My super easy garlic Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Gravy are delicious! With It can’t get any better with these Easy Vegan Mashed Potatoes. With only 3 ingredients and no oil, added sugar, or dairy, this simple side dish will shine on its own. Top it with my 5-minute gravy or ridiculously delicious vegan mushroom gravy for the perfect side or meal!
Hey Internet, mashed potatoes--there’s a thousand and one ways to make them, right? I’ve been playing with this recipe for years.
Mashed potatoes was one of the first things I made as a vegan, but I could never get the flavor or texture just right. I kept trying different non-dairy milks and different spice combinations, trying to get it to taste like the mashed potatoes I used to love.
Until I realized I was making it too complicated.
One night I tried just adding a little bit of the starchy water I used to boil my potatoes in, and a dash of salt… I’d cracked the code!
I stood there eating mashed potatoes out of the mixing bowl for a good 5 minutes before screaming for my husband to get down here and taste this.
I know it seems weird. Creamy mashed potatoes from… water? How is water creamy?
When you boil potatoes, much of the starch is released into the water. I strain that water into a boil when the potatoes are done. For some ridiculously awesome reason, adding a little bit of that water in while mashing them just makes them ultra creamy and delicious.
What is the best potato for mashing?
I also have recommendations when it comes to which potatoes to use. By far, the creamiest potato is the gold potato. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a baby gold, a fingerling gold, or a grown-up gold, they’re just the creamiest.
Next up is the red potato. Actually these are REALLY delicious in mashed potatoes, but I used gold because I just can’t find anything that competes.
Finally, before going for something like a russet (I don’t really love them as mashed potatoes, but they’re great for baked potatoes!), I would pick white or new potatoes, which do work fairly well as mashed potatoes.
Okay, okay, I could ramble about potatoes for hours but who wants to listen to that? (Me, I’m a starchivore!)
Let’s get into this simple recipe!
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for the mashed potatoes are super simple. Obviously, you’ll need some potatoes, about 3 pounds for this recipe, but it is incredibly easy to customize based on what you have and how much you’d like to make.
To make my mashed potatoes fluffy, creamy, and comforting, you would think I add lots of butter and milk, right?
Nope! I use the water I boiled the potatoes in to make my mashed potatoes the perfect smooth and supple texture.
To do this, I simply drain the boiled potatoes through a colander, and I have a bowl beneath the colander to catch the starchy water. You won’t need very much of it, but I always reserve as much as I can so I have enough to work with.
I personally do not peel my potatoes. I love the texture of the skin in the mashed potatoes. For this reason, I usually buy organic potatoes if I’m going to be eating the skin.
There are also a lot of nutrients in the peel, so I just scrub my potatoes very well before chopping. Peel if you’d like, though.
The only other thing I’d highly recommend is salt. If you’re on a salt-free diet, you can definitely experiment with other flavorings like herbs, spices, and acids like lemon juice or a dash of vinegar, but I think salt is one thing that really makes it taste like traditional mashed potatoes. (There’s quite a bit of salt in butter, and most people add that to their mashed potatoes.)
If you’d like to customize your mashed potatoes, check out my Customizing Mashed Potatoes section below!
Tips for Making Creamy and Easy Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- There aren’t any hard and fast rules about how big to chop your potatoes. The key is that you want to chop them all roughly the same size. This allows them to boil at the same rate so that they’re all done at the same time.
- Place your potatoes in the pot first, then cover them with water by about an inch. I’ve tried to bring the water to a boil first and then add the potatoes, but it’s easy to splash yourself with boiling water and that’s no bueno. I already burn myself enough in the kitchen, since I cook a lot for the blog.
- After your potatoes come to a boil, check them frequently. I like to use a fork to press one of the potatoes against the wall of the pot. If it easily smashes the cube of potato, you know they’re done. You don’t want to over boil your potatoes--that will leave you with a gross gummy texture.
- Mashing potatoes is so much easier with a good masher. I never liked the old fashioned kind--I prefer this potato masher from OXO. If I didn’t have this one, though, I’d just use a fork.
- Start by mashing just the potatoes in a large bowl. Add in the starchy boiling water a few tablespoons at a time and mash or mix in between. It’s easy to add more water, but hard to deal with mashed potatoes that are too liquidy.
- If you accidentally make them too liquidy, sometimes you can save them with a bit of nutritional yeast or even those flaky instant mashed potatoes from the box (my mom likes to thicken soups with these!). But if they’re too far gone, add a little more liquid and turn it into potato soup!
- I like to leave my mashed potatoes with a few tiny chunks, but you can easily make these smooth. However, be careful not to overmash as it can ruin the texture and make them kind of gummy. Taste as you go.
- As far as seasonings go, you can add any you like. I like garlic and salt to my mashed potatoes to keep it pretty simple. You could definitely use roasted garlic (um, yum!) or regular minced garlic, but let’s be honest and admit that I’m pretty lazy and garlic powder is awesome. Check out my customization ideas below if you’d like to play around with flavors.
How long should I boil potatoes?
If you’re using a power burner, the size and thickness of your pot, and the size of your cut up potatoes will ALL play a factor in how long you should boil your potatoes.
The easiest answer is just to test them with a fork. As soon as the fork can easily pierce or crush the piece of potato, it’s done! Drain them!
For me, I use a large, somewhat thick pot, but I also use my power burner, so it takes me 8-10 minutes to boil my potatoes. I keep the flame at medium high and I do not cover the potatoes. I also start the potatoes in the pot while I bring the water to a boil (so as not to splash myself with boiling water--been there, done that, no thanks).
How to Keep Mashed Potatoes from Getting Gummy
I recommend two things to save your mashed potatoes from a gummy fate:
Don’t overcook them--as soon as your fork can sink into one of the cut up potatoes easily, it’s done.
Don’t overmash them--taste test your potatoes often while mashing them. As soon as you’re happy with the texture, stop.
Customizing Mashed Potatoes
There are SO many great add-ins for mashed potatoes and other ways you could customize it. Try:
- Different spices: garlic, onion, turmeric or curry powder, smoked paprika or regular paprika, cayenne or chipotle for a kick, etc.
- Fresh or dried herbs--go for classics like an Italian herb blend, oregano, basil, parsley, dill, thyme, etc. or go for something fun like cilantro.
- Adding nutritional yeast or even vegan cheddar cheese for some cheesy mashed potatoes.
- Top it with all kinds of things like mushroom bacon (coming soon!), mushroom gravy (can you tell I like mushrooms?) or a simple gravy (coming soon!), vegan cheese like my melty vegan cheddar sauce or melty vegan mozzarella sauce, etc.
- Swap out the potatoes for sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, cauliflower, turnips or other root veggies like parsnips and carrots, yum!
What to Serve with Mashed Potatoes
Even during a busy weeknight, I like to use these as a (large) side dish and pair them with a green vegetable like peas or broccoli. Sometimes I also like to throw in a protein like baked tofu or tempeh.
I’ve also been known to just eat a big bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy for a meal. No judgement here.
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants.
These easy vegan mashed potatoes are:
- and a great side for any meal or just as the meal itself.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!