How To Make The Perfect Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Let’s talk perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes, the kind that will make you go back for seconds. This comfort food is a staple for rich gravies and savory vegetables, and it’s also America’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Classic mashed potatoes are typically made with butter or milk, so making a vegan version might be confusing if you’ve never done it before. This deceptively simple classic has just a few ingredients, but it’s easy to get it wrong. Here’s how to get the perfect bowl of vegan mash to the table.

A basket of potatoes - Care2

Choosing the Right Potato

The humble potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop. While most people associate the potato with Idaho, its birthplace is actually Peru, a country that has roughly 4,000 varieties of potatoes, far more than anywhere else. Here in the United States, there are more than 100 different varieties sold. Each of these varieties fit into one of one of seven potato categories: russet, red, white, yellow, blue/purple, fingerling, and petite. Getting the perfect mashed potatoes begins with picking the perfect potato.

Choose starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds, which are the best at soaking up the vegan butter and milk. Or better yet, use a mix of potatoes. Using different varieties of potatoes results in a fluffy mash that has a delicious depth of flavor, and it looks pretty too. For a fancy mash, mix in sweet potatoes, parsnips, or turnips- just be sure to peel the skins first, please.

Preparing potatoes - Care2

The Prep Matters

Believe it or not, the way you cut your potato will affect the taste of the final dish. Keep small potatoes whole and cut larger ones into chunks about 1 1/2 inches thick. If you cut the potatoes smaller they’ll absorb too much water, start to look transparent, and won’t soak up other ingredients later. The end result will be incredibly bland.

Never add potatoes to an already-hot pot of water, doing so increases the chances of uneven cooking. The outside of the potato will be overcooked, while the inside will be firm and inedible. As you cut the potatoes, place them in a large pot with cold water to keep them from discoloring. Once all of the potatoes are in the pot, add salt. Like pasta, potatoes soak up the liquid they are cooked in. Adding salt to the water will help you avoid bland potatoes. Then, put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot so that the potatoes steam while simmering. You’ll know they’re done when the tip of a sharp knife goes into the potato easily and without resistance.

Heating ingredients - Care2

Warm It Up

Butter and cream are essential for crave-worthy mashed potatoes, but don’t add them directly from the fridge. Adding cold products not only cools down the potatoes, but they don’t get absorbed very well either. The simple solution? Warm them up! Simply bring vegan butter and your favorite non-dairy milk to room temperature by setting them out on the counter before preparing the potatoes, or gently heat them up on the stovetop. This will help the potatoes absorb them easier. Plus, you won’t over work the potatoes mixing in the butter and milk. Less mixing means a fluffier mash.

Related: The Complete Vegan Butter Guide

Vegan Mashed Potatoes - Care2

Choosing The Right Mashing Method

Much like how you cut the potato affects the final taste of the dish, different mashing methods can drastically alter your end result. The trick is to know which method releases the most starch into the dish. The more starch, the gummier the potatoes. The best mash has the perfect amount of starch. Avoid using appliances like food processors or blenders. They release too much starch, so the potatoes will have a gummy-like consistency. Instead, use a simple hand masher that can be found in any basic cookware section of a store. For a lumpy mash, use the wavy-lined style hand masher; for fewer lumps, choose a grid-shaped masher. If you prefer a smoother mash, use a hand mixer with beaters. Doing so will incorporate air into the potatoes. Using a food mill, ricer, or tamis will result in fluffy potatoes. And for the ultimate creamy potatoes, try whipping potatoes in a stand mixer- they’ll develop some starch, but remain dreamy and creamy.

Try These Vegan Mashed Potato Recipes

Now that you know how to achieve the perfect mashed potatoes, get inspired with these vegan spins on traditional mashed potato recipes.

Bonus! 

Mashed potatoes and gravy are soulmates, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. I couldn’t teach you how to make the perfect mash without also giving you a few vegan gravy recipes to go with it! Here are a few to compliment that big, warm bowl of mashed potatoes.

Do you have a favorite vegan mash or the perfect vegan gravy? Tips or tricks? Share them in the comments!

159 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y4 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you!

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Melania P
Melania P9 months ago

Thank you for all the variety of recipes!

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Diane McMahon
Diane McMahon10 months ago

Thanks!

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Diane Wayne
Diane Wayne11 months ago

cheers

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Sharon B
Sharon B11 months ago

thanks

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara11 months ago

What is vegan butter made from? Is it nut butter? If so please check you are not buying palm fat.

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