Herbed Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes

Simple and flavorful herbed buttermilk smashed potatoes. Baby red or yellow potatoes are mashed – skin-on – with buttermilk, sour cream, butter, and lots of herbs until creamy, with lots of great texture throughout. A favorite Thanksgiving and holiday side dish, but also delicious any time of year. Gluten-free.

Buttermilk mashed potatoes in a white and gold fine china bowl with gravy on a white linen tablecloth.

Herbed buttermilk smashed potatoes

Meet my favorite holiday mashed potatoes. These buttermilk smashed potatoes are super creamy, perfectly chunky, and packed with flavor from Yukon gold (or other small yellow or red) potatoes, lots of fresh herbs, tangy buttermilk and sour cream, and of course, butter!

It’s a simple, crowd-pleasing, and easy-to-throw-together (even last minute) recipe that goes perfectly alongside traditonal roasted turkey, cozy stews, spoonfuls of gravy, or simply with extra butter and a sprinkling of fresh chives.

yukon gold potatoes on a green linen napkin.

Why you’ll love these rustic smashed potatoes

Yellow potatoes combine with buttermilk, sour cream, butter, and lots of fresh herbs for a creamy, dreamy, perfectly textured potato mash.

These herbed buttermilk smashed potatoes are easy to prepare and can be made in advance (which makes holiday planning easier!), are easily adaptable, and they go well with so many different dishes. From classic holiday turkey to braised meats and veggies, and of course gravy, these are a delicious companion.

Bonus? There’s no potato peeling (unless you feel strongly, in which case, peel your heart out!). This saves time, adds a little fiber and nutrient boost, and gives the mashed potatoes a thicker, chunkier texture.

We make these every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they are also delicious any time of year as an everyday side. Happy cooking!!

The ingredients to make buttermilk smashed potatoes (yukon gold potatoes, buttermilk, sour cream, butter, herbs) on a marble counter.

Buttermilk smashed potatoes ingredients

You’ll need just a handful of basic ingredients to make these chunky mashed potatoes.

  • potatoes: of course! Any small, thin-skinned variety will work. Yukon gold are my favorite, but small red potatoes or other baby potatoes are also great.
  • buttermilk: for lots of rich and tangy flavor. For a more mild flavor you can substitute heavy cream or half-and-half, but they won’t be the same.
  • sour cream: for more tang, and extra creamy potatoes. You could also add creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or even goat cheese.
  • butter: a key ingredient for even more flavor.
  • fresh herbs: I’m partial to adding fresh parsley, thyme, tarragon, and chives. Rosemary is also lovely. Use your favorite combination! In this case, fresh really is best.
  • salt and pepper: Potatoes require a good amount of salt – season generously to taste.

Find all the exact measurements and full instructions below.

Which are the best potatoes to use?

You’ll want to choose a small or medium sized thin-skinned yellow or red potato. My favorite is Yukon Gold, a type of all-purpose yellow potato that has the perfect Goldilocks’ balance of both starchy and waxy qualities best suited to this creamy mash.

They have more natural flavor and a buttery texture (along with a vibrant yellow color) and produce super creamy and delicious mashed potatoes.

Baby red potatoes are great too, and I’ve made this recipe many times with those as well. Russets or Idaho potatoes are starchier and will create a lighter, fluffier, less creamy texture without as much flavor, and you’ll likely want to peel them first.

Note: If the potatoes are large, cut them in half or quarters to cook more quickly and be sure your potatoes are all about the same size for even cooking. Also remember to salt your water generously – potatoes need lots of salt!

Buttermilk mashed potatoes in a white and gold fine china bowl with gravy on a white linen tablecloth.

How to make easy skin-on mashed potatoes

These buttermilk smashed potatoes come together easily on the stovetop in just a few steps (the most involved part is simply waiting for the potatoes to boil). They can also be prepared in advance – see the recipe notes below. Here’s how we make them:

  • Cook the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with generously salted cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until fork-tender.
  • Prepare the mix ins: Meanwhile, gently heat the butter and buttermilk in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter has melted and the milk is just warmed through (it shouldn’t be hot enough to scald the milk). Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs. (note: while heating the butter mixture first is not strictly required, it will combine more easily, resulting in creamier, warmer mashed potatoes.).
  • Mash and serve: Mash the potatoes until they are mostly broken down, then drizzle on the warm buttermilk mixture and stir in the sour cream until creamy and combined. Top with more butter, ground pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh chives. Enjoy!!

Want super smooth and creamy mashed potatoes instead?

If you prefer smoother and creamier mashed potatoes, you can follow the recipe exactly, but simply start with peeled potatoes. Using a potato ricer will give you the smoothest texture, though a potato masher still works well.

Please don’t use a food processor or blender, as this will whip the potatoes too much, activating the starches, and creating a gummy, glue-like texture.

Buttermilk mashed potatoes in a white and gold fine china bowl with gravy on a white linen tablecloth.

Herb Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes: FAQs

What can I use instead of buttermilk?

While I highly recommend the buttermilk, you can also substitute half-and-half or heavy cream. The flavor will be less tangy and more mild.

Can I make these smashed potatoes in advance?

Sure! Simply make the potatoes exactly as written. Let cool to room-temperature, then store until ready to serve.

How to reheat mashed potatoes

You can reheat leftovers in the microwave (the easiest choice), in the oven, or on the stovetop. Add additional milk as needed to reach your desired level of creaminess. See the recipe notes below.

How to store leftover mashed potatoes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Close up of creamy smashed potatoes.

More holiday side dishes:

If you make these creamy buttermilk smashed potatoes, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked them! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, Laura

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Buttermilk mashed potatoes in a white and gold fine china bowl with gravy on a white linen tablecloth.

Herbed Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes


  • Author: Laura Bolton
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 46 Servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Simple and flavorful herbed buttermilk smashed potatoes. Baby red or yellow potatoes are mashed – skin-on – with buttermilk, sour cream, butter, and lots of herbs until creamy, with lots of great texture throughout. A favorite Thanksgiving and holiday side dish, but also delicious any time of year. Gluten-free.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 11/2 lbs red or yellow potatoes, skins on, washed and scrubbed ¹
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room-temperature
  •  
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, removed from stems and minced ²
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, removed from stems and minced ²
  • 12 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold, generously salted water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain, return to the pot, or place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in the buttermilk until just warmed through (it shouldn’t be hot enough to scald the milk – it will curdle). Promptly remove from the heat and stir in the herbs. ³
  3. With a potato masher or large fork, smash the potatoes until they are mostly broken down, then drizzle on the buttermilk mixture and mash until combined. Stir in the sour cream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm with extra butter and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Enjoy!!

Notes

¹ Yukon gold potatoes are my first preference if you can find them. If your potatoes are larger than a golf ball, cut them into equal sized halves or quarters, depending on size, for even cooking.

² Feel free to mix and match a combination of your favorite herbs. I love to use thyme, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, chives, and tarragon.

³ Heating the butter mixture first is not strictly required but it will combine more easily, resulting in creamier, warmer mashed potatoes.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: herbed buttermilk smashed potatoes, yukon gold, skin on mashed potatoes, sour cream, fresh herbs, easy

Originally posted November 21, 2012.

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7 Comments

  1. 10.12.20
    Syd said:

    Made these for dinner last night and they were delicious!

  2. 11.25.16
    Lindsay said:

    We made these for Thanksgiving this year and they were a hit. Fairly simple, very tasty, and they were great with or without gravy! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. 12.4.12

    Nice upgrades here from plain old mashed potatoes. I like the idea of the buttermilk and the fresh herbs are certainly welcome. And yet it’s lighter than the mashed potatoes loaded with whole cream that a lot of people serve on Thanksgiving. Should be a good one for Christmas dinner, too!

    • 12.7.12
      Laura said:

      Thanks Mary! I make these year-round, but they are especially nice during the holidays.

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021.