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Learn how to make Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes and skip the gravy! Creamy and oh-so flavorful, this potato side dish is sure to be a hit with any meal!

Looking for more great side dishes? Be sure to try Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Pistachios, Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles, and Slow Cooker Creamed Corn.

garlic brown butter mashed potartoes in a bowl with garnish

Welcome to our house where we eat our mashed potatoes sans gravy. None of us are particularly into gravy (except chocolate gravy) and okay, brown mushroom gravy, which I love but no one else seems particularly fond of.

But who needs gravy anyway when you can top your mashed potatoes with garlic browned butter instead?

Whenever I’m looking at a menu and my eyes skim past the words “brown butter”, my heart does a little pitter-patter. It’s one of those things that is so easy to do and totally takes a basic dish and steps it up a notch.

It’s fantastic for sweets like cookies and the salted brown butter rice krispie treats that are our obsession around here. But it’s equally delicious in savory dishes as well, like this garlic brown butter mashed potatoes recipe.

I’ve always thought that the mashed potatoes were the most boring of all the Thanksgiving side dishes, but that’s no longer going to be the case if you serve this garlicky, nutty, brown butter version instead of plain mashed potatoes.

These are just as fantastic with a whole roasted chicken dinner or grilled steaks as well. Basically, they should be eaten on repeat, year round.

A big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner with browned butter drizzled over top.

How do you make Brown Butter?

Brown butter is actually incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is add some butter to a pan and let it melt over medium heat and simmer until it turns a beautiful caramel color and little brown bits begin to form on the bottom of the pan.

It’s not difficult at all, although you will want to watch it so that it doesn’t burn and stir frequently with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon to ensure it is browning evenly and so you can see the progress through the foam that appears on the top of the butter as it is browning.

Brown butter will look a little gritty or silty on the bottom, but it doesn’t affect the texture of the dishes you are adding it to. It just adds a wonderful nutty, toasted flavor of gorgeous amber deliciousness to almost anything.

An image showing how to make brown butter with garlic in it showing a hand stirring a wooden spoon in a pan.

How to Make Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

  1. Peel and wash the potatoes and chop them into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Add the potatoes to a pot and fill with enough water to completely cover the potatoes, then salt the water generously. I typically eyeball this, but generally speaking, 2 teaspoons of salt is good for a large pot of water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and cook the potatoes over medium heat until soft enough to easily be pierced with a fork. This will depend on the size of your potatoes, but 25 minutes is roughly the right amount of time.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic brown butter by melting the butter in a pan until it starts foaming, then letting it cook for a few minutes. I don’t add the garlic too early on because I don’t want it to burn, but you also don’t want to wait until the butter is already browned. I find that if I wait until the butter is foaming well and then add the garlic, I get the best results.
  4. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, drain them well and return to the pot. Add the cream cheese, milk, pepper, and half of the garlic brown butter. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric beater until creamy, then transfer to a serving bowl and either serve the remaining garlic brown butter on the side or poured over the top of the potatoes to serve family style.
An image of peeled Russet potatoes on a cutting board and unpeeled Russet potatoes in a bowl.
An image of Russet potatoes chopped and placed n a pot of cold, salted water to cook for a mashed potatoes recipe.
An image of the step-by-step process of adding cream cheese to soft, cooked Russet potatoes, beating them until creamy, then adding garlic browned butter.
An image of a serving spoon with a wooden handle in a bowl of garlic browned butter mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.

Tips for Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

  • I used Russett potatoes for the batch I made in these pictures, but Yukon Golds are equally delicious for mashed potatoes.
  • If you choose to use an electric mixer to mash your potatoes, be sure not to over beat them, which can make them gooey.
  • Sprinkle the finished mashed potatoes with chives or green onions for a pop of color and bright flavor.
  • Be sure to use the cream cheese, as it adds a wonderful creaminess and depth of flavor to the finished mashed potatoes.
A close-up image of mashed potatoes topped with brown butter sauce and chopped chives.
An image of a large bowl of buttery mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with extra browned butter on the side.

More Recipes for Potato Lovers

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garlic brown butter mashed potartoes in a bowl with garnish
Yield: 10 servings

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Learn how to make Garlic Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes and skip the gravy!  Creamy and oh-so flavorful, this potato side dish is sure to be a hit with any meal!


  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled (russet or yukon golds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Peel and wash the potatoes, then cut into small 1- to 2-inch chunks.  Place the potatoes into into a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by one inch, then salt with around two teaspoons of salt.  
  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are soft and you can easily insert a fork in them (around 25 minutes).  Drain well in a colander.
  3. While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat.  When the butter begins to bubble and foam, lower the heat to medium-low and stir the butter occasionally, monitoring carefully so that the butter does not burn.  Add the minced garlic.  The butter will turn a deep caramel color and browned bits will accumulate in the bottom of the pan.  Remove from heat.
  4. Add about half of the garlic browned butter to the potatoes, along with the cream cheese and mash or beat the potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer.  Taste the potatoes and add salt (1/2 teaspoon at a time, if necessary) and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the potatoes and stir.
  5. Serve the mashed potatoes either individually plated or family style with the remaining garlic browned butter for drizzling over the top of the potatoes.  Garnish with chopped chives, green onions, or parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gProtein: 4g
A collage of brown butter recipes in a brown butter round-up.