Nothing says comfort food like a big bowl of cheesy mashed potatoes. This classic dish gets an extra boost of flavor from the addition of sour cream. The creaminess pairs perfectly with the melted cheese and fluffy potatoes.
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Creamy homemade mashed potatoes just got a major upgrade. These cheesy garlic mashed potatoes are perfect for Christmas dinner and busy weeknights.
Universally appealing plus we added a baked option for these cheddar mashed potatoes.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Unlike other recipes, my recipe skips the cream cheese. I often use cream cheese as a binder in place of flour, like in my potato soup and gluten-free scalloped potatoes. Cream cheese is simply too thick and creates a stiff mashed potato.
Instead, I use sour cream because it adds a tangy flavor that cuts through the richness of the cheese and potatoes while maintaining a light texture.
No need to make a cheese sauce. Instead, adding the grated cheese directly and letting it steam to melt gives these creamy mashed potatoes the perfect texture.
This recipe had a light garlic flavor because you boil the garlic with the potatoes. It infuses every bite and cuts down on the burn without having to saute it.
Potatoes- I prefer Yukon golds, these waxy potatoes have a smooth, creamy texture when mashed. They hold their shape well and have a rich flavor.
Butter- I use unsalted butter so if yours is salted adjust the salt you add at the end, not the amount you add to the water.
Cheese- My preference is to use sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe. But you can add any mix of cheeses that melts evenly. This means cheese like Swiss, Monterrey jack, or even pepper jack but not feta or parmesan cheese.
As with any recipe where you want the cheese to melt into other ingredients I recommend using freshly grated cheese. Pregrated cheese contains cellulose and other anti-caking agents which will give your potatoes a grainy texture.
Sour Cream- Adds a bit of tang and keeps the fluffy texture.
Garlic Cloves- You can also use roasted garlic, add it at the end, not the boiling potatoes. You can substitute ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in a pinch.
Green Onions- I prefer the sharp flavor of scallions but you can also use fresh chives instead.
Bay Leaf- I always add bay leaf to my potatoes when they are boiling but if you don't have any on then it is fine to skip.
💭 Optional Add-Ins
- Add ⅓ cup crumbled cooked bacon
- Stir in ½ cup caramelized onions
- Mix in 2 Tablespoons homemade pesto
- Fold in 1 cup of steamed broccoli florets
⏲️ How to Make Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
See the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Step 1- Boil the Potatoes
Place your peeled potatoes in an extra large saucepan, with plenty of salt, and cover with water.
Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender.
Step 2- Mash the Potatoes
Drain the potatoes, and let the steam escape for a minute or two.
Transfer the hot potatoes and garlic back to the pot. Roughly mash with butter and salt.
Step 3- Melt and Rest
Stir in the cheese and sour cream. Allowing the potatoes to rest will allow the cheese to melt.
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese
Place the mashed potatoes into a baking dish. Top with a little bit of cheese.
Bake until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
🥗What to Serve with Cheesy Potatoes
This cheesy mashed potato recipe is easy enough for a weeknight dinner but also works for a special occasion. You can pair with ham, pot roast, or a simple lemon chicken.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Cut potatoes into even chunks for consistent cooking time.
- A potato ricer will give you a fluffier texture because it allows more moisture to escape.
- Use melted butter, cold butter cools the potatoes too fast.
- I don't typically add pepper to my mashed potatoes. If you want to add I recommend a pinch of white pepper over black pepper. It blends into the potatoes better.
- Transfer to a slow cooker and keep warm if serving as part of a buffet.
Transfer mashed potatoes to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. To reheat, add a splash of milk and heat in a microwave or saucepan, stirring frequently. Potatoes may separate slightly but whisking will recombine. I do not recommend that you freeze cheesy potatoes.
You can also make your mashed potatoes in advance and bake them to reheat. Top with cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
More Potato Recipes
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, prepare completely then reheat gently on the stove with whole milk or broth.
Peeling the potatoes is necessary if you want an ultra-smooth texture. But for a more rustic dish, you can leave the skin on.
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Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream
- 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes or russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt divided
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese divided if baking
- ½ cup green onions whites and light green parts thinly sliced
- Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces. Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, crushed garlic, 1 ½ tablespoons salt, and cover with COLD water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil and cook until the potatoes fall apart when poked by a fork, about 15 minutes.2 tablespoons kosher salt, 3 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes
- Drain the potatoes and garlic and return to the pan, over heat. The bay leaf can be discarded. Add the remaining salt and melted butter. Mash with a potato masher until no large chunks remain.½ cup unsalted butter
- Stir in the sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced onions. Cover for 5 minutes to allow the cheese to fully melt. Serve immediately.¾ cup sour cream, 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup green onions
Baked Cheesy Mashed Potatoes (Optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. Add 1 cup of the cheddar and save back ½ cup. Transfer the potatoes to a greased casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively, you can put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl.