These cheddar mashed potatoes with rosemary and garlic are seriously the best! Yukon gold potatoes are whipped with sharp white cheddar cheese, garlic, rosemary, and of course, plenty of butter for the ultimate cozy side dish. Plus they reheat like a dream so you can make them in advance!
I have opinions on mashed potatoes. My thing with them is that they’re either the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth or they are just very ok. After having my fair share of gummy, dry, grainy potatoes, I practiced and tested, and mashed some more and here we go. Perfect mashed potatoes and they’re even cheesy. And garlicky. And they have rosemary because of course they do, but you can use other herbs. We’ll get into it later! All you need to know is that these belong on your Thanksgiving table, or Friendsgiving table, or alongside any cozy, saucy dinner situation really.
Or, if you really want to get into it, you can just eat them straight from the bowl while sitting on the couch, wearing pajamas, and watching Harry Potter. Do what you gotta do.
Potatoes + cheese = the best thing ever
Do you really need to be convinced to make cheesy potatoes? I kind of don’t think so but in case you do, here are a few highlights:
- They are uber cozy. Basically like wearing a warm fuzzy sweater but it’s potatoes.
- You can make them in advance! And then just reheat them when you’re ready to go.
- They’re simple and unfussy. No hard-to-find ingredients or special tools.
- You can make them your own with different cheeses and herbs.
- You don’t even have to top them with gravy. I mean, you totally can. But they also hold their own.
The grocery list
The ingredients here are pretty basic and straightforward. Yay! Here is what you’ll need to make these white cheddar mashed potatoes:
- Yukon gold potatoes – these are my personal favorite. You could also use russet or red potatoes, but I love the creamy texture of Yukon golds!
- Cheddar cheese – preferably sharp white cheddar but any will work. Keep in mind that yellow cheddar will give the potatoes a light yellow hue. Just make sure you buy a block and shred it yourself. Yes really. The junk on the pre-shredded stuff will make the potatoes grainy.
- Half-and-half – cream and even whole milk would work too. Make sure to heat it a little to help it incorporate into the potatoes.
- Unsalted butter – this adds so much flavor! You can use salted as well but will have to adjust the salt in the recipe. Also, we’re using melted butter here because I just think it’s easier.
- Creme fraishe – sour cream is good as well.
- Garlic – perfectly compliments the white cheddar! I think 2 large cloves is the sweet spot so that the garlic isn’t overpowering but feel free to add more based on your tastes.
- Rosemary – to add a little herbiness to the dish.
- Kosher salt and white pepper – black pepper works too but will obviously add little black specks to the dish.
How to make these cheesy potatoes
- First we’re going to cook the potatoes! Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes boil for 18-20 minutes, until they are fork tender. Drain them well.
- Next, mash, rice, or “whip” the potatoes with a hand or stand mixer until they are smooth. Immediately stir in the garlic to let the risidual heat from the potatoes “cook” the garlic a little.
- Fold in the white cheddar cheese and allow it to melt. Then, stir in the unsalted butter, sour cream, and rosemary.
- Splash in 1/3 cup of half-and-half. Continue adding half-and-half until you reach your desired consistency. I personally prefer a smoother, creamier mashed potato but you can leave them thick if that’s what you like.
- Lastly, taste the potatoes and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let the potatoes cool a bit before storing them for later.
Make-Ahead & Reheating Instructions
To make cheddar mashed potatoes in advance, just prepare them and spoon them into an airtight container. Let the potatoes come to room temperature, stirring every once in a while to help speed up the process. Cover and place in the fridge overnight or for up to three days.
To reheat the potatoes, you have a few options! A lot of people recommend heating them on the stove, but I don’t love this version. First, it’s hard to reheat them uniformly without the bottom of the pot burning. Second, with the cheese, it can end up being a bit of a sticky mess. Here’s what I’d do instead!
The best way: Bake
I would highly recommend baking the cheddar mashed potatoes when you’re ready to reheat. This low and slow method allows the potatoes to reheat without drying out or burning. To bake them, preheat the oven to 350°F and spoon the potatoes in a lightly greased baking dish. Next, add a splash of half-and-half to reintroduce moisture into the potatoes. Lastly, cover the dish with a lid or tin foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are bubbling and hot.
The easier way: microwave
If you’re short on time and just can’t wait to eat some potatoes, microwaving is the way to go. To reheat them this way, just transfer the potatoes to a microwave-safe dish. Then, cover and cook on high for one minute. Stir, and continue cooking minute-by-minute until the potatoes are hot. Then, add additional butter or half-and-half if necessary.
If you want to make these potatoes your own, try a few different variations to switch things up. Here are a few ideas:
- Potatoes – try red or russet potatoes instead of Yukon golds.
- Cheese – replace the cheddar with pepper jack, Parmesan, herbed cheese, Monterey jack, fontina, or a mix.
- Herbs – replace the rosemary with thyme or chives.
- Other ideas – add roasted garlic, caramelized onions, brown butter, green onions, bacon, etc.! It’s hard to mess up cheesy mashed potatoes to be honest.
You can pretty much serve mashed potatoes with just about anything, but rich, savory, saucy dishes are my favorite. Here are a few of my go-to meals to serve alongside cheddar mashed potatoes:
- Sheet pan chicken cordon bleu
- Pot roast with red wine & shallots
- Reverse seared chuck steak with brandy peppercorn sauce
- Beef stroganoff with shallots & brandy
Tips for making the best mashed potatoes, every time
- Don’t cut the potatoes too small. I like to cut small potatoes in half and large potatoes into quarters. Any smaller, and they will absorb to much water and make the mashed potatoes flavorless.
- Use a potato ricer or hand/stand mixer for creamier potatoes. Mashing is fine but it takes a lot more effort to get the perfect texture. I personally like the stand mixer option! To start, I just add the potatoes to the bowl, turn on the mixer with my paddle attachment, and let machinery to its job. My second favorite method is using a potato ricer.
- Add the garlic with the hot potatoes to let it “cook” a little. Also, don’t forget to use melted butter/warm half-and-half to help everything come together nicely and stay hot.
- If you use whole milk instead of half-and-half, you’ll want to start with less and add it as necessary. The milk is thinner and will thin out the potatoes too much if you aren’t careful.
- *Fresh cheese*! I’ve already said it, but I’m saying it again. Use a fresh block of cheese, grated. Don’t use pre-grated because the preservatives will make the potatoes grainy!
- Add the half-and-half gradually. You’ll want to adjust the liquid based on your personal texture preferences.
- Add salt to taste. If you prefer less salty foods, start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add more as necessary. I usually end up using a full teaspoon.
More cozy side dishes
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Cheddar Mashed Potatoes with Rosemary & Garlic
- Potato ricer, masher, or stand/hand mixer
- 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 12 oz white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 c creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 1/2 tbs rosemary, finely minced
- 2/3 c half-and-half, warmed
- Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
Cook the Potatoes
- Start by peeling the potatoes. Give them a good wash, and cut the potatoes into halves if they're small or quarters if they are large. Try your best to keep them uniform so they cook evenly.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for 18-20 minutes, just until they are fork tender. Don't overcook the potatoes or they will absorb too much water.
- Drain the potatoes well. Do not rinse!
Make the Mashed Potatoes
- Mash the potatoes with a masher, press them through a ricer, or mash them with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Immediately stir in the garlic to let the risidual heat "cook" the garlic a bit.
- Stir in the white cheddar cheese until melted. Add the butter, sour cream, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and a few dashes of white pepper. Then, add 1/3 cup of the half-and-half. Add more half-and-half, one splash at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
- Taste and add more Kosher salt and pepper, if necessary.
To Reheat the Potatoes
- If you're making these in advance, spoon the mashed potatoes into an airtight container and let them cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to help speed up the process. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- BAKE: This is the method I recommend! To reheat the mashed potatoes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spoon the potatoes into a lightly greased dish and stir in a splash or two of half-and-half to loosen them up a bit. Bake for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- MICROWAVE: Alternatively, place the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, and continue cooking 1 minute at a time until hot. Add half-and-half or butter as needed.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: I Never Could Get Enough by My Morning Jacket