Dairy-free mashed potatoes are so easy to make, using the water the potatoes are cooked in instead of any milk or non-dairy milk drinks. This makes a deliciously creamy mash with no off taste from vegan milks – just potato – and can be altered to suit your tastes.
This is a trick my omi taught me years ago and it’s truly the perfect option. I grew up making mashed potatoes with warm dairy milk and lashings of butter but this is an excellent post-war granny version that works just as well today and is plant-based as is.
Read on for plenty of tips and tricks to make the perfect vegan mashed potatoes with no lumps or glue-y results. For some more dairy-free potato recipes, try cauliflower potato soup, potato onion galette, and new potato salad.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Potatoes: try to find a variety that’s labeled as starchy or for mashing and avoid any that are noted to be waxy. Larger potatoes work very well here.
- Oil: I always use olive oil but you can use any type you like the taste of – you will taste it – or sub a dairy-free butter.
- Add-ins: mix in fresh or dried herbs (thyme, dill, and chives are my top choices), vegan cheese, minced or roasted garlic, or something like caramelised onions.
Step by Step
Step 1: wash and scrub the potatoes, cut them, and add potatoes, water, and salt to a large pot.
Step 2: bring to a boil, covered.
Step 3: cook the potatoes until fork-soft, about 15 minutes depending on size.
Step 4: drain the water, reserving some, and let the potatoes dry for a few minutes.
Step 5: mash with some of the cooking water, oil, and spices.
Step 6: mix in any add-ins if using and serve hot.
Over-mixing is what leads to glue-y potatoes. I do use an immersion mixer to puree them (only because I don’t have a potato masher, and need multi-purpose tools in a tiny house) and use it to half mix/half mash for the best results. Don’t use a food processor or blender unless you need wallpaper paste.
Start by adding just a small amount of cooking water, then work your way up as needed. You don’t want watery mash, so keep is low to start with.
If preferred, you can rice the potatoes and then mix with the cooking water, oil, and any other add ins to form a smooth mix. Be sure to rice only the cooked potatoes, not everything together.
Drying the cooked potatoes slightly before mashing creates a more pleasant texture and I highly recommend following this step.
How to Store
Storage: keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Day old mashed potatoes make excellent potato waffles.
Freezing: place cooled mashed potatoes into an airtight container and freeze for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as usual, or use for other recipes like shepherd’s pie or potato cakes.
- Don’t over-mix: rather worse than lumps, over-mixing will result in glue rather than pleasantly smooth mashed potatoes. This is much more likely to happen when using a blender of some kind rather than mashing by hand.
- No need to peel: peeling perfectly good vegetables causes masses of unnecessary food waste, and you lose loads of nutrition, too. Embrace the added texture – it’s good all around.
- Season to taste: consider the amount of salt listed as a starting point, and be sure to salt the cooking water well. Taste and season as needed before serving.
- Don’t over-cook: the potatoes should be fork-soft (a fork, or knife, should be able to pass through with very little resistance) when ready, but not falling apart completely. Overcooked potatoes will lead to a soggy mash.
More Dairy-Free Sides
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Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes (No Milk)
- 1 kilogram starchy potatoes well-scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ~ 150 ml reserved cooking water only use what you need
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Optional herbs, garlic, cheese, etc.
- Cut the potatoes into cubes about 3cm (1 in.) in size and add to a large cooking pot. Cover with water and add the salt.1 kilogram starchy potatoes, 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, keeping an eye on the pot so it doesn't boil over. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Reserve about 150ml (~3/4 cup) of the cooking water and set aside (I ladle it out into a heat-safe container). Drain the potatoes and set the pot back on the (turned off) burner to dry for a few minutes.
- Once the potatoes look dry – after about five minutes – add olive oil and three tablespoons of the reserved cooking water. Mash well, only adding more of the cooking water in small increments if needed. Once smooth, season to taste.2 tablespoons olive oil, ~ 150 ml reserved cooking water, Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Stir in any optional add-ins at this point if using, and serve hot.Optional herbs, garlic, cheese, etc.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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