Recipe Spotlight

Yes, You Can Make Mashed Potatoes Without Butter

These potatoes are so rich that you won’t even miss the dairy.

Published Nov. 17, 2023.

Mashed potatoes are the Thanksgiving meal’s crowd-pleaser: Buttery, creamy spuds have a lot of comfort-food appeal. But they can be so heavy that you don’t always have room for much else.

Enter olive oil mashed potatoes.

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

We sought to create lighter mashed potatoes that felt more fitting for a vibrant dinner, without sacrificing any of their textural or flavor appeal. Instead of using cream or butter, we decided on extra‑virgin olive oil as the fat of choice (potatoes mashed without fat lack richness and cohesion). 

To make this dish work, you can’t skimp on the EVOO—we use ½ cup for 2 pounds of potatoes­—and you need to use a bit of technique.

How to Make Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

To start, peel and cut Yukon Gold potatoes into chunks and simmer them in salted water until tender, which takes about 15 minutes; our testing has shown that salting the water really does result in better-seasoned potatoes. Before draining, reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water, which is a key to getting the final texture just right. 

Then, drain the potatoes and mash some of the reserved cooking liquid and some of the olive oil into them. Adding both together creates an emulsion of the liquid and the oil, allowing the potatoes to fully absorb the mixture without becoming greasy. 

Add the rest of the oil as you mash to ensure an even texture. The traditional hand-mashing method works best here to incorporate all the oil without overworking the potatoes, which can create a gluey texture. 

Once the oil has been mashed in, season the potatoes by whisking in lemon zest (to highlight the oil’s fruity notes), black pepper (which teases out the peppery nuance in the oil), and salt. 

To finish, drizzle with a mixture of more olive oil, more black pepper, and more lemon zest, and serve. The result is a side dish that is equally stunning, refreshing, and packed with flavor. Bring on the turkey and all the trimmings!


Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

A lighter but deeply flavorful version of everyone's favorite side dish.
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