Add Cream Cheese To Your Mashed Potatoes For A Texture Boost

One of the best ways to upgrade mashed potatoes from bland and starchy to creamy and decadent is to add a little dairy. The fats in milk, cream, and butter add extra body and flavor to mashed spuds and helps to make them less sticky and clumpy. While most mashed potato recipes call for a healthy amount of butter and maybe a dash of cream, half-and-half, or milk, try adding another type of dairy to the mix to amp up that flavor: cream cheese.

Adding a little cream cheese to mashed potatoes lends the dish a silky texture, making it as smooth and rich as possible. Beyond texture, it also imparts a tangy depth of flavor that's irresistible. Combine that with aromatics, such as garlic and fresh herbs, and you have a side dish fit for a holiday that's just as easy to whip up any night of the week.

How to whip up cream cheese mashed potatoes

A good rule of thumb for the most decadent mashed potatoes is that you can always add a little more dairy, even when you feel like you've added enough. (Some recipes for pommes purée have three sticks of butter or more in them, after all.) With cream cheese mashed potatoes, the cream cheese doesn't replace the butter or milk. Instead, the cream cheese is added alongside the other ingredients. 

For a mashed potato recipe that calls for about three pounds of potatoes, you'll want to use about eight ounces of cream cheese (that's usually the amount that comes in a single box), alongside around ¾ of a cup of milk and 6 to 8 tablespoons of butter.

Be sure to salt the potatoes to taste. And don't forget to add garlic or herbs, such as thyme, chives, or rosemary, for additional flavor.

More tips for perfect mashed potatoes

A mashed potato is only as good as its ... well, potatoes. So be sure to choose the right one for cooking. Yukon Gold are both starchy and flavorful, and they tend not to get as mushy or watery if overcooked. You can wash and leave the skins on if you don't mind a more rustic texture, but peeling and discarding the skins will ensure your final product is as smooth as possible.

Another tip: Mash the potatoes while they're still hot, or at least warm. This will help break down the potatoes and achieve that whipped and creamy texture. When you add the dairy ingredients, mix in the butter and cream cheese first, while the potatoes are still steaming, to coat them in fat and get everything melted before cooling the mixture with milk or cream. Then, fold in the flavorings and enjoy.