Loaded mashed potatoes offer all of the flavor of a loaded baked potato in an easy, shareable bowl. This decadent recipe delivers on taste and is perfect for your next holiday gathering.Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
All you need to do for this simple recipe is boil potatoes, cook up some bacon, gather a few ingredients, and get your mash on. It’s easily scaled to feed 2 or 12. These potatoes are easy enough for a weeknight side dish, but fancy enough to make a splash at your holiday table.
Ingredients for Loaded Mashed Potatoes
What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashed Potatoes?
Potatoes are ranked on a continuum from high-starch/low-moisture “starchy” varieties to low-starch/high-moisture “waxy” ones. Starchier potatoes like russets and Idahos are generally considered to be among the best for mashing. Yukon Golds are also often recommended, although they fall more in the middle of the starchy-to-waxy spectrum.
Starchy potatoes can become dry, especially if you’re stingy with the butter and cream. Yukon Golds are a little more foolproof, but they’re also more expensive and sometimes harder to find. I used Yukon Golds the day I shot the pictures for this recipe,, but starchy baking potatoes will also work wonderfully in this recipe. More information is available from the Ultimate Potato Cheat Sheet, if you’re interested.
How Many Potatoes Should I Use Per Person?
I used to have to google this every single time I made potatoes. Sometimes I still have to double check! A general rule of thumb is 1/2 pound per person. That means two pounds for a family of four, five pounds for a gathering of ten, and ten pounds for a party of 20. If you want leftovers, add an extra pound or two.
How to Avoid Gummy Mashed Potatoes
In order to produce delicious, fluffy mashed potatoes, you have to follow a few simple rules. First, when you peel the potatoes, cut them into roughly equal size chunks and then toss them into a pot of COLD water. Boil them until they can be easily pierced with a fork, then drain immediately.
Don’t let them sit too long before starting to mash in the flavor. You can mash them either in a separate bowl or in the pot that you used to boil them, if you’re trying to save on dishes. Never use an electric mixer or food processor. Always mash either by hand with a potato masher (if you like a few lumps) or push them through a ricer (for smooth potatoes). I’m a lumpy mashed potato fan myself.
How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm Without Drying Out
If your mashed potatoes are ready ahead of your turkey, you have a few options for keeping them piping hot. The easiest thing to do is pop them into a slow cooker, keep it on the low setting with the potatoes covered, and add a splash of milk or cream every hour or so if you notice them starting to dry out.
If you have room on the stove, you can fill a pot half full of water and turn it to medium heat. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a heatproof dish that will balance nicely on the pot, and use it as a double boiler. The water doesn’t even need to be boiling the whole time. Check the water level periodically and replenish any that evaporates. Be careful when touching the bowl of potatoes – it will be very hot.
Your last option is to keep the potatoes warm in a covered dish in a warm oven. They run the risk of drying out this way, so add an extra glug of liquid (cream or milk) before placing them in the oven. Again, check them periodically and add more liquid and butter if they seem dry.
I am partial to sharp cheddar cheese in my mashed potatoes. Freshly grated cheese is always better than the bagged pre-grated kind. If you don’t like cheddar, other options to try include parmesan, monterey jack, Swiss, gruyere, and fontina.
Freshly cooked bacon is a must in this recipe. Please don’t substitute precooked store-bought bacon strips or bits. The bacon itself can be homemade or store-bought, and you can cook it by whichever method you prefer (how to cook bacon). You don’t need the bacon fat in this recipe, so oven methods are fine to use.
I don’t think loaded baked or mashed potatoes are complete without a handful of scallions (green onions). Chives are a good alternative as well. If you’re out of both, you could try some diced red onion if you don’t mind a little bit of a bite, or toss some parsley on top for color.
The sky is the limit! Remember that this is your meal. Mix in whatever you like! Try cooked broccoli, diced red pepper, salsa, or diced ham. You can also mash the potatoes with just butter and sour cream, and serve all of the toppings on the side – let your guests dress their own!
Mashed Potatoes without Dairy
If you have a guest who can’t have dairy, start with a medium-starch potatoes like Yukon Golds. They’ll retain more moisture than Idahos or Russets will. Mash the potatoes with chicken stock and olive oil instead of butter and sour cream, and serve an array of toppings on the side for your guests to choose from.
Recipe for Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Start by peeling potatoes. Once peeled, cut them in thirds and submerge in a large pot of cold water. Place the pot on a large burner and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until the potato chunks can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain immediately.
While the potatoes are boiling, cook bacon to your desired level of crispness. You can fry, bake, or even microwave the bacon for this recipe. Grate the cheese, and slice the scallions. Cut the butter into 1/2 tablespoon pats.
Transfer the hot potato chunks to a large bowl (or crockpot insert, if you’ll need to keep them warm for a while before dinner). If you prefer potatoes without lumps, run them through a potato ricer or food mill. If you think lumps add character, use a handheld potato masher. Never use a food processor or electric mixer for mashed potatoes – they’ll turn to glue.
I like to use the masher to mix my ingredients in, but you can use a wooden spoon if you’ve riced or milled your potatoes. Start with the butter and sour cream, along with a healthy dash of salt and pepper. Once they’re well-incorporated add the cheese. Let it melt a bit, then stir in the bacon and scallions. If you’re serving right away, enjoy! If you need to keep them warm while other meal components are finishing, use the crockpot, double boiler, or oven methods described above.
What To Serve with Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Loaded mashed potatoes are fantastic as part of a holiday spread. Try serving them at your next Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other event. They make a delicious accompaniment to traditional foods such as roast chicken, roast turkey, roast goose, pork tenderloin, steak, or salmon. If you’re looking for more bacon side dishes to round out your holiday table, try
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- BLT Pesto Pasta Salad
- Zucchini Pancakes with Parmesan and Bacon
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Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lb potatoes starchy – preferably Idaho, Russet, or Yukon Gold
- 4 Tbsp butter sliced into pats
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2.5 oz cheddar cheese shredded
- 6 oz bacon cooked
- 2 scallions chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel potatoes and cut into thirds. Submerge in large pot of cold salted water. Place pot on large burner over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes 15-20 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain immediately.
- Mash potatoes into a large bowl with a ricer or food mill (for smooth potatoes) or a handheld potato masher (for potatoes with more texture/lumps). Add butter and sour cream, and stir or mash in until well-incorporated. Add cheese, then bacon and scallions, and stir well.
- Taste potatoes. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve while hot, or keep warm in a crockpot, double boiler, or in a covered dish in a warm oven. You may need to add liquid (milk or cream) if potatoes are held for a long time and begin to dry out.