Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? Of course we love them, but everyone wants to be careful about adding too much butter. So try making them the way my nonna used to make them in Italy—with olive oil, or with garlic and olive oil. They’re healthier, and still a favorite at our table.–Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

LC Glug Note

The amount of olive oil suggested below is just that—a suggested amount. Just start with a glug and go from there. What you’re aiming for is a mash that’s smooth, silken, and sumptuous.

Special Equipment: Potato ricer or food mill

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4


  • 1 pound Idaho or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, preferably white


  • 1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by a few inches. Season the water with salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and shape. Drain the potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  • 2. Peel the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer or a food mill. (You can instead mash them with a handheld potato masher.) Gently stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Garlic and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Variation

  • Pour the olive oil in a large skillet, add 3 whole peeled garlic cloves, and heat over medium-low heat until the garlic is softened and toasty at the edges. Gently stir the garlic cloves into the mashed potatoes along with the olive oil, warning guests as to the presence of whole cloves of garlic.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

  1. Testers Choice says:

    [Alexander Cowan] One word that sums up this recipe: luscious. Leave it to master Italian chef Lidia Bastianich to share what comes out to be some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever tried. Seriously, I don’t just say that. The recipe comes together simply and is very easy to double or triple, depending on how many people you’re serving. I used 2 standard Idaho potatoes, which boiled for around the 30-minute mark. Peeling was a snap but I’d recommend scoring the potato skin with an “x” on each tip before boiling for even easier removal. I’m thinking that this recipe might even replace my famous twice-cooked mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Yes, these are that good.

  2. Testers Choice says:

    [Lori Widmeyer] Perfect, light, and delicate mashed potatoes. Such a nice change from the heavy cream and butter version. I couldn’t imagine olive oil in place of butter and my family was hesitant to try them, but it was a hit with everyone!

  3. Testers Choice says:

    [Cindy Z.] This recipe is fantastic! We love garlic mashed spuds in our house, so I was interested in trying the version with garlic and olive oil. I left the skins on the Yukon Golds when I mashed them—didn’t use a ricer. I simmered the garlic in the olive oil for about 10 minutes on very low heat and it came out nicely golden and flavored the oil immensely. The garlic flavor was very subtle yet delicious. I also love the fact that there is no dairy in this recipe! Will definitely make this again and again and again!

  4. Testers Choice says:

    [Sofia Reino] Simple and couldn’t be any faster. Perfect for a weeknight. I didn’t bother with the garlic variation, even though I am sure it must be pretty amazing as well and will do it next time. I think it’s important to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil to get the full essence of it. It reminded me so very much of the baked potatoes I grew up eating at my parent’s home that we’d drench with my grandfather’s olive oil. It’s not as creamy as when done with butter but the taste is amazing.

  5. Testers Choice says:

    [Sita Krishnaswamy] This is a great way to make mashed potatoes. The key here is to use the most flavorful olive oil. The olive oil kept the potatoes moist, and I think I’ll enjoy making them again.

  6. Testers Choice says:

    [Anna Scott] Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Such a comforting dish with a multitude of variations and possibilities. I loved this Italian version of the classic that just uses olive oil and no butter. Don’t get me wrong, I love butter. But it’s nice to have this option that leans toward the healthier side of things. This was a simple and elegant way to serve mashed potatoes; I used my food mill to get the creamiest potatoes I could here. The only thing about the recipe itself that I might add is to cover the pot of salted water in order for the water to boil quicker. Otherwise, this is a recipe that I’m sure I’ll use again and again.

  7. Testers Choice says:

    [Jennifer V.] I usually make my mashed potatoes with butter (and lots of it), and was intrigued by this version that instead uses olive oil. It goes without saying that you should use a nice fruity olive oil. The mashed potatoes aren’t as creamy as if you had used dairy, but are still very delicious. I did try the garlic variation, which asks you to sauté some whole garlic cloves with the oil—definitely do this over medium-low heat so you don’t burn the garlic. For an extra garlicky punch, I’d add some roasted garlic to the mix in addition to the garlic oil. Also, next time, I’d cut the potatoes into large chunks to make the boiling process faster, since leaving them whole means that they require more time to boil. This is a great recipe for those who are lactose-intolerant or not consuming dairy for some reason.

  8. Testers Choice says:

    [Sandy Hill] I know that potatoes can just be potatoes, but the Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes were creamy and delicious. We liked them much better than with butter and cream. The fruity olive oil just added a different taste that we really liked.

    I’m not sure the potatoes were any lower in calories than a butter and cream addition, but I’ll definitely make them again!

  9. Testers Choice says:

    [Helen Doberstein] As a fan of Lidia’s, I looked forward to making this recipe. It’s simplicity itself, easy to make and just plain good. This is the kind of side that allows your main dish to shine. I found I didn’t miss the cream or butter as they did get very creamy on their own. I’d stress not to skimp on the salt and pepper as underseasoning these will make them bland. I was a little cautious and had to reseason them before I served them. The only thing I’d change is I don’t think I’d bother with a food mill again, as I think they’d mash the regular way just fine and be just as creamy. I’ll do this one again.

  10. Testers Choice says:

    [Karen Depp] This is an easy and delicious way to make the holiday mashed potatoes or the old family favorite. I used a ricer, and usually just boil cut potatoes, unpeeled, and let the ricer peel them for me. I made the recipe again using my personal method and it works just as well. The second time I used the garlic in the olive oil and it knocks the recipe out of the park. Really adds that extra layer of goodness.

  11. Testers Choice says:

    [Raye Tiedemann] Mashed potatoes are an easy choice here; everyone loves them. It’s a side I can always count on. Typical mashed potatoes have lots of butter, warm milk, and S&P. Nobody was around for the prep, so I made this and just put it on the table without saying anything. It looked a little different, but my diners appeared like they were eating them without knowing anything was different! This’ll become a nice change. Next time I’ll add fresh herbs pesto-style to change it up a bit. A super easy recipe.

  12. Testers Choice says:

    [Joan Osborne] Even though I don’t enjoy cleaning a food mill, it’s worth it for this recipe to get the wonderful texture for these potatoes. I do enjoy olive oil in potatoes but thought this a little much for a pound of potatoes. I used 1/2 cup olive oil but think it could even be cut down a little more and still have the health benefits as well as the taste that olive oil lends to this dish. I’ll be making this one again with less oil and next time maybe even with the variation of using garlic, as we love garlic mashed potatoes as well.

  13. Testers Choice says:

    [Marilee Johnson] This was good but I’d make some changes. One other thing I’d change is the amount of potatoes. One pound amounted to 3 small to medium russets. I usually make at least 3 pounds of mash when I make mashed potatoes, so this seemed to be more work than it was worth when looking at the end result. I heated the olive oil with garlic cloves, which added a nice, subtle garlic flavor to the potatoes. I used the fine grate on the potato ricer, which took longer than I thought. They had a nice texture and tasted very good and olive oily!

  14. Testers Choice says:

    [Adrienne Lee] I did the garlic variation and loved the flavor.

  15. Testers Choice says:

    [Elsa M. Jacobson] Here’s a delicious alternative to one more dairy-laden mashed potato variation, rich but not from cream or milk or cheese or butter, or any combination of dairy products. While I believe it’s a healthier alternative, it also helps keep meals in balance, especially holiday meals that tend to go overboard on dairy-rich foods. With this recipe, you can enjoy rich mashed potatoes and still keep all of the other dairy-rich foods on the menu. For my test, I used Idaho potatoes, figuring that if it was good with Idahos, it’d be at least as good, if not better, with buttery Yukon golds. I peeled my potatoes as directed, but I happen to be one who likes textured foods—peels and lumps included—so I’d not peel in the future, especially if I used the thinner-skinned Yukon golds. I then proceeded to make the garlic and olive oil variation, heating my garlic over quite low heat. The mashed potatoes seemed to melt with the addition of the garlic-perfumed olive oil and, as much as I love texture, these were smooth and velvety and yummy with the olive oil mixed in. I selected an olive oil that was described as buttery so as to enhance the buttery flavor, used what seemed like a lot of salt to someone like me not prone to using much salt at all, and a hefty amount of black pepper. I know that white might’ve produced a cleaner visual, but I personally prefer black pepper to white. Because I am cautious with salt and pepper, I seasoned several times before I was satisfied with the balance of seasoning and then served them piping hot as directed. Here’s my quibble with this recipe: 1 pound of potatoes? Serves 4?! It’s almost wasteful to make up a batch of mashed potatoes with just a pound and I don’t believe 1 pound of these delicious potatoes really serves 4. Three maybe, but 4, nope; not at my house. Another benefit of this recipe is that it’s vegan: authentic Italian and vegan will make a fine combo for many of my home-cooked meals, holiday or otherwise!

  16. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Emma Rudolph] You will not be disappointed by this recipe, nor will you be missing the butter and milk. Olive oil and potatoes work in mysterious ways to create a dish that tastes inexplicably of dairy. This is a recipe I will use from now on in

  17. Maria Ines Suchojad says:

    I make the garlic mashed or as I called it smashed potatoes. I grind the garlic with the olive oil so that infuses and pour it over foil baked or gril baked potatoes…very yummy!!

    • David Leite says:

      Maria, that sounds wonderful. Just a tip: Don’t let the raw garlic sit in the oil for more than a few hours. It can create botulism because there’s no air or acid in the oil. What I do is heat the oil until the garlic is sizzling, let it cool. and toss out the garlic. Then if you want you can add raw garlic to the potatoes, add the oil, and eat. Safely.

  18. Kim Bee says:

    I love Lidia’s recipes. She does things up right. Garlic in mashed potatoes is just a must for me. Olive oil is not something I’ve done so I need to take this for a test drive. I have a feeling I’ll love it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I have a feeling, too, Kim Bee that you’ll be smitten with the results. But do let us know all the same….

  19. Julie says:

    Dial this recipe up a notch by adding a bit of lemon zest and lemon juice, will knock your socks off.

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