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What Goes with Potatoes (Boiled / Mashed / Sweet / Baked)

A close look at a variety of different potato dishes.

When talking about their food preferences, some people describe themselves as the “meat and potatoes” type.  Maybe you fit this description.  But there’s so much more that goes well with potatoes — whether you like them baked, mashed, boiled, or fried — than just meat.  Here, we’ll talk about which foods go well with potatoes, as well as some fun potato-based recipes, including a loaded baked potato recipe and a mashed sweet potato recipe.

Maybe the better question is “What doesn’t go with potatoes?”  Here are the many things you can serve combined with or alongside a regular potato or a sweet potato.

Meats and Poultry: bacon, chicken, and beef

Seasonings and Condiments: curry powder, bay leaves, garlic, cinnamon or cinnamon stick, rosemary, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, oil

Dairy: cheese, eggs, milk, sour cream, cream, and butter

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Vegetables: leeks, parsnips, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts

Related: 32 Different Types of Potatoes | How to Store Potatoes (6 Easy Ways) | Taco Stuffed Baked Potato Recipe | Cinnamon Potato Bread Recipe | Bacon Cheesy Potato Recipe | Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes | Types of Sweet Potatoes

Ideas for Serving Potatoes

You can eat potatoes with any meal of the day.  Here are some fun recipes for enjoying potatoes as stand-alone or as tasty casseroles and sides.

Breakfast Potatoes

Looking for a way to enjoy potatoes at the start of your day with your morning cup of coffee or a glass of orange juice?  Try this simple breakfast potatoes recipe.


  • 1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Optional: Fresh herbs such as garlic clove, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.  Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 3.5-4.5 minutes. Cover them while they’re cooking.

2. Insert a fork into the thickest part of the potato slices.  If it goes through without much resistance, the potatoes are tender.  Cool the potatoes until they are at room temperature.  (If you’re prepping the potatoes ahead of time, once they cool, you can refrigerate them to use the following day).

3. Cut the quarters into 1/2-inch pieces before putting them in the skillet.  They will be easier to chop if you refrigerate them first.  Also, if you are making the full batch of breakfast potatoes, we recommend using a 12-inch skillet.

4. Load your skillet with the butter, olive oil, and pieces (if you’re using them).  Over medium-high heat, melt butter and make sure the oil heats completely.

5. When the skillet sizzles and pops, you can remove the herbs and discard them.  In a single layer, add the potatoes.  Season them with cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder.  Toss to make sure the potatoes are coated evenly with seasonings and browned butter.

6. Cook the potatoes for 8-10 minutes.  Every 2-3 minutes, stir and flip the pieces to make sure they’re cooked all the way through and don’t burn or stick to the pan.  Sample some and add more seasonings if needed to achieve the desired flavor.

Regular Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Regular mashed potatoes in a white bowl.

This is a basic mashed potato recipe. You can add toppings and other seasonings to customize it.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil a pot of salted water, then add the potatoes and cook them until they’re tender.

2. Over low heat, warm the butter and milk in a small saucepan.  Cook until the butter melts.

3. Use an electric beater or potato masher to slowly blend the milk and butter into the potatoes until they’re creamy and smooth.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

This is the recipe in its simplest form. There are lots of variations. For a richer dish, you can make mashed potatoes with heavy cream instead of milk.  In lieu of adding salt, you can use salted butter.

Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

A plate of steaming hot baked potatoes.

This is a really easy recipe for those times when you have something baking in the oven and don’t have room for potatoes.  They work well with any recipe that calls for mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.  Plus, they taste great when served with pork tenderloin (especially when it’s bacon-wrapped) or steak — the ultimate “meat and potatoes” meal.

For crockpot “baked” potatoes, follow these steps.

  1. Wash the potatoes and poke holes in them with a fork, just as you would normally do before placing them in the oven.
  2. Rub each potato with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Place in the slow cooker.  Cooking times vary based on how you set your appliance and how big those potatoes are.  Recommended cooking times and settings are:
  • 2.5-3 hours on high
  • 6-8 hours on low

There’s no real danger in overcooking them as long as you have enough water in the crockpot.  Overcooking may cause some discoloration, but otherwise, the spuds are safe to eat.

4. Before taking them out of the slow cooker, check them with a fork to determine when they’re tender.  Once they’re out of the crockpot, you can crisp them up a bit by grilling or broiling them for a few minutes.

Loaded Baked Potato

Three pieces of loaded baked potatoes on a chopping board.

Not sure what to put on your baked potatoes?  Try this recipe, or tweak it to make it all your own.

Serves: 4


  • 4 large russet potat9oes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sli9ced, and with the white and green parts divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddr9 cheese
  • 6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.  Poke small holes all over each potato with a fork.  Wrap each potato tightly in foil and bake for one hour, or until soft.
  2. Unwrap the potatoes.  Cut lengthwise slits in the top of each one.  Carefully scoop out the “innards” from the center of each potat9o and place it in a medium bowl.  Add butter, sour cream, chives, the green and white parts of the onion, half the bacon, and half the cheddar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3.  Spoon the creamy filling back into each potato, forming mounds on top.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over each potato.  Put the loaded potatoes into the oven to melt the cheese.  This should take about five minutes.  Top with the rest of the bacon and green scallions.

For a “fully-loaded” baked potato, some people like to add chopped meat, such as brisket.  This is a good choice if you have leftovers you need to use up.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

A pot of mashed sweet potatoes with slices of raw sweet potatoes on the side.

Too often, when we think of potatoes, we only consider the white potatoes used to make hash browns, potato pancakes, or loaded spuds.  But sweet potatoes (including the white sweet potato variety) are a super-healthy alternative to the more “traditional” kind.  Check out this savory mashed sweet potatoes recipe.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes.  Additionally, you may need another 15 minutes of prep time.

Servings: 6


  • 6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Place the potatoes in the pot and cook them for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Use the low speed on your electric mixer or food processor to blend the potatoes. Gradually add in 1/2 cup of milk at a time. The amount you use will vary depending on the texture you want.  Add maple syrup and butter to taste and blend the sweet potato mash until it’s smooth.
  3. Top with brown butter, Panko breadcrumbs, roasted garlic, or peppers.

The Ultimate Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Freshly-baked sweet potato casserole on a wooden table.

Serves: 6-8



  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the 2-quart baking dish you will need for this recipe.
  • 1¾ pounds sweet potatoes (or 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Over high heat, bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in a large pot of salted water.  Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.  Once you’ve drained the potatoes, and they have cooled down, mash them.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Grease a 2-1uart baking dish with butter.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the filling ingredients: mashed sweet potatoes, butter, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs.  Then transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients: flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt until they are moist and form clumps.  Stir in the pecans.  Spread an even layer of topping over the sweet potatoes.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes.  The casserole is done when it’s mostly set in the center and golden on top.  Serve hot.

Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe

A close look at a pot of steaming roasted sweet potatoes.

A baked sweet potato or roasted sweet potato is incredibly simple to make.  You can cut the potatoes into cubes, wedges, or fries.  Depending on how thick they are, wedges, fries, or whole potatoes may take longer to cook.  Here’s how to make roasted sweet potatoes:


  • Sweet potatoes (as many as you want)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.  This temperature is especially ideal for fries and wedges.  You can roast potato cubes at this setting too, or cook them at a lower temperature 350°F or 375°F.
  2. Cut the potatoes into any sizes and shapes you like.
  3. From here, you can either arrange them on a baking sheet or coat them with olive oil and your favorite seasonings and then place them on the baking sheet.

If baking at 350°F, bake for 50-60 minutes.

If baking at 375°F, bake for 40-50 minutes

If baking at 400°F, bake for 35-40 minutes.  Larger wedges may take up to 50 minutes to soften in the middle.

When done, a cooked sweet potato should be fork-tender inside but caramelized on the outside for an especially savory flavor.

Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

A bowl of healthy mashed sweet potatoes with herbs.

Although they are actually quite good for you, sweet potatoes often get a bad name because they’re typically served with cinnamon, brown sugar, and marshmallows.  This is a go-to dish at many a Thanksgiving table.

Here’s a healthier alternative to the usual sugar-laden sweet potato.  This easy mashed sweet potatoes recipe is still packed with all-natural sweetness, but it’s lower in calories and processed ingredients.  Here’s how to prepare it.

First, prepare the potatoes.  You can even leave the skins on if you want, which boosts the nutritional value of this dish.  Cut the potatoes into cubes, so they will cook faster.

In a saucepan, cover the potato chunks with water and bring them to a boil.  Cook them uncovered until they are tender.  (A fork should go through them fairly easily).  Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.  Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper.  You can use coconut milk or almond milk, and vegan butter to make this dish even healthier.

This healthy sweet potato mash recipe makes an excellent side when served with turkey or chicken.


Can you eat potato skins?

Yes, as long as you clean them thoroughly before consuming them.  Potato skins (on sweet potatoes and white potatoes) are nutrient-dense and safe to eat.  Because the skin is so nutritious, some people even prefer to leave it on when making mashed potatoes, although most recipes call for peeled potatoes.

Why do you need to poke holes in potatoes before baking?

Potatoes contain a lot of water.  As they cook, the water vaporizes into steam.  But it needs somewhere to go.  Otherwise, pressure builds inside the potato.  Poking holes in the potatoes allow steam to escape while the spuds cook.  If you skip this critical first step, the potatoes might explode.

How can you prevent raw, cut potatoes from discoloring?

If you’ve ever sliced or grated raw potatoes and didn’t cook them immediately, you may have noticed them begin to turn gray in a relatively short period of time.  While this doesn’t make the potatoes unsafe to eat, it definitely detracts from their appearance.  To slow down the “graying process” or prevent it altogether, place peeled or cut potatoes in a blow of water or sprinkle with lemon juice. Water is a better choice if you don’t want the potatoes to taste like lemon.

What are the best ways to store potatoes at room temperature and in the refrigerator?

Raw, unpeeled potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark dry place. If kept this way, they will last for months.  Just don’t store them with onions, as they will cause each other to sprout. This causes the vegetables to go bad faster than they would otherwise.

You can also store raw, unpeeled potatoes in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.  If you cut raw potatoes up, place them in a bowl of water in the refrigerator and use them within one day.  You can store cooked potatoes in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Can you store potatoes in the freezer?

Yes, provided they are cooked.  Raw potatoes in the freezer are a bad idea.  Once you’ve cooked them, keep them in an airtight container or freezer bag.  You can store them this way for as long as 10-12 months.

How do you know when potatoes have gone bad?

Spoiled potatoes frequently develop a sour, moldy smell.  They also tend to shrivel up or become especially soft.  If you see green sprouts on the spud, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has expired.  But it does let you know it’s losing nutrients.  Just to play it safe, though, food safety experts recommend that you throw away potatoes that are sprouting.

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