Instant Pot Loaded Mashed Potatoes Is The Perfect Easy Side Dish

Almost all versions of loaded mashed potatoes start with boiling the potatoes in a big pot on the stovetop. But not this recipe! The Instant Pot takes out the hassle of boiling and draining the potatoes. You get all the flavor without any of the mess. This Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes dish was developed by Melissa Olivieri, whose blog The Olive Blogger focuses on family meals that are delicious and easy to cook. Olivieri and her husband live outside of Toronto, Ontario, and their first baby is due in May. She's had major cravings for mashed potatoes, but "I wanted something more than just a basic mashed potato," she told us. "Which is why I decided to load them like a good old potato skin." 

If you're a fan of the Instant Pot, then you know that this nifty electric pressure cooker cuts both prep time and cook time in half. If you're new to the Instant Pot, this is a great first recipe to try: Toss in the potatoes and some broth, and let Instant Pot do its thing. There aren't many ingredients, and you can make substitutions to suit your own tastes.

Gather the ingredients for these Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes

Olivieri loves this Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes recipe because "it's a recipe that can be made ahead of time and reheated for another night's dinner." She prefers Yukon Gold potatoes for mashing over russets or red potatoes. Russets are the go-to potato for baking, but when boiled and mashed, they can get gummy when butter and milk or cream are blended in. Red potatoes are a good all-purpose potato for boiling, roasting, and mashing, but they will have a firmer texture than Yukon Golds and are really best for potato salads because they'll hold their structure. 

Olivieri adds six whole garlic cloves to these loaded mashed potatoes, which may seem like a lot. But the Instant Pot softens and sweetens the garlic during the cooking so it won't be overpowering. There are also green onions (or scallions) in the recipe, but if you prefer chives, Olivieri told us they could be added instead "if you prefer something with a little bit more garlic flavor." She likes cheddar cheese in her loaded mashed potatoes, but she encourages you to substitute it with any cheese, even one that's infused with heat. 

Roast the bacon and chop the potatoes for the Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes

The first step for Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes is roasting the bacon. If you've only just fried bacon in a skillet, this method is superior, since the bacon won't be bathing in its rendered fat, and clean-up is minimal. This recipe calls for six strips of bacon, but there's no reason why you couldn't cook more!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then insert a baking rack on top of the foil. Lay the bacon strips across the baking rack, and pop the baking tray into the oven. Some recipes for roasted bacon instruct you to put the baking sheet into a cold oven and then preheat. We've tried both methods and didn't notice any difference.

Let the bacon roast 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it. When the bacon is done, remove the baking sheet from the oven, and let the bacon cool for five minutes. Meanwhile, while the bacon is cooking, chop up the potatoes. At this point, you could also prep the mix-ins and measure out the milk and sour cream.

Cook the potatoes in the Instant Pot and crumble the bacon

When the bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble or rip it into bite-size pieces and set aside for your Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes. Transfer the chopped potatoes and whole garlic cloves to the Instant Pot. Add the vegetable bouillon cube and one cup of water. (You could also use a richly flavored vegetable stock instead.) You always need to add some amount of cool or room-temperature liquid to the Instant Pot — usually, no less than one cup — or pressure won't build, and it could damage your Instant Pot.

Put the lid on, and ensure that it's properly sealed. Set the vent into the locked position, and program the Instant Pot for 20 minutes on high. "I hate making mashed potatoes on the stove, and the pot boils over," Olivieri confessed. "Literally every single time, regardless of what I do."

When the potatoes are done, you'll need to do a quick release by unlocking the vent away from you so you don't get burned by the escaping steam. Olivieri suggests using an oven mitt and a wooden spoon to open the vent safely. Once the steam is released, drain the potatoes, but reserve about half cup of the cooking liquid. "If your potatoes are a little dry, you can add it in later," Olivieri told us.

Partially mash the potatoes and add mix-ins for Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes

Now that the potatoes for your Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes are done, it might be tempting to use a hand mixer to mash them. A hand mixer is okay, as long as you don't rev it up to ten. But the best way of mashing potatoes is by hand with a potato masher. You'll get the right balance between partially mashed and smooth mashed, and the potatoes won't release as much starch, which gives you gooey, gummy potatoes. You'll be adding in the mix-ins after this preliminary mash, which will bind the potatoes so they're smooth and fluffy, so at this point, only partially mash the potatoes and garlic.

Set aside a quarter of the bacon, cheese, and green onion, which you'll sprinkle on just before serving. The sour cream and butter need to be at room temperature, and Olivieri recommends heating the milk. The potatoes will absorb the warm milk better and also keeps the potatoes hot if you're not serving them right away. 

Stir in the mix-ins and serve the Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes

Using a hefty wooden spoon, stir in the warmed milk, sour cream, butter, bacon, cheese, and green onions. Don't stir too vigorously — be a bit gentle with it. Fold in the ingredients by plunging the spoon down into the center, and lifting the potatoes up from the bottom. As you blend everything, the potatoes will continue to break down to a smooth and fluffy texture. If you think the potatoes are dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

Once the mix-ins are added, taste the potatoes, and add salt and freshly ground pepper if necessary. Scoop the potatoes into a large serving bowl, and sprinkle the reserved bacon, cheese, and green onion on top. You're now ready to serve.

Olivieri told us that this recipe is very easy to adapt. "Make it how you like it," she said. "Even if you're following a recipe, you can always stray a bit to make it something that you and your family will love." So load up your mashed potatoes with whatever you want, and enjoy this perfect, easy side dish.

Instant Pot Loaded Mashed Potatoes Is The Perfect Easy Side Dish
4.7 from 7 ratings
This Instant Pot recipe takes out the hassle of boiling and draining the potatoes, so you can easily make tasty loaded mashed potatoes as a side dish.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
8
servings
Instant Pot loaded mashed potatoes
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 10 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, washed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a baking rack on top of the foil, and lay the bacon strips across the rack. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the bacon to be.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, prepare the other ingredients: Wash and roughly chop the potatoes, shred cheddar cheese, slice green onions, and measure out the milk and sour cream.
  3. Transfer the chopped potatoes and garlic to the Instant Pot. Add the vegetable bouillon cube and 1 cup of water.
  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, and ensure that it's properly sealed. Set the vent to the locked position, then set the Instant Pot for 20 minutes on high.
  5. When the bacon is done, let it cool for 5 minutes, then crumble or rip it into bite-size pieces.
  6. When the potatoes are done, do a quick release on the Instant Pot. Use an oven mitt and a wooden spoon to open the vent safely. Drain off any water that is still in the potatoes.
  7. Partially mash the potatoes using a potato masher. Don't fully mash them, or they will turn starchy when you add the mix-ins.
  8. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir in the milk, sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Separate three-quarters of the amount of bacon, cheese, and green onion, and add to the potatoes. Taste the potatoes and adjust the seasoning if they need more salt or pepper.
  9. Scoop into a large serving bowl, and top with the remaining bacon, cheese, and green onions. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 481
Total Fat 24.6 g
Saturated Fat 12.1 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 59.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 50.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
Total Sugars 3.7 g
Sodium 911.9 mg
Protein 16.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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