Can I Put Cream Cheese In Mashed Potatoes Instead Of Butter?

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Mashed potatoes are one of the most versatile side dishes available. You can make it with butter, cream cheese, sour cream, olive oil, and milk. Throw in some chopped chives as a garnish or incorporate some garlic to create a taste sensation. As long as you have the right types of potatoes, you can get creative with them. 

There are a few alternatives to butter that you can use for creating creamy mashed potatoes that may even be healthier too. You could use olive oil which you should already have in your kitchen but mimic the texture of butter you could use cream cheese.

Even make it vegan with almond milk and vegan cream cheese for a really simple and delicious side dish. The beauty of mashed potatoes is that as long as it is seasoned properly and has the right consistency, you may find that few will notice that you have altered the ingredients slightly. 

Why Is Butter Used For Mashed Potatoes?

One of the reasons why butter is used for mashed potatoes is not just for how delicious it is but there is some science involved too. The butter can aid the starchy texture of potatoes to become richer. Adding in some butter can help gain a creamy texture for mashed potatoes too. 

Why Consider Some Alternatives To Butter?

While butter adds richness to certain recipes and is traditionally used in cake recipes, there are other sources of dairy that you can use. These can include cream, cream cheese, and sour cream. Not only may these have a lower fat content but you may prefer the slightly different consistencies you can achieve.

However, you may have to consider an alternative to butter if you want to go vegan or gluten-free. If you know anyone with a dairy allergy, you may want to consider alternatives to butter if you want to cook for them, especially during the holidays. Butter substitutes can sometimes leave a strange aftertaste so you may want to look at completely different ingredients altogether.  

What Else Can You Use Instead Of Butter For Mashed Potatoes?

One ingredient to still maintain that creamy and fluffy texture with mashed potatoes is extra virgin olive oil. You still get the rich, buttery flavor you would expect as it uses those healthy fats. If you did want to opt for a dairy-free and vegan recipe then using extra virgin olive oil with plain unsweetened almond milk is a really simple way of doing so. 

Before you go and try various recipes for mashed potatoes, do not forget that certain potatoes are better for mashing than others. In particular, Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes are known as two of the best variety of potatoes for mashing. 

Cream cheese also works with olive oil though you may still want to go for the full-fat version. This might not be that much healthier yet the delicious fats are closer to replicating butter than the low-fat version.

Recipes For Mashed Potatoes Without Butter

There are many recipes for mashed potatoes that come without butter. Extra virgin olive oil, plain and unsweetened almond milk and cream cheese, and a combination of all of them, can be used to replicate the texture of mashed potatoes and remain delicious. 

If you are worried about how plain the mashed potatoes taste without butter then consider adding more seasoning or incorporating some garlic. 

Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

Add two and three-quarter pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes (in half an inch thick slices), to a large stockpot with half a teaspoon of fine sea salt. Cover the potatoes with cold water then bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 15 minutes when the potatoes should be tender, drain them then return the potatoes to the pot.

With the heat off, add in another teaspoon of fine sea salt, half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, half a cup of plain unsweetened almond milk, and a quarter teaspoon of pepper with half a teaspoon of garlic powder. 

Mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy though feel free to add in some more almond milk until you have the consistency you want. Season with some more salt and pepper if you need it then transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle on a touch more olive oil for an added garnish. 

The garlic powder works well with the plain unsweetened almond milk to add a bit more depth of flavor to the creaminess of the recipe. This is certainly one recipe that may shock your guests when you reveal it is, in fact, dairy-free.

Mashed Potatoes With Vegan Cream Cheese

For another vegan recipe with even fewer ingredients, try vegan cream cheese with either plain unsweetened almond milk or oat milk. Peel and roughly chop two and a half pounds of Russet or Yellow potatoes then place in a pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat to a rolling boil until the potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes then place them back in the pot and add the vegan cheese with plain unsweetened almond milk. You can use almond milk but swap it for oat milk if there are brands that you prefer. 

Mix the potatoes with the cream cheese and milk with a whisk or electric hand mixed until well combined and smooth. Try not to over-mix it as the consistency can become gluey, which is always the case with mashed potatoes. 

Add in some seasoning such as a teaspoon of kosher salt and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. You can also add some more almond milk or oat milk until you achieve the desired consistency. 

Serve when ready at the consistency you like and add some chopped chives as a garnish. These days you can find vegan cream cheese in a range of grocery stores and online, so you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find it! However, it can sometimes be more expensive than dairy-based cream cheese.

Mashed Potatoes With Cream Cheese

For this excellent side dish, you will need cream cheese, and oil as well as a pan, a frying pan, and an oven. Begin by preheating the oven to 350ºF then peel and roughly chop six cups of Idaho Russet potatoes into two-inch chunks. 

Add them to a large pan and cover halfway with water. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil, at which point you can turn down the heat to medium-low until the potatoes are softened. 

In a frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil with three minced cloves of garlic then sauté until fragrant which should take around three minutes. 

Add eight ounces of full-fat cream cheese (though you can use low-fat cream cheese), two tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of pepper, one and a half teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of fresh thyme. You can use a cup of either cream or milk then stir and simmer until the cream cheese has melted. 

Drain the softened potatoes in a colander then add them to a large bowl. Pour on the cream cheese mixture then whip it all together into a creamy soft mixture and ensure that there are no lumps. 

Put the mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes though you may want to check until it has reached a delectably golden color. This recipe is well worth it, even if you do have a bit more washing up to do than usual. 

Vegan Garlic Cream Cheese Vegan Mashed Potatoes

You could also use vegan cream cheese with vegan butter as an alternative to regular butter. Peel three pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes then dice them into chunks. Put the chunks into a pot of cold water and add eight cloves of garlic. 

Bring the pan to a boil then reduce it to a slight boil and leave for around 10-15 minutes at which point the potatoes should be tender and easy to mash.

Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander then return them to the pot. Mash it all together with a hand mixer or masher then add eight ounces of vegan cream cheese, a quarter cup of vegan butter, and half a cup of almond milk (though you can use non-dairy milk if that’s what you use). Use your hand mixer or masher again until smooth and well combined. Add in some seasoning then stir together.


While mashed potatoes are traditionally made with butter, cream and milk, there are alternatives to use. Using cream cheese can still replicate the texture of mashed potatoes and still have that delicious taste. 

There are also vegan alternatives including vegan butter, and vegan milk such as almond milk, which can be used with olive oil too. Maybe, more importantly, you should ensure you have the right types of potatoes that provide a smooth consistency when mashed. 

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