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butter substitute in mashed potatoes: 9 Best Options


If you’re looking for the best butter substitute in mashed potatoes, we have plenty of options for you to try. On many occasions you might looking for a lighter alternative or looking for ways to make your mashed potatoes more interesting, try out one of the many delicious options below!

Mashed potatoes are a crowd favorite. The dish has a velvety texture that melts in your mouth and makes you crave more. We have butter and its remarkable properties to thank for that. What other ingredients we can use instead?

white bowl filled with mashed potatoes.

Why Add Butter to Mashed Potatoes?

There are several reasons you need butter in mashed potatoes.

First, it adds a layer of flavor that makes the dish rich and more flavorful. Ingredients like roasted garlic and cream cheese can also help, but butter takes the cake.

Second, butter makes mashed potatoes creamy and smooth. See, when you mash cooked potatoes, you release their starch. This makes them gooey and unappetizing. Butter helps to counter this and creates a softer, smoother texture.  

Take note that aside from adding butter, the type of potatoes you’ll use also matters to achieve a nice texture. You will only end up with fluffy mashed potatoes if you use creamy potatoes.

The best options for mashed potatoes are Yukon Gold potatoes and Russet potatoes.

Can You Make Mashed Potatoes Without Butter?

Even when butter has an all-important role in mashed potatoes, it isn’t indispensable. So, yes, you can make mashed potatoes without it.

After all, there are plenty of options for a butter substitute for mashed potatoes. Some can make your dish vegan, while others impart a delightful twist.  

Best butter substitute in mashed potatoes

Find the best substitute for butter in mashed potatoes from our list below.

1. Mayonnaise

The creamy texture of mayonnaise is a perfect pairing for mashed potatoes. Its taste also blends well with this savory dish. Plus, mayonnaise is a common food item that you may already have it in your fridge.

This makes it an easy swap, especially if you’re in a hurry. Not to mention, mayonnaise is also an affordable option, so it will easily fit your budget. 

This option has several downsides, though. First, mayonnaise is not as sweet as butter. There will be a difference in flavor, but it will be a good one. You may also notice a drier texture, but a splash of milk will easily fix that. 

Second, mayonnaise has a high saturated fat content. This might not be for you if you’re watching your fat intake. Lastly, mayonnaise contains eggs, so it’s not vegan. 

Tip:

Replace butter with ½ cup of mayonnaise for each pound of potatoes in your recipe. 

2. Olive Oil

You can also make mashed potatoes with olive oil as a butter replacement. 

Olive oil is a healthy oil, as it contains antioxidants that have proven health benefits. This makes it one of the most nutritional substitutes for butter in mashed potatoes. 

Also, it doesn’t contain animal products, so it’s suitable for vegans. Olive oil will also give your mashed potatoes a buttery flavor. You will barely notice that butter is missing from your mashed potatoes.

Note that olive oil won’t give the same creamy texture you’d expect from butter. Just like with mayo, adding milk will fix this. For a vegan option, almond milk does the job.

Several types of olive oil are available on the market. The healthiest option is extra virgin olive oil, but any kind will work. 

Tip:

Use ⅛ cup of olive oil per pound of potatoes as a butter substitute. 

3. Buttermilk

If the taste of butter is too strong for you, you can use buttermilk instead. It will make your mashed potatoes fluffy and smooth. Buttermilk has a slightly tart taste, but it will have a pleasant effect on your dish. 

If you don’t bake often, you might not have this readily. Not to worry, you can easily find it in grocery stores. You can also make your own! Mix milk with lemon juice or vinegar for a quick replacement. 

A noteworthy consideration here is that buttermilk is a dairy product. It’s not vegan and is unsuitable for those with lactose intolerance.  

Tip:

For each pound of potatoes, you can replace butter with half a cup of buttermilk. 

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also an excellent alternative to butter when making mashed potatoes. 

Yes, it comes from the fruit but doesn’t have a coconut flavor. Using this, you wouldn’t have to worry about a coconut aftertaste. It does have a mild aroma, but that will be barely noticeable. You’ll only use a small amount, after all. 

It also doesn’t fall short of nutrition as it has essential fatty acids and antioxidants. This oil is also free of animal products, making it vegan. 

One disadvantage of using this is that it won’t produce creamy mashed potatoes. You may need to add milk to accomplish this.

Tip:

Use 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to replace butter for each pound of potatoes in your recipe. 

5. Greek Yogurt

Because of its subtle taste, Greek yogurt is a prized ingredient. Not only that, but it’s also a great source of probiotics and other nutrients.

It’s the perfect butter replacement for mashed potatoes. Greek yogurt makes it easier to achieve that creaminess in mashed potatoes we all love.

But using this instead of butter means you’ll get a thicker mash. In that case, you can add oil to achieve a more velvety texture. Opt for olive oil, as it goes well with Greek yogurt. 

Also, be sure to use the unsweetened type of Greek yogurt. Adding sweetened ones will make your mashed potatoes a tad too sweet. 

Tip:

Add ¼ cup of Greek yogurt as a butter replacement for every pound of potatoes.

6. Applesauce

While it may seem unconventional, applesauce is also a good option. The unsweetened version has a naturally sweet taste that is comparable to butter.

Its color blends incredibly well with mashed potatoes – you won’t even notice it! As a bonus, applesauce is a nutritious option. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and other nutrients. 

Applesauce won’t add creaminess to your mashed potatoes, though. If this is a problem, adding some milk is the key. Milk will also loosen up your mash while making it creamy at the same time.

Tip:

In your recipe, one tablespoon of applesauce can replace butter for a pound of potatoes.

7. Canola Oil

Another excellent alternative for butter in mashed potatoes is canola oil. When added to mashed potatoes, it’s barely noticeable due to its subtle taste. 

Expect a flavor change, though, as it isn’t sweet like butter. Despite this, using canola oil will help you achieve a similar texture to what you’d have if you used butter. 

Tip:

Use ¼ cup of canola oil in place of butter in your vegan mashed potatoes.

8. Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter, so it makes sense to use ghee as a butter alternative. Using this will give you a similar buttery and sweet flavor. Note, though, that it lacks creaminess. This is because milk solids are removed in the process of making ghee.  

You might also get hints of a nutty flavor from this alternative. But it’s mild, and you’ll still get a pleasant-tasting dish. 

Tip:

Start with 1 tablespoon of ghee for each pound of potatoes in your recipe. If it isn’t enough, add more in ½ tablespoon increments. 

9. Avocado Oil

The last option on our list is definitely not the least. Avocado oil is also among the healthiest butter substitutes for mashed potatoes. This nutritious oil boasts a high antioxidant and vitamin E content. 

The texture of this oil results in thick and decadent mashed potatoes. But avocado oil can have an intense nutty flavor that will give your dish a twist. 

Also, avocado oil is quite expensive and not easy to find. If you are in a hurry or on a budget, you are better off with the other options. 

Tip:

Use 1 tablespoon of avocado oil for every pound of potatoes. If you find this lacking, add more in small amounts. 

Do Mashed Potatoes Made Without Butter Have A Longer Shelf Life?

It depends. Butter and milk are two ingredients that can make your mashed potatoes spoil faster. If you don’t use them, your dish will last longer. But using similar high-fat substitutes won’t lengthen or shorten its shelf life.

How Does Butter Enhance The Flavor Of Mashed Potatoes?

Butter enhances the flavor of mashed potatoes by adding a creamy, sweet taste. This complements the starch in potatoes and makes them richer and more decadent. Without butter or a similar substitute, mashed potatoes will taste bland.

What Is The Healthiest Substitute For Butter In Mashed Potatoes?

Among the healthiest substitutes for butter in mashed potatoes are the following: avocado oil,yogurt, olive oil, applesauce.

Summary

Butter is a key ingredient in a mashed potato recipe. It’s responsible for the creamy texture and rich flavor of this dish. If you are to remove butter from the equation, you’ll get a different taste and consistency. 

To avoid this, you should use the closest substitute for butter in mashed potatoes. The ones listed above will ensure a great-tasting dish. The most affordable and accessible is mayonnaise. The healthiest ones are avocado oil and olive oil.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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