What To Substitute For Milk In Mashed Potatoes

If you've ever made mashed potatoes, you know that milk is an essential ingredient. For the potatoes to be fluffy and flavorful, they need the consistency and the fats from milk to be true to form. But what if you're in the middle of prepping this dish and realize that you're out of milk? Or what if you want to make this holiday dinner staple for someone who is lactose intolerant? We committed ourselves to explore the numerous ways mashed potatoes can be made, including what you can use as a substitute for milk.

There are numerous milk alternatives for mashed potatoes that you can use if you are out of milk or if someone eating them has dietary restrictions. We've listed them below:

  • Half & half
  • Sour cream
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Chicken broth

Now that we've covered some milk substitutes that will still make delicious mashed potatoes, we'll go into greater detail on each option. You might also be wondering how you can best fix bland mashed potatoes or how you can thicken them up if they are a little watery. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post.

A delicious dish of mashed potatoes on a gray ceramic serving bowl, What To Substitute For Milk In Mashed Potatoes

Milk Alternatives

No matter your reason for not putting milk in your mashed potatoes, we've got you plenty covered with options. In this section, we will describe each one and why they will work for your side dish.

Half & half

This dairy option will give you thicker and creamier mashed potatoes. Using half and half makes them more flavorful, as the fat content is higher than whole milk.

To view this brand of half and half on Amazon, click here.

Sour cream

Sour cream is another dairy option that will make your mashed potatoes fluffy and full of flavor. You can also use a dollop or two of this ingredient in conjunction with milk or any other milk substitute if you want to mix things up for a uniquely wonderful taste.

To see this brand of sour cream on Amazon, click here.

Soy milk

Soy milk is a popular cooking and baking milk alternative for those who wish to avoid dairy products. Its high-fat content and lightly sweet flavor make mashed potatoes a little healthier without losing any taste.

Soy beans and soy milk on a wooden table

To see this brand of soy milk on Amazon, click here.

Almond milk

Another non-dairy alternative, almond milk, has the fat and consistency of dairy milk without the lactose. This makes for a batch of mashed potatoes that are rich and delicious.

Almonds and almond milk on a wooden table

To see this brand of almond milk on Amazon, click here.

Rice milk

This non-dairy milk is a tad sweet, with just a hint of vanilla. Using this for your mashed potatoes is perfect for someone trying to avoid lactose products but still wants a full-flavored side of this side dish.

To see this brand of rice milk on Amazon, click here.

Chicken broth

For mashed potatoes to get the flavor and consistency they need, many types of liquids will do. Consider using chicken broth instead of milk. This will make your mashed potatoes the most flavorful you've probably ever had. If you're a little skeptical, try using a half milk/half chicken broth combination. You'll be surprised at how great this makes potatoes taste.

When making mashed potatoes, don't be afraid to mix and match any of the above milk options. Use chicken broth with almond milk, or try sour cream and half and half. Mashed potatoes are a dish that is difficult to ruin, as there are always ways to correct almost any flavor mistakes that you might make by adding additional ingredients.

A chicken sconsomme soup

To view this brand of chicken broth on Amazon, click here.

While researching milk alternatives that can be used in mashed potatoes, we found some great recipes online. Here are two of our favorites:

Vegan Mashed Potatoes

We found this recipe at keepingthepeas.com. It calls for almond milk and garlic and produces a thick and creamy side dish that everyone will savor.

To see this brand of almond milk on Amazon, click here.

Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

This recipe from the Simple Vegan Blog uses all non-dairy ingredients for this popular dish. Plant milk is the liquid called for, which combines well with the flavors of garnishes like onion, garlic, and basil.

To see this brand of soy milk on Amazon, click here.

Can You Pre-make Mashed Potatoes?

If you know you'll be in a hurry the day you'll be cooking a large meal, you may consider prepping some things ahead of time. Can you do this with mashed potatoes?

Thankfully, you'll be able to save some time by getting this dish mostly made ahead of time. You can peel the potatoes and boil them up to two days before. Drain them and add all of the ingredients you want except for the butter. Mash away, and store in the refrigerator. Before the meal, heat the dish. Adding butter while it's being heated will make it taste one hundred percent fresh.

Should You Peel Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes?

Peeling the potatoes seems to be the standard for most mashed potato recipes that we've researched. But some that we've discovered will swear by leaving some of the peels on. The peels will add extra flavor. Just be sure to make sure that the peels are thoroughly cleaned before cooking. Otherwise, they will make the mashed potatoes turn a dingy color.

If you elect to use peels in your mashed potatoes, be sure not to use any parts that might be green, as this indicates that it has solanine in it. This is a toxin and isn't safe to ingest. Gently cut away any green parts that you see on the potato skin before cooking it. You'll also want to avoid any "sprouts" that may have grown from the potato. These cannot be eaten but can be cut away from the potato itself, making it safe to consume.

How Do You Fix Bland Mashed Potatoes?

The secret ingredient here is usually salt. Some cooks don't use enough of it, and it shows. But some of us want even more than that.

But if you want to really have an explosion of flavor with your mashed potatoes, consider adding a clove of minced garlic combined with thinly chopped green onion. Chop up some fresh sage and add to this mix, and you'll be sure to change the blandest of potatoes into something that you can enjoy.

Failing all of the above, add a little sour cream, Greek yogurt, or chicken broth to your mashed potatoes. None of this will change the dish's consistency in small quantities, and you'll be able to totally change the overall flavor from bland to flavorful in just a few moments.

How Can You Thicken Mashed Potatoes?

If your mashed potatoes are a little on the watery side, you can always thicken them up a bit. The best way is to add more potatoes to the mixture. Watery mashed potatoes are due to too much liquid and not solid enough, so adding more of the solid will balance out any inconsistency.

But what if you're out of potatoes? Are you out of luck?

Not necessarily. Consider adding a thickening agent, like cornstarch. This won't impact the flavor, but it will soak up some of the excess liquid in your dish, all the while thickening your mashed potatoes up to the desired consistency.

And you can always keep cooking the mashed potatoes on the stove. The heat will begin to evaporate the liquids in the dish, leaving you with thicker mashed potatoes. Just be sure to do this on low or medium heat, and stir it regularly so that nothing burns on the bottom of the pot or pan that you're using.

A delicious dish of mashed potatoes with unpeeled potatoes on the background


If you don't have or don't wish to use milk, there are plenty of tasty alternatives to this product when making mashed potatoes. Some are other dairy products, while others are plant-based and can be used for people with certain dietary restrictions. No matter if you use milk or not, you'll be able to mostly pre-make this dish up to two days in advance of your meal.

There are many ways to make mashed potatoes, and countless recipes are passed back and forth between people who love to cook. Whether or not you peel the potatoes entirely before you cook them, whether you add minced garlic and onion, or if you want your dish to be thick or a little watery, is based solely on your personal tastes and preferences. But no matter how they are made, mashed potatoes have been a popular staple at dinner tables and will be for a long time to come.

If you found this post about mashed potatoes to be helpful, we believe you may find the following posts about cooking to be informative:

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