Mashed potatoes are already the best side dish of all time. (I only speak the truth.) But add browned butter and parmesan and a little horseradish? Go ahead. Get yourself named Queen Thanksgiving. 
Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes from The Food Charlatan

Eric just decided that it was time for some late-night popcorn RIGHT AFTER I decided that it was time to brush my teeth. He decided that he wanted it spicy so he squeezed on some lime juice and dumped half a bottle of cayenne pepper on top. I decided that this might taste exactly like the popcorn version of Hot Cheetos so I ate half the bowl and now my mouth has actual flames bursting out of it. REAL ONES YOU GUYS.

Tonight was fun, despite the inferno. Eric and I went to see a friend play her violin at a Classical-music quiz at a coffee house downtown. They would play an excerpt, then ask questions like “What color is this piece described as?” (I’m not kidding). Or some questions were like, “Who said, ‘Listening to  Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes?”

Everything is funnier when the guy trying to get you to describe orchestra music as yellow or purple is wearing a Mozart wig, white knee-highs, and buckled shoes. (We all thought the music was distinctly red, but it turned out to be bright blue. (??) Still tied for second place though! Woot!)

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes from The Food Charlatan

Can you SEE these potatoes. Guys, that is Browned Butter. Who needs gravy when you’ve got this glorious stuff??

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes from The Food CharlatanMashed potatoes was my favorite food growing up. It’s still pretty high up there. Adding browned butter to food (any food!) makes it 1000x better than it was to begin with, so brown butter mashed potatoes seems like a pretty logical step. I mean,  how often do you get to drizzle straight up butter. The Parmesan adds that perfect bite. The horseradish sauce is not overwhelming; it is not meant to be spicy. It just adds great flavor.

I made these 3 times because I couldn’t get the photos looking right. 3 times! I know. But they are so bafflingly awesome that none of us minded eating 15 pounds of potatoes. Browned butter, people. Where it’s at. Make these for Thanksgiving! This is your chance to become a mashed potato legend my friends.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 28 minutes
Total: 38 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Mashed potatoes are already the best side dish of all time. (I only speak the truth.) But add browned butter and parmesan and a little horseradish? Go ahead. Get yourself named Queen Thanksgiving. 


  • 5 pounds red potatoes, chopped into equal size pieces
  • 1/3 cup milk, more as needed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 to 5 teaspoons horseradish sauce, taste it!
  • 3/4 cup butter


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Scrub the potatoes clean and chop them. The smaller they are, the faster they will boil. I do mine in about 1-2 inch pieces.
  • Add the potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 20-35 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.
  • When they are fork-tender, drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot, or to a large bowl.
  • Add the milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, minced garlic, onion powder, parsley, and Parmesan.
  • Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or with a hand mixer. Add some horseradish sauce and mix it in. Taste it to see if you want more.
  • Add the butter to a pot or skillet. Turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring every 1-2 minutes with a wooden spoon. After a couple minutes, the butter will start to foam. Keep watching it. Eventually the butter will turn brown and you will see tiny brown specks. The smell will turn nutty. You might not be able to see the color under the foam very well, which is part of the reason you need to stir. Once it is brown and it looks silty at the bottom, it is done. Pour it into a bowl to stop the cooking process.
  • At this point you can either add all the butter to the potatoes and mix it in, or let people spoon it over each serving. I prefer the latter. Because how often do you get to DRIZZLE BUTTER.


Even if you don't like spicy food, don't skip the horseradish sauce. Or add cayenne if you like. Just enough to make it interesting, not spicy. It's a game changer.
Source: adapted from Chin Deep; food styling inspired by Creme de la Crumb


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 967mg | Potassium: 1799mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1034IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 540
Keyword: Browned Butter, mashed potatoes
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes from The Food Charlatan
Here’s how I chopped my potatoes. Any way you slice it though… And here’s the hot sauce I used. It doesn’t really matter what kind you use, as long as it’s something with a kick. My sister makes awesome mashed potatoes and she told me a few years ago that her secret is cayenne pepper. Not enough to make it spicy, just enough to make it interesting. Same idea here. If you don’t have horseradish use cayenne, or crushed red pepper, or good ol tobasco. Just not too much.


Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese. This is my go to, every day recipe:

Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

 Gruyere-Crisped Potatoes Au-Gratin:

Gruyère-Crisped Potatoes Au Gratin

Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Parmesan. <— These are so good:

Oven Roasted bacon potatoes

 More potatoes to enhance your life in general:

Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Simply Scratch
Brown Butter and Bacon Mashed Potatoes from Tracey’s Culinary Adventure
Loaded Mashed Potato Bake from Foxes Love Lemons

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  1. Welp, these look like the best mashed potatoes ever! I am a major mashed potato snob, and I would easily eat a whole bowl of this. I bet your subconsciously kept messing up the pictures so you had an excuse to keep making and eating these potatoes. I would do the same thing : )

    1. Um I actually think you’re right Natalie. The first and second photo sessions really weren’t that bad, I was just being picky…and craving brown butter.

  2. Stop it!!!! Brown butter is my weakness! These look so amazing. And then I scroll down and see your Gruyere-Crisped Potatoes Au-Gratin. You’re my twin, I swear :)

    1. Okay okay Kathleen what if we put gruyere in the mashed potatoes instead of parmesan??? I’m seeing a great mash up in my future. Get it? Mash up??? Oh boy.

  3. YESSSSSSSS. I am SO excited for Thanksgiving, and yes, I think I will name myself Queen Thanksgiving. Or maybe Lady Thanksgiving…I’m not sure if I’m ready for all that responsibility. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all that.

  4. Queen Thanksgiving! With this recipe I might not make anything else. A giant bowl of browned butter for me and everyone else can fend for themselves! :) These look amazing!

    1. Giant bowl of browned butter lol. Forget the potatoes, and everybody else!! This is why we’re friends Alex. When are we getting together to bake??

  5. I had to see how you added the brown butter. Makes a lot more sense to add on top. Otherwise, the potatoes would be brown and these look awesome.

    1. Thanks Peter! It’s true I guess they do get brown if you mix it in. I didn’t even think about it! Too distracted I think.

  6. Oh wow, what a great way to make mashed potatoes even better! Browned butter is like caramelized onions or truffle oil, it just makes everything fantastic!

  7. You are speaking my truth, Karen! For my 16th birthday, we went to a fancy steakhouse and I ordered mashed potatoes as my entree. My family thought I requested the steak house for steak, but I only wanted to go because they had the best garlic mashed potatoes in town! Now these brown butter guys, they bring it up a notch! I’m going to have to make them this week to try them out pre turkey day!

    1. Oh my gosh Caitlin, that’s awesome! Totally sounds like something I would have done as a 16 year old. Mashed potatoes were my favorite food for a long time!

  8. Love the real talk, as always Karen. GAH – I hate when I brush my teeth for bed and then decided there is something worthy of eating. It’s tough sometimes. Yes to brown butter on everything for Thanksgiving this year. YUM!

  9. you made these potatoes three times?! Well, it was worth it because they look amazing. . dude, browned butter, parmesan and a little horseradish? Awesomeness right here! ok and I’m totally going to try lime juice and cayenne pepper on my popcorn next time! Genius!

    1. Yeah, I know, right? A little ridiculous. At the end of each shoot I would be like, well, guess I’ll have to make them again. Too bad!! Being a food blogger is so hard. (And try the popcorn!! I think I’m going to blog it soon, it was legit!!)

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