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Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

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These brown butter mashed potatoes are easy to make with a short list of ingredients and swirled with rich and nutty brown butter.

I mean, do we really need any convincing to make this one?! ♡

Deliciously nutty, caramelized, rich brown butter is naturally a match made in heaven when it comes to enhancing creamy mashed potatoes. But when combined with a generous amount of garlic, freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh chives, these potatoes are simply divine. I’m always tempted to toss in a half dozen other extra add-ins when making mashed potatoes, but I highly recommend exercising some restraint in this case so that the flavor of the brown butter can be front and center here when it comes to flavor. Trust me, you are going to love them!

As always, I recommend making mashed potatoes with a mix of Russets and Yukon Golds, for the optimum mix of starchy and buttery textures. And while I kept things simple for this recipe with plain milk to make them nice and creamy, you’re welcome to add in some extra sour cream or cream cheese if you prefer more of a tang.

Let’s cook up a quick batch of brown butter and take our mashed potatoes to the next level, shall we?

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

Here are a few quick notes about the brown butter mashed potato ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Butter: Brown butter is the starring flavor in this recipe, so it’s worth it here to splurge on the good butter! We will use a tablespoon of the butter to sauté the garlic, then brown the rest until it’s lighty golden and deliciously nutty.
  • Potatoes: I recommend a 50/50 mix of Russet and Yukon gold potatoes, so that you get the best of both worlds when it comes to their starchy and buttery textures.
  • Garlic: We will sauté a generous amount of garlic here to serve as our primary aromatic.
  • Parmesan: As always, I recommend freshly-grating a block of Parmesan here for the best flavor. I added in about 1 cup, but feel free to add more if you would like your potatoes to be extra cheesy.
  • Milk: I just used plain whole milk here, which it’s best to warm briefly before adding to the potatoes. But feel free to use half and half if you would like your potatoes to be even creamier.
  • Salt and pepper: Please be generous when seasoning the mashed potatoes! We’re working with three pounds of potatoes here, which is a lot to season, so give the potatoes and taste and continue seasoning until they taste great.
  • Toppings: I’m partial to the pop of color, texture and hint of onion flavor that chopped fresh chives or green onions add to mashed potatoes. The more the merrier here, in my opinion!

Mashed Potato Tips

Full instructions for how to make mashed potatoes are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid waterlogging your potatoes. Too much water is the enemy of good mashed potatoes! But the good news for all of us is that waterlogged mashed potatoes are easy to avoid by evenly cutting your potatoes before boiling (versus boiling the potatoes whole, which causes them to cook unevenly) and ensuring that the potatoes are not overboiled (just keep a close eye on the potatoes and drain them once a knife can easily be inserted in the potatoes).
  • Don’t overmix. In order to avoid overmixed mashed potatoes, which tend to have a gummy texture, simply stir the fillings into the cooked potatoes until they are just combined…and then serve.
  • Use your preferred kind of masher. If you like slightly chunky mashed potatoes, I recommend using this OXO masher. If you prefer smoother mashed potatoes, I recommend using this smooth OXO masher.

Mashed Potato Add-Ins

I know I said above that these brown butter mashed potatoes stand well on their own. But if you insist on some extra add-ins, here are a few I would recommend:

  • basil pesto
  • bay leaf (add one to the water as the potatoes are cooking)
  • caramelized onions or shallots
  • cooked bacon bits
  • different kinds of cheese (such as cheddar, feta, goat, smoked gouda, etc.)
  • herbs or spices (there are about a million different directions you could go here)
  • horseradish or wasabi
  • miso paste
  • roasted garlic cloves
  • truffle oil

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Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


These brown butter mashed potatoes are easy to make with a short list of ingredients and swirled with rich and nutty brown butter.


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 pounds potatoes (I use half Yukon Gold, half Russet potatoes)
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • toppings: chopped fresh chives or green onions, freshly-cracked black pepper


  1. Cut the potatoes. Feel free to peel your potatoes or leave the skins on. Cut them into evenly-sized chunks, about an inch or so thick, and transfer them to a large stockpot full of cold water.
  2. Boil the potatoes. Fill the pot with enough cold water so that the water line sits about 1 inch above the potatoes. Stir 1 tablespoon salt into the water. Turn the heat to high and cook until the water comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high (or whatever temperature is needed to maintain the boil) and continue cooking for about 10-12 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of a potato goes in easily with almost no resistance. Carefully drain out all of the water.
  3. Sauté the garlic. Meanwhile, during the time that the potato water is coming to a boil and the potatoes are cooking, melt 1 tablespoon butter to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the garlic to a separate plate and set aside.
  4. Brown the butter. Melt the remaining butter in the pan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the butter begins to foam, stirring frequently to ensure that the butter cooks evenly. Once the butter solids begin to turn golden brown and the butter smells toasty, immediately pour it into a heat-safe bowl until ready to use. (Keep a very close eye on the butter while it is browning so that it does not burn, since it can go from golden to burned very quickly.) 
  5. Pan-dry the potatoes. After draining the water, immediately return the potatoes to the hot stockpot, place it back on the hot burner, and turn the heat down to low.  Using two oven mitts, carefully hold the handles on the stockpot and shake it gently on the burner for about 1 minute to help cook off some of the remaining steam within the potatoes.  Remove the stockpot entirely from the heat and set it on a flat, heatproof surface.
  6. Mash the potatoes. Add the brown butter, garlic, milk and Parmesan to the potatoes. Using your preferred kind of potato masher (I recommend this one in general, or this one for extra-smooth), mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. Feel free to add in more warm milk to reach your desired consistency, if needed.
  7. Taste and season. One final time, taste the potatoes and season with extra salt and pepper as needed. (I generally add quite a bit of salt, so don’t be shy.)
  8. Serve warm.  Then serve warm, garnished with gravy or any extra toppings that you might like, and enjoy!

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5 comments on “Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes”

  1. There is a great new Brown Butter and Garlic shaker on the SAM’s shelves that packs in the nutty butter taste without all of those unfounded calories or loads of saturated fats. I haven’t found a reason not to mix it with olive oil and find it to be as complete yet.

  2. This is a lovely recipe and the notes and instructions are as well. I would eat your cooking anytime!

  3. Directions for prepping in advance and reheating?

  4. I’ve made your recipes for the last 3 years! It’s the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made! Thank you 😊