Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake from Southern Living’s Special Collector’s Fall Recipes Magazine 2013

When you use a can of tomato paste, do you grab a little spatula and scrap out the little bit stuck to the bottom?

When a box of cereal has about a half cup left in it, not even close enough for a full serving, do you throw the little bit left away or crumble it up and toss it in the cookie batter?

When you’re unwrapping that stick of butter to add to the cake you’re about to bake, do you throw away the wrapper or use the butter stuck to it to grease the pan?

These things, my friends, are all things that I do. I thank my mom for that. Frugality doesn’t run through my veins naturally. My personality is one that wants to move on to the next thing.

Somehow I think that the extra two minutes it takes to scrape out a can, put a half cup of cereal in a zip top bag or grease the pan by hand instead of with cooking spray will add up by the end of the day and I’ll have an extra hour in there somewhere.

My mom, on the other hand, used everything. And, since I learned to cook in her kitchen, even though I want to pour the mashed potatoes in the baking dish and then toss the pot in the sink to soak, I don’t.

Instead, I use a spatula to make sure I get every morsel of food out of my pots, cans and packages. Except today.

Today, I left some cheesey, caramelized onion mashed potatoes in my Dutch oven. On purpose.

The Process

The magazine says that this dish takes about 40 minutes to prepare, which is absolutely true, but not. I think that timing is a bit deceptive because one of the ingredients is caramelized onions. I think the magazine should have included the prep time for the onions since they are a process all by themselves.  If you want a good method, you can find it here, from when I made Caramelized Onion Risotto. Just know that making the onions will add 30-40 minutes to the prep time. Luckily, it can be done in advance (as much as the day before).

With the onions out of the way, the majority of the prep time comes from peeling and boiling the potatoes. Once that’s done, it’s a simple matter to mash them, add the warm milk and buttermilk (I just heated mine in the microwave for a minute), and other ingredients.

The one thing that I noticed was that the potatoes ended up a bit runny with all the milk. I was silly and just poured the milks in instead of pouring a bit, stirring, then pouring more until I was happy with the consistency.

I baked my potatoes for 35 minutes, let them sit for a bit to set up and served them.

The Verdict

You’ll note that there isn’t any parsley in the dish. I decided to forego it because my daughter is a goob. She believes that parsley tastes bad and would have spent more time picking it out than eating. So, it was sprinkled on top, leaving her little corner of the dish bare.

The whole reason I didn’t use the spatula to get every bit of potatoes in the baking dish? It was so I could scrape the pot clean and eat the extra spoonful or two that was in there. Holy cow these are delicious. I mean crazy good. They were inhaled.

These are guaranteed to be on my Thanksgiving table.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I would add all the buttermilk and butter, then only add the milk if I needed it, and even then, add the milk at a quarter cup at a time to guarantee the consistency I want.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake from Southern Living’s Special Collector’s Fall Recipes Magazine 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 4 pounds baking potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1¼ cups warm buttermilk
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups freshly grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup chopped caramelized onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Peel potatoes; cut into 2-inch pieces. Bring potatoes, 2 tsp. salt, and water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; boil 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to Dutch oven, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until potatoes are dry.
  2. Mash potatoes with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in warm buttermilk, warm milk, melted butter, pepper, and 1 tsp. salt, stirring just until blended.
  3. Stir in Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, and parsley, and spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 2½-qt. baking dish or 8 (10-oz.) ramekins. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
What I'd Do Different Next Time
I would add all the buttermilk and butter, then only add the milk if I needed it, and even then, add the milk at a quarter cup at a time to guarantee the consistency I want.


Ok, yes, it’s true. I say that this dish will replace my normal mashed potatoes, but I’m well aware that there will be a kitchen coup if I try. Hubby and Dudette love my potatoes. Do you swap out family favorites sometimes? Are you able to get away with it better than I can?

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23 Responses to Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake from Southern Living’s Special Collector’s Fall Recipes Magazine 2013

  1. Lynn says:

    Oh, these do look good. I might get myself into a lot of trouble putting something new on the Thanksgiving table, though. One time of the year I'm not permitted to go off the reservation. 😉 But, there's 364 other days to choose from.

  2. griffinsgrub says:

    Adding Gruyere cheese and carmelized onions to mashed potatoes? Genius! I'll take an extra large helping, please. Printed and filed away for the next time I make mashed potatoes.

  3. I'm with you!!! Liv laughs as I save bits and pieces of remaining food, and we ALWAYS use the butter wrapper to grease the pan. Gets into the corners easier that way.
    I've been out of touch for the last few weeks, but saw this photo this morning. Gorgeous, gorgeous photo!!! I love your depth of field and your lighting is beautiful. I struggle to take photos of casserole type dishes, but yours is awesome! And the recipe?? I'm totally craving it!!!

    • Thanks, Kim. The lighting is just what's coming in from the dining room window. In fact, the extra bright spot was heralding the ending of picture-taking time because the sun hits the window straight on for a few hours.

  4. Lawyer Loves Lunch says:

    Love that you're already experimenting with Thanksgiving recipes. We tend to make the same thing year after year but I'm always looking to mix things up. And hey, no one can object to potatoes with cheese right?

  5. Liz says:

    These look wonderful. I have 2 questions:
    1 – Can you fix these a day or so early and them bake them when you want?
    2 – Are the "baking potatoes" russets? or can you use Yukon gold?

    • Hey Liz. Yes, you can fix them ahead of time. Just make sure to cover them tightly so the potatoes don't start turning color. Baking potatoes are russets, but yes, you can definitely use whatever kind you prefer. Most people make mashed potatoes with Yukons or a blend of Yukon and russet. I was raised on russets so I prefer them.

  6. What's there not to like about this? Unless you're Dudette, but really, what an amazing combination, I love it all just wouldn't have thought to put it together. I'm putting Gruyere on my shopping list!

  7. seana says:

    Tremendous looking. My holiday is Easter so perhaps I'll try them then. Mom in Law gets Thanksgiving and Xmas Eve. My sis gets Xmas Day. I'd rather stay home and cook vs. the 3 hr commute each way to NJ. At least my sis is on the way home but still an hour from where we live.
    Just made Vietnamese Pho for dinner later. Just have to cook the noodles. Pretty tasty. A lot of prep chopping though. Kept the mushrooms big so I can pick them out like your family :)

  8. Holy moly, these potatoes have gruyere cheese?! Totally pinning this for later. I never get away with substituting family favorites. I tried that a few times and although the thank-yous and smiles were polite, they were forced. Don't mess with the faves! But then when I make the original and the alternative, I get questioned… (sigh)

    My other half's mom reminds me of your habits. She will spend an extra 15 minutes scraping every last drop of cake batter out of a bowl so that she does not waste a drop. I think it's adorable. The more I cook with her the more I find her ways rubbing off on me.

  9. Diethood -noun- The state of being on a diet... always! says:

    Seriously, I would plant my face in that dish … it sounds amazing!!

  10. thatskinnychickcanbake says:

    The hubby would be thrilled with these…and he'd even eat the parsley 😉 I developed the same sort of habits from watching my mom in the kitchen. Your mom and mine both grew up in an era where they knew not to waste…so much is tossed these days. Sad when many go to bed hungry.

  11. Prachi says:

    Mmmm Caramelized Onion with Mashed Potato is sounding yumm. It is tempting me. Gonna try this recipe very soon. Thank you for the share.

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  13. Curry and Comfort says:

    This is definitely a contender for my Thanksgiving table this year.

  14. Jamie@Milk N Cookies says:

    Oh my — this version of mashed potatoes looks amazing. Caramelized onions make (almost) anything better, and I'm sure they must really enhance the flavor of this dish. Can't wait to try this soon!

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  17. Jessica says:

    This looks like a wonderful filling recipe, would you serve it with something else, like a salad?

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