The Best Substitute For Milk In Mashed Potatoes
substitute for milk in mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are among the easiest dishes that you can cook. Whether you’re having a weeknight dinner or a holiday meal, mashed potatoes are never the wrong choice for a side. Complementing beef bourguignon or roasted chicken, potatoes are the perfect dish.

But what if you run out of milk while you’re cooking? Unfortunately, you may not have the time to run out to the store. You have to make do with what’s lying in your kitchen. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the best substitute for milk in mashed potatoes.

Why Is Milk the Best Option?

mashed potato with milk

The best option for making creamy mashed potatoes is milk — hands down. But what makes milk so special in mashed potatoes? Why can’t you just use water?

This comes down to the flavor of the potatoes. A cup of water doesn’t have any taste. But replace that with 2% non-fat milk, and you have yourself a tasty ingredient. To make creamy mashed potatoes, it’s all about the taste.

Even salted water doesn’t bring much flavor to the table, and the potatoes will come out thin and bland. But if you add in milk, it will give them a certain depth and flavor to make them more creamy and starchy. Potatoes are like little sponges — they absorb the flavor of the milk, giving the mash a smooth texture without leaving any residual taste.

Why Would You Want a Replacement for Milk?

making mashed potato

There are a few reasons to replace milk in your mashed potatoes. Sometimes, you don’t have any other option but to substitute milk with something more accessible. If you open your fridge to an empty carton, you’ll have to think fast. 

But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certain milk substitutes add their own unique flavor to this delicacy. If you want to bring a fresh taste to your mashed potatoes, then a milk substitute could be the perfect solution.

Sometimes replacing milk is a conscious choice that you make. Whether you’re making a move towards a vegetarian lifestyle or if someone in your family is lactose intolerant, milk may be a no-go. That’s why we’ve also included a few vegetable-based milk substitutes and lactose-free options that you can use to bring that creamy texture to your potatoes.

Can You Skip the Milk Entirely?

I like to think that anything is possible. That’s why people say the sky is the limit. To that end, you can skip adding milk to your dish entirely. Whether you should or not is an entirely different matter.

If you do end up skipping the milk, deliberately or by mistake, the potatoes you end up with will be lumpy and dry. It’ll be a huge pain to even out the lumps, and even then, it’s not a very good idea to serve milk-less potatoes. They will lack any consistency and will probably taste bland as well.

You can swap the milk out for a substitute, but you shouldn’t skip it entirely.

Best Substitute for Milk in Mashed Potatoes – A Few Options

Heavy Cream

The next best thing to milk is heavy cream. As a rule of thumb, the fattier the substitute, the richer the texture of the mash. Using heavy cream will give it the creamy consistency your potatoes deserve, making the dish all the more lavish and flavorful.

In the taste department, you can expect almost the same flavor that comes with using milk. The cream itself won’t have any residual taste after you’re done cooking, which is always a plus.

It is important to remember that using heavy cream will add a certain thickness and fluffiness to the potatoes, which is not for everyone — especially those who prefer a lighter mash.

Sour Cream

Sour cream works just as well as heavy cream, making it another excellent substitute for milk. You can expect the same fluffy texture but with an added tangy flavor that comes from sour cream. 

Simply mix heavy cream and sour cream for the best results and to keep the tanginess in check. To get the best food processor, click here. Remember, though, that not everyone enjoys that taste of sour cream.


mashed potato with butter

Another substitute that works just as well as milk is butter. You can even go with salted butter if want an even better taste. Adding melted butter to your mash will give it a smooth consistency and will hold the mash together superbly. 

If you opt for salted butter, be careful about how much additional salt you’re using. Most recipes call for salt, so it’s important not to add too much sodium.

This alternative is an absolute banger in the taste department. While adding a creamy consistency to the mash, it comes with that subtle buttery taste that dissolves in your mouth, leaving behind nothing but pure joy. If you’re not a huge fan of butter, you can add a few garlic cloves or a pinch of garlic powder to take its flavor away.

Greek Yogurt or Plain Yogurt

This one is for the health-conscious chefs out there. Greek yogurt has plenty of protein and good fat in it, making it perfect for mashed potatoes as it can even out the macros. Not only that, but Greek yogurt is a great alternative to reach for if you want a lighter consistency to your mash, making it an all-around healthy option.

Greek yogurt will add a very creamy flavor to the potatoes. This is further enhanced by the natural tangy taste of the yogurt, which can complement other dishes on your table.

You can also use plain yogurt as a substitute. However, it lacks the extra sourness that comes with Greek yogurt. Plain yogurt also lacks the higher protein content of the latter, making it the more boring option of the two. But if you want the sourness and don’t have sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand, then good old plain yogurt is the next best thing you can use.

Chicken Stock with Butter

One of the best substitutes for milk you can use in your mashed potatoes is chicken stock and butter. The melted butter brings a creamy consistency to your dish, while the chicken stock adds to its flavor.

This one may not be for everyone, but if you like the salty chicken stock taste, then you cannot go wrong with this substitute. The creamy potatoes that you end up with will have a smooth mash consistency, all the while boasting the rich taste of the chicken stock.

Chicken stock isn’t your only option, though. You can also use vegetable or beef stock, too. A good tip is to match the stock to the main course.

Plant-Based Milk Substitute

One of the better non-dairy alternatives for milk has to be plant-based milk substitutes. These can be almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and even coconut milk. Our favorite is almond milk due to its nutty flavor.

The potatoes will have a much creamier texture than using just water, but less than using regular milk. If you don’t mind nutty flavor in your mash, then this substitute will sit right with you, especially if you’re a vegan.

What Type of Potato Should You Use?

potato for making mashed potato

The quality and taste of your mashed potatoes also largely depend on what type of potato you use. The consensus is that for mashed potatoes, starchy potatoes are the best. Leave the waxy potatoes for salads and other such dishes.

Gold Yukon potatoes have a high starch content in them. These are among the creamiest potatoes you can find on the market to give your mash a smooth texture with great consistency. If you want to go one step further, you can mix Russet potatoes with Yukons for an even richer and extravagant mash.

Try to avoid waxy potatoes as the mixture is difficult to break, and the resulting mash will be stodgy. One thing you can do to enhance the smoothness of your mash is to use a simple potato ricer. When you use any of the milk substitutes we mentioned, these will result in an even creamier texture for your mashed potatoes.


You have several choices when cooking potatoes without milk. While it depends on your preference, incorporating any of the substitutes we mentioned will surely give you a creamy texture and a distinct flavor. 

We’ve discussed the importance of milk in mashed potatoes and why it is considered a gold standard. We also talked about various milk alternatives you can use as a substitute for milk in mashed potatoes. This brings us to the end of this article. Thank you for reading.

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