Rustic smashed potatoes are the perfect side dish. They are quick to make, super easy and fantastically tasty. Need another reason to make these smashed potatoes? Here’s one: they’re perfect to make with a satisfying weeknight dinner or for any holiday gathering. Keep in mind that these mashed potatoes are dairy free. Let’s take a look at how to whip up these spuds.
These garlic smashed potatoes are gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and smashingly good.
Perfect Smashed Potatoes are 15 minutes away!
Although mashed potatoes aren’t a weekly occurrence in our household (they’re not paleo and really do a number on the body) these potatoes make it to our table more frequently than just about any others. Why? A couple reasons. First, they are really light and tasty. It just seems like olive oil and potatoes were meant to be with one another. These smashed potatoes are also ridiculously easy to make. Boiling water, potatoes, aromatics and olive oil. So simple and also very quick to make with very little preparation. Rinse the potatoes, roughly chop them and add to boiling water. It’s the trifecta for a side dish: delicious, quick and easy.
I started making this recipe about ten years ago when potatoes showed up on our table almost every day. At the time, I was trying to figure out how to make a bunch of my favorite recipes without dairy (doesn’t everyone do this after work?). One night I was tinkering in the kitchen with a couple stocks, working on reducing them for 40 hours when I came upon the secret for making the most delicious boiled potatoes. It is so simple. On the cutting board sat some onion, garlic and herbs. None were going to be used. Rather than wasting them, into the boiling potato water they went. The result was incredibly flavorful potatoes, with subtle notes of the herbs and garlic right in the potato.
Over the years the experimentation continued. Overall, most people seem to prefer the flavor of shallots, thyme, rosemary and garlic in the potato dishes we serve. In this recipe, we’re going to keep it simple with shallots, garlic and thyme. It is a classic combination. If you don’t have shallots, substitute onion. No thyme? No worries. Use rosemary, parsley or chives. Keep in mind that fresh is best!
Smashed Potatoes vs. Mashed Potatoes
At my cooking school, I was asked on many occasions the difference between smashed potatoes and mashed potatoes. I’m not sure if there is a definition for the difference, but this is my interpretation: smashed potatoes have skins and mashed potatoes have had the skins removed. There might be a more culinarily sound definition out there somewhere, but this just makes sense. Now, since smashed potatoes have skins on them you will find that the traditional hand potato masher (the link takes you to the one I use, which will actually last in the kitchen) will get clogged up after the first mash. You can scrape out the skins, but it becomes tedious and frustrating quickly. I have found that using a high quality wooden spoon quickly smashes the potatoes to the right consistency. I’ve broken more than my share of cheap wooden spoons. I love wooden spoons made from beechwood because they take a beating in the kitchen and still work great.
Please don’t even try to make smashed potatoes with a potato ricer. You will damage the unit. The skins just don’t play nicely with ricer. Trust me.
QUICK COOKING TIP: Want even more flavorful potatoes? That’s awesome. Here’s the tip: substitute homemade stock for the water to boil the potatoes. I like to pair my stock with the protein the potatoes will be accompanying. Chicken stock for chicken dishes and beef stock for beef. If you are making pork, you can use a pork stock (if you have one) or a vegetable stock works perfectly. Use the vegetable stock for fish as well. Make sure to add in the aromatics to the stock just as if it was water. Oh it is so damn good.
QUICK STOCK TIP: If you are using stock from a box, please make sure that it has no or low salt!
Ok. Let’s get to this homemade smashed potatoes recipe.
These smashed potatoes are perfect for weeknight meals or holiday gatherings. They have a delicate flavor profile with thyme, garlic and shallots. Delightful.
- 2.5 LBS Potatoes (waxy, new potatoes)
- 3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 Cup Shallot, roughly chopped
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 TSP Kosher Salt plus 1 TSP set aside
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
Heat a pot of water over high heat (approximately 12 cups). Add the 3 TSP salt (be careful as the water will expand when you add the salt).
Add the garlic, shallots and 2 sprigs of thyme. When the water boils, add in the potatoes carefully so the boiling water doesn’t splash.
Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid before draining the potatoes. Drain and put back into the pan over medium heat. Cook off any excess water for 1-2 minutes.
Roughly smash the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Add the olive oil, salt and cracked pepper. Mix well. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid until the desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings.
Serve hot, topped with some fresh thyme. Happy eating!
Final thoughts on the Smashed Potatoes Recipe:
The very first thought that crosses my mind is the following: make sure that you are not using a fluffy potato (think large baking potatoes) for this recipe. It will break up and not have the right consistency… the result will be a mealy textured bland potato dish. Nasty. You can use new potatoes, redskins or any other waxy potato. If you’re not sure which potato to buy, ask someone in the produce section of your grocery store. They will know immediately.
We love to pair these potatoes with my delightful grilled porterhouse steak recipe or crispy pan seared pork chops. Thinking about pairing with some chicken? Perfect. Try it with my No Beer Can Grilled Chicken or Crispy Whole Oven Roasted Chicken recipe. Whatever you decide to make with these smashed potatoes, I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do. Happy eating!