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Try this lighter, yet deeply flavorful version of everyone’s favorite side dish for Thanksgiving

Kelly Song, America's Test Kitchen on

These dairy-free mashed potatoes are smooth and flavorful without the heaviness of butter or cream. Fruity, floral extra-virgin olive oil added flavor and kept the potatoes silky (choose an olive oil that is smooth and palatable on its own, as any bitter notes will come through in the final dish).

We cut peeled Yukon Gold potatoes into chunks and boiled them in well-salted water, reserving some starchy cooking liquid before draining the spuds. We mashed the cooking liquid and extra-virgin olive oil into the potatoes; adding both together created an emulsion between the liquid and oil, which allowed the potatoes to fully absorb the mixture without becoming greasy.

We found that hand-mashing worked best to thoroughly incorporate the oil without forming a gluey texture. Finally, we whisked in more cooking liquid until we reached the desired consistency.

We topped the mash with extra olive oil, lemon zest, and black pepper (to complement the fruity, spicy notes of the olive oil) for a dish that is equal parts stunning and refreshing.

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking potatoes

1. Stir 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl; set aside for serving. Bring 2 quarts water, potatoes, and 2 tablespoons salt to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

2. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to the now-empty saucepan. Add 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water and mash with potato masher until oil and water are fully incorporated. Add ¼ cup cooking water and remaining 1/4 cup oil and continue to mash until fully incorporated.

3. Scrape down sides of saucepan with rubber spatula. Add salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon lemon zest, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. (Whisk in reserved cooking water as needed, 2 tablespoons at a time, until potatoes are glossy and smooth; you needn't use all the cooking water.)

4. Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and use the back of the spoon to create divots on the surface. Drizzle with reserved oil mixture. Serve.

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