Creamy Italian Mashed Potatoes with Mascarpone

Mashed potatoes get a touch of Italian thanks to mascarpone cheese and roasted garlic. Mascarpone Italian Mashed Potatoes are a smooth and velvety potato recipe loaded with all the tips and tools necessary to make silky, creamy, no lump mashed potatoes. Say hello to your new favorite Italian side dish, especially for the holidays!

mashed potatoes with melted butter and chives in an pumpkin shaped pot.
Italian mashed potatoes

Every dish can use a sprinkle of Italian flavor and mashed potatoes shouldn’t be left out just because they’re the star of the show at an American holiday next to their turkey breast on Thanksgiving and Christmas. These creamy Italian mashed potatoes whisper their Italian flavor because of one Italian ingredient: mascarpone cheese.

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How to Make Mashed Potatoes like an Italian 

Plain mashed potatoes are definitely not a traditional Italian dish, so you know we had to add some extra flavor. 

white colander with yukon gold potatoes, mascarpone, roasted garlic, butter on a white background.

Here’s what makes these so special for your Italian kitchen:

  • Mascarpone Cheese. Since Mascarpone is an Italian Cheese this is the PERFECT addition to these Italian Mashed Potatoes. It adds a creamy richness that you will love. 
  • Roasted garlic. HELLO…garlic is the ketchup of an Italian kitchen. Your potatoes wouldn’t be complete without the roasted garlic.  Don’t know how? Check out this post for all the tips and tricks on how to roast garlic easily. You’ll want to put it in everything!
  • Milk, cream and butter. The triumverate to good mashed potatoes whether you are Italian or not!! And the key to the best mashed potatoes is the ratio between the milk and butter. Because we are using mascarpone, we don’t need as much heavy cream (just 1/2 cup!).

What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese and it’s usually sold in a tub just like spreadable cream cheese. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is richer thanks to a higher content of butterfat making it the perfect ingredient to make really velvety mashed potatoes.

PSA: Mascarpone makes the best ranch dressing too…proof is right in the post!



Where is mascarpone in the grocery store?

You can typically find mascarpone at every local grocery store in the refrigerated dairy case near the cream cheese. If you have an Italian cheese case in your grocery story, it sometimes hangs out there.

Roll call: the best potato for mashed potatoes

At the risk of offending my friends in Idaho, I submit that the Yukon Gold is the best potato for mashed potatoes.

The interior is less starchy than a Russet making it a creamier potato (there’s that creamy word again) to complement the mascarpone. Not to mention, the yellow flesh adds great color taking them from bland to ba-ba-ba-boom!


Big Potato Lover?

Add a big tray of the crispiest oven roasted potatoes to your holiday buffet for so much potato goodness!


How to make no lump mashed potatoes

black bowl with a potato-filled ricer.

The answer? A ricer.

I am not suggesting you add rice to your potatoes. A ricer is like a handheld sieve that presses the potato into the texture of  “rice”.  

My favorite ricer is one I bought at Williams-Sonoma ages ago. It’s big and made of stainless so it’s easier to clean than the plastic ones. This potato ricer is one I would totally buy if I didn’t have mine because it has a really large basket.



TIP

Don’t have or don’t want a ricer? You can use a food mill —I wouldn’t recommend a food processor as you could end up with gummy potatoes.

-Josie + Nina


Step by step

  • PREP
    • Start by peeling your potatoes with a sharp potato peeler. My favorite vegetable peelers are from Kuhn-Rikon.
    • Dice the potatoes into small 1″ cubes [1]. This is important because you need the cube small so they’ll cook faster and also fit in a ricer easily.
    • Heat the milk, cream and butter together in a measuring cup and a
  • COOK
    • Add the potatoes to a large stockpot and cover them with cold water.
    • Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
    • Roast the garlic in the oven.
    • Test for doneness. They should be very fork-tender and almost split when you poke one.
    • Drain into a colander.
    • Add back into the empty stockpot and toss over low heat to dry.


  • RICE
    • Place the smaller holed disc in the potato ricer, if applicable.
    • In batches, spoon potatoes into a ricer set over the stockpot or large bowl [1].
    • Rice the potatoes [2].
  • COMBINE
    • Stir in the mascarpone and roasted garlic clove paste [3].
    • Add the milk and butter mixture to the potatoes a little at a time,stirring to your desired consistency.
    • Season generously.

Three ways to keep potatoes warm

mashed potatoes in a orange pumpkin dutch oven with butter.

It’s a conundrum. You want real mashed potatoes but the convenience of a mashed potato casserole. Making mashed potatoes while the Thanksgiving turkey is coming out of the oven is stressful.

Here are some tips for keeping homemade mashed potatoes warm:

  • Oven method. Place your mascarpone mashed potatoes in a baking dish and pour a thin coat of milk over the top. Cover and keep warm in an 275-300˚oven. You can do this for an hour or so. Full disclosure: I’ve done it this way for up to 2 hours.
  • Water bath method. Use the oven method but place the dish in a larger pan (like a disposable foil pan). Carefully pour boiling water from a tea kettle in between the two pans halfway up the sides of the pan with the potatoes. Cover and keep warm per the directions above.
  • Slow cooker method. Use a slow cooker, Instant pot or crock pot to keep the potatoes warm on a low setting.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

Reheat

Cover with plastic wrap and reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments until desired temperature is reached.

Make ahead tips

Steps to help make this recipe ahead include:

  • Up to 2 days ahead:
    • Roast the garlic ahead of time and slip the cloves out of their skin. Mash into a paste and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead.
  • The morning of:
    • Peel and dice the potatoes and place in a stockpot covered with cold water for up to four hours before cooking. Continue to follow directions for cooking the potatoes in the recipe card.
  • The day of:
    • Add potatoes to baking dish.
    • Pour a thin layer of milk or cream over top.
    • Cover the baking dish and keep warm in a 275-300˚oven for up to 2 hours.

5 from 2 votes

Creamy Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

If smooth and velvety mashed potatoes are on your holiday wish list, you've come to the right place. Mascarpone and roasted garlic join forces with the tips and tools you'll need to make silky, creamy, no lump mashed potatoes. Your Thanksgiving turkey will be proud to sit next to this pretty dish!
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Roasted garlic:45 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
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Equipment

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Roast the garlic at 350˚ in a small ramekin for 40 minutes. Once cool, squeeze the cloves from the head of garlic and mash with a fork in the same ramekin you baked it in.
    1 head of garlic

Make the milk/butter mixture

  • In a microwave proof measuring cup or in a small saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream, butter and thyme together until the butter is melted and there are small bubbles in the milk.
    ½ cup 2% milk, ½ cup heavy cream, 2 sticks butter, 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

Cook the potatoes:

  • Peel and dice potatoes. Place in a large stockpot covered with cold water.
    3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Bring to a boil. Salt the water generously. and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the stockpot over low heat. Toss the potatoes until completely dry. Remove from the heat.
  • In batches, rice the potatoes through a potato ricer into the stockpot using the smallest disc if applicable.
  • Stir in the mascarpone cheese completely along with the roasted garlic paste. Next, add the hot milk and butter mixture. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, if using, to taste. Sprinkle with chives and parmesan to serve.
    8 oz mascarpone cheese, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ package of fresh chives, grated fresh parmesan cheese, fresh nutmeg

Notes

To make ahead. Make the recipe completely. Spread the potatoes in a baking dish and skim the top with additional butter and milk/cream. Cover with a lid or foil and place in a low oven heated at 200˚. They can stay in the oven for up to 2 hours. Check periodically that the mashed potatoes haven’t absorbed all the milk. Add more milk as needed.
Alternative methods to keep mashed potatoes warm.
  • Oven method. Place your mascarpone mashed potatoes in a baking dish and pour a thin coat of milk over the top. Cover and keep warm in an 275-300˚oven. You can do this for an hour or so. Full disclosure: I’ve done it this way for up to 2 hours.
  • Slow cooker, Instant pot or crock pot. Add to machine and place on low for up to 4 hours.
  • Water bath. Set the baking dish in a water bath nested in a larger pan. To do so, add boiling water from a tea kettle into the large pan about halfway up the sides of the mashed potato dish.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Christmas, Italian, Thanksgiving
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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2 Comments

  1. I think it only fair to state that Josie never actually made potatoes like this.

    Not that she couldn’t but marscapone had one use only and was a luxury in a house built on utilitarian values.

    It is a great post with great photos.

    Uncle T in Irwin, Pa.

    1. Thanks Uncle Tony! Coming from you as an expert photographer, I’m blushing! And totally agree Gram would see mascarpone as a luxury, but I know that the twinkle she always had in her eye would approve ♥️