Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil (no butter!)

It's easy to make delicious dairy-free mashed potatoes using olive oil and soy milk, with no need for vegan butter or cream. This recipe delivers a healthier yet still creamy version of this classic comfort food that's sure to impress.
Cost: £1.11 (total)
Servings: 4 people
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
a bowl of vegan mashed potatoes made drizzled with olive oil and chives

Looking for creamy dairy-free mash without using vegan butter or cream? This vegan mashed potato recipe uses garlic-infused olive oil and soy milk instead, giving the smoothest, silky texture and a rich flavour.

a bowl of vegan mashed potatoes made drizzled with olive oil and chives
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Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil (no butter!)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 329kcal
Cost £1.11 (total)


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) potatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 100-150 ml (⅓ to ⅔ cups) unsweetened non-dairy milk we like soy milk best
  • salt & pepper

Optional extras:

  • 1 heaped tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar


  • Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly 4cm chunks – try to keep the size of the chunks relatively similar so they have similar cook times.
    1 kg potatoes
  • Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with water with 1 tsp salt. Place on the stove and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked through (15-20 minutes). You can test this by removing a chunk of potato from the water to a plate and trying to mash it with the back of a fork – if it mashes easily, it's done! If not, let them boil a bit more and check again in a couple of minutes.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain well and return them to the pot.
  • Add the olive oil and crushed garlic to a small pan or pot over a medium heat on the stove. Once the garlic starts sizzling, let it cook for 30 seconds then remove from the heat.
    4 tbsp olive oil, 3 cloves garlic
  • Pour the oil & garlic into the pot of hot potatoes and start mashing together with a potato masher, adding soy milk a splash at a time, until the potatoes are mostly smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper and mash until they've reached your desired consistency – you can add more soy milk if you think it needs to be wetter. If you're adding the marmite/vinegar (they give the mash a more buttery flavour), fold them in now.
    100-150 ml unsweetened non-dairy milk, salt & pepper, 1 heaped tsp marmite, 1 tsp malt vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar


Make it Gluten-Free: leave out the marmite/malt vinegar. Ensure you’re using a GF non-dairy milk.
Cost breakdown (prices from ASDA as of Nov 2023):
  • Potatoes (1kg): £0.47
  • Unsweetened non-dairy milk (150ml): £0.08
  • Olive oil (60ml): £0.41
  • Garlic (1/3 of a bulb): £0.05
  • Yeast extract (unbranded marmite) (10g): £0.09
  • Malt vinegar (1 tsp): £0.01
Total cost: £1.11
Cost per serving (1/4 recipe): £0.28


Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 1098mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg

Top tips for the best mashed potatoes

Choose the right type of potato for the mash you love

If you want smooth, creamy & rich mash, opt for an all-rounder or waxy potato variety. Look for potatoes which are described as ‘buttery’, ‘rich’ or ‘creamy’ on the bag. Some examples of varieties matching this can be Golden Kings, Vivaldi, Desiree & Rooster potatoes.

If you want airy, light mash, choose starchy varieties which are drier than those listed above. These will have words like ‘fluffy’, ‘light’ and ‘crisp’ on the bag. Varieties to look out for are King Edwards, Russets and Maris Pipers.

You can experiment with mixing different varieties (e.g. do half waxy, half floury) or all one type to see what flavour/texture you prefer! We like to do a mixture, if we’ve planned ahead, but will honestly just use whatever is in the our cupboard (except new potatoes like Jersey Royals).

Cook your potatoes for the right length of time

There’s something magical about a fluffy bowl of mashed potatoes. The key to getting the right texture is cooking the potatoes for the right length of time. Undercooked potatoes will be hard to mash resulting in a grainy, lumpy mash. Overcooked potatoes will be at risk of becoming gluey and goopy.

To check your potatoes are ready to mash, scoop a couple of chunks out of the pot and place onto a plate. Use the back of a fork to mash them – they should mash easily. As your potato chunks are likely to be slightly uneven in size/shape, it’s a good idea to check a few pieces to make sure they’re consistent.

If your potatoes are overcooked they’ll look shaggy in the pot and will most likely be falling apart/turning into mash when you drain them. You can only really fix this if you have potato flakes to hand which you can add to the pot as you’re mashing – they’ll absorb the excess moisture.

a few cubes of cooked potato on a plate partially mashed to show correct texture

Use the right piece of equipment for mashing

Do NOT ever blend potatoes if you’re trying to make mash. If you’ve ever made this mistake you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. The blitzing action of the blades of a blender/hand blender/food processor breaks open the potato starch granules, releasing the starch and making the mash a strange stretchy texture. Now, this can be desirable when you’re making vegan cheeses or cheese sauces but for a bowl of fluffy mash it’s not the texture we want.

A potato masher is a pretty cheap piece of equipment and will make for a smooth, soft texture. We like potato mashers which have a kind of grid shape on the bottom as I find they work much better than the wiggly shape of the IKEA potato masher but use whatever you’ve got.

If you’re going for a gourmet vibe, get yourself a potato ricer – it’s kind of like a giant garlic crusher which will smoosh the potato chunks through tiny holes to make the lightest, smoothest mash you’ve ever had. They’re sold in many supermarket kitchenware sections but are a bit of a specialist item so we’re not recommending them here as a standard potato masher is perfect enough.

Don’t mash too much!

Just like how the blades of a food processor will release too much potato starch, making the potatoes gluey, so can overmashing. Once you get the potatoes to a good consistency, try not to mash or mix them too much more as they can start to lose their structure, becoming more liquidy and sticky.

Season them adequately

Potatoes are well known for absorbing salt like it’s their job! Well-salted mash is key to bringing out that tasty potato flavour. We like to add lots of freshly ground black pepper too as it’s a comforting reminder of classic mash, to us.

Mash the potatoes whilst they’re hot

Once potatoes are cool, they’re really difficult to mash into a smooth, fluffy texture. Because of this, it’s best to mash them when they’re still pretty hot which means you need to be ready to go after you’ve drained them. Try to get your other ingredients ready whilst they’re boiling.

Making creamy mashed potatoes without vegan butter

The general wisdom with mash is that to get the creamiest, restaurant-style potatoes, you need to be using an half the weight of the potatoes in butter (i.e. 250g butter to 500g potato). Whislt delicious, that’s not the most practical or everyday way to make mashed potatoes to go with your dinner! You can of course use vegan butter instead of dairy butter in mashed potatoes for a simple swap but we find that a garlic-infused olive oil (coupled with some unsweetened soy milk) is all you need to make the most flavourful, creamy and easy mash.

If you want to go a step further than this, choosing the right type of potato can really change the texture and flavour of your mash – see the ‘top tips’ section above for more info.

No milk? No problem!

If you don’t have any milk but want to make mash, don’t worry you can still go ahead. We use a bit of soy milk in this recipe to help the mash become creamy but you can actually just use the water that the potatoes were boiled in, instead. Just reserve some of that starchy water in a measuring jug before you drain your potatoes. Use the starchy water in your mash as you would milk. If you’ve got any creamy ingredients in the fridge like vegan mayo/creme fraiche/yogurt, you can add a spoonful or two to the mash as well.

Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time?

Yes you can. One thing to note is that re-heating mashed potatoes tends to make them looser, so when you’re making the mash, cut back on (or eliminate) the milk you add when mashing. Allow the mashed potatoes to cool fully then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you want to reheat, place into a pot on the stove and stir often over a medium heat, adding a splash of milk as you do, until piping hot.

Vegan Mashed Potato Variations

  • ‘Cheesy’ Vegan Mash – before you season with the salt & pepper, mix in 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 level tbsp marmite/miso/dark soy sauce and 1 tbsp malt vinegar.
  • Vegan ‘Sour Cream’ Mash – use unsweetened plain soy yogurt in place of the soy milk in the recipe – you may need to add a bit more yogurt to get the right consistency.
  • Root veg mash – replace half of the potatoes with peeled, diced swede, carrot or sweet potatoes. If using carrots, put them in the pot first and boil for 10 minutes before adding the potatoes as carrots need more like 30 mins of boiling to become mashable.
  • Higher-protein & fibre mash – replace 1/4 of the potatoes with cooked, drained white beans e.g. butterbeans or cannellini beans.
  • Buttery vegan mash – replace the olive oil with 75g vegan butter (tub or block is fine).
  • Herby vegan mash – fold a handful of finely chopped parsley, chives or tarragon into the mash along with the salt & pepper

Toppings for mashed potatoes

A little garnish on your mash can add little hits of flavour. Some to try are:

  • Fried sage leaves – fry in a few tablespoons of olive oil on a medium heat until crisp. Pour the sage leaves & oil over the mash
  • Chives – finely chop your chives (or use scissors to cut the bundle of chives into small pieces) for a mild, oniony hit
  • Fried vegan bacon – fry up your favourite vegan bacon until crisp, chop into small pieces and sprinkle on
  • Caramelised onions
  • Crispy capers – drain some capers and pat dry. Fry in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil until they pop open and become crispy. Remove from the oil and scatter over the mash

Vegan meals to serve with mashed potatoes

  • Swedish Meatballs – buy frozen vegan meatballs (or chilled vegan mince which you can shape into meatballs) and fry in some oil until golden. Add 500ml vegetable stock, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce and thicken with 1 tbsp cornflour. Add 3 tbsp vegan cream/creme fraiche/cream cheese and stir through to get a creamy gravy. Serve the meatballs and gravy with the mash.
  • Sausage, mash, peas & gravy – make an onion gravy using vegetable stock. Fry up some vegan sausages and steam some frozen peas. Serve the sausages covered in gravy with a side of mash and peas.
  • Pie – serve alongside your favourite vegan pie recipe as a delicious way to mop up any of the sauces
  • Use leftover cold mash to make croquettes – fold cooked mushrooms or finely chopped herbs into the mash, shape into small patties. Dredge in flour, then in a slurry of cornstarch & soy milk, and finally in dry breadcrumbs. Shallow fry in vegetable oil, flipping until golden all over.

Ingredients for Vegan Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes – explained

  • Potatoes – we like to use an all-rounder or a mixture of waxy/starchy potatoes for a creamy, smooth texture which isn’t too dense
  • Olive oil – this brings a richness and creamy, smooth texture to the potatoes. You could use a neutral vegetable oil but it won’t have the same rich flavour.
  • Garlic – a quick sizzle in the olive oil makes infuses the flavour of the garlic without being too overpowering, giving you a super flavourful mash without needing butter
  • Unsweetened soy milk (or other non-dairy milk) – a small amount goes a long way here. We like soy milk best as it’s creamy but has a pretty neutral flavour and is easy to find.
  • Salt & Pepper – the keys to enhancing the flavour of this simple mash. Season well to make your potatoes shine.
  • Optional extras: Marmite & Malt Vinegar – adding a lil bit of marmite to these potatoes, coupled with the malt vinegar, gives them a kind of cheesy tangy which tastes a bit like cultured butter. It’s delicious but totally optional!

How to make vegan mashed potatoes with olive oil – with step-by-step images

1 . Cut the peeled potatoes into roughly equal sized pieces. Cover with water & boil until tender.

a pot of boiled potatoes on a marble counter with a small pan of olive oil and garlic

2. Drain the potatoes and add to the pot.

adding garlic and olive oil to boiled potatoes

3. Sizzle the crushed garlic in the olive oil briefly, then add to the hot potatoes.

adding soy milk to boiled potatoes

4. Add a splash of the milk

mashing potatoes in a pot

5. Mash, adding more soy milk as needed, to get a smooth creamy texture. A few lumps are okay (and better than over-mashing and ending up with gluey mash!)

bowl of vegan mashed potatoes

6. Serve up your creamy mash, adding some garnishes like a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of chives, if you like.

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