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The BEST Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

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Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes are a delicious twist on the classic mashed potato dish.

By adding the rich, sweet flavors of caramelized onions to your regular mashed potatoes, you can elevate this humble side to something truly special.

This comforting and flavorful upgrade can easily become a favorite at your dinner table, whether it’s for Thanksgiving dinner or a Sunday night roast.

golden caramelized onions mashed potatoes garnished with parsley

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What you’ll love about the caramelized onion mashed potatoes recipe:

  • TWIST ON TRADITION – Caramelized Onions Mashed Potatoes provide a flavorful upgrade to traditional mashed potatoes.
  • FULL OF FLAVOR – The caramelization of onions adds a rich, sweet taste to the dish.
  • VERSATILE – Combining the caramelized onions with creamy mashed potatoes creates a versatile side perfect for a variety of meals.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

  • Sweet onions
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • Whole milk
  • Butter (salted or unsalted work fine)
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Fresh parsley

To make mashed potatoes with caramelized onion, you’ll need a few simple ingredients, such as potatoes, onions, garlic, butter, and milk.

As you prepare the potatoes, you’ll also caramelize the onions to perfection which gives the dish a delightful depth of flavor. Once the onions are ready, they get mixed into your creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes. It’s that easy.

a serving spoon lifting up caramelized onions mashed potatoes out of a serving bowl

Sweet Alternatives

If you’re looking to put a twist on your caramelized onion mashed potatoes, consider adding a heavy touch of sweetness to the dish. Here are a few ideas to incorporate sweet flavors into your recipe:

  • Brown Sugar: Adding a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar to your caramelized onions will bring out their natural sweetness.
  • Maple Syrup: Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup over your caramelized onions while cooking them. The syrup will create a glaze that coats the onions and offers an upscale touch to your mashed potatoes.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Swap out regular potatoes for sweet potatoes when making your mashed potatoes. The natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes will mingle with the caramelized onions and create a delicious harmony of flavors.
  • Honey Roasted Garlic: Instead of using plain roasted garlic (which is another alternative), try adding honey-roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes. Simply mix a bit of honey with olive oil and toss your peeled garlic cloves in the mixture before roasting.

The key to a delightful sweet alternative is always to strike a balance between the sweet ingredients and the savory flavors of caramelized onions and cheese and salt.

Have fun experimenting with these suggestions.

Caramelizing Onions

caramelized onions
almost done!

Choosing the Right Onions

When preparing caramelized onion mashed potatoes, selecting the right onions is crucial.

You can caramelize all onions: red, yellow, white, and sweet but the onion you choose will determine the flavor you get. So it’s all about what you’re wanting to create.

White and yellow onions are an ideal choice due to their ability to caramelize well.

Sweet onions are also a great choice, but keep in mind that they will increase in sweetness as they caramelize.

When choosing onions, look for ones that are firm and have tight, dry skins to ensure they’re fresh and flavorful.

Using the Right Oil

Caramelizing onions requires a combination of both olive oil and butter.

Using olive oil helps prevent the onions from burning, while the butter adds a rich and creamy flavor.

Start by heating the oil and butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, it’s time to add your onions.

adding raw onions to a dutch oven to caramelize

To achieve tender caramelized onions, be sure to cook them slowly over medium-low heat and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

This process might take around 30-40 minutes (or sometimes a little longer), depending on the thickness of your onion slices.

The onions will gradually transform from a translucent state to a beautiful golden-brown color, and their natural sugars will caramelize, creating a rich and savory flavor.

I like to deglaze the pan a bit to get all the flavors involved (do this with a splash of broth, water, or even balsamic vinegar).

After the onions have reached the desired caramelization, they’re ready to be incorporated into your mashed potatoes.

Remember to enjoy the process and have fun experimenting with variations of this delicious dish.

Ways to Cook This Recipe

In this section, we’ll explore two popular methods for making French Onion Mashed Potatoes: Stovetop Technique and Instant Pot Use.

Stovetop Technique

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and add the ingredients for the caramalized onions. Stir frequently until onions are rich brown and soft, which should take about 40ish minutes.

When using the stovetop technique, start by peeling and quartering your potatoes. Place them in a large pot filled with enough water to submerge the potatoes.

Bring it to a boil on medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes become tender. Drain them well and set aside.

Once the onions are caramelized, use a potato masher or an electric mixer to mash the potatoes. Add milk, butter, cheese salt, and your caramelized onions; mix until smooth and creamy.

Instant Pot Use

An Instant Pot can also be a convenient option for making Caramelized Onions Mashed Potatoes.

Randa and Stacie Canadian food bloggers in their kitchens

Do not use the Instant Pot for caramelizing onions, as it is best done on a stovetop with better control over temperature and stirring.

Peel and cut your potatoes into equal-sized pieces, placing them in the Instant Pot along with water just enough to cover them. This will depend on the size of your Instant Pot.

Secure the lid and set the pressure to high for about 10-12 minutes. Quick release the vent.

When both the onions and potatoes are ready, drain the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes with milk, cheese, butter, salt, and your caramelized onions.

golden mashed potatoes with parsley and caramelized onions

Storage and Reheating

Storing Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes in the fridge is a breeze.

Simply transfer your leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Freezer Instructions

If you’re wondering whether you can freeze this recipe, the answer is yes! Just make sure to use a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Label the bag with the date and contents before placing it in the freezer. Frozen mashed potatoes can last up to 2 months.

Reheating Mashed Potatoes with Carmalized Onions

Reheating leftovers is quite simple.

If you’re reheating leftover mashed potatoes from the fridge, you can reheat them on the stove using a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in a little milk or sour cream and butter as needed to bring back that creamy texture.

You can also microwave them for 30-60 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval. If they’re a little dry, you can add a small splash of milk.

For frozen mashed potatoes, it’s best to first thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

Once thawed, follow the same stovetop or microwave reheating method as mentioned above. Adding milk, sour cream, or butter helps to restore the creaminess and prevent the potatoes from becoming too dry.

Now you can enjoy your delicious Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes any time!

thanksgiving mashed potato side dish

FAQs about Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

It depends on the consistency you’re after. Golden Yukon potatoes offer a creamier texture and are our personal favorites. Red or Russet potatoes are another popular option

Caramelized onion mashed potatoes pair well with dishes like roasted chicken, grilled steak, or pork tenderloin. They also work well as a Christmas or Thanksgiving side dish.

For dairy-free caramelized onion mashed potatoes, replace the whole with a dairy-free alternative like almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew cream. You can also use a non-dairy butter substitute in place of traditional butter and the same goes with the cheese.

Yes, you can make caramelized onion mashed potatoes a day ahead. Just store the dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat it when you’re ready.

Serve This With

This is such a versatile side dish. It goes well with a casual steak as long as a side dish for Christmas Turkey dinner.

Proteins to Serve This With

Vegetables To Serve Caramelized Mashed Potatoes with

  • Grilled Vegetables: A medley of colorful grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus will add a fresh and nutritious touch to the meal.
  • Garlic Butter Green Beans: Tender green beans sautéed in garlic butter make for a flavorful and vibrant side dish.
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Roast Brussels sprouts with olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan for a delicious and slightly crispy side. Like these Air Fryer Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.
  • Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms: Roasted mushrooms drizzled with balsamic glaze make for a savory and earthy addition.
  • Roasted Carrots. Brush carrots with olive oil and seasonings and roast until fork tender. Try these Rosemary Rainbow Carrots.
  • Try this delicious and festive Apple Butternut Squash Casserole.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ready to impress your family and friends at your next gathering? This recipe makes an amazing side dish: Caramelized Onion and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes. It's a perfect combination of sweet, savory, and creamy goodness that everyone will love.
5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe
a serving spoon lifting up caramelized onions mashed potatoes out of a serving bowl
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:50 minutes


Caramelized Onion:

Mashed Potatoes:


Stove Top Instructions

  • Grab a large skillet and toss in the diced onion, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. Put it on medium-low heat and let it cook for around 40-50 minutes. Make sure to give the onions a gentle stir every now and then to get them perfectly caramelized on all sides. If the onions are sticking you can add a little more oil and deglaze the pan with stock or water (a splash of balsamic vinegar is also delicious).
  • While the onions work their magic, cube the potatoes and put them in a large pot.
  • Pour enough water to cover them up. Put the pot on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. Once it starts bubbling away, lower the heat to medium-high and let the potatoes cook for about 20 minutes or until they become nice and tender. Don't forget to check and stir the onions!
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them. Carefully transfer them to a big mixing bowl. Use a potato masher and turn those tender potatoes into creamy goodness. Another reminder to check on the onions, you don't want to burn them.
  • Pour in the milk, melted butter, salt, and pepper into the mashed potatoes. Mix everything together until it's super creamy and dreamy.
  • At this point, the caramelized onions should be done, or close to. Once they're a rich brown, soft, and beautiful fold them, along with the gruyere cheese, into the potato mixture.
  • For a final touch, sprinkle fresh parsley on top of the potatoes. If you're feeling a bit indulgent, add a little extra butter too.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • You will still follow the caramelized onions instructions in the stove top instructions above.
  • Peel and cube the potatoes into equal-sized pieces, placing them in the Instant Pot along with water just enough to cover.
  • Secure the lid and set the pressure to high for about 10-12 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
  • Drain the potatoes and add back to the pot or transfer to a bowl. Mash the potatoes with milk, butter, gruyere cheese, salt, and your caramelized onions. Top with fresh parsley and butter.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 513kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 15gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 1047mgPotassium: 1429mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 652IUVitamin C: 62mgCalcium: 335mgIron: 3mg
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 513kcal


    1. Hey Clint, yukons are slightly waxy but make an amazing creamy mashed potato. When I swapped russets with gold potatoes years ago, I actually started liking mashed potatoes 🤣

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