Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Next time you want to wow someone with a great side dish, make these Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes. Creamy mashed potatoes loaded with flavorful caramelized onions and topped with butter, cheese, and bacon before serving. They’re sure to be a hit. 


When I made these potatoes for the first time, I had my mom over for dinner on her 80th birthday. I made a delicious BBQ pork tenderloin and these fabulous potatoes. We loved them so much, we’ve made them often since then.

My blogging buddy Shelby from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch, posted this recipe. She found it in Light & Tasty magazine from November 2006, and I couldn’t wait to give them a try. I like that you can use low-fat sour cream and lighten up the potatoes a bit, but they’re still loaded with flavor.

Also included in this post is a Recipe Round-Up. I’ve joined a fun group of bloggers to put together a roundup of recipes on the first day of every month. This month we’re sharing Simply Delicious Holiday Side Dishes. 

Making Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

collage of Caramelizing onions step by step photos

The first step is to caramelize the onions. Just a little oil to the pan, and a little salt on the onions to draw out the moisture and release their natural sugar and make them flavorful, sweet and delicious!

Caramelizing onions takes some time. You’ll start cooking the onions over medium-high heat until the onions are completely wilted. Then reduce the heat slightly so the onions caramelize slowly. Don’t stir the onions too frequently, you want them to brown before stirring them, but do keep an eye on them because you don’t want them to burn. 

My All-Clad non-stick skillet does an amazing job of caramelizing the onions, but if your onions start to stick to the pan or brown too quickly, you can add a little more oil, or water and reduce the heat.  

Cooking garlic mashed potatoes step by step photo collage for Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

When the onions are almost caramelized, it’s time to cook the potatoes. The potatoes are boiled with garlic to give them even more flavor. 

Tip: An easy way to peel garlic is to use a silicone garlic peeling tube. You put a clove inside and roll it on the counter for a few seconds and the papery skin magically comes off inside the tube. 

Mashing potatoes step by step photo collage for Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Next, you’ll mash the potatoes. My husband likes to use a potato ricer so that the mashed potatoes are super smooth, but a good old fashioned potato masher works well too. 

Add in the sour cream, milk, and pepper until your potatoes are as creamy as you like. Then stir in the golden-brown caramelized onions and spread the potatoes into a pretty serving dish. 

A dish of caramelized onion mashed potatoes topped with butter, bacon and cheese.

Then you’ll top the potatoes with just a little bit of butter, cheese, and bacon. I like to use a long, shallow casserole dish so that you get a little bit of the topping in every serving. 
To speed up the process of making the potatoes a little bit, I often cook the potatoes in the pressure cooker. If you’re making these potatoes on a busy day, you can caramelize the onions a day or two before and refrigerate them until it’s time to make the potatoes. 
These potatoes are so flavorful, they don’t need gravy and everyone seems to love them. I hope you’ll give them a try soon!
Yield: 8 servings

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 large russet potatoes, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 to 3 T 1% milk as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • 2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled


  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir 15 minutes or until moisture has evaporated and onions are completely wilted.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir for 30-40 minutes or until onions are caramelized. (If necessary, add oil or water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if onions begin to stick to the pan).
  3. When onions are dark, golden brown, remove to a bowl. Cut onions into one-inch pieces with kitchen shears.
  4. Place potatoes and garlic in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 18-22 minutes or until tender.
  5. Drain potatoes; place in large bowl and mash. Add the sour cream, milk, pepper, and remaining salt; mash until blended. Stir in caramelized onions.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with cheese and bacon.


Slightly adapted from Light & Tasty Magazine November 2006


More Holiday Side Dishes You Might Like:

Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes
Baked Cream Cheese Corn with Crumbled Bacon
Crock Pot Corn Pudding
Butternut Squash Apple Quinoa Salad
30-Minute Garlic Parmesan Dinner Rolls
Easy Creamed Spinach
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Slow Cooker Christmas Stuffing

Pin It:

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes topped with butter, cheese and bacon.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.