Loaded Mashed Potatoes are made with butter, milk, and tangy sour cream and flavored with garlic, crispy bacon, and fresh green onions to make the perfect Thanksgiving side dish!
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There is just something about a plate full of creamy mashed potatoes at a holiday dinner (okay, at any dinner). They are delicious on their own, topped with gravy, or mixed in with your veggies or turkey.
These loaded mashed potatoes are extra special and need no other accompaniments. They will take your mashed potato side dish to the next level, and they’re perfect for any occasion!
Perfect for your holiday dinner table, but they’re easy and quick enough to make, you can serve them with a Sunday roast dinner or a weeknight meal.
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes will yield a lighter, fluffier mash, and Yukon Gold potatoes will give a denser, more rich texture. Choose whichever you prefer!
- Seasonings: we’re using salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder to add flavor here.
- Bacon: choose your favorite kind of bacon for this recipe. If you’re using thin or regular cut bacon, you may want to use more than 4 slices.
- Milk: I use whole milk to add moisture and creaminess. You could also use half-and-half.
- Sour Cream: adds a bit of tanginess and helps achieve that creamy texture.
- Butter: salted butter enhances the richness of the taste and texture.
- Cheese: I love using cheddar cheese for its sharpness, but you can use your favorite kind.
- Onions: chopped fresh green onions will add a burst of flavor to these potatoes.
How to Make the Best Loaded Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is quick and easy to make! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Prepare potatoes: Peel and cut the potatoes, then boil them in a large pot with water and salt until tender.
- Cook bacon: While the potatoes are boiling, chop the bacon and cook it until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and reserve the fat.
- Add dairy ingredients: Add the half and half, sour cream, butter, and garlic powder to the potatoes.
- Mash potatoes: Drain the potatoes and mash them until creamy and smooth, with no lumps.
- Load the potatoes: Add in the crispy bacon, cheese, and green onions.
- Stir, garnish, and serve: Stir in the bacon, cheese, and green onions, then garnish with extra flavorings before serving.
Loaded Mashed Potatoes Recipe FAQs
Yes! You can make these potatoes in advance and spread them into a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To heat, simply bake (covered) at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Store leftover mashed potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, warm in the microwave or on low on the stove with a splash of milk to thin.
Tips and Notes
- Add-ins. You can add almost anything to your loaded mashed potatoes to make it an even more filling side dish, or to pair it well with your main dish. Try adding some sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, chopped roasted peppers, or even ham chunks instead of bacon!
- Start with cold water. Starting the potatoes in cold water ensures they cook evenly.
- Don’t over-cook. Overdone potatoes can become dry and gluey. The potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with a knife.
- Potato masher. A potato masher will work well to mash your potatoes. If you want them to be extra creamy, you can use a hand mixer to whip them before loading them up.
Loaded Mashed Potato Recipe Variations
- Use other cheeses. Any kind of melty cheese will work well here. You could try Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Mozzarella cheese for a different flavor.
- Use salted butter. I use salted butter, but if you only have unsalted butter on hand, then add a dash of salt to the potato mixture.
- Fresh garlic. You can use minced garlic cloves if you prefer for this recipe, but I find that garlic powder packs a bit more of a punchy flavor.
- Garnishes. Chopped fresh chives, chopped cilantro, and scallions can be used instead of fresh green onions if you prefer.
These Mashed Potatoes are perfect for holidays or special occasions next to Roasted Green Beans, Homemade Creamed Corn, Honey Glazed Carrots, my Homemade Stuffing Recipe, or any of your favorite holiday side dishes!
More Delicious Side Dish Recipes to Try
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Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs russet or Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- ½ cup half and half or whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup salted butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions (chopped)
- Peel potatoes and cut into ½” – ¾” cubes. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water just to cover. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10–13 minutes (they should easily be pierced with a sharp knife).
- Meanwhile, chop the bacon and cook it in a medium skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve the fat.
- Drain potatoes and, mash with half and half, sour cream, butter, and garlic powder. Add additional milk or sour cream if needed to achieve a smooth texture. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Stir in crispy bacon, cheese, and green onions before serving.
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Potatoes: russet potatoes are commonly chosen for mashed potatoes because they become super fluffy, but any potato will work here. If you choose a potato (i.e., red potatoes or Yukon Golds) with smooth skin, you can even boil and mash the potatoes with the skins on.
- Half and Half: I like to use half and half or whole milk over heavy cream because I find heavier cream makes the potatoes too thick. Feel free to adjust the amount of cream added to suit your preferences.
- Sour cream: sour cream gives a nice tangy flavor to these mashed potatoes. Feel free to choose any percentage and adjust it as needed to suit your tastes.
- Cheese: I’ve used cheddar cheese, but you can use any cheese you like! I recommend shredding your own cheese, as pre-shredded cheese will not melt as well.
Storage & Make Ahead
- Make Ahead: You can make these potatoes in advance and spread into a greased 9×13″ baking dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. To heat, simply bake (covered) at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Store: Store leftover mashed potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, warm in the microwave or on low on the stove with a splash of milk to thin.
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