Growing up, we had certain dishes that seemed to require the presence of a holiday to justify their making. This didn’t just apply to cookies or candies, but side dishes as well. One of my favorites, and one that I remember so vividly as a ’90s-style potato casserole, used frozen hash browns, sweetened condensed milk, and was topped with crushed corn flakes. Typing that out makes me laugh as it doesn’t sound that good. But as a kid, I thought those potatoes were amazing. Today, I crave something less sweet, with more flavor, and that can be easily made ahead of time if needed.
Enter this holiday-style smashed potatoes dish. This recipe packs all the requisite flavor that’s necessary to truly be considered a holiday dish. Plus, it can be prepared a day ahead then heated in the oven. And honestly, the flavors may get even better as it waits in the refrigerator.
- Red skinned potatoes are not only the main ingredient, but the red skin actually makes a difference. Red skins are thin and easily mash, so you can forget about peeling. Time saver!
- Butter is an essential component of any mashed potato dish. Also, the better quality the butter, the more flavor you’ll have in the finished dish.
- Leeks may seem like an annoying addition, rather than the more traditional option of onions. Leeks are lighter in flavor and sweeter, and when sauteed with the butter, they almost melt in your mouth. Trust me on this!
- Garlic is your best friend in these potatoes. Sauteed with the leeks, the garlic mellows and imparts the sweet garlic flavor you crave without being overpowering.
- Rosemary is the star of the show. The is extremely of-the-season as many holiday dishes use rosemary. Better yet, it gives the best flavor, working to enhance the leeks, garlic, butter, and Parmesan.
- Sour cream is an addition that adds just enough tang to bring out the other parts of the dish. The extra fat is also what helps keeps these creamy.
- Cream cheese is crucial. It gives these potatoes the ability to stay truly creamy and soft. Unlike traditional mashed potatoes, these will be just as good from the moment you mix them to whenever you serve them.
- Parmesan cheese is my favorite way to add cheese flavor without overpowering the dish with… cheese. Parmesan has enough flavor that it takes just a bit to go a long way.
Each of these ingredients plays an important role in making these the best holiday (…or anytime) potatoes. The flavors give you that special, once-in-a-while taste while being pretty quick and easy to throw together.
Watch how to make these smashed potatoes
Holiday Smashed Potatoes
- 5 lb red potatoes scrubbed and dried
- 8 tbsp butter
- 2 cups chopped leek (about 1 large leek)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese grated
- Cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces and place them in an 8-quart stockpot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Watch closely so the water does not boil over. Cook until the potatoes are fully cooked and a knife inserted meets no resistance, 18-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the water from the potatoes.5 lb red potatoes
- While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, salt, and one sprig of rosemary. Saute until the leeks are softened and beginning to brown slightly, 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.8 tbsp butter, 2 cups chopped leek (about 1 large leek), 1 ½ tsp salt, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Return the drained potatoes to the stockpot and stir, using a potato masher, to start breaking them down. Mash until the potatoes are evenly combined and there are no large lumps. Small lumps are fine and are part of the rustic component of this recipe.
- Once the potatoes are mashed, add the sour cream and cream cheese. Mash and stir until they are combined. Remove the rosemary sprig from the leek mixture and add the leeks, garlic, and butter into the potatoes. Mince the remaining sprig of rosemary and add 1 tbsp with the remaining 2 tsp salt and 3 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and pour into a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Spring with the remaining Parmesan cheese.2 sprigs rosemary, 1 cup sour cream, 8 oz cream cheese, 2 tsp salt, 4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese
- If making a day ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator. To bake, remove from the refrigerator one hour before baking to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F and bake until warmed through and the Parmesan is browned. Note: Baking right after preparing will take 15 minutes, while baking from the day before will take 45 minutes.