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Non-dairy mashed potatoes

What non-dairy ingredients can I add to mashed potatoes to make them thicker and creamier? Most of the family is lactose-intolerant, so we usually just add margarine and chicken broth, but the resulting mashed potatoes seem a little thin. (Also, Mom likes to use her hand mixer after we do the initial mashing with the potato masher...)

I've tried adding a neutral goat cheese in the past and that has helped a little, but I'm open to other suggestions. Butter and any kind of real milk, cream or cow's milk based cheese are not options.


P. S. This is my first post, and I did search recipes for ideas first.

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  1. I would use broth. I'm not being being flippant, but it the potatoes seem a little thin, I would use less broth. For example, I would use around 1/4C of broth for 8 baseball size potatoes.

    1. Try adding a bit of Hellman's mayo.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        hellman's and yellow mustard, plus a little tamari and lemon juice.


        mashed roasted garlic and mayo or EVOO

        btw, i am a convert to steaming veggies, including potatoes, instead of boiling them. Boiling is a waste of water and gas or electricity and time. It also drains away much of the nutrients. Easier, requiring only a little water, and much less energy, is: cube potatoes, place in single layer in 1 or 2 tiers of an aluminum 2 tiered chinese steamer w/ some water in bottom section. Bring to boil, cover potatoes. Steam 4-8 min til tender. Put in bowl and mash. etc.
        Hope you'll try it!

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Or, put your cut up potatoes in the basket that comes with your pressure cooker, on top of the little V, and put just enough water in the cooker to NOT immerse the potatoes. Then pressure cook on the lowest pressure, until done. I agree that boiling potatoes isn't optimal.

          I seldom make potatoes in any form anymore, but when I do a mash that is how I do them. I leave the skins on as well.

      2. What kind of potatoes are you using? For mashed potatoes, I much prefer Yukon Gold over Russett because they have a creamier consistency to begin with. After cooking, I drain the potatoes reserving the cooking water, and add in cooking water as needed while mashing to get the desired consistency. Using broth will add some thickness, but if using the cooking water also, there is a definite risk of thinning them out with too much liquid over all. I would use the cooking water first (for a number of reasons, including that the you get a purer potato flavor with the cooking water; broth will add flavor). The mayo idea that pikawicca suggests has potential, too.

        Pure butter should not be a problem for lactose intolerant people - my father is highly lactose intolerant (lactase enzyme pills such as Lactaid do nothing for him) but he can eat butter. Look at the nutrition panel; if it says "0g" next to sugars (depending on the brand, it may say "total carb", that means there is no lactose in the product, lactose being a sugar. This works for many other kinds of dairy, too - lots of hard cheeses are actually lactose free. It's worth looking at the label to see if there are 0 grams of sugar. When we realized this, it opened up a whole new culinary world for my father.

        Good luck! Please let us know what worked for you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: asf78

          Wow, thanks for all of the input! I like the Yukon Gold idea (and do that at home) but I'm particularly looking for ideas for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house and russets may be the order of the day. I have used potato water too. (I even let it settle a bit and dump the top part because there's more potato "stuff" in the bottom.) Maybe we are putting in too much.

          And I guess we have issues other than lactose intolerance because butter does bother some of us (as we know from experience).

          The mayo idea is interesting. I would never have thought of that.


        2. Olive oil instead of margarine. Broth isn't going to add anything except broth flavor and liquid (that is, not creaminess), if you like that flavor make sure your potatoes are really dry (cooked, but not water-logged) so they can soak up more of it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: babette feasts

            I return my drained potatoes to the hot pot, over a low heat and cook off any additional water. A lot of steam will come of them for a few minutes. You have to watch them carefully and keep stirring them or they will scorch.

            Once they are dry, I mash them and add olive oil, salt and pepper and a small amount of broth until they reach the consistency that looks and tastes right.

            Don't remember where I picked up this technique of "drying" the potatoes but I have been doing it that way for years and it really helps with the problem of thin, watery mash.

            1. re: pamf

              Agreed. Shake the pan over the residual heat of an electric burner. Potatoes 'bloom.'

              I wonder if almond milk would add creaminess?

              1. re: sueatmo

                I recently had mashed potatoes made with almond milk at a friends home. They were pretty good!

                1. re: meatn3

                  I'd try it with MimicCreme, which is also nut-based, but simulating cream rather than milk. I've made mashed potatoes with it, and they came out pretty well. It does give things the slightest nutty flavor, so you might want to add roasted garlic or another flavoring agent as well.

            2. re: babette feasts

              What about macadamia nut oil? It's supposed to be lovely stuff - seems like it might show well in this context. Macs have a buttery quality.

            3. I would also suggest adding a lot of garlic--peeled--along with the potatoes and then mashing it with them and using olive oil as someone else suggested. That way, you're not missing the dairy because it's not meant to be there.

              1. you've gotten lots of great advice already, but i think it's worth reiterating that adding liquid will thin them out, so go easy on the broth (or cooking water as asf so wisely suggested). and if it's *creaminess* or richness you're after, you can also try adding non-dairy sour cream.

                5 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Although I'm not a fan of non-dairy dairy products in general, I have to say that the Tofutti brand of "sour cream" and "cream cheese" are not terrible - they might work. The mayonnaise idea is also brilliant!

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    didnt see your post that is the excact brand I have used an it does add that richness that I think the poster is missing with just the broth and margerine

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      Agreed on the Tofutti "Better than Sour Cream" and "Better than Cream Cheese"...they are really not bad at all.

                      And also, Earth Balance is a good butter substitute. It's not butter, but only butter is butter.

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        I was definitely scrolling down to see if it was already suggested... highly recommend Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese... along with some caramelized onions and roasted garlic.

                        1. re: Emme

                          I've done the same thing for severe dairy allergies and no one could tell the difference. Very tasty.

                    2. I clarify the butter and it gets rid of the milk solids.. I use a pit of parmesano reggianno - (sp) sheeps milk based and when I really want it to be a bit creamy I add a bit of soy cream cheese
                      I use broth as main liquid

                      1. My wife's sister adds soft or silken tofu, a small amount of broth, and mashed garlic.

                        1. Boil them IN the broth (or stock), not water-the flavor will be in the potatoes and you can add in less for mashing. Use Yukon golds.

                          1. I have added strained yogurt to mashed potatoes for a change. It does ad a bit of a tart flavor but keeps them creamy. I like it with some garlic too. I have heard that some people with lactose intolerance can eat live culture yougurt.

                            1. My mother makes mash potatoes with chicken schmaltz. Not my favorite take on them, but thought I'd pass the idea on just in case!

                              1. There have been numerous good suggestions already. Here's one more for you to consider: tahini. Definitely adds a little flavor, but it's a flavor that plays well with potatoes. And it'll give you a reallllly nice creaminess. Mix in a little margarine or olive oil, broth if you like the flavor, some garlic - what's not to like?

                                Aside from that, I'll second (or third or whatever) Pamf's suggestion to gently cook off some extra moisture once the potatoes are mashed but before you add more liquid.

                                1. By thick/thin do you mean the stiffness? If they are too thin (almost soupy) you are adding too much liquid.

                                  Good garlic mashed potatoes can be made by cooking Yukon Golds till soft, along with some garlic cloves. Then mash them, add a generous amount of olive oil, and just enough reserved cooking water till you get the desired consistency. Of course add salt and pepper to taste.

                                  I prefer the chunky, smashed texture, and usually leave the skins on (Yukon golds have a thin skin).

                                  1. Soy milk or soy creamer combined with pureed parsnips.

                                    1. Extremely good non low-fat but non-dairy mashed potatoes can be made with either olive oil and garlic or caramelized onions, their oil, and pepper. The latter are like the inside of a potato vereniki/perogi. The former will ward off vampires for miles. If you do the garlic, I recommend using garlic you've ground into paste with a mortar or pestle or knife flat.

                                      1. Soy milk and non-dairy margarine like Earth Balance (or olive oil if you want to be a little less trashy) work for me, though definitely not fancypants. Make sure to add sufficient salt, too. You can use some of the potato cooking water, as mentioned above, only if you need to thin it out more. Experiment with ricing vs. mashing - ricing I think gives a bit airier, but creamy, texture. I prefer mashed (but not whipped or riced) potatoes, but it is sometimes challenging to get them mashed enough that way. I've never had too many problems with them being too thin - have you tried just adding less liquid?

                                        For something a little richer than soy / almond milk, you could try a homemade or commercial nut-based cream substitute if nuts are Ok - to make it well at home you really need a high-power blender like a vita-mix - soak raw cashews for a day or so, blend with some water.

                                        I hear you on the traditional thing, but since you're already leaving out the butter and cream, using Yukon Golds might give it a little better flavor and texture.

                                        For whatever reason, I've never been a huge fan of garlic in mashed potatoes.

                                        1. I like to add 5 or 6 bay leaves to the boiling liquid. Be careful to remove them before mashing.

                                          1. I use a variation of Julia Child's recipe for garlic mashed potatoes, which involves making a sauce using butter, roasted garlic, flour, and milk. The key here is the FLOUR. I use olive oil instead of butter, and I have at times used soy milk or broth or a combo of both in place of milk. By using the flour you're essentially making a thicker "cream" sauce, which in turn adds body to the finished product. The roasted garlic just tastes good!

                                            JULIA CHILD'S GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

                                            2 heads garlic, about 30 cloves
                                            4 Tb butter (I use extra-virgin olive oil)
                                            2 Tb flour
                                            1/4 tsp salt
                                            Pinch of pepper
                                            1 cup scalded milk (or substitutes)
                                            2 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes
                                            4 Tb softened butter (again more olive oil if you like)
                                            Salt and white pepper
                                            3-4 Tb whipping cream (I omit)
                                            4 Tb minced parsley

                                            Separate the garlic cloves. Drop into boiling water and boil 2 mins,
                                            drain and peel. (I am lazy and simply peel the garlic and roast it, in the next step)

                                            Cook the garlic slowly with the butter in the covered saucepan for
                                            about 20 mins or until very tender but not browned.

                                            Blend flour and stir over low heat until it froths with the butter for
                                            about 2 mins without browning. Off heat, beat in the boiling milk and
                                            seasonings. Boil, stirring for 1 min. Rub the sauce through a sieve or
                                            puree in an electric blender. Simmer for 2 mins more. (I add lots of extra pepper and fresh nutmeg)

                                            Peel and quarter the potatoes. Drop in boiling salted water to cover
                                            and boil until tender. Drain immediately and put through a potato
                                            ricer. Place the hot puree in the saucepan
                                            and beat with the spatula or spoon for several minutes over moderate
                                            heat to evaporate moisture. As soon as the puree begins to form a film
                                            in the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and beat in the butter a
                                            tablespoon at a time. Beat in salt and pepper to taste. (Honestly all I do is puree the potatoes, add the hot garlic sauce, and blend it lightly, then season to taste. All the beating isn't usually necessary.)

                                            Shortly before serving beat the hot garlic sauce vigorously into the
                                            hot potatoes. Beat in the cream by spoonfuls but do not thin out the
                                            puree too much. Beat in parsley. Correct seasoning and turn into a hot
                                            serving dish.

                                            An additional advantage to using olive oil is that the potatoes taste great cold!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: visciole

                                              using roux to thicken mashed potatoes? who'da thunk it?

                                              1. re: visciole

                                                visc, ever since this recipe came out in The Victory Garden cookbook, it has been THE standard by which i judge all mashed potatoes. Unbeatable!

                                              2. I used rice milk, butter, salt and pepper this time, I did add some shallots as well. They tasted just like the real thing. I didn't care for the ones I made with Almond milk, they had a "flavor" to them.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: JEN10

                                                  I agree...almond milk or soy milk, even plain, have a flavor. The only thing about rice milk is that it is a little watery.

                                                  1. re: valerie

                                                    What does rice milk add that the potato cooking water does not? White color? sweetness?

                                                    I like rice milk (Rice Dream original) on cereal, and as a 'palate cleanser' when eating sweet desserts, but (to me) it would be a waste to use it in cooking. It's either too bland for sweet items, or too sweet for savory. Come to think of it, that's how I'd describe skim milk.