These vegan mashed potatoes have all of the flavor of real mashed potatoes and none of the detriments you might expect. Extra-virgin olive oil, unsweetened non-dairy milk, and herbs do all the heavy lifting.
We love recipes like this that remind of how truly delicious food can be without a lot of fuss or added richness. This recipe may be vegan, but we challenge anyone to not savor its honest potato flavor and light-but-creamy texture. Although of course if you prefer drama or distraction, you can get creative with some added flourishes at the end. It all depends on your desired level of decadence.–Jenny Howard
Vegan Mashed Potatoes
For the vegan mashed potatoes
- 4 pounds red or Yukon Gold potatoes* scrubbed or, if desired, peeled
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk of any sort plus more if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper or white pepper
For serving (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion cooked until lightly browned in 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs such as chives, basil, thyme, oregano or rosemary
- 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese** recipe below
Make the vegan mashed potatoes
- Cut smaller potatoes in half and larger ones into quarters. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes, depending on their size.
- Just before the potatoes finish cooking, heat the non-dairy milk in a saucepan or microwave until very warm.
- Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the pot, add the olive oil and the warm non-dairy milk, and mash using a potato masher. If a creamier texture is desired, beat in an additional 1/4 cup non-dairy milk and some or all of the reserved potato cooking water. Taste and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Plop the vegan mashed potatoes in a serving bowl and, if desired, stir in any of the optional stir-ins, whether browned onions, chopped herbs, or vegan Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
*What are the best potatoes for mashing?With so many rows of potatoes staring at you in the grocery store, how do you know which ones will make the very best mashed potatoes? For mashed potatoes, you really can’t go wrong with Yukon golds. They're naturally creamy when mashed, never mealy, and have a bit of their own buttery sweetness on their own. And even better for mashing, they're not watery or grainy. Their lower starch content also means that they don't absorb more water when boiled. Not only that, they’re excellent for roasting. Red potatoes are another terrific option. Mash away!
**How to make Vegan Parmesan CheeseIn the bowl of a food processor, whiz together 1 cup roasted, salted cashews (130 g), 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (20 g), and 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric until the mixture is finely chopped, about 1 minute.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
These are my kind of mashed potatoes: straight-up potato flavor, rustic skins-on texture, and not too much gut-busting richness.
I’ve made mashed potatoes with chicken stock instead of milk and they always look a bit anemic, but the cashew milk ensured that these potatoes looked and tasted robustly creamy. My husband vaguely noticed that the dish wasn’t as rich as his favorite version, but he wasn’t able to pinpoint the missing butter and milk as the culprits. Regardless, he enjoyed this much healthier mash almost as much as the “real” thing.
I was pleasantly surprised that the cashew milk added no alternative flavor whatsoever. (I’m a novice with using non-dairy milks, and I had anticipated that there would be some underlying nuttiness despite the “unflavored” labeling. I was also not aware that nut milks are relatively low in calories and fat = bonus.)
I used Yukon gold potatoes and all of the optional toppings: vegan Parmesan, sautéed onion, and chopped scallions in place of chives. The toppings aren’t essential, but they do give these potatoes (or any non-vegan potatoes) an exciting “ta-dah” moment! I definitely needed the extra 1/4 cup cashew milk as well as the extra 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water to get enough creaminess.
As for the vegan Parmesan cheese, this stuff is great. Not exactly a substitute for Parmesan, in my taste book, but still savory and delicious. Glad it made extra so I can sprinkle it on veggies, toast, and everything else
I had intended to use yellow Yukon Gold potatoes for these vegan mashed potatoes but I spotted some beautiful small red potatoes at my farmers market and went with those instead. These were so clean I barely rinsed them. I wouldn't have wanted to scrub their delicate skin.
My potatoes needed no extra milk, nor did they need any of the reserved cooking water. I salted and peppered multiple times, because the potatoes needed more than I was comfortable adding initially. My rendition varied from the photo because I don't see any peels in the photo but I saw plenty in mine.
I used Oatly oat milk, my favorite of the plant-based milks available commercially. It's Swedish, in high demand, and can be somewhat difficult to locate. (I actually bought a cup from my neighborhood cafe to use for this recipe!)
I garnished with onion browned as directed in coconut oil. I additionally garnished with fresh dill, since I had an ample supply and, for me, nothing goes better with potatoes and onions than dill. Had I not used the onion, I might have garnished with chopped chives.
This would make 4 very large servings—too large, by my potato appetite.
Originally published November 14, 2018