Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

What Southerners and Cubans Have in Common

Mashed potatoes are an important part of my heritage. My abuelita (according to the family fable) made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes a day to feed my teenage dad and two uncles when they first came to the States. By the time I came along, she was a bit of a mashed potato making machine. This was a skill I deeply admired, until the fateful day I watched her make the mashed potatoes.

The veil was broken and the truth revealed. Her mashed potatoes' smoothness were attributed to the use of cardiac arrest levels of butter. One stick was a shy addition. Two sticks were certainly better. Honestly, I don't know why I thought they were so buttery and smooth before that moment, but it was not a magic trick. I was essentially eating butter with a hint of potato. Delicious – yes. Sustainable – no.

A Foray In Heart-Healthy Taters

In an attempt to avoid early-onset heart disease, I have healthied up her classic recipe by substituting the flavor of pounds of butter with the deliciousness of roasted garlic and rosemary. The result is still delectable, but servable as a weekly vegetable, instead of an annual treat you should eat by the teaspoon.

I recommend making these a day ahead of time, if possible. The garlic and rosemary infuse the potatoes when they sit in the fridge overnight and they are absolutely scrumptious!


Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Yield: Serves 6 | Cooking Time: Around 1 hr (some time is inactive)

Printable Recipe


  • 1 medium head of garlic

  • 1/2 tsp oil

  • 2 lb red or golden potatoes, washed

  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tsp salt

  • Water for boiling the potatoes

  • 1 tbsp butter (or oil, if vegan)

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Cut the top off a head of garlic, exposing the top of each clove (keep the skins on the rest of the head). Place the garlic in the middle of a piece of tin foil big enough to wrap the garlic. Drizzle 1/2 tsp oil on the top of the garlic and seal the garlic by wrapping the tin foil around it.

  3. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the garlic is golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle the garlic.

  4. Squeeze out the roasted garlic onto a plate, removing any garlic skin.

  5. While the garlic is roasting, add the potatoes, rosemary sprig, bay leaf and salt to a large stockpot. Cover the potatoes in water (about 2 inches above the potatoes).

  6. Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat and then lower to medium and boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 25-30 minutes total.

  7. Heat the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan until melted. Add roasted garlic and rosemary. Sauté, breaking the garlic up with a spatula, for about 30 seconds.

  8. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain the potatoes, reserving 2 cups of the boiling water. Remove the rosemary sprig and the bay leaf from the reserved water.

  9. Add the roasted garlic and rosemary to the potatoes and mash with a potato masher or a large fork. Add reserved water (you can use warmed milk if you are not vegan), as needed, to achieve your desired consistency.

  10. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

  11. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight to allow the garlic and rosemary to infuse the potatoes.

Buen Provecho!

♡ Elena