermilk adds a rich tanginess that cuts through the starchiness of the potato, and the garlic adds that perfect bite. keep in mind that the ratios below are an estimate, and i generally go by taste or by how many cloves of garlic i’m willing to chop up. and sure, you could add shredded cheddar cheese and pours of heavy cream, but a steamy bowl of these garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes is all i need.

These garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes don't even need a pat of butter on top, but why not? It's Thanksgiving. #thanksgiving #mashedpotatoes #garlicmashedpotatoes

1 year ago: Vietnamese Garlic Butter Noodles, Apple, Spiced Pumpkin and Frangipane Galette
2 years ago: Caramelized Cinnamon Apple Pancakes, Pecan, Cherry and Coconut Granola
3 years ago: Somen Salad
4 years ago: Vegan Apple Pie Smoothie, Spaghetti Squash with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Truffle Salt

Garlicky Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
These garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes have some heft, and they're much more homey than the whippy restaurant-style mashed potatoes.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 223 kcal
  • 5 lb Russet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup whole milk room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and add water to cover. Add a generous amount of salt. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and place the potatoes back in the pot.
  2. Add the butter and garlic. Cover the pot until the butter melts; this also helps the garlic cook through a bit so it’s not as raw tasting.
  3. Add 1/2 cup each milk and buttermilk. Mix with an electric hand mixer until the desired consistency is reached, adding more milk and/or buttermilk to thin it out or change the flavor if necessary. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

You can use a big spoon or fork or potato masher if you don't have a hand mixer. Just make sure that the potatoes are very tender, otherwise you'll be working out and that's not what Thanksgiving's about!!

These garlicky buttermilk mashed potatoes are the perfect side for Thanksgiving (or any time, really). #thanksgiving #mashedpotatoes #garlicmashedpotatoes

more potatoes (well, sweet potatoes)
All the leafy greens in this Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin get mellowed out by bubbly, browned cheese. #swisschard #sweetpotato #vegetarian #entree

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

Runny yolks are brunch's shining stars, making this bacon mushroom saute with Japanese sweet potato mash appropriately brunch-ready (though you can cook the eggs another way if you want!). #bacon #mushrooms #sweetpotatoes #brunch

Bacon Mushroom Saute with Japanese Sweet Potato Mash

52 Replies to “Garlicky Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving”

  1. I love the idea of the buttermilk and garlic in this mash, is there anything it wouldn’t go with?!

    1. thanks!! and no, mashed potatoes are good at any time :3

  2. YES to buttermilk and garlic in the mashed potatoes. These look so fluffy and delicious!

  3. I love the idea of buttermilk – I usually use sour cream, but buttermilk seems like such a better choice! I can almost taste them from that great photo! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. sour cream works too! or yogurt or cream cheese or anything tangy, really (:

  4. I’ve never heard of adding buttermilk to mashed potatoes, but Hellooooooooooo! Makes perfect sense and I love garlic so I bet they are amazing! Pinning to make! Thanks for sharing Heather! Happy Thanksgiving my sweet friend!! 😀

    1. thanks, kim! hope you had an amazing, food-filled thanksgiving (:

  5. These are my kind of taters!! My Grandma loved buttermilk and used to add it in her mashed potatoes. I can still remember how creamy they were and the slightly tangy taste they had from the buttermilk. I’m a huge advocate of using whole milk and lots butter (the more, the better) in mine, but I’m putting some buttermilk and garlic in the holiday side this year! Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family 🙂
    p.s. I’m going to make braised beef short ribs and make these potatoes for them too.

    1. whole milk + butter mashed potatoes sound fantastic, too (: and oooh this sounds like it’d be a great side for short ribs!!

  6. These sound delicious plus I LOVE garlic!! Mmmmm 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. same!! garlic is the best. i usually have to tone it down when i’m serving anyone besides myself though, and i think i must be somewhat immune to it lol.

  7. I never peel my potatoes before cooking them. I’m too lazy and the ricer gets rid of the peel. I must try adding garlic to my potatoes the next time I make mash.

    1. i don’t rice them, so i (or more accurate, make someone else! 😉) peel them. although if you scrub them really well, i think it’d be fine to leave the peel on anyways!

  8. I’m still traumatized from a peeling accident. Don’t ask me to peel apples, carrots, or potatoes. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. almost nicked myself peeling a butternut squash the other day!! peeling is dangerous, ack.

  9. Hey Heather!
    I’m right there with you regarding the butter!
    These mashed potatoes look awesome!

  10. Garlic and mashed potatoes are all i needed to here! Potatoes are my favorite food. Your pictures are beautiful

    1. potatoes are definitely some of my favorite foods (: and thanks! i think that melty butter and potato swoops make this a pretty dish (which makes it easier to photograph lol).

  11. SIGN ME UP FOR BUTTERMILK AND GARLICKY POTATOES!!! I don’t think I’ve ever added buttermilk to mash taters, what an awesome idea!! Forget the turkey, just give me a bowl of these taters and a spoon and let me go to town!!!

    1. sameee. i don’t really need turkey, just give me all the sides (:

  12. Buttermilk sounds like the perfect addition to mashed potatoes – and that butter?! Mmmm I wish I had a big bowl of this in front of me right now. PS – you peeled off part of your thumb?! Eek!

    1. you can still sort of see where i peeled off part of my thumb- the wrinkles near that joint of my thumb go in a weird direction 😁

  13. Yum! I love lots of garlic in my mashed potatoes! I prefer chunky, rustic mashed potatoes myself too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. i mean, i’ll HAPPILY eat any kind of mashed potatoes, but the chunky kind is my favorite (:

  14. I love all the Thanksgiving recipes popping up on blogs this time of the year. Comfort food at its best. And this looks mega comfy indeed! Wishing you and your family a fb Thanksgiving.

    1. all the cozy food!! thanks kimberly (:

  15. Agness of Run Agness Run says: Reply

    This is a perfect recipe for mashed potatoes which I have to try as soon as possible, Heather. Is it possible to use any other kind of milk?

    1. you can use any kind of milk you want here! if you’re not using pre-made buttermilk but still want that tang, i’d recommend adding some lemon juice or vinegar.

  16. I can’t imagine carving off part of your thumb at a cooking class…I bet the employees there were like, “uhh…what do we do now?” I hope that thumb has since regrown! 🙂 So I love the idea of using buttermilk to make mashed potatoes…why haven’t I thought of that before?? And garlic is always a good thing! I hope these mashed potatoes make a glorious appearance on the table tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

    1. lol one of the helpers disinfected my station, and the other one wrapped a paper towel around my thumb to staunch the bleeding. pretty helpful, in comparison from a time when my nose got hit by a softball, and started gushing blood, and my coach stood there staring at me 😂

  17. How can you possibly go wrong with garlic? This sounds heavenly along with the buttermilk and not loaded with cream!! Have a great Thanksgiving Heather:)

    1. i figure that there’s enough decadence at thanksgiving that you don’t really *need* cream in your mashed potatoes. of course if there’s cream involved, i don’t think anyone would complain (;

  18. Oh god, pools of melted butter… way to kill me first thing in the morning Heather! Haha but seriously, these potatoes look so amazingly divine, like a big bowl of (garlicky!) clouds. Interesting how your family uses a hand mixer to mash them up, I never would’ve thought of that!

    1. the hand mixer works well if you’re making a huge batch! otherwise, a hand masher is kind of small and it’s a lot more work to deal with mashing all those potatoes (;

  19. This is seriously the PERFECT recipe for me!! I grew over 700 heads of garlic this last year, and I am determined to make the best garlic potatoes EVER this Thanksgiving! lol… thanks for sharing! <3 –

    1. 700 heads of garlic?! that sounds like such a feat! good thing garlic keeps for a relatively long time (;

  20. This looks perfect! Mashed potatoes simply made go with pretty much everything. Garlic and butter is all it needs. I haven’t tried adding buttermilk, but it makes perfect sense. I’ve going to do it next time. Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Heather!

  21. I am absolutely loving the idea of adding buttermilk to the mashed potatoes…I am sure that it gives it an amazing flavour…and with garlic, even better:)

    1. yes, such good flavor! no bland mashed potatoes here (:

  22. Yum! Mashed potatoes are a total classic. Interesting technique of adding raw minced garlic to the finished potatoes. Often, I just boil the garlic gloves whole with the potatoes so they get nice + soft.

    1. i like things on the garlicky side, so i add raw garlic (: plus, the heat from the potatoes helps cook it a bit anyways. but if you want things a bit more subtle, then cooking the garlic works too!

  23. whoa baby, those potatoes look like comfort to me. That butter! It’s interesting that you use a hand mixer to do this, I would always imagine potatoes flying everywhere if I did that…but then again I am a total clutz 😛 and jello salad? ew. I just had this discussion with Terry…what is that stuff?! he said it’s delicious, I think he’s insane, have you heard of marshmallow salad? I don’t get it.. >_<

    1. i stick the mixer right into a big, tall pot, so usually no potatoes flying everywhere. but if they do, then more tasting opportunities for me! i don’t really care about jello normally, but there’s something about jello + cool whip + fruit that’s really tasty. idk. (also idk how this even came to be lol). can’t say anything about marshmallow salad because i haven’t had that ever, but i might have to make that next year bc i’m curious!!

  24. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Oh man, this is one of the occasions where you shouldn’t think about calories because it’ll be up the roof XD.

    I am glad you didn’t experience trauma when you peeled the potatoes. Hope that doesn’t happen again!!! I love how fluffy your mashed potatoes look! Love how it has some garlic and butter mixed in. Thanks for sharing your recipe :).

    1. i don’t really think about health during the holidays, though i do try to hit the gym more than usual (;

  25. I feel like sometime people are too afraid to go full garlic while a good, smooth, rich garlic mashed potato casserole is utterly delicious! 🙂

    1. i’ll tone down the garlic if i know that the people i’m serving aren’t that into it, but otherwise, full steam ahead (;

  26. Oooo I just saw this and Thanksgiving is over! I love mashed potatoes (who doesn’t?!) and garlic and buttermilk are such good add-ins!

    1. eh, it’s fine, it’s always a good time for mashed potatoes (; somehow i associate them mostly with thanksgiving, but that needs to change!

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