Butter Substitute in Mashed Potatoes: 14 Healthier Choices

There are many reasons why you might want to find a substitute for butter in your mashed potatoes.

Perhaps you’re lactose intolerant and dairy products don’t agree with you. Maybe you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle and are looking for plant-based alternatives.

A plate of mashed potatoes with butter topped with greens

Or you could simply be seeking healthier options to traditional ingredients. Whatever your reasons, there are plenty of alternatives that can give your mashed potatoes that creamy texture we all love.

From vegan butter to olive oil, there are many ways to maintain the deliciousness of your potato recipes while making them more accommodating to your dietary needs or preferences.

So, let’s explore some of these butter substitutes and how they can transform your mashed potatoes.

Butter Alternatives for Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s set the stage. When we talk about substitutes for butter in mashed potatoes, we’re looking for ingredients that can mimic the creamy texture and rich flavor that butter brings to the dish.

The alternatives we’re about to explore not only meet these criteria but also add their unique touch, making your mashed potatoes even more special.

1. Olive Oil

Close-up of green olives without seeds

This kitchen’s liquid gold is a great butter substitute for mashed potatoes.

Not only does it provide a smooth texture, but it also brings with it a host of health benefits.

Olive oil, abundant in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and brimming with antioxidants, champions both wellness and robust flavors.

Olive oil originates from various global corners, with Spain, Italy, and Greece leading in European production, each offering unique flavor nuances.

Extra virgin olive oil, made solely from cold-pressed olives, is the highest quality and most expensive type available.

Fresh virgin olive oil pouring after processing

In contrast to regular olive oil, which mixes cold-pressed and processed oils, it offers the best in both flavor and health benefits.

Using this oil in your mashed potatoes is simple. Just use it in equal amounts as a replacement for butter.

The result? A healthier version of mashed potatoes with a distinct, delicious taste.

2. Heavy Cream

Heavy cream in a steel measuring cup

Indulge in the luxurious texture and rich flavor of your mashed potatoes by opting for heavy cream instead of butter.

Using it occasionally can elevate your dish for special moments, turning ordinary potatoes into a lavish side.

However, if opting for heavy cream becomes a regular culinary habit, it’s wise to keep an eye on the calorie count, as it can significantly boost both the saturated fat and caloric content of your meals, compared to using butter.

Incorporating it is simple: start with a modest amount and gradually add more until your mash achieves the ideal texture.

Bear in mind, that introducing additional cream is a breeze, but rectifying an excessively runny mash can be tricky.

In essence, enjoy the creamy delights of heavy cream in your mash sparingly and savor every bite when you do!

3. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt in a bowl on a kitchen towel

Greek yogurt, when used as a butter substitute in mashed potatoes, not only paves the way for a nutritious twist but also introduces a delightful zest to the classic dish.

It adds creaminess, tanginess, and a velvety texture that elevates the taste while ensuring a healthy alternative to butter.

Notably, Greek yogurt is a powerhouse of probiotics, aiding digestion and enhancing gut health.

Its tangy undertone can illuminate the mildness of the potatoes, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

For every pound of mashed potatoes, utilize about ¼ cup of Greek yogurt.

Should the mixture appear too dense, a dash of olive or canola oil can lend a helping hand to achieve the perfect consistency.

The end product is a tantalizingly creamy, nutritious, and irresistibly tangy mashed potato dish that boasts a lower fat content and a higher protein level than its traditional counterpart.

4. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk in a glass with fresh opened coconuts on the background

Utilizing coconut milk instead of butter in your mashed potatoes not only introduces a unique flavor profile but also offers a vegan-friendly alternative for those who abstain from dairy or are lactose intolerant.

Coconut milk’s subtle sweetness can enhance the dish’s complexity, pairing beautifully with additional ingredients like garlic or fresh herbs.

Be mindful of choosing between full-fat and lite coco milk, as the former will provide a richer texture and more robust flavor, while the latter might offer a lighter, less calorie-dense option.

To incorporate it into your mashed potatoes, simply replace the butter with an equal amount of coconut milk. Add it gradually, stirring until you achieve the desired consistency.

The result is a deliciously creamy and slightly sweet mashed potato dish that’s sure to impress.

5. Potato Cooking Water

Potatoes cooking in a pot

A commonly overlooked alternative to butter in mashed potatoes is the very water used to boil them.

Opting for this substitute not only reflects a health-conscious choice, particularly for those watching their calorie intake but also brilliantly maintains the creamy texture of the mash without the added fats and calories found in butter or heavy cream.

Moreover, it ensures that none of the water-soluble vitamins that may have leached into the boiling water are wasted.

To incorporate potato cooking water into your mash, simply reserve a portion after boiling and gradually introduce it back, carefully monitoring consistency to avoid an overly loose mash.

And don’t forget: to ensure an even cooking and optimal texture in your mashed potatoes, always start boiling the potatoes in cold water.

6. Sour Cream

A bowl of sour cream with a wooden spoon in it on a rustic table

Sour cream is another excellent alternative to butter in mashed potatoes. Its tangy taste and high-fat content help maintain the creamy texture we all love in mashed potatoes.

Utilizing sour cream in place of butter is straightforward: initiate with a modest amount. Gradually add more, substituting the butter with an equivalent quantity of sour cream, until you reach your desired consistency.

Be careful not to overdo it, as too much sour cream can make your potatoes overcooked or gummy. The result is a tangy, creamy, and indulgent mashed potato dish that’s sure to be a hit.

7. Vegan Butter

For those following a vegan diet or simply looking to reduce their intake of animal products, vegan butter is an excellent substitute in mashed potatoes.

There are various types of vegan butter available on the market, such as Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter and Melt Organic Butter. These are widely loved for their taste and ingredients, closely mimicking the flavor and texture of traditional butter.

Vegan butter is typically lower in saturated fat and free from cholesterol, making it also a heart-friendly choice.

Just like with regular butter, you can use vegan butter in equal amounts to achieve that creamy, buttery flavor in your mashed potatoes.

8. Parmesan

A cheese maker controls the seasoning of the Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is another great substitute for butter in mashed potatoes. It can add flavor and enhance the creaminess of the dish, making it a delicious and indulgent alternative.

To use Parmesan, simply sprinkle grated cheese on top of your finished mashed potatoes. As it melts, it creates a rich and pungent aroma that’s sure to make your mouth water.

Using Parmesan cheese can complement any type of mashed potato, adding an umami complexity that’s hard to resist.

Be mindful with additional salt, as Parmesan brings its own salty zest, potentially reducing the need for extra seasoning.

9. Cream Cheese

A bowl of cream cheese on a grey table

Cream cheese is a fantastic alternative to butter in mashed potatoes. It has a rich and velvety texture, along with subtle notes of sweetness that can elevate your dish to new heights.

Cream cheese can be used as a topping or mixed into the potatoes for a creamier consistency.

To use it as a butter substitute, start with a small amount and adjust to taste. The result is a creamy, rich, and slightly sweet mashed potato dish that’s sure to impress.

10. Buttermilk

Pouring homemade buttermilk in a jar

Venturing into the world of buttermilk presents another splendid alternative to butter in mashed potatoes.

It adds a tangy flavor and a creamy texture, making the mashed potatoes light and fluffy.

For every pound of potatoes, start with about ½ cup of buttermilk. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add more until you reach your desired consistency.

The result is a tangy, creamy, and light mashed potato dish that’s sure to be a hit.

11. Avocado Oil

Green ripe avocado on the tree at a plantation

For a creamy consistency and deep, nutty flavor in your mashed potatoes, consider using avocado oil as a substitute for butter.

Simply use an equal amount of oil in place of the butter for delightful results.

Avocado oil is packed with nutritional benefits, including a high content of heart-healthy oleic acid and antioxidants.

Using this oil not only makes your mashed potatoes healthier but also adds a unique flavor that’s sure to impress. Next time mashed potatoes are on your menu, think about opting for avocado oil.

12. Nutritional Yeast

Flakes of nutritional yeast in a jar on a table

Offering a distinctive, cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast serves as a good substitute for butter in mashed potatoes, adding a unique twist to your dish.

Plus, it’s packed with nutritional benefits, including being a rich source of B vitamins.

To incorporate nutritional yeast into your mashed potatoes, simply sprinkle it in while mashing. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste. The result is a cheesy, creamy, and nutritious mashed potato dish that’s sure to impress.

13. Cashew Cream

Cashew nuts in a food processor in a kitchen

Creating a dairy-free creamy texture that’s tempting in every bite, cashew cream is effortlessly made with just raw cashews and water.

Soak the cashews overnight, blend with water until smooth, and substitute it for butter in your mashed potatoes, ensuring a delectably smooth and irresistible dish.

To incorporate cashew cream into your mashed potatoes, simply replace the butter with an equal amount of cashew cream.

14. Mayonnaise

Jar of homemade mayonnaise on a table

Mayonnaise might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mashed potatoes, but it’s actually a fantastic substitute for butter.

Mayonnaise can add a creamy texture and rich flavor to the dish, making it a unique and delicious alternative.

For every pound of potatoes, start with about two tablespoons of mayonnaise.

Should the mixture prove too thick, a dash of milk can gracefully thin it out. The outcome is a mashed potato dish that’s not only creamy and full of flavor but also poised to surprise and delight your palate.

Potato Recipes Without Butter

Close-up of creamy mashed potatoes

Explore these scrumptious mashed potato recipes that achieve delectable results without the need for butter.

These recipes showcase how the alternatives we’ve discussed can be used to create flavorful, creamy, and healthier mashed potatoes.

Classic Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil and Cold Water

This recipe for classic mashed potatoes with olive oil and cold water results in smooth, light, and fluffy mashed potatoes.


  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of potatoes cooking water


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks.
  2. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Strain the potatoes, setting aside 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for later use.
  5. Mash the potatoes, gradually adding the olive oil and cooking water until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Season with salt and serve.

Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Greek Yogurt

This Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Greek Yogurt recipe is a creamy and flavorful alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. It’s suitable for those looking for a healthier option, as it uses coconut milk and Greek yogurt instead of butter.


  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks.
  2. Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water, and heat until boiling
  3. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes.
  5. Mash the potatoes, gradually adding the coconut milk and Greek yogurt until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Mix in the shredded Parmesan and finely chopped garlic.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Roasted Potato Mash with Heavy Cream and Vegan Butter

Roasted Potato Mash with Heavy Cream and Vegan Butter is a delicious twist on traditional mashed potatoes.

Begin by baking the potatoes until the exteriors are crisp and the interiors are light and fluffy. This gives the potatoes a deep, rich flavor that’s simply irresistible.


  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of vegan butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Clean and dry the potatoes, then cut them into chunks.
  3. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, or until they’re crispy on the outside.
  4. Once the potatoes are roasted, transfer them to a large bowl.
  5. Add the heavy cream and vegan butter, then mash the potatoes until smooth.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Tips for Making the Best-Tasting Potatoes Without Butter

Making delicious mashed potatoes without butter is easier than you might think. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Adjust the salt: Salt is crucial for bringing out the flavor of the potatoes.
  2. Use reserved water: The water you used to boil the potatoes is full of flavor. Use it to adjust the consistency of your mash and add extra flavor.
  3. Incorporate flavorful ingredients: Ingredients like olive oil, coconut milk, and vegan butter can add a lot of flavor to your mashed potatoes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, exploring a variety of butter substitutes and how to use them in your mashed potatoes.

Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply looking for healthier options, there’s a butter substitute out there for you.

Remember, the key to delicious mashed potatoes is to experiment. Try different butter substitutes, adjust the salt, use reserved water, and incorporate flavorful ingredients until you find your perfect taste and texture.

Have you tried any of these butter substitutes in your mashed potatoes? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment