14 Sauce Alternatives To Pour Over Mashed Potatoes

Nobody is trying to say that mashed potatoes can't hold their own when it comes to flavor, but who doesn't love that steaming, fluffy, pile of whipped spuds dripping with gravy? It adds not only flavor but helps to mellow out that starchy mouthfeel. And whether you enjoy your spuds extra creamy smooth, or with lumps, it's never a bad idea to load on the sauce. While some folks wait all year for Thanksgiving or their favorite spud-tastic holiday to mow down, we believe that mashed potatoes are a staple, and should be enjoyed all year round. However, the magical combination of 'taters and gravy definitely has comfort food vibes, but there are plenty of other sauce alternatives to pour over mashed potatoes to better fit your preferences and to complement the ever-changing seasons.

Whether you grow your own potatoes in your home garden, grab your spuds at the farmers market, or bulk buy from the grocery store, endless preparation methods can result in differing outcomes. So if mashed potatoes haven't been your thing in the past, that's no reason to give them the cold shoulder. Try whipped chive and olive oil, bacon fat, caramelized onion, or creamy instant pot mashed potatoes. But in the end, a flavorful and delicious sauce can carry your dish to a whole new dimension. Now, think outside the gravy boat and start flexing your culinary creativity. It's time to dive head-first into mashed potato sauce alternatives.

Garlic butter

Although garlic and butter might already be key ingredients in your favorite mashed potato recipe, there's no harm in loading some on after the fact. There's a reason that we love butter on potatoes, and that's because potatoes themselves are relatively low in fat. In fact, they are instead carbohydrate-rich, starchy vegetables that are packed with nutrients. They tend to get a bad rap in the health world because we love to load them up with fats, go heavy on salt, and deep fry them to create that delectable mouthfeel and balance that we crave so intensely. But when making mashed potatoes, we say bring on the butter.

After flavoring your mashed potatoes to your liking, make your own three-ingredient garlic butter to melt on top. Simply mix together salted butter, pressed garlic, and an herb of your choice. Parsley is a classic go-to, offering a fresh and peppery flavor, while chives and scallions can offer a subtle bitey sweetness. Use an electric mixer to combine your ingredients, and let them sit to allow the garlic to infuse the butter. Spoon over hot mashed potatoes, give the butter a moment to melt and enjoy.

Alfredo sauce

Whenever you make your own Alfredo sauce recipe, it's easy to forget that it has more applications than just pasta. And while we can't get enough pasta Alfredo in our lives, variety is the spice of life. A standard Alfredo sauce is made with ingredients like cream, flour, cheese, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. It truly is one of the most comforting pasta sauces around, so why not pair it with our other favorite comfort food: potatoes?

If you think about it, Alfredo is essentially the cheesy, dairy-based version of gravy. It adds a similar silky rich mouthfeel, and salty, subtle umami flavor. Drizzle your homemade Alfredo sauce directly over seasoned mashed potatoes for an unforgettable flavor that might just blow you out of the water. Garnish with fresh parsley, cracked black pepper, and finely grated parmesan cheese. Just be sure to warn any vegetarians in the household that you've used Parmesan, as it's not considered a vegetarian-friendly cheese.


We love marinara sauce for more than just pasta dishes. You can dunk mozzarella sticks and calamari in it, drizzle it over eggplant napoleons, or even dip your pizza crusts in it. We have yet another way to use sweet and tangy marinara sauce to enhance your food. Try drizzling marinara sauce over mashed potatoes. While this may seem like a stretch, it's not uncommon for potatoes and tomatoes to be served together. Our most basic example is french fries and ketchup, a classic without which we couldn't imagine living.

After whipping or mashing your pile of spuds, lightly drizzle with pasta's favorite sauce. The tomatoes offer a tangy, sweet contrast to potatoes' starchy and mellow flavors, providing both variances in mouthfeel and flavor. And while you can use any old tomato sauce, we recommend a homemade marinara, even if just a quick tomato sauce recipe. Top with fresh herbs, cracked pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.


Although we tend to load aioli onto artisanal burgers, it was originally served with vegetables and fish. This is why aioli and potatoes just happen to make a pleasing pairing, they were meant to be together from the beginning. And while we commonly use aioli to describe mayonnaise that has been flavored any which way, there is actually quite a difference between aioli and mayonnaise. Mayo is egg-based, while aioli is traditionally made with whipped olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. However, as a society, we have decided to use aioli as a blanket term for flavored mayo, so we will roll with the punches. It melts beautifully, making it the perfect topping for mashed potatoes.

In fact, aioli is an incredible way to not only give your 'taters flavor but also add density. It can be drizzled over the fluffy final product as a sauce, or even mixed right into the potatoes during the mashing process. If you're not sure where to start, try making aioli mashed potatoes with chives, for an intensely flavored, creamy combination.


Although potatoes come in a range of colors, varying from deep purple to rich yellow, their color tends to mellow out when mashed. The bulk of potatoes have white or light interiors, even if their skins are bright, with a few exceptions. Brighten things up by adding a bold and colorful sauce that not only carries a punch of flavor but can contribute aesthetically to the dish as well. One of our favorite bold sauces that can be used in combination with pasta, as well as stuffed into mushroom caps, spread on sandwiches, or used as a garnish for soup, is pesto.

If you've always opted for the store-bought version, learn how to make your own basil pesto. Use base ingredients like garlic, fresh basil, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, and olive oil. Get experimental with other herbs and leafy greens like parsley, kale, and arugula. Mix up the nuts, and save a little money while you're at it, by adding walnuts and cashews. In the end, you'll end up with a chunky yet silky sauce that you can pour over mashed potatoes. Because potatoes are mild in flavor, and pesto is so punchy, consider just using a small drizzle or dollop. Add additional extra virgin olive oil to thin it out and add richness. Enjoy garnished with fresh basil and cracked black pepper.

Blue cheese dressing

There is no denying that cheese and potatoes are a match made in heaven. And although we see plenty of potatoes alongside cheddar or Parmesan, we think a stinkier cheese deserves a place on the table. While stinky, moldy cheese isn't for everyone, those who love it can't seem to get enough. Blue cheese is no exception, although blue cheese dressing seems to be more widely accepted by the stinky-cheese-hating community, as it's rather mild in comparison to a chunk of blue cheese by itself. This is because ingredients like mayonnaise have a mellowing effect, making the sauce creamy rather than bitey. A great way to control the intensity of blue cheese dressing is by making it yourself. In the end, even if you're not a big stinky cheese fan, try drizzling blue cheese over your creamy mashed potatoes.

If you do love blue cheese, mix chunks right into your steaming pile of mashed potatoes to create pockets of flavor, before drizzling the creamy dressing overtop. Don't forget to add a few crumbles of the cheese as a garnish, or even a little crispy pancetta or chopped bacon.

Romesco sauce

Even if you're a food fanatic, you may have never tasted romesco sauce, or at least know that you were indulging in it at the time. It's much less popular than marinara or pesto but is just as delicious. It's made typically from a base of roasted peppers, sweet or spicy, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and nuts like almonds. The nuts tend to make the sauce creamy, while the roasted peppers add a pleasing sweetness. Hot peppers can add a kick but are included only at the cook's discretion. It's the perfect sauce to spread onto a sandwich, enjoy with savory crepes, use as a dip for crostini, dollop onto chicken or fish, or spread over mashed potatoes.

Make your own smokey romesco sauce, which tends to be thicker and heartier than your standard marinara. It's both sweet and savory and can add depth and flavor to your potato side dish. Include extra marinara if you'd like to drizzle your sauce, or simply use a serving spoon to smear it on top of the potatoes. Romesco sauce is almost like a pepper-based pesto, so it's bold in flavor, meaning that you won't need to add too much to make an impact.

Cream of mushroom soup

You got us. Cream of mushroom soup is not a sauce. However, we do believe it deserves a spot on our list, and here's why. Cream of mushroom soup isn't always consumed as soup. In fact, how many casserole recipes have you made that included the heavenly canned soup as a sauce? It as least has achieved a temporary status for its work in the green bean department. If you think about it, cream of mushroom soup is an awful lot like vegetarian mushroom gravy. It's savory, creamy, loaded with umami flavors, and goes beautifully with potatoes, especially in their mashed form.

The cream of the soup pairs beautifully with the cream or butter used in the potatoes, and it's a nice alternative to gravy when you just don't have the time to cook from scratch. However, if you do have the time, it's nice to venture into the homemade territory and make your own umami-rich cream of mushroom soup for some good ol' potato pourin'. Enjoy a similar mouthfeel as gravy, with a unique flavor profile.


Since the beginning of time, potatoes and cheese have made a perfect pairing. The richness and salty flavors of the cheese enhance the creamy starchy mellow flavors of potatoes. If you're really looking to create an incredibly rich and creamy comfort food dish and are in search of that perfect sauce to fit the profile, look no further than ooey-gooey melted cheese. You really can't get more decadent than that. And although fondu is used to being dipped into, it's perfectly okay to pour it over mashed potatoes. Well, more than just okay, it's perfection.

Use a classic cheese fondu recipe and mix together a few soft cheeses, starch, and if you'd like, dry white wine and aromatics. Nutmeg and garlic are both classic additions, helping to add depth and round the overall flavor. Gruyère, Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, and fontina tend to be the go-to cheeses because of their mild yet distinct flavors, and meltability. Consider going light on the cream and butter in your mashed potatoes recipe in order to allow the fondu to take center stage, and to avoid going overboard with the richness. Add Yukon gold potatoes, which are creamier and slightly sweeter than your standard russet, to help complement the melted fondu.


Yes, mashed potatoes done right are plenty creamy on their own, but that doesn't mean we can't take things up a peg and include an extra creamy sauce to enhance its overall richness. After all, isn't that what butter and gravy do? Although béarnaise sauce is classically used over proteins like beef, chicken, and seafood, it certainly deserves consideration when vegetables are in play.

Make your own béarnaise sauce from scratch using egg yolks, butter, white wine vinegar, shallots, and herbs. Ditch the whisk. The trick for making an extra creamy béarnaise sauce is to use your blender. The sauce will add richness, as well as a sweet and tangy flavor to your already dreamy mashed potatoes. Béarnaise compliments potatoes especially well because it's not overpowering while delivering that sweet yet bitey onion flavor that comes from shallots. Garnish your side dish with fresh herbs like tarragon, peppercorn, and chervil. This take on mashed potatoes is a fantastic way to make what could be a basic and boring side into one that is not only gourmet in flavor, but also in aesthetics. Don't underestimate the classiness of potatoes.


Because potatoes are so dense and starchy, it's nice to balance them with refreshing and sharp flavors. And when it comes to bringing life to your side dishes, fresh herbs are the way to go. Perhaps one of the most refreshing yet spicy sauces out there, loaded to the brim with fresh herbs, is chimichurri. This South American sauce looks quite a bit like an oily pesto but has a completely different flavor profile. However, it does make the perfect alternative sauce to pour over mashed potatoes.

Make your own fresh chimichurri sauce recipe at home using fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, oregano, and chives, finely minced. Add crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice to add a refreshing and tangy punch. Don't forget those critical aromatics like garlic and shallots. Finish with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper, and be sure to let that sauce sit and develop its flavor. Because chimichurri is so intense, take it easy when pouring it over mashed potatoes. Consider using it with a chunkier, skin-on mashed potato recipe using red-skinned potatoes. There's no need to garnish this masterpiece because the chimichurri takes care of added color and visual texture all on its own.


Dairy is a common ingredient to add to mashed potatoes, especially sour cream. When was the last time you enjoyed a classic baked potato without the tangy, thick, refreshing cream? Well, yogurt tends to have a similar effect on the taste buds and a similar texture to boot. In fact, the two can be used interchangeably, as long as the yogurt is unsweetened and unflavored. Greek yogurt in particular can create an even richer mouthfeel than sour cream. It's no wonder then that tzatziki sauce makes a flavorful and refreshing sauce to pour over mashed potatoes, as an alternative to your standard gravy.

This creamy sauce can be paired with anything from roasted red meat, to light and delicate fish. But vegetables tend to be complemented by the sauce as well, especially potatoes. Follow a classic tzatziki sauce recipe which can be quite simple to make. With ingredients like Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, parsley or dill, lemon juice, and olive oil, you can't go wrong. Feel free to add dill pickle juice for extra zip, or mince or grate fresh cucumber for texture and a fruity undertone.


Although similar in appearance to a béarnaise sauce, hollandaise has a slightly different flavor profile. Even if you're not a French cuisine expert, you've likely at least seen hollandaise sauce over eggs Benedict. It's that creamy, slightly yellow sauce that compliments lightly poached eggs so beautifully, which may have to do with the fact that it's made from eggs. The main difference between béarnaise and hollandaise is that hollandaise is made with lemon juice instead of white wine vinegar, and flavored with white or cayenne pepper instead of tarragon. Therefore, it's slightly tangier and can hold a subtle heat.

Hollandaise sauce is often served with vegetables, such as asparagus, but complaints creamy-dreamy potatoes just as beautifully. Instead of gravy, opt for a lemony hollandaise sauce recipe to add a little tangy flavor and heat to your side dish. This works especially well for any mashed potatoes that have found their way onto a brunch menu, or if you're cooking a French entrée.

Ranch dressing

If Americans love two things, it's potatoes and ranch dressing. We can't get enough spuds, and can you name even one person that doesn't have a bottle of ranch dressing in their refrigerator? It's gained popularity outside of the world of salads, being used as a dipping sauce for vegetables, pizza, chicken tenders, buffalo wings, and more. Don't fail to include potatoes from that list. French fries, home fries, baked potatoes, and mashed potatoes can't get enough of the creamy yet refreshing sauce.

Although it's tempting to spring for a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch, consider making your own recipe at home. If you just don't have the time or prefer the flavors of the classic store-bought brands, then try adding dried lavender, the flowery ingredient to give your ranch dressing new life. It not only pairs wonderfully with dill, parsley, chives, and all of the other herbs packed into the bottle but adds an even stronger element of brightness and freshness. In addition, the flowery flavors of lavender pair particularly well with potatoes, giving them a botanical boost. Drizzle your ranch dressing over chive and butter mashed potatoes, or let your guests lay it on thick themselves.