Smashed Potatoes

These smashed potatoes are rich, creamy, and easy to make, using only potatoes, crème fraîche, and thyme. A classic side dish suitable for any time of the year.

A white serving bowls filled with smashed potatoes and garnished with thyme sprigs on a wooden board.

Simple and fast, rich and delicious, this smashed potatoes recipe is a classic dish on the dinner table, where they’re comfortable sitting alongside and sopping up the juice or sauce of a meat, fowl, even a vegetarian main dish. The smashed style leaves chunks for an appealing texture–and makes preparing them a heck of a lot easier than mashing them until smooth.–Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan

*What kind of potatoes should I use?

Author Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan explains that you can use any waxy potato for this dish, including fingerlings, Yukon golds, Yellow Finns, or any of many other waxy spuds (read: not russets) that you’ll find at the store or farmers’ market. And, notes Gillingham-Ryan, “Because the potatoes are ‘smashed’ with their skins on,” says Gillingham-Ryan, “I often use at least two different colors to create a contrast.” It’s not a must, but it certainly works.

☞ Contents

Smashed Potatoes

A white serving bowls filled with smashed potatoes and garnished with thyme sprigs on a wooden board.
These smashed potatoes are rich, creamy, and easy to make, using only potatoes, crème fraîche, and thyme. A classic side dish suitable for any time of the year.

Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
4 to 6 servings
235 kcal
4.50 / 2 votes
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  • 1 1/2 pounds red- or ivory-skinned waxy potatoes, or a mixture or both* each about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter, scrubbed
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus sprigs for garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place them in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes or so.
  • Drain the potatoes and return them to the warm pan. Add the crème frâiche and chopped thyme and smash with a potato masher or fork until the potatoes are almost but not quite ready to break apart. 
  • Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the thyme sprigs, and serve right away. Originally published April 03, 2012.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 235kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mg (11%)Sodium: 58mg (3%)Potassium: 856mg (24%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 453IU (9%)Vitamin C: 18mg (22%)Calcium: 82mg (8%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These smashed potatoes are fabulous! I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, which have a natural buttery taste on their own.

The potatoes cook up smooth and creamy, with just enough bite from the smashing to make them satisfying. The thyme is just right—not too herby, with a nice, aromatic flavor. The crème fraîche adds not only silky texture, but a lovely tang of flavor that elevates these potatoes from busy weeknight fare to formal weekend dinner status. The recipe is easy to follow and works exactly as written. This one is a keeper.

If you love sour cream and chives on your baked potato, think of this recipe as the French-y version of the familiar combination. It’s a satisfying side dish that’s quicker than baked potatoes, and easier than classic mashed potatoes (for which you need to warm milk in a separate pan).

I was afraid I’d have to pass this recipe up, since I can rarely find crème fraîche in our local supermarket, but I found a recipe for homemade crème fraîche in Virginia Willis’s Basic to Brilliant, Y’All and decided to make my own. I’m sure glad I did, since this smashed potato recipe is fantastic. Hard to believe by just adding some thyme, crème fraîche, salt, and pepper to your potatoes, you could come up with something so delicious. I know I’ll be making these again.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler; potatoes (unpeeled), crème fraîche, and thyme. I found as the dish cooled down to room temperature, the flavor got even better. I would definitely pair these potatoes with a grilled protein. The grill char will complement the richness and acidity of the crème fraîche.

Wow. So simple, yet so delicious. Again, we’re seeing just how important it is to use top-notch ingredients. We bought really fresh, small, red-skinned potatoes at the farmers’ market. The flavor of the potatoes was so wonderful. Add to that home-made crème fraîche and fresh thyme. We couldn’t stop eating these potatoes.

The tiny bit that was left over (“Really, we need to stop eating this. Really, we gotta stop.”) we had the next day right out of the fridge. Didn’t last long enough to get heated up. Even cold, the flavors were fantastic. There is a jar of heavy cream and some buttermilk in a jar on the counter, waiting to become crème fraîche, so that we can make these smashed potatoes again tomorrow. That, folks, is the definition of a winner.

These smashed potatoes can be part of an easy way to serve up a quick weeknight meal. In lieu of crème fraîche, you could use 30% sour cream if available. Regular sour cream would work too, but I’d add a tablespoon of butter to compensate.

I typically prefer my mashed potatoes more whipped than smashed in consistency, but this recipe was the exception. The creaminess and tanginess of the crème fraîche gave the potatoes the smoothness I prefer. It was like magic–sleight of hand with a potato masher. The thyme on its own worked well with this, but I might supplement the thyme with a little chopped fresh rosemary in the future. These were great with lamb chops.

This is a nice, easy way to prepare smashed potatoes. We loved using crème fraîche, which is a bit less sour than sour cream. Also, the thyme was a great choice of herb to use.

When I saw this recipe, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Yet ANOTHER recipe for mashed/smashed/crashed—whatever—potatoes. How many variations can there be? How much can any one recipe add to the plethora of similar recipes out there? And yet…preparing a meal full of veggies and some chicken, but lacking any carbs to speak of (some might consider that a good thing, but I’m not among them), I took a second look at this recipe, and realized I had the ingredients on hand. So why not? It turns out that this recipe really is worth your attention. The fact that it is simple and easy to make is a plus, but don’t think for a minute that you’re sacrificing any taste. The fact of the matter is, these potatoes are absolutely delicious. A great balance of richness and the fresh taste of the thyme.

Cooking directions are spot on. I realize that personal taste enters into this, but I love my potatoes with the skin on, and less than fully mashed, just like these. The crème fraîche is a stroke of genius. For fully mashed potatoes, you can work in milk or cream, but for partially mashed potatoes, the crème fraîche allows you to get the right texture without fully mixing the potatoes and liquid. This is a real winner.

This was simple in ingredients, but SO flavorful. I often use rosemary in my potatoes, and found the thyme to be a nice change. Crème fraîche was much milder than sour cream, so my husband didn’t mind it (he doesn’t usually like sour cream) either. This was a great side to my Sunday roast chicken.

Mmmm, good. And SO quick and easy. The crème fraîche made them special, no doubt. I made that the day before because I had the heavy cream and buttermilk and that was easier than shopping. I snipped fresh thyme from the plant on my windowsill.


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  1. 4 stars
    This decadent side dish comes together with ease and requires only 4 simple ingredients! For me, the best way to describe these creamy potatoes is as a deconstructed mashed potatoes; all of the elements of a creamy mash, but the potatoes are halved and not mashed. The fresh thyme pairs beautifully with the tender potatoes and the creme fraiche. I would also like to try a mix of dill and parsley sometime soon! A lovely side dish for a barbecue roast chicken or even a traditional meatloaf.

  2. Yes! These were so much like baked potatoes that I tried the recipe. Delicious as described. But, for me, the best part was the leftovers (I doubled the recipe). They weren’t quite as “saucy” the next day, but I added a little mayo and some sliced green onions and turned them into a creamy, thyme-y potato salad. Excellent. I had planned to have them with a sandwich or something, but they were so good that I ended up eating only that. 😉 I still have some left, and I think I’ll throw in some diced apple and some olives for day three…I thought about smashing the apple, too, for consistencies sake, but I think I’d be scraping bits of apple off the walls for days if I did that. Heh.

    1. ruthie, I love what you did with the leftovers! Thanks for sharing your tricks, they sound fab. As I read what you wrote, I was thinking that if I had leftovers, I’d do what my mom did with leftover mashed potatoes and form them into cakes and sizzle them up in a skillet. Looks like there’s some smashed spuds in my very near future….

      1. Ooh, yes! We do that, too. But these are chunky enough (at least mine were) to be considered potato salad, once they were cold. I love leftover potatoes. ;’)

  3. Olá, o cozinheiro. I think I can jump in here and explain things a bit. Smashed potatoes are a chunky version of puré de batatas. They’re meant to be a a side dish; they don’t act like batatas à murro, which are great for sopping up juices, gravies, etc. So they’re traditionally boiled, not baked, because they’re not meant to absorb more liquid.

  4. Batatas à murro–literally “punched potatoes”–is a classic Portuguese way of serving potatoes. It is interesting to see how recipes transmute across continents, how the garlic is replaced by creme fraiche. I am surprised that having been boiled instead of baked and with the extra addition of creme fraiche that they would not have too much moisture content to do the job of soaking up the gravy or sauce.

    Punched Potatoes

    1. O, love the “punched potatoes” thing. It’s charming as well as pleasingly literal. I feel like so much nuance tends to get lost in English. And all our testers found the creme fraiche to be quite a lovely addition. It’s thick enough, I think, so as not to create problems of mushiness or goopiness. Thanks for chiming in…

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