Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes with Thyme | Complete your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table with these super savory, creamy mashed potatoes with brown butter and fresh thyme. These 4 simple ingredients will turn your ordinary mashed potatoes into a star side dish - while keeping it easy enough for any day of the week.
Have you ever browned butter? It's exactly as it sounds - butter that has been browned. It's easy to do and it really brings your mashed potato recipe to a whole new level. Trust me. These will be the best creamy potatoes with such deep flavor.
If you love mashed potatoes and you're looking to try a new side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner or maybe your Christmas dinner, then try these brown butter mashed potatoes. They'll go great with this Shortcut Thanksgiving Stuffing, roasted green beans, and my homemade brioche buns.
Why is this mashed potatoes recipe that good?
- browned butter is deliciously nutty and easy to make - it makes everything better from mashed potatoes to chocolate chip cookies to pasta with Greek Mizithra cheese (Old Spaghetti Factory anyone?)
- fresh thyme is magical with potatoes and adds a wonderfully herby and savory quality
- this whole dish uses only 5 ingredients - that's awesome, right?
- it's super delicious. Seriously. Such rich flavor!
Browned butter takes mashed potatoes from ordinary to amazing. Browned butter is also fantastic over pasta with Mizithra cheese and it's great in sweet baking as well, such as in cookies and brownie recipes.
What is browned butter?
Browned butter is butter that has been cooked over medium heat until the milk solids separate and drop to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown. This results in a nutty flavor.
See the recipe card for exact amounts.
A small skillet, light in color, is great for this recipe. A lighter color skillet will help you gauge the color of the butter while you are browning it.
How to make browned butter
- Cut a stick of butter into even sized large chunks.
- Heat a light colored small saucepan (or a small skillet) over medium heat and add the butter.
- Heat the butter, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes. The milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pot and begin to brown. The liquid will be dark amber/brown.
- Stop the cooking process by pouring the butter into a small bowl.
- Strip the leaves off of a few thyme stems and drop the leaves into the butter. They will snap and pop. Set aside until needed.
- Melt the butter.
- Stir while the butter cooks.
- The butter is done when golden with brown bits on the bottom.
- Move to a bowl to stop it cooking.
TIP: The smaller you cut your potatoes, the quicker they will cook.
How to make mashed potatoes
- Peel and cut potatoes into large, even chunks.
- Set the potatoes into a large pot of salted water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Drain the potatoes and set the pot back onto the still warm element. (You don't need to turn it back on). Let the remaining water cook off of the potatoes for a few minutes.
- Reserve some brown butter for garnish, and add the rest of the browned butter to the potatoes, along with the cream, milk, salt, and pepper.
- Use a potato masher and mash the potatoes, combining all of the ingredients.
- Cut the potatoes into even chunks for even cooking.
- Mash the boiled potatoes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
- Smooth with a spoon.
- Garnish with brown butter.
- Add chopped thyme or rosemary.
How to Plate Mashed Potatoes
Scoop the potatoes into your serving dish.
Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon and use the spoon to make some little valleys on the surface. I make mine in a swirl shape, leading from the inside to the outside of the bowl.
Drizzle the reserved browned butter, letting it settle into the little valleys in the potatoes.
Scatter more fresh thyme over the top. Serve hot.
Tips for making browned butter and mashed potatoes
What to serve with Mashed Potatoes
I love these mashed potatoes as a side dish for anything from a weeknight dinner, to Sunday dinner, to part of a big holiday spread. Try this recipe with other sides like brown sugar brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli and carrots, or roasted sesame broccoli.
Use the leftovers to make crispy potato tacos!
Leftover mashed potatoes keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or try reheating them in a frying pan. Add milk while reheating to restore the potatoes to their creamy texture.
I use russet potatoes. Russet Potatoes are good for baking + boiling. (And French fries!) This recipe uses 3 pounds of potatoes - about 8 medium-sized potatoes. Yukon Golds are commonly used for mashed potatoes as well.
Browned butter is butter that has been cooked to separate the milk solids. The milk solids turn into crispy little brown bits and the butter turns beautiful golden brown color. The result is a nutty flavor.
You cook it slowly while stirring and being careful not to burn it until the solids drop to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown and the liquid butter turns amber. This takes about 10 minutes total.
Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes with Thyme
- 3 lbs russet potatoes (about 8 medium potatoes)
- ½ cup butter (cut into chunks)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
- ¼ cup cream (or plain yogurt, or sour cream)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork-tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes, stirring constantly. The butter will melt and then turn bubbly, then foamy.
- Once the butter is golden brown and the surface of the butter is covered with white foam, browns bits will have collected on the bottom of the pot. It’s done at this point. It will smell nutty and slightly sweet. Be careful during this process not to burn it. Pour butter into a small bowl so the cooking process stops.
- Strip a few thyme stems of their leaves and toss the leaves into the butter. They will pop and spit in the hot butter. This is fine. Stir and let them sit.
- Drain potatoes and return pot to warm element (without turning it back on) to dry potatoes out further.
- Add most of the browned butter and thyme to the potatoes, leaving behind a tablespoon or two to drizzle on top. Add the cream or yogurt, milk, salt, and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes and mix everything.
- Place potatoes into your serving dish, use the back of a smooth the surface and then make some little valleys for the rest of the browned butter to settle into. Use a spoon to drizzle the rest of the butter over the top of the potatoes. Scatter more fresh thyme on top if you like. Serve hot.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
This post was originally posted on November 20, 2019.
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