Why You Should Try Adding Roasted Garlic To Your Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are quite a marvel among the sea of root vegetables. Their versatility allows them to be sliced and roasted into old-school scalloped potatoes or baked whole for a delectable salt-baked potato side dish. But attend almost any picnic or holiday gathering, and you're bound to see a Cinderella-like transformation of firm potatoes that have been boiled and mashed down into an airy cloud of creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Buttery in flavor and so very light in texture, mashed potatoes are the #1 favorite food among Americans according to a survey by YouGov. Such a comforting side dish also loves to share the spotlight with its culinary BFFs like fresh herbs, salty seasonings, and especially, garlic. Like Batman and Robin, garlic and mashed potatoes are the winning duo that goes hand-in-hand, providing a heavenly pillow of richness for its fellow food citizens (like smoke-brined turkey and country bread stuffing) to gently rest on for each bite.

That being said, garlic should not just be chopped up and thrown into a bowl of mashed potatoes haphazardly, unless you enjoy the overwhelmingly raw taste of uncooked garlic. So at the very least, mince and sauté those cloves. Even better, roast 'em whole. Here's why.

How does roasted garlic accentuate mashed potatoes?

For starters, roasted garlic is drastically different in taste compared to its raw counterpart. What was once overpowering and spicy soon becomes delicate and creamy with mild hints of sweetness (via Eating Bird Food) thanks to the process of caramelization (a reaction in cooking that breaks down sugars and results in that sought-after golden brown hue and nutty tasting notes, per Science of Cooking).

Roasted garlic is also known for its butter-like consistency, which spreads easily on toasted bread or warm dinner rolls. Lifehacker also states that roasted garlic melts evenly into a bowl of mashed potatoes, which imparts an enriched depth of sweetness.

Luckily, roasted garlic is incredibly easy to whip up on your own. All you'll need is some whole garlic bulbs (the firmer the better), olive oil, and tin foil. Simply Recipes suggests slicing off the top of the head of a garlic bulb, drizzling it with olive oil, wrapping it in foil, and roasting for 30-40 minutes.

So in short, roasted garlic dissolves easily into potatoes and adds a sweet and nutty garlic flavor that helps to transcend ordinary mashed potatoes into the star of almost any dinner party.