Get this dairy-free mashed potato recipe that’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and weeknight dinners!
Note: I am a proud Amazon, Chomps, and Thrive Market affiliate and am happy to recommend their service and products to you. Please know that as an affiliate, I may receive a small commission on the products you purchase after clicking through my links. For more info, please see my disclosure policy here.
If you love mashed potatoes at big family dinners or holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’re going to love this post today.
If you are reading this post, you probably follow a dairy-free diet. You’re also likely looking for clever ways to enjoy the foods you love while staying true to your body’s needs.
While there isn’t too much cleverness about mashed potatoes – they’re a classic after all – the recipe I’m sharing today is a good example of how to make small swaps to make your dairy-free diet work for you while enjoying a favorite comfort food.
If you’re like me, you’re skittish around holiday food tables, because you just don’t know what ingredients are in each dish.
Every year that I go to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving, I’m walking down the lineup of food asking what each and every dish has in it (which is truly a great strategy for holiday meals, by the way).
It’s hard to feel like there’s something to choose from when you have food intolerances or diet limitations because of your health. You need to know if there’s even a pat of butter or a dash of milk in a recipe, because to others it might not matter, but to you it DOES.
Mashed potatoes are a perfect candidate for an easy dairy-free makeover, because all you need to do is make mashed potatoes as you would already – and make a couple swaps of ingredients.
If you’re a big mashed potato lover like me, I hope this post helps you feel confident in sticking with your dairy-free diet and getting the information (and recipe) you need to enjoy this ultimate comfort food for the holidays or for a weeknight dinner.
What are mashed potatoes?
Mashed potatoes are potatoes that have been cooked, usually boiled, then mashed up into a creamy consistency. Usually milk, cream or butter is added to make mashed potatoes creamy and flavorful.
Mashed potatoes can be made with any type of potato, but the most popular potato to use for this dish are russet potatoes.
What are mashed potatoes made with?
Mashed potatoes are traditionally made with milk or cream, butter, and salt. These ingredients are added to boiled potatoes to give them a creamy texture and flavor.
What potatoes should I use in dairy-free mashed potatoes?
It really doesn’t matter which type of potato you use to make mashed potatoes. Though russets are the most common with mashed potato recipes, you can use yukon golds, baby red potatoes, or any other variety of potatoes you love.
Note that some potatoes, like yukon golds, hold their texture a little more than russets do. So while russet potatoes might give you a very light and fluffy texture, yukon golds will be a little more starchy and heavy.
Neither of these is good or bad, it’s just a preference. Choose what you and your family love and go from there.
Are mashed potatoes dairy-free?
Traditional mashed potatoes that you’d likely find at a holiday table or restaurant are not usually dairy-free. They’ll most likely contain butter, milk, cream, or all of these ingredients.
It’s possible to make dairy-free mashed potatoes though – and easily! You just need to swap out the butter and milk for dairy-free alternatives.
Read on: Are mashed potatoes gluten-free?
How to make mashed potatoes dairy-free
If you love mashed potatoes and you’re looking to make a dairy-free variation, it really couldn’t be simpler. While you’re mashing the potatoes, instead of using milk or cream and butter, you’ll want to use dairy-free substitutions instead.
Swap butter for vegan butter, plant-based butter, or olive oil
Swap milk for dairy-free milk
Swap cream for coconut milk or oat milk
There’s no one right dairy-free milk that works best for dairy-free mashed potatoes. It all comes down to preference, so chances are whatever you have on hand will work well for this recipe.
My top choice for vegan butter is Earth Balance. It has a buttery flavor but no dairy.
Another idea on making mashed potatoes dairy-free is to omit the milk entirely and use only vegan butter or water.
My husband loves making mashed potatoes in our Instant Pot and instead of adding a bunch of milk or cream, he keeps the cooking liquid in the pot and adds loads of vegan butter.
It sounds crazy, but the starchy liquid in the pot with the potatoes absorbs into the mash and makes it just as creamy and delicious as mashed potatoes with milk added to it. The recipe in this post isn’t that recipe – but it might inspire you to try that method too.
Another thing to keep in mind when making dairy-free mashed potatoes is that they don’t have to be flavor-free. Add salt, add vegan butter, and don’t be shy! Potatoes can be the most bland and neutral food without anything added to them, so be sure to season liberally.
You can add some fresh herbs, roasted garlic, or even cooked bacon too. Yum!
How to make dairy-free mashed potatoes step-by-step
If you’re ready to make dairy-free mashed potatoes, let’s go through how to make them step-by-step.
Boil the potatoes
In a pot on the stove or in an Instant Pot, boil the potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, this will take more or less time. The smaller your potatoes or pieces you have cut them into, the faster they will cook.
Drain the potatoes
Once your potatoes are boiled, drain them of their water and return them to the pot.
Add dairy-free ingredients
Add vegan butter, dairy-free milk, and salt to the pot with the cooked potatoes. You may also add pepper, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or bacon at this point too.
Mash the potatoes
Using a potato masher, spoon, or hand mixer, mash or whip the potatoes until they are creamy, light, and fluffy.
Serve your dairy-free mashed potatoes with your favorite holiday meal or weeknight dinner.
When to enjoy this dairy-free mashed potato recipe
You can enjoy these dairy-free mashed potatoes at any time, but here are some ideas to help you make the most of this recipe!
- As a side dish for a dairy and gluten-free Thanksgiving with gluten-free gravy
- At your gluten and dairy-free Christmas and holiday gatherings
- As a side to ham or other protein for your gluten and dairy-free Easter dinner
- As a side to gluten-free meatloaf
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup dairy-free milk
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Once your potatoes are boiled, drain them of their water and return them to the pot.
- Add vegan butter, dairy-free milk, and salt to the pot with the cooked potatoes. You may also add pepper, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or bacon at this point too.
- Using a potato masher, spoon, or hand mixer, mash or whip the potatoes until they are light and fluffy.
- Serve your dairy-free mashed potatoes with your favorite holiday meal or weeknight dinner.
You can boil the potatoes on the stove or use your Instant Pot for a more hands-off option.
Use whatever dairy-free milk you have on hand or enjoy. I used oat milk, but you can use coconut, rice, cashew, almond, etc.
I hope if you’ve been following a dairy-free diet for a while that you have full permission to keep enjoying mashed potatoes!
They’re easy to swap out traditional ingredients for dairy-free ones – and this recipe is great for holiday dinners and weeknights with your family. I hope you love this recipe!