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Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

There are two types of mashed potato eaters: 1) the carb lovers who add butter and milk to potatoes for added flavour, and 2) the butter lovers, who just add potato to their dairy as a transport mechanism.

I’m in the carb camp, so this recipe’s potato:butter ratio is geared more towards a lower butter amount, but if you’re in the butter crowd, you can 2x, 3x, or even 5x the amount of butter.

A note on the boiling water: there is a decent amount of salt added to the water. Don’t worry, most of it will stay behind when draining and the salt will diffuse into the potatoes and season the spuds more evenly than adding heavy amounts during the end of cooking.

To make cooking quicker on weeknights, roast the garlic the day before or just eliminate it for regular buttermilk mash.

This recipe can also be made well in advance–refrigerate for a couple days or freeze for longer.

Serves 4-6 people


I’ll give 2 sets of measures for U.S. and Rest of World as the specific amounts or conversions are not critical and each set of measures is easier to remember with their own ratios

  • Rest of World:
    • potato: 1 kg +/-. Get a starchy variety (in Switzerland, these are Blue label)
    • butter: 100 grams, room temperature
    • buttermilk: 200 ml (or use full fat milk)
    • salt and pepper: to taste
  • U.S.:
    • potato: 2 lbs +/-. Get a starchy variety such as Russet
    • butter: 1 stick, .5 cups, room temperature
    • buttermilk: 1 cup (or use whole milk)
    • salt and pepper: to taste
  • roasted garlic: 1 head. Recipe below* or separately here
  • water and salt, for the boiling: about 2.5 liters/quarts water and 25g salt (about 4 tsp table salt or 6-8 tsp coarse salt)
  • additional salt and pepper: to taste. Some people prefer white pepper to keep black specs out of the final dish, but I’m not that picky


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 2 in/5 cm pieces. Add to a large pot and add water to cover. Add the salt
  2. Bring potatoes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and and cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Drain into a colander, and allow the potatoes to air dry for a couple minutes
  4. Using a potato ricer, process the potato and roasted garlic in batches into a large bowl. (for the garlic, squeeze the head to get the the garlic pulp out, removing any hardened caramelized bits)
  5. Add the butter and buttermilk, and work completely through the potato using a spatula
  6. Season to taste. By using the salted water, you will need far less final salt in this final seasoning

*For the roasted garlic:

  1. Heat oven: To 200 C/400 F.
  2. Cut garlic head: Cut the top off the garlic head far enough down to expose the inside of each clove. Discard any loose outside skin. 
  3. Wrap: Place head on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle the tops of clove with olive oil and wrap the foil up and over the head to cover completely.
  4. Roast 45-50 minutes: Until cloves inside are soft.
  5. Extract the cloves: Squeeze each clove to slide out of the skins.