Ina Garten’s Cheesy Parmesan Smashed Potatoes Will Turn a Bad Day Around

published Feb 4, 2022
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A bowl of buttermilk mashed potatoes with green garnish.
Credit: Laura Rege

In my opinion, there isn’t a Thanksgiving feast recipe more polarizing than mashed potatoes. Whether you like them lumpy, smooth, classically made, or featuring a few add-ons, everyone has their preference when plopping this side dish down next to the turkey, cranberries, and green bean casserole — including Ina Garten.

Known for turning classic recipes on their heels during her show Barefoot Contessa,  Ina Garten has settled the argument once and for all with a mashed potato recipe that people on both sides of the lump-vs.-no lump table will enjoy:  Parmesan Smashed Potatoes.

Joining Al Roker on the premiere episode of his all new Thanksgiving-inspired podcast “Cooking Up a Storm,” the star told Roker (who is not a huge fan of mashed potatoes) that this recipe is the answer to non-boring mashed potatoes. Noting that mashed potato recipes end up being bland because many people miss out on the right type of flavor, have the wrong texture, neglect adding a lot of salt, and refuse to include an ingredient with an edge, Ina’s legendary recipe makes sure to hit all points, plus more.

When asked by Roker how she came up with Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, the star quickly responded, “I don’t know. I just thought “How can we make smashed potatoes better? So, it’s got great texture, it’s got great flavor.”

That flavor that Ina speaks of is undeniably thanks to rich ingredients like half-and-half, sour cream, and unsalted butter mixed with her method of using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to smash them with unpeeled red potatoes — a choice she makes over using traditional Idaho russets. For reference, red potatoes tend to impart a creamier base that holds its shape and creates the perfect mound just begging for a well of melted butter. 

So, of course, you’re wondering how the Parmesan ingredient pushes her dish over the top? “It wakes up your taste buds,” she explains to Roker. And if you know anything about cheesy mashed potatoes, you’ll probably agree.

You can find the full recipe for Parmesan Smashed Potatoes here (or in her first cookbook) and hear Ina’s episode wherever you listen to your podcasts.