Smashed Red Potatoes With Garlic

Smashed red potatoes with garlic

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings

Lower in starch than other potatoes, red potatoes hold their shape better and are a great potato for boiled recipes and soups that require prolonged cooking times. Although reds are usually not a potato that you'd make a "mash" of, our recipe for smashed red-skinned potatoes is a quick alternative to the old potato salad or the classic mashed potatoes with butter.

Boiled and unpeeled, the potatoes are mixed with creamy half-and-half, butter, and seasonings, and simply smashed with the help of a fork. No need for special devices or mashers, as the boiled potato's texture gives away to the fork with little effort, keeping some of its firmness and bite. We prefer to keep the skin to add color and some crunch, but peeled potatoes work as well.

Wonderful as a side dish for pork chops, grilled chicken, fish nuggets, or carne asada, this dish also travels well for potlucks or picnics and remains delicious the day after.

See our tips and variations for more flavor alternatives and substitutions.


  • 2 pounds small to medium red potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half, warmed
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh chopped parsley or chives

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Scrub potatoes and cut into small chunks.

  3. Put potatoes, a teaspoon of salt, and the sliced garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, or about 20 minutes.

  4. Heat half a cup of milk or half-and-half until barely hot.

  5. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain well. Pour them into a bowl and mash with the butter and add the heated milk or half-and-half.

  6. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  7. If using, garnish the potatoes with fresh chopped parsley or chives.

  8. Enjoy!

Other Flavor Combinations for Your Potatoes

If you want to try other flavor combinations for your potatoes, here are a few suggestions:

  • Cheddar and Onion: Omit the garlic, if desired, and add 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of finely chopped green onion tops before mashing. 
  • Gruyere and Garlic: Add 1 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese along with the hot milk; mash and proceed with the recipe.
  • Garlic and Pesto: Omit the butter and add 1/4 cup of prepared pesto and 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese along with the hot milk. Mash and proceed with the recipe.
  • Dill and Sour Cream: Instead of hot milk, add sour cream or part sour cream (preferably at room temperature) to the potatoes before mashing. Add a tablespoon or two of freshly chopped dill.
  • Roasted Pepper: Blend the milk and half-and-half with 1 cup of roasted peppers. Use the sauce as a dressing for the potatoes.
  • Light Version: Cut back on the calories by half milk and half chicken broth instead of all milk or half-and-half. Alternatively, skip the dairy altogether by using olive oil as a binder and adding more fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, or parsley.