The word "loaded" doesn't always have a good connotation but when it comes to mashed potatoes, ho boy, that means you're in for something special. If you have all your add-ins ready by the time the potatoes are mashed, the rest is gravy. Ooh, good gravy, that's a thought!
Terrific Loaded Mashed Potatoes Recipe
This basic loaded mashed potatoes recipe can be doubled with good results. Mashing potatoes with an electric mixer or in a food processor is not recommended because you could end up with a gluey mess. It's best to mash by hand, in a food mill, or with a ricer.
Yield: 4 servings
- 3 pounds starchy potatoes like russets or Idaho, peeled and quartered
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons room-temperature butter
- 6 ounces room-temperature sour cream
- 4 ounces grated cheese of choice like yellow or white cheddar
- 3/4 pound cooked and crumbled bacon
- Place prepared potatoes in a large saucepan with enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.
- Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Mash by hand or run through a food mill or ricer until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, butter, and sour cream, mixing by hand. Reserve 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and bacon bits for garnish. Mix the rest in with the potatoes by hand. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Serve immediately in a large bowl with reserved grated cheese and bacon bits sprinkled on top for garnish if desired. Loaded potatoes go well with steak, roasted meats, hamburgers, and a green salad or non-starchy vegetable like asparagus or green beans.
This basic recipe lends itself to so many variations. Consider adding any or all of the following ingredients for a change of pace.
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic
- 1 cup julienned onions caramelized in 2 tablespoons butter (decrease butter in basic recipe to 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup caramelized shallots
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Or consider swapping out these ingredients:
- 3/4 pound julienned deli ham or prosciutto in place of the bacon
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese or Parmesan cheese for the cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons room-temperature plain or flavored cream cheese for the butter
- 6 ounces room-temperature plain yogurt for the sour cream
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Turn the dish into a casserole by following these steps.
- Prepare your favorite version of loaded mashed potatoes, and pat it into a cooking-spray-coated 13x9-inch ovenproof pan or oven-proof skillet. If you plan to store the dish before baking, cover it tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate (or freeze for longer storage).
- Bake in a 350 F oven for about 1 hour if it's straight out of the refrigerator, 45 minutes if at room temperature and 90 minutes or longer if frozen.
- Remove the foil about 20 minutes before the cooking time is up and sprinkle additional grated cheese on top if desired.
- Remove from oven when bubbly or heated through and serve immediately.
Best Potatoes for Mashing
When selecting potatoes for your recipe, you want to go with starchy potatoes, like good old russets rather than waxy or new potatoes.
- Waxy potatoes have a high moisture content, a high sugar content, and a low starch content. They are best for boiling whole, or in salads and soups, for hashed browns, or anytime you want a potato to hold its shape.
- Starchy potatoes like russets are low in moisture and sugar and have a high starch content. They become light, dry, and mealy when they are cooked. They make superior mashed potatoes.
How to Select Potatoes
When selecting potatoes, look for these telltale signs of a good spud:
- Firm, smooth, and dry skins
- Shallow eyes
- No sprouts
- No green color
- Free of cracks or blemishes
A Great Side Anytime
Loaded mashed potatoes are great anytime but they are a real lifesaver when it comes to the holidays, a party, or whenever time is an issue, because they can be made in advance, frozen, and reheated when the need arises without any loss in flavor. They also hold well on a buffet line.