Cream Cheese Garlic Mashed Potatoes are the absolute creamiest and a super simple side dish! This recipe is elevated by the addition of cream cheese and fresh garlic for a delicious weeknight dinner or easy Thanksgiving side dish!

A large white bowl of garlic mashed potatoes garnished with chives and butter

Mashed potatoes are my favorite of the Thanksgiving side dishes, and these Cream Cheese Garlic Mashed Potatoes are the absolute creamiest! The first time we made mashed potatoes with cream cheese, I was a changed woman!

The idea for this recipe goes back many, many years to a local social club in my hometown. This was the place we had all of our big family celebrations: baby showers, anniversary parties, my Sweet 16 party, and even a wedding!

For these types of parties, you could hire out the “resident” caterer (i.e., the only person everyone hired for their parties) and when they were served, it was always the mashed potatoes that people raved about. So when Kyle and I got wind of the secret ingredients, he immediately set out to recreate them.

And after having made them so many times over the past 15+ years, he has perfected the recipe and is our resident mashed potato maker! 

Ingredients

This is your basic shopping list for this super creamy garlic mashed potato recipe, but the full ingredient list with measurements is in the recipe card below!

  • Potatoes — I prefer yellow, but you can use red or even russets in a pinch!
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Sour cream
  • Half-and-half (or heavy cream)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chives or thyme, for an optional garnish

Butter and sour cream melting in a stainless steel sauce pot

Kyle makes these mashed potatoes with cream cheese AND sour cream, but you can always dial down the dairy if you wanted. The more you add, the creamier they are!

How to Make the Creamiest Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This garlic mashed potatoes recipe is the ultimate comfort food! The complete instructions for these garlic mashed potatoes with cream cheese are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics.

  1. First, boil your potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and leave them in your colander. I like to save a little extra potato water in case the garlic mashed potatoes get too thick. You can always thin them out with a little of this water.
  2. Then, in the still warm pot, melt the butter and cream cheese before mashing the potatoes into them.
  3. Once mashed, mix in the garlic, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, and pepper until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.

I like to garnish this easy Thanksgiving side dish with chives, but fresh thyme leaves are a great topping too! Also, butter. Always more butter.

A serving bowl of garlic mashed potatoes garnished with butter and chives

What Can I Add to Bland Mashed Potatoes?

If your garlic mashed potatoes are done but something’s just not right, I always start by adding a pinch of salt. Salt and potatoes are best friends.

If they’re still not flavorful enough, add some garlic powder (or garlic salt if you need more salt too), pepper, bacon bits, chives, or Parmesan cheese.

The options are endless with mashed potatoes as long as the flavors in this easy side dish complement your main dish!

How Do You Fix Too Much Garlic in Mashed Potatoes?

I love garlic so much, I usually add more cloves to my recipes than instructed. However, you can totally get too vampire hunter and overwhelm both your dish and your tastebuds.

There are a few simple things that will bring down the garlic flavor. The easiest addition in this recipe is a creamy ingredient. You can increase the sour cream, half-and-half, or cream cheese easily here!

You can also add onions or more herbs, like rosemary and thyme, to balance out these garlic mashed potatoes.

What to Serve with Mashed Potatoes

When I think potatoes, whether it’s mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, my stomach says steak. This Honey Soy Marinated Flank Steak is a perfect pairing with these potatoes with a homemade marinade and quick cook time!

For everyone planning a small Thanksgiving this year, this Roast Turkey Roulade serves 8 and is packed with a sausage, fig, and cranberry stuffing for all your holiday favorites rolled into one! Just add some Creamed Spinach with Crispy Shallot Topping and Crescent Rolls to round out this meal.

Or, if you’re going more rustic this Thanksgiving, try my favorite Turkey Meatloaf recipe by Queen Ina Garten. This still fills your turkey craving without all the time roasting.

Mashed potatoes are my must-have barbecue side dish, and I always pair this sweet and smoky Bourbon Peach BBQ Grilled Pork Tenderloin with these garlic mashed potatoes.

If it’s too cold and you’re missing the grill, try these mashed potatoes with my Smoky Oven Ribs! They’re fall-off-the-bone tender and covered in an amazing homemade rub.

A serving bowl of garlic mashed potatoes garnished with butter and chives

Cream Cheese Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Garlic mashed potatoes with cream cheese is a fantastic and easy side dish to elevate everyday weeknight meals or for classic Thanksgiving dinners. Fresh garlic and cream cheese are the 2 secret ingredients to the best mashed potatoes and this is the recipe we've been almost exclusively making for over 15 years.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb mini yellow or red potatoes, cut in half
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch of fresh chives, chopped, or fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water (water should reach about 1 inch above the top of the potatoes). Boil the potatoes until fork-tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
  2. In the bottom of the still-hot pot, add the butter and cream cheese. Add the potatoes back to the pot and mash the butter and cream cheese into the potatoes.
  3. Mix in the garlic, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, and pepper until thoroughly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the potatoes are loose, set them back over low heat on the stove for a couple of minutes; they should thicken up nicely.
  4. Garnish with chopped chives or fresh thyme leaves if desired before serving.

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