mashed potatoes with melted butter and chives along with gravy on the side
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7 Best Butter Substitutes For Mashed Potatoes

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Mashed potatoes are an all-time classic recipe, not just for Thanksgiving, but as a winter warmer through the chillier months. There’s nothing quite like a mound of steaming, buttery mashed potatoes to accompany your dinner!

But what are the best butter substitutes for mashed potatoes? You can use other dairy ingredients such as mayonnaise, buttermilk, or Greek yogurt to recreate the delicious, creamy flavor of butter. For a vegan alternative, you could use extra virgin olive oil, refined coconut oil, or canola oil.

Whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes for dinner, but your butter dish is empty? Or maybe you need a vegan or dairy-free substitute for butter in mashed potatoes?

Don’t panic, we’ve got some great substitutes for butter in mashed potatoes that will make sure your dish still tastes delicious!

Why Put Butter On Mashed Potatoes?

Mashed Potatoes

If you’ve got the knack for making perfectly creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes, your family and friends will be begging you to make this dish time and time again!

One of the secrets to creating the perfect mashed potatoes is the addition of butter.

Butter not only enhances the flavor of mashed potatoes but also works wonders on the texture. It alters the starchy texture of mashed potatoes, making them smooth, rich, and absolutely delicious.

Along with butter, many people also add milk to mashed potatoes, as well as the usual seasonings of salt and pepper.

Milk, along with butter, works to loosen the texture of the mashed potatoes, turning them from stodgy lumps to a smooth, light mash.

What Do Mashed Potatoes With Butter Taste Like?

There aren’t many culinary delights that are not improved by the addition of a little bit of butter.

Think of a knob of butter oozing down your freshly steamed vegetables, or a pat of garlic butter atop a sizzling steak — delicious!

Adding a little bit of butter to a sauce gives it that velvety smoothness that we all crave. But why is butter such a magical ingredient?

Well, it all comes down to the way it is made. Butter is produced by churning heavy cream, meaning it has a very high-fat content. It has a mild natural sweetness and, when melted, carries other flavors well.

Melted butter also helps to create a smooth texture by coating any starchy particles. Think of a roux made with melted butter and flour — the ultimate smooth, velvety base for many sauces!

Can You Make Mashed Potatoes Without Butter?

Mashed potatoes on plate, ripe potatoes in burlap bag in background. Culinary potatoe eating.

There is no reason why you couldn’t make mashed potatoes without any additions whatsoever, but this begs the question, why would you?

Mashed potatoes made without butter (or any other ingredients) can have a dry and stodgy texture.

This makes them not as pleasant to eat, but can be okay if you’re eating them with gravy or a casserole with plenty of liquid.

Without butter, mashed potatoes are not as creamy and fluffy as you might like. However, there are some situations where you may need to omit the butter or replace it with something different.

This might be as simple as that you’ve just forgotten to stock up on butter at the store. Or there might be a dietary reason why you can’t use butter in your mashed potatoes.

Sadly, like most things that make food taste delicious, butter is not all that good for us! Butter contains very high levels of saturated fat, which people sometimes avoid due to the risk of heart disease and obesity.

You also need to find an alternative for butter if you are lactose-intolerant or if you are following a vegan diet.

When trying to recreate the flavor and texture of buttery mashed potatoes, we need to find a substitute that will create the same creamy, velvety mouthfeel.

Luckily, we’ve got some great butter substitutes for mashed potatoes, to meet all dietary requirements!

Best Butter Substitutes For Mashed Potatoes

So now that we’ve got you all excited about hot and buttery mashed potatoes, we need to turn our thoughts to what you can use as a substitute for this essential ingredient.

There are plenty of options available, so don’t be disheartened if your butter dish is empty when it comes to making mashed potatoes. Here are some of the best butter substitutes for mashed potatoes!

1. Mayonnaise

Our top pick for the best substitute for butter in mashed potatoes is not the healthiest option, but will definitely give you a delicious creamy texture!

Mayonnaise can be used to replace both the butter and milk in mashed potatoes, giving a super moist and creamy mash that tastes amazing.

Add around ½ cup of mayonnaise for 1 pound of potatoes, and if the mix seems slightly dry, then use a splash of milk to loosen it up.

The flavor will not be quite the same as when butter is added to mashed potatoes, as mayonnaise is not as sweet as butter. However, your mash will be rich, creamy, and incredibly decadent!

2. Olive Oil

Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

Our second choice is one that will definitely recreate the smooth, velvety mouthfeel of buttery mashed potatoes — it’s also a healthier swap that is suitable for anyone following a dairy-free or vegan diet!

If you can source it, use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. However, in a pinch, any type of olive oil would work as a substitute for butter in mashed potatoes.

Olive oil has a nutty, buttery flavor, but it will not create quite the same creaminess as butter in mashed potatoes. This means it works best when used alongside milk, either dairy or unsweetened, plant-based alternatives.

Add ¼ cup of olive oil and ¼ cup of milk for every 1½ pounds of potatoes, along with the usual seasonings.

3. Buttermilk

Buttermilk is another ingredient that can be used to substitute both butter and milk in mashed potatoes — it has a slightly tangy flavor and lacks the sweetness of butter, but will give you a great creamy texture.

Mashed potatoes made with buttermilk are incredibly light and fluffy. Many people actually prefer the flavor of buttermilk potatoes, as they are not quite as rich as the buttered version!

Use ½ cup of buttermilk for every pound of potatoes. If the mash seems too thick for your liking, add a splash more.

If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk.

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has exploded in popularity over recent years, but many of us still overlook it as a useful cooking ingredient.

This versatile oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, making it a much healthier vegan alternative to butter.

When melted into food, coconut oil has the same velvety mouthfeel and rich texture as butter.

Unrefined coconut oil does have a light coconut fragrance, so unscented refined coconut oil may be a better option.

It also has a slight hint of natural sweetness, but it lacks a creamy flavor, so you may want to add milk alongside coconut oil in mashed potatoes, either dairy or non-dairy.

When it comes to coconut oil, a little goes a long way! Start with 1 tbsp of coconut oil per 1 pound of potatoes, and add more if desired.

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a great way to add creamy richness to mashed potatoes.

This makes it a great substitute for butter in mashed potatoes, especially if you’re the kind of person that likes to add a dollop of heavy cream as well!

So, put away the butter, milk, and cream, and add some unsweetened Greek yogurt instead— you may be pleasantly surprised!

Use ¼ cup of yogurt for every pound of mashed potatoes. Make sure you use unsweetened yogurt, and if you’re looking for a healthier swap then go for a low-fat or fat-free variety.

However, Greek yogurt can be quite thick, so you may need to add a dash of olive or canola oil as well to loosen the mashed potato mixture.

This will also add a more velvety texture, bringing your mashed potatoes as close as possible to the traditional butter and milk version.

6. Applesauce

Now, this may not sound like an obvious solution, but applesauce has been successfully used to replace butter in many different recipes!

Smooth applesauce has the same velvety texture and mild sweetness as butter and can be a great healthy alternative to this dairy product.

Make sure you use unsweetened applesauce and start with just 1 tablespoon for every pound of potatoes. You will need to add some milk as well to loosen up the mixture and add creaminess to the texture.

7. Canola Oil

rapeseed oil (canola) and rape flowers on wooden table

Using canola oil instead of butter in mashed potatoes will give you a very similar texture, but not quite the same flavor.

Canola oil will give you a great velvety richness, but without the sweet, buttery flavor.

You will need to add some milk, either dairy or non-dairy, to enhance the creamy flavor of your dish.

Substitute canola oil in the same way you would olive oil by adding ¼ cup of oil for every pound of potatoes.

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