This festive Rosemary Mashed Potatoes recipe gets an elegant twist thanks to rich browned butter infused with garlic and herbs. A decadent side that’s easy to make for everything from casual dinners to holiday feasts. Vegetarian.
Fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes are already one of the world’s best comfort foods. But add some browned butter, garlic, and rosemary to the mix? Ohhhh, my goodness. It doesn’t get better than this.
Tender Yukon Gold potatoes and homemade browned butter make these mashed potatoes creamy, rich, and fluffy (AKA everything they should be). Browning some butter with fresh rosemary and garlic gives the mashed potatoes just the right amount of flavor and earthiness.
These are one of the best mashed potato sides for cozy fall or winter dinners (looking at you, Thanksgiving!)
Scroll to the recipe card below for a full ingredients list with exact quantities.
Before you jump in, there are a few things we want to highlight:
- Yellow potatoes – Also called Yukon Golds or butter potatoes, these yielded the creamiest results in our epic mashed potato taste test. They’re smooth and naturally buttery.
- Unsalted Butter is always our go-to: It gives us more control over the final seasoning in a recipe.
- Half-and-Half is our favorite liquid to use for homemade mashed potatoes: It creates a fantastic rich, buttery texture without being as heavy as cream.
- Rosemary and garlic infuse the browned butter with tons of flavor. Please use fresh rosemary here if you can! Dried rosemary just gets a little weird in these mashed potatoes and doesn't have the same effect. Fresh rosemary is best (hands down!)
- Salt and pepper – Salt is SO important here. Be sure to taste as you go and add seasoning as necessary! When it comes to black pepper, freshly cracked is a must.
Variations and Substitutions
These rosemary mashed potatoes are fairly forgiving: customize this recipe with whatever you have on hand! A few of our favorite riffs:
- Add toppings! We love adding crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. You can also add fresh chives, parsley, or more rosemary: Pull the crispy rosemary leaves off the stems after the herbs brown with the butter for a flavorful, crunchy topping.
- Use any kind of potato you like. We like yellow (Yukon Gold) potatoes in this recipe because they’re extra creamy. But these rosemary brown butter mashed potatoes are also great with russet potatoes or red potatoes. Even sweet potatoes could work!
- Swap in other hardy herbs to infuse the butter. Sage leaves or thyme would both be great choices.
- Lighten it up by using our Magic Cauliflower Cream in place of the dairy (à la our Cauliflower mashed potatoes!)
- Or add extra butter for even creamier rosemary mashed potatoes.
This dish is pretty straightforward! It’s a riff on our Ultimate Mashed Potatoes; if you’ve made that recipe before, this will probably feel quite familiar.
Boil the Potatoes
Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water (Image 1, above). Add a generous pinch of kosher salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (Image 2), then drain the potatoes and set them aside.
Brown the Butter
Return the warm, empty potato pot to the stove and add the butter. Gently crush the garlic cloves with the side of your knife to release their juices, then add them to the pot along with the rosemary sprigs (Image 3, below).
Cook on low heat until the butter melts and starts to brown (about 5-10 minutes). Stir the butter constantly and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once the butter has just barely browned (4), remove the spent garlic and rosemary (5) and reserve a few teaspoons of the browned butter to use as a topping later (6).
Pro Tip: Work quickly and keep a close eye on your butter! We recommend you turn off the heat right when the butter starts to brown, especially if you haven't worked with browned butter before. This helps reduce the risk of burning your butter while you remove the herbs and reserve a spoonful for garnishing the potatoes. Turn the heat back on when you add the half and half! Learn More: How to Brown Butter.
Add the half-and-half (Image 7) to the pot, stir it into the butter, and bring the mixture to a low simmer (8). There will still be a bit of separation between the butter and the liquid: That's ok! It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth.
Add the cooked potatoes, salt, and pepper to the pot (9), then use a potato masher to mash until creamy, allowing the potatoes to soak up all that rosemary-infused browned butter (10).
Once mashed, taste the potatoes: Add another pinch of salt if the flavors haven't quite "popped" yet, and add a few extra turns of cracked black pepper as needed.
Potato Mashing Equipment
Choosing your potato mashing method is all about personal preference.
- Like lumps? Use a masher or hand mixer. We used our favorite handheld potato masher for this recipe and left a few lumps. The small holes of the masher break up the potato without squashing it, so it’s still light and smooth.
- Prefer it creamy and smooth? Use a potato ricer. Ricers gently press the potatoes into small pieces, which results in a super fluffy, silky mash. It leaves you with extra smooth and elegant-feeling rosemary mashed potatoes.
You can find a full review of the best potato-mashing tools (and how they stack up!) in our Mashed Potatoes 101 tutorial.
Three Tips for Perfectly Creamy Mashed Potatoes
After months of in-depth testing, we landed on 3 key tips for the creamiest mashed potatoes. Be sure to check out our Mashed Potatoes 101 tutorial for the full breakdown and lots of side-by-side photos! For now, here’s what you need to know:
- Cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces. This helps them cook evenly, which creates a smoother, more uniform final dish. We aim for roughly 2.5-inch potato pieces. Smaller potatoes can often be cut in half; large potatoes may need to be cut into quarters.
- Use a hand masher or potato ricer for best results. The key to any mashed potato recipe is working the potatoes as little as possible: Stirring and mashing releases the potatoes' starches, which can make potatoes sticky or gummy. Stick with a light pass of the hand masher or potato ricer so as not to overwork things.
- Use the GOOD butter. High-quality butter like Kerrygold Unsalted Butter or Vermont Creamery’s Unsalted Cultured Butter have a higher butterfat content, which makes these mashed potatoes ultra-rich and flavorful.
This recipe was originally published in 2014. It was updated in 2023 with additional notes, photos, and streamlined instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fresh rosemary is always best! It has a deeper, fresher flavor that just doesn't quite transfer with dried rosemary. It’s also much easier to infuse the browned butter with a whole rosemary sprig that you can easily remove.
Yes! If you want a lighter mashed potato recipe, swap some or all of the half and half for skim milk, chicken or turkey broth, vegetable stock, or parmesan broth. You can also simply swap in our vegan Cauliflower Cream Sauce.
Only if you want to! We peeled the potatoes in these photos because a peel-less mash makes these potatoes feel a bit more elegant. You can absolutely leave the peels on, though: Just scrub your potatoes to make sure they're clean and then peel or cut away any large eyes or brown spots.
We love to add toppings to these potatoes! A previous version of this recipe suggested adding crumbled goat cheese and balsamic glaze, which is still a favorite flavor combo! The heat of the potatoes melts the goat cheese without really altering its crumbly shape and the balsamic pairs perfectly with earthy rosemary.
You can also serve these mashed potatoes as a side dish for your favorite easy dinner recipes. We love serving these alongside our herb roasted turkey breast, dijon chicken, homemade crab cakes, or turkey meatballs.
You can store leftover rosemary mashed potatoes in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, reheat in a saucepan over low heat with a splash of half-and-half, stock, or butter to loosen things back up.
Yes! These creamy mashed potatoes freeze quite well. Let them cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for 3-6 months. Let frozen potatoes defrost overnight in the fridge, then reheat them in a saucepan over low heat (we recommend adding a splash bit of milk, half and half, stock, or butter to bring them back to a smooth consistency).
Yes! For make-ahead mashed potatoes, prepare the recipe as written and let it cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. You can then keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to use them, reheat the rosemary mashed potatoes on the stovetop or in the oven. Another option is to do all the prep work the same day you’ll be eating them so cooking is a breeze. Simply clean and chop the potatoes in the morning, then keep them in a pot of COLD water for up to 6 hours before turning on the heat and proceeding as usual.
More Easy Mashed Potato Recipes
Mashed potatoes are an essential side dish in fall and winter! Here are a few more of our favorite recipes:
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and star rating below to let us know how it turned out!Print
These elegant mashed potatoes are perfect for a dinner party!
- 2 pounds yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- kosher salt, to taste
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ cup half and half
- fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Cook the Potatoes:
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of kosher salt, cover the pot with a lid, and bring to a boil over medium heat (this can take 15-25 minutes). Once the potatoes reach a boil, cook 10-15 minutes more until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. Return empty potato pot to the stove.
Brown the Butter:
- Add butter, garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs to the empty potato pot. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and just begun to brown, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove garlic and rosemary from browned butter; discard or compost. (You can save some of the crispy rosemary for a garnish if you'd like!)
- Reserve a few spoonfuls of browned butter for topping the potatoes later.
- Add half and half to the browned butter; stir to combine. Bring mixture to a low simmer, then turn off the heat. Note: The butter and half and half may look a bit separated here - that's ok! They don't need to form a thick or smooth sauce: We're just warming up the liquids so the potatoes mash more easily.
- Return potatoes to pot. Add a bit of salt and pepper, then mash until all of the browned butter is soaked up and potatoes are creamy.
- Taste potatoes; add extra salt and pepper as needed to help the flavors pop.
- Place mashed potatoes in a large serving dish or separate it into individual servings. Top with reserved brown butter. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Add toppings (fresh chives or parsley, balsamic glaze, goat cheese, parmesan). Use red or russet potatoes in place of yellow potatoes if you prefer. Leave the potato peels on for extra texture if you like. Use sage or thyme in place of or in addition to the rosemary. Swap some or all of the half and half for milk, cauliflower cream sauce, or broth (chicken or turkey stock and parmesan broth are all tasty here).
Saving leftovers. Let leftover potatoes cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3-6 months.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 445
- Sugar: 2.2 g
- Sodium: 953.2 mg
- Fat: 22 g
- Carbohydrates: 56.8 g
- Protein: 5.6 g
- Cholesterol: 47.2 mg
Keywords: thanksgiving, fall, holiday