Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

5 from 1 vote

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Brown butter mashed potatoes take the traditional side dish up a notch with sweet and savory flavors and a soft, fluffy texture that will have your guests drooling! 

A bowl of brown butter mashed potatoes topped with brown butter and black pepper.


 

What are brown butter mashed potatoes? 

As you might guess, mashed potatoes with brown butter are a variation of traditional mashed potatoes that use browned butter instead of plain butter to create an elevated version of the classic side dish. 

Russet potatoes are cooked until tender and mashed until smooth or slightly chunky. Then, browned butter is created by cooking regular butter until it is golden and has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that compliments the flavor of the potatoes. 

The end result is mashed potatoes with a rich flavor that will leave your guests coming back for seconds and thirds! 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Mashed potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods right next to chocolate! However, I have to admit that I’m a bit of a mashed potato snob. Don’t even get me started on the boxed stuff! 

So, you know when I say a mashed potato recipe is good that it’s really good, and these brown butter mashed potatoes are one of the absolute best. One of my go-to dishes for holiday pirates and elevated weeknight dinners, they have so much to love. 

  • Easy – This recipe requires several steps, but they’re simple and completely worth the effort! 
  • Flavorful – Sweet, buttery, and garlicky, every bite will satisfy your tastebuds. 
  • Texture – Not too thick and not too runny, these mashed potatoes are fluffy and can be made completely smooth or just a little chunky. 

A family favorite, these brown butter mashed potatoes will become a holiday staple. Don’t be surprised when they’re frequently requested for dinner, too! 

Key Ingredient Notes:

  • Potatoes – Russet potatoes work best because they have a low moisture content and absorb the butter and seasonings well. 
  • Butter – Unsalted butter is cooked in a skillet until it caramelizes and becomes sweet. I don’t recommend using salted butter, because it will impact the flavor of your potatoes! 
  • Milk – I highly recommend using whole milk, because it is creamier and sweeter than other types of milk. 
Potatoes, salt, garlic powder, butter, and milk to make brown butter mashed potatoes.

How to make this recipe:

1. Cook the potatoes

Before you begin, be sure to wash the potatoes thoroughly. Then, peel off the skins, if desired. 

  • Cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces. 
  • Place them in a large pot filled with cold water, and add the salt and garlic powder. 
  • Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium, and let the potatoes simmer until they’re nice and tender. This will take about 25 minutes! 
Two images showing the process of boiling peeled and sliced potatoes.

2. Brown the butter

  • Slice the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. 
  • Melt the pieces in a skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously with a heat-resistant silicone spatula. You’ll notice some brown speckles form and the butter will turn golden. This is how you know when the brown butter is done! 
  • Pour the brown butter into a heat-resistant jar to stop the cooking process. 

3. Mash the potatoes

  • Drain the water from the potatoes. It will still be hot. So, be careful not to let it splash! 
  • Stir in half of the hot milk and brown butter immediately. 
  • Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. 
  • Season with extra salt and pepper, and enjoy warm! 
Two images showing the process of mashing boiled potatoes with brown butter and milk.

Tip

If you aren’t planning on eating your mashed potatoes immediately, transfer them to a slow cooker on the “warm” setting to keep them hot and prevent them from becoming gummy.

Tips for Success:

  • Generously salt the cooking water. Potatoes love salt and absorb its flavor well while they’re boiling. However, this is only true while they’re in the hot water. After they’re removed, no amount of added salt will help the flavor of your potatoes. So, use a heavy hand when boiling! 
  • Work quickly while ingredients are hot. It’s crucial to begin mashing the potatoes right away. Use hot milk and brown butter, too! Otherwise, the potatoes begin to release too much starch, becoming gummy and gluey, which is not what we want! 
  • Don’t overwork the potatoes. I do not recommend using blenders, food processors, or other high-speed gadgets to mash your potatoes. This overworks them, making them gummy. Instead, stick with a potato masher or a potato ricer if you want an extra silky consistency. 
  • Don’t burn the butter! Brown butter typically takes about 8 minutes to cook. However, depending on your stove and how much butter you use, this time can vary. To avoid burning your butter, watch it carefully and stir continuously. 
  • Adjust the milk. Depending on how thick and creamy you like your potatoes, you may need to include more or less milk than what is listed. Start slowly, adding a splash at a time until your desired consistency is reached. 

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Brown butter mashed potatoes are great to make in advance! 
  • Follow the recipe all the way through. 
  • Transfer the mashed potatoes to a baking dish, cover it with foil, and place it in the fridge. 
  • Reheat them in the microwave or oven when you’re ready to eat! 

Storing Tips:

  • Transfer your brown butter mashed potatoes to an airtight container, and store them in the fridge for 3-5 days
  • You can freeze mashed potatoes with brown butter, too! Once they have cooled, transfer leftovers to a freezer-safe container,  and store them in the freezer for up to 10 months
  • To reheat, let your potatoes thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm individual portions in the microwave. Or, transfer larger batches to a baking dish, and heat them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Tip

The key to making leftover brown butter mashed potatoes taste good as new is to heat them until they’re piping hot! Then, add an extra splash of hot milk, and fluff them back up with a potato masher. You won’t even be able to tell they’re not fresh.  

Close up image of creamy brown butter mashed potatoes.

FAQs: 

How do you get brown butter? 

You achieve brown butter by using a French cooking technique that involves heating the butter until the milk solids in it caramelize. This creates the golden color and rich flavor we want. 

Can you substitute brown butter for softened butter? 

I do not recommend using softened butter instead of brown butter in this browned butter mashed potatoes recipe. However, if a recipe calls for softened butter and you want to include brown butter, you usually can. Just be sure to let it cool first! 

Do I need to add water to brown butter? 

When baking, there is a general rule of thumb to add 1 tablespoon of water for every stick of brown butter used, but it is not necessary with this recipe. 

What should I serve with brown butter mashed potatoes? 

These potatoes can be served with a wide variety of main dishes! Some of my favorite pairings include roasted rack of lamb, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, and roasted chicken

A bowl of brown butter mashed potatoes topped with brown butter and black pepper.
5 from 1 vote

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Learn how to make brown butter mashed potatoes with six simple ingredients for an elevated side dish that’s easy to make and tastes gourmet!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 33 minutes
Total: 48 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) Russet potatoes peeled and quartered Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk warmed Note 2
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • 1 potato peeler
  • 1 Large pot
  • 1 skillet
  • 1 heat-resistance silicone spatula
  • 1 heat-resistant jar
  • 1 Potato Masher

Instructions 

To cook potatoes:

  • Wash and peel potatoes, if desired. Cut into about 2-inch pieces and place them in a large pot, filled with cold water. Add salt and garlic powder.
  • Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to medium to gently simmer the potatoes. Cook until potatoes are nice and tender, about 25 minutes.

To brown the butter:

  • Slice the butter into 1 tablespoon-sized pieces and place it in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Melt the butter, stirring continuously with a heat-resistant silicone spatula.
  • Once the butter melts, it will start to foam and bubble up. Keep stirring to promote even cooking and prevent burning!
  • After about 8 minutes, you’ll notice some brown speckles in the bottom of the pan and the butter will turn golden. (If you’re using less than 8oz of butter, it may take less than 8 minutes.)
  • Immediately pour the brown butter into a heat-resistant jar to stop further cooking.

To mash the potatoes:

  • Once the potatoes are cooked through, carefully drain the water.
  • As soon as you drain the potatoes, stir in half of the hot milk and brown butter. (TIP: It’s important to mash the potatoes right away when they’re hot to prevent gluey texture.)
  • Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until nice and smooth (or chunky, however, you like it). Keep adding the rest of the milk (or more) until desired consistency.
  • Season with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt, if needed. Serve immediately, or put it in a warm oven to keep it hot. Or place it in a slow cooker set to ‘keep warm’ setting.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: For the best results, use high-starch potatoes. Russet potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture and make perfectly fluffy mashed potatoes. You may use Yukon gold potatoes as well.
Note 2: Whole milk will yield the best flavor, but 2% may be used as well. 
Storing Tips:
– Brown butter mashed potatoes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
– You can freeze brown butter mashed potatoes! Once they have cooled, transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and keep them frozen for up to 10 months.
To reheat, let your potatoes thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm individual portions in the microwave. Or, transfer larger batches to a baking dish, and heat them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 212kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 891mg, Potassium: 531mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 405IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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