Mashed Potatoes With Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

February  4, 2010
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I’ve experimented with many different versions of mashed potatoes, but my favorite recipe uses traditional Russet potatoes. Their high starch content and low moisture make them ideal for creating fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes. And although I’ve used everything from a food processor to a fork, my tool of choice when making mashed potatoes is a potato ricer- it ensures a light, smooth texture without any lumps. I like to dress up the classic dish by infusing half and half with garlic and a bay leaf and stirring caramelized onions and goat cheese into the potatoes. The sweet onions add richness and texture to the dish and the tangy goat cheese is a delicious complement. - Sonali —Sonali aka the Foodie Physician

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Our Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

With a generous hit of half and half and butter (infused with bay and garlic) and a dollop -- or four -- of fresh goat cheese, Sonali's potatoes are creamy and ethereal with the lightest of tangs. Caramelized onions, which are both folded into the potatoes and piled on top before serving, thread their a mellow sweetness throughout. We agree that the use of a ricer (which we often eschew) is key in order to achieve just the right silken texture for this bowl of mash. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (approximately 2 large onions), thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 pinch Black pepper
  1. To make the caramelized onions, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and stir them to coat with the fat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. If the onions get too dry, add a small amount of water to deglaze the pan. Set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the half and half, garlic, bay leaf, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot, dry pot. Stir them over low heat for 2 minutes until they are dry. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Gently stir in the hot cream mixture a little at a time until the potatoes are smooth and creamy (discard the garlic and bay leaf). You may not need to use all of the liquid. Set aside a small amount of the caramelized onions for garnish and stir the remaining onions into the mashed potatoes. Crumble the goat cheese into the potatoes and stir to combine well. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions. Serve hot.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • YogiRenee
  • Lauren Miller
    Lauren Miller
  • Carolyn Lyons
    Carolyn Lyons
  • Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
    Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
  • Ashley Marie
    Ashley Marie

76 Reviews

YogiRenee November 16, 2022
Every year a former guest asks me for this recipe. The goat cheese and the sweet onions! These are not my mother's mashed potatoes. Sorry Mama..
Lauren M. November 23, 2020
What a delicious way to jazz up mashed potatoes. Yes, they’re great on their own, but wow, the tangy goat cheese and sweet, rich onions really play nicely on the rich foundation of the potatoes. I think I used red skin potatoes, and had to really salt them up, since it’s what I had on hand and they turned out great!
Carolyn L. November 23, 2017
These are the best! The initial tasting was amazing, however when left over night and warmed up again, the depth of flavors seriously intensified! Got to show up a few skeptics at Thanksgiving dinner today, thank you for the recipe!
Lex N. March 5, 2014
Made this last night and it turned out wonderful. I used Yukon gold potatoes since that what I had on hand, doubled the amount of goat cheese, and heated the half and half/butter mixture with an oregano sprig instead of a bay leaf and added extra garlic. And the onions... my favorite part! Love this dish!
Sonali A. March 4, 2014
Whole milk would give the closest texture. If you're trying to make it healthier, you can definitely stir in some Greek yogurt but I would use a mixture of yogurt and milk. The dish is already a little tangy from the goat cheese so I'm not sure that using all Greek yogurt would work that well. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
Grace March 4, 2014
Grace March 4, 2014
What can I sub for the half and half cream? Will plain yogurt work?
Ashley M. March 4, 2014
I've used whole milk and a butter combo successfully for lack of having half/half. If you're looking to cut down on fat/calories, I could see a whole milk yogurt working, but I haven't tried it myself!
Ashley M. February 15, 2014
These were great! I think next time I'll use more goat cheese for some more tang though. LOVED the caramelized onions!
ChrisMorrissey January 3, 2014
This was amazing. I didn't have enough potatoes so I added some carrots, boiled and mashed them together, and just cut out about a 1/3 cup of the cream sauce. This is definitely a keeper.
hanabana November 25, 2013
Would it work to make this dish the night before and then heat it up in the oven the next day? I want to cook it for thanksgiving but trying to figure out if I can pre make the mash to save time.
LuLuLa November 20, 2013
mmmmm thank you for this recipe, can't wait to try it!
Sonali A. November 23, 2013
I hope you like it!
kschurms September 25, 2013
I first made these potatoes almost a year ago now, during Hurricane Sandy. I live in central New Jersey about an hour from the coast, and was stuck without power for about a week. The first night that everyone lost power, our group of friends (about 15 people) decided to cook up all of our perishable foods. For me, that consisted of some heavy cream and goat cheese, and so we made a huge batch of these potatoes by candlelight. It is now impossible for me to whip these up without reminiscing about how perfectly comforting these were. Thank you for the great recipe.
Sonali A. November 23, 2013
Thanks so much for sharing your story! So glad that my recipe was able to bring you some comfort during what was surely a difficult time.
ForGovLaw July 25, 2013
Would you recommend another type of cheese to use in this dish other than goat cheese?
Sonali A. July 26, 2013
It's hard to find a good substitute for the goat cheese because it has a nice tangy flavor and it melts well into the potatoes. You could try cream cheese or boursin- the flavor won't be the same but they should work well.
Gabis July 24, 2013
Is there any thing I can replace the half and half for? I live in Brazil and I don't think we have anything similar to that. I'm thinking maybe one thing we have here called "creme de leite" which is milk cream immersed in a sort of whey. It comes in cans and you can mix the cream with the whey or use them separately. However, since I'm not sure it is similar to the half-and-half, I'd prefer to use something suggested by you.
Sonali A. July 24, 2013
Half and half is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. If you can't find it, you can substitute either whole milk or heavy cream depending on how much you want to splurge!
SilviaM November 26, 2014
Nao use creme de leite. Use leite inteiro. Creme de leite da um gosto diferente. O mais parecido ao half-and-half no Brasil e' creme de leite fresco, que vem em potinho de plastico -- as vezes diz: para bater chantilly.
Ironwood C. August 9, 2012
Fantastic! And so simple. To cut down on the fat, instead of the half and half, I used 3/4 cup of evaporated skim milk and 3/4 cup of 2%--they still turned out very creamy. Thanks for a great variation on an otherwise pedestrian dish.
Sonali A. August 28, 2012
So glad you liked it! Great idea to substitute 2% and evaporated skim milk. My version is definitely a splurge dish!
Emily March 28, 2012
My husband made these for us the other night and they were great! Thanks!
onlinepastrychef March 6, 2012
Man was this good, Sonali! I really enjoyed playing w/your recipe. Hard to go wrong w/potatoes, cheese and caramelized onions! This was a well-deserved entry into the Food52 Cookbook!
lschrive March 5, 2012
This was great - I added a bit more goat cheese than the recipe called for (excuse to drink sauvignon blanc) - delicious. Brilliant idea with adding the caramelized onions - thank you!
tupperbear January 28, 2012
So I went out and bought a ricer just for these - and it was so worth the expense. Love these potatoes.
Sonali A. February 2, 2012
Thanks! And I'm glad to hear that you like the ricer!
ChezShea January 20, 2012
Add me to those who are singing the praises of these potatoes. Ground Round paties (with some of the onions and a little onion powder ) seared with mushroom /onion gravy over le deux. carrots polished with a
glaze of butter and Mirin (Sake) made a meal to LIVE for. I've been forced to live in "budget land" but meals like these do SO HELP! Thank you for sharing!
Sonali A. January 21, 2012
Thanks Sharon! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe (and that it's budget-friendly)!