This cheesy mashed potatoes recipe is a darn near-perfect potato comfort food side dish.
Okay, get excited because cheddar cheese and potatoes were born to be together! Did I say this is a perfect side? It really is.
What kind of cheese? Cheddar makes it better.
I am a big fan of cheddar cheese and that is why you will always find it in my cheesy mashed potatoes. This is one of my favorite potato recipes.
But, cream cheese is one ingredient that this recipe can’t go without. It adds a creamy, rich base, and the cheddar comes in from the back and makes the cheese flavor fly.
When you combine the cream cheese and the cheddar cheese, they make a perfect cheesy mashed potato dish.
We put together some helpful tips and tricks, especially if you are fairly new to making mashed potatoes. They can be tricky and you want them yummy!
This is not just for a holiday meal, either, even though my family tends to “indulge” in mashed potatoes or potato casserole only for a special occasion.
I say, all hail Cheesy Mashed Potatoes! Make them whenever, wherever.
- Use room temperature cream cheese, milk, butter, and cheese so that you don’t cool your finished potato mixture too quickly.
- Technically, mashed potatoes should be the last part of the meal to prepare before you sit down to eat. Making mashed potatoes is a fast-paced process once the potatoes are done cooking. Imagine a ballet teacher snapping her fingers at her students: Drain > transfer > mash > add ingredients > stir just enough to incorporate > garnish > serve! Pirouette to the table! All without stopping to take a phone call or wash dishes.
- Don’t let the cooked potatoes cool before you mash them. See above.
- There are many ways to process these potatoes, and we mention a few in our recipe, but you can use a hand mixer or food processor, too. (I have had the same simple Hamilton Beach hand mixer for 30 years, and just now bought another one.)
- Here’s our list of food mill alternates. Just make sure you don’t overbeat if you use an electric mixer.
- If using skim milk, add another tablespoon of cream cheese, so you use 3 T total.
- No cheddar on hand? You can use almost ANY cheese. If you have something mild like mozzarella cheese, you’ll have fairly mild-tasting potatoes. For something tangy like blue or goat, your potatoes will definitely taste like those cheeses.
- If you’ve already blended your potatoes and you find it needs additional cheese, try topping each serving with different cheeses that you have on hand. Goat? Yes, please. Manchego? Use a zester to shave it on. American slices? Yep, they melt nicely into hot potatoes.
- Freshly mashed potatoes not only cool quickly but the starch tends to firm up and get gummy as they cool. If you have doubled the recipe and you have a lot you want to keep warm, add your finished potatoes on the “keep warm” setting in a slow cooker. You may need to fold in a tablespoon or two of milk right before serving if the mashed potatoes seem dry.
Why Use Cream Cheese in Mashed Potatoes
Cream cheese is a fantastic secret ingredient to make mashed potatoes extra creamy. The cream cheese will add richness and depth to the recipe. We like making cheesy mashed potatoes with cream cheese and other cheeses. Along with making mashed potatoes, velvety smooth cream cheese adds a slight tanginess to the flavor.
Here are a few tips for using cream cheese in mashed potatoes:
- Soften the cream cheese before adding it to the potatoes. It is best to plan ahead to have plenty of time for the cream cheese to soften.
- Only use full-fat cream cheese. Full-fat cream cheese will mix better than low-fat cream cheese.
- Add the cream cheese when the potatoes are hot so that it melts better. This will keep the cream cheese from clumping.
- Add the cream cheese to the potatoes gradually and taste as you go.
What Cheese Goes in Mashed Potatoes
While just about any kind of cheese could be put into mashed potatoes, there are cheeses to work best. It is best to use cheeses that melt well in mashed potatoes.
Cheddar cheese is one of the best cheeses to put into mashed potatoes. Cheddar cheese melts well and remains stable. It isn’t going to liquify your mashed potatoes and make them runny.
Cream cheese is a fantastic cheese for mashed potatoes. It will make the mashed potatoes creamy and velvety smooth.
Blue cheese is a bold choice for mashed potatoes and can be a huge hit or a colossal flop, depending on the crowd. If you love blue cheese dressing, you will love it in your mashed potatoes.
Here are a few cheeses that go well in mashed potatoes
- Cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Gruyere cheese
- Fontina cheese
- Mexican blend grated cheese
- Goat cheese
- White cheddar
How to Thicken Mashed Potatoes
There are a few simple ingredients that you can use to thicken your mashed potatoes. The key is to add a little bit at a time and mix and test. Also, when trying out any of these ingredients, give the potatoes a few minutes to absorb and thicken. If you don’t give the potatoes enough time, they may become over-thick and turn glue-like.
Dry mashed potato flakes – Add a small amount and mix well. Then wait a few minutes to see if the flakes absorb some liquid.
Cornstarch – Mix some cornstarch and water together before adding it to the potatoes. A good rule of thumb is to mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one cup of water. Once the cornstarch is incorporated, add the mixture gradually as you stir. Only add small amounts at a time and stir constantly.
How Long Are Mashed Potatoes Good For
Mashed potatoes can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator if stored in a proper airtight container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year.
Here are a few essential things to keep in mind when storing mashed potatoes:
- Mashed potatoes shouldn’t sit on the counter for over 2 hours.
- Allow the potatoes to cool completely before putting them in the fridge or freezer.
- If you store the mashed potatoes in the freezer, store individually sized portions.
The bottom line
If you’ve gone your whole life eating mashed potatoes only for special occasions, and even then, it was always with a dollop of butter or a spoonful of gravy (white or brown?), these next-level Cheesy Mashed Potatoes are about to blow your mind.
Even for a weeknight side dish, these yummy mashed potatoes are about to become one of your favorite recipes.
No sharp cheddar on hand? If you’re like me with a fridge drawer full of different kinds of cheeses, you can add the same amount of nearly any other shredded cheese.
Want to add more pizzazz? How about making this cheesy garlic? Or, add a hint of sour cream. I love fresh chives on any potato dish but even dried chives are fine too. Or chopped green onions (just the green part).
Our Potato Recipes You Must Try
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
More About Potatoes FAQs
- 6 medium Russet potatoes
- 3/4 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 T cream cheese
- ¼ cup real butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup milk (whole milk is best, but skim milk will work too)
- ½ t salt and black pepper to taste
- Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. This is a great time to compost your peels.
- Place potatoes into a large pot or large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 t. of salt to the water.
- Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook until tender, around 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Mash potatoes by putting potatoes through a food mill or potato masher (or potato ricer, or strainer, or hand mixer).
- Gradually stir in room temp milk, then fold in the cheddar, cream cheese, and butter with a wooden spoon.
- Admire the creamy texture. Add your fresh herbs, salt and pepper, more cheese, or other toppings, if desired.
- Serve immediately. If the rest of your meal isn’t quite ready, keep covered on low heat so they stay warm.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 10g