I know most of you out there are happily planning your Thanksgiving menus, or choosing what you’ll contribute to your family’s spread.  Me, I’ve barely given it more than two minutes of thought.  Well, truthfully I think my subconscious has been running the topic ragged but my mind and heart aren’t quite there yet.  Last year on Thanksgiving I was just 30 minutes into the hours of prep work I had planned for our big family dinner that day when I got the news that my dad had passed away suddenly that morning.  World rocked.  Nothing has been the same since.  The last year has been pretty terrible, and that’s an understatement.

As November has come and the anniversary of that date rapidly approaches, I’m a little shaky on how to proceed.  At first we thought we would skip a holiday meal altogether, that it would be too painful.  I’m sure it will be, but it’s also a day to be spent with family, and since it was Dad’s favorite holiday I know the best we can do to honor his memory is spend it remembering him and doing what he loved.  So we are still planning to host, though on a much smaller scale than in the past.  Hence why I haven’t been posting about Thanksgiving strategies or recipes all that much.  But I do have a few things to share with you before next Thursday.  These roasted garlic mashed potatoes seemed important to share for multiple reasons.  First and foremost, Dad taught me how to make mashed potatoes.  Even as someone who learned to cook by diligently following recipes, this was the one thing I learned to make by feel thanks to Dad.  Second, mashed potatoes have always been one of my very favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table.  And third, they are comfort food.  We could use some comfort right about now.

Many readers have asked for my mashed potato recipe in the past but since I always made it by feel, I didn’t have a reliable recipe to share.  This time I made them as I always do, but I took careful notes as I went along so you can recreate them at your house.  They are pretty basic, with the addition of roasted garlic being the only special thing about them.  Everyone seems to have a preference on how they make their potatoes and this is how I like mine.  Light and fluffy, smooth without chunks, and just a tiny bit fancy thanks to the roasted garlic.  I hope you enjoy them too!

I also just have to send a quick note of gratitude to the lovely, thoughtful readers who have already sent me notes of sympathy, concern, and hope in anticipation of the difficult anniversary ahead.  I really have the best readers and I can’t thank you enough for being here, reading along, and taking the time to wish us well.  You have no idea how much I appreciate it.


1 bulb garlic, intact
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 large russett potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
1 cup milk, plus more as needed
Minced chives, for garnish (optional)


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Use a sharp knife to slice off the top end so that the bulb remains intact and all of the cloves are exposed.  Place on a piece of aluminum foil.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Fold the foil around the bulb so that it is completely covered and bake until the cloves are tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before handling.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze the bulb so that the softened cloves fall out.  Discard the peels.  Use the tines of a fork to mash the roasted garlic into a paste.  Set aside.

  • 02

    Place the chopped potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Continue to cook uncovered until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-18 minutes.  Drain well.

  • 03

    Return the potatoes to the warm pot.  Add in the butter, salt, milk, and the roasted garlic paste.  With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, adding more milk as needed.  Avoid over-beating.*  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Garnish with minced chives.  Serve warm.

  • 04

    *I’ve heard many times that potatoes can become gummy when mixed with an electric mixer.  This is the only way I’ve ever done it and I’ve never encountered that issue.  Even so, I try to mix only as long as is necessary to achieve the smooth texture that I prefer. 

  • Although it will be hard for you to cook on Thanksgiving, cooking is such a therapeutic process. I hope that after your honorable meal next Thursday, you’re grieving process will continue on it’s way. I’m sure your dad will be there in spirit…knowing this always helps me through.

  • This is always a fabulous recipe to have. Yum!

  • Yesterday when I was shopping at Trader Joe’s they were sampling garlic mashed potatoes with gravy. It was delicious and now I’m trying to come up with a meal to eat this week that involves garlic mashed potatoes! TJ’s version had a huge block of garlic cheese mixed in – your’s is much healthier and honestly, what’s better than roasted garlic!? I’m going to try these

  • Ellen

    Wishing you and your family a day filled with love and great memories of your dad. *virtualhugs*

  • Hugs to all of you, at least you all have each other to lean on in the bittersweet days ahead <3

  • I can’t even imagine what you’re going through (and have gone through this past year). I’ve been thinking about your family as Thanksgiving gets closer…big hugs!

  • Jenn V

    This looks delicious! I’ve never had a problem using an electric mixer either! That’s how my mom has always done it so I do too :)

  • Jackie

    My grandmother taught me so much about cooking and I love making things that remind me of her…it makes me feel so much closer to her. Prayers to you and your family during this tough time; I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you.

  • Annie @Annie’s City Kitchen

    Roasted garlic makes EVERYTHING better! These look delicious. I sometimes even add just a touch of cream cheese to my mashed potatoes to add a liittlllee tang.

  • Leslie Seetin

    My good friend lost her mom unexpectedly last Thanksgiving too. I know she has counted every day, every week, every month that has passed. And I know she’s kind of dreading Thanksgiving this year. When I think of her, I’ll say a prayer for you guys too. So sorry for your loss. :(

  • Chef Katie Chin

    Annie, so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom around a holiday as well but I always try to keep in mind how she loved to celebrate with family and keep her spirit alive in that way. I am in charge of Mashed potatoes this year and will use this recipe in honor of you and your dad..plus I am a sucker for garlic mashed!

  • Maya Laurent

    Annie…I can’t imagine the way this anniversary weighs on your heart. Thinking about you and your family as you head into next week.

  • Angela Nimer

    Mashed potatoes are my all-time favorite food. I look forward to trying your version. Looks yummy! I know there are no words that could possibly make this time better but I am very grateful for your blog and glad you continue to inspire. I am sure your dad would be proud.

  • Katelyn Knowles

    My grandma passed away three years ago. She passed away a couple days after Christmas. She was in the nursing home and we knew it was her time, but it was still very difficult. We spent that Christmas at the nursing home. A year after she passed, Christmas was still very difficult. However, it has gotten easier every year. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one especially around the holidays. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Caroline L.

    I’m so sorry that your year has been horrible. I know exactly how you feel – my grandparents passed away unexpectedly within a month of each other this past year and I still am not – or will ever be – completely over it. But I do find ways to honor their memory and I think food is one of the most basic ways to do that since it is such a universally loved topic. Mashed potatoes have always been my ABSOLUTE favorite food, hands down. I hope your Thanksgiving this year brings you joy and good memories – I’m sure it is what your father would’ve wanted most of all!

  • Annie- Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks amazing! I am so sorry for how hard things have been. I hope you know how much you mean to all of us! You are such an inspiration to me. I follow many food blogs and yours is my favorite. I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes and each time I’m amazed at how good it is. You sure know how to cook and bake! I am sorry you won’t have your dad this year. I can only imagine how difficult this must be but I know that one day you will see him again.

  • Carolyn

    Annie- I have been thinking of you as I do my planning for Thanksgiving. Coincidentally I didn’t have a garlic mashed recipe but it is my dad’s favorite so thank you for posting – I will make it and think of you and your family during this tough time. My thoughts with you and I hope you can get through the holidays alright. Much love to you!

  • Jeanette

    Compelled to write..Thinking of my father today, on Veteran’s Day..He passed away 2 years ago..SO sorry for your sudden and unexpected loss. Every time I go to this blog, I print something, always! Didn’t have a garlic mashed potato recipe I liked, until now! Thank you for being the inspiration that you are to so many! Will be thinking of you and your family on Thanksgiving; I’m sure your father will be smiling!

  • Natalie


    I have been reading your blog for a while, although not a whole year, so I never saw last year’s post. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. My father died suddenly at the age of 63, and although it has been 12 years, I still think about him all the time. I remember that first year following his death, I felt like I was in a fog. The grief, loss, and pain are so very difficult to bear, but with time, it eases. Anniversaries are especially hard, so I am praying for strength and comfort for you and your family as you approach Thanksgiving. I pray your sweet memories of him will bring joy to you next Thursday.

  • Lorraine

    Hi Annie, I know exactly how you are feeling and I really feel for you. I lost the love of my life exactly a year ago today and although one learns to cope with the day to day things, the emptiness just doesn’t go away and it is very difficult. Take faith in knowing that although the chain has been broken for now, one day it will be restored again. Thank you for this amazing special family recipe!

  • Hi Annie, those look delicious! I will try them when I next make mashed potatoes. I am Canadian so our thanksgiving has come and gone, but I’ve had your family in my thoughts as the day approaches. I wish you all comfort on this awful anniversary, may you all help each other.

  • Betty Priest

    My heart is with you…..I lost my 29 year old son a year and a half ago and the holidays last year were terribly painful. His birthday also falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We got together, but it was not the same and never will be. We will carry on forward and live with hope that one day we will be re-united again and will never have to be apart again. The good Lord above has carried us through some very difficult times………..may His blessings be with you not only during this holiday season, but at all times. We can give thanks at Thanksgiving and everyday for every day we had with him and and at Christmas, we will rejoice in the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Bless you for your sharing your many talents with us!

  • annieseats

    Lorraine, I am so so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.

  • I’ve read your blog for a long time, but don’t comment very often. My heart is with you as this anniversary approaches. We lost my dad nearly three years ago on New Year’s Eve, and spent the week prior to that (including Christmas) in the hospital with him. Although the loss never goes away, it is so incredibly hard to get through the first year, especially around the holidays and even more so if the death occurred then. It was too hard for my family to really celebrate the holidays during the first anniversary of his passing, but have been able to regain our footing now — and know that he would be thrilled to see it. I wish your family strength and peace, and that you are able to cope with the day in the best way possible for you.

  • Amanda

    Hello Annie, I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am about your dad’s passing… I still have my dad around and I can’t even imagine the pain you and your family are going through… I will keep you in my prayers….

  • Kelley

    Praying for you and your family. Tears are spilling over my eyes as I type thinking of how Thanksgiving has been changed forever for you all. Praying that despite the loss, you and your family can still laugh and smile as you remember your Dad.

  • You’re in my thoughts Annie. I was wondering how you were coping. It will never be the same, but hopefully after this Thanksgiving things will get a tad easier because there wont be anymore “this is the first holiday since…” I know that was my hardest battle when I lost my father.

  • Lee

    Just started reading your blog so I didn’t know you lost your father.
    My dad died 9 years ago, Oct. 2003 He lived a long happy life, he was 88, but I miss him everyday.. in the little things. Something about a father and daughter…. We talked almost everyday and he would always say. “How’s my baby?”
    I have 3 boys that I love dearly but I wish I could have given my husband a daughter to be able to have that bond that my Dad and I had.
    He will always be in your heart as my Dad is.
    I’ll keep you i my prayers

  • Heather W.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Friend, thank you for being so honest about this painful time of year. We are thinking of you and sending warm and comforting thoughts your way! And, the potatoes look and sound delicious, as always! Thanks again for your heart and beautiful recipes. XO

  • Loretta E

    I’m so sorry about your dad. It must be heartbreaking for you and your family. You are in my thoughts.

  • Sarah

    Thinking of you this month. I don’t comment much but I vividly remember your post about your father’s passing and was just so sad for you. I know you’ll celebrate and embrace his memory this Thanksgiving.

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much. You are in my thoughts too.

  • Christiana

    Annie I will keep you in my prayers during this holiday season. I don’t know my dad, but if I had one who was as wonderful as yours, I know that I would be just as heartbroken. There are not too many words that provide comfort when you lose someone so precious, but there is comfort in God’s promises (Isaiah 41:10): “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Blessings to you and your family, I am thankful for YOU!

  • My heart goes out to you Annie. Building up to a celebration of thanks when all you feel is grief must make the pain that much more raw. I am so sorry. It is good to grieve, it means we love, and is a necessary process for us to go through. And, I know you can feel guilty sometimes when things start feeling somewhat good (maybe not good, but normal) again and when you feel happiness, as if you are betraying them by continuing on with life. But know that your Dad wants you to be happy. Your happiness is his happiness. Not that you shouldn’t grieve and have times of grief all throughout your life, but to know that you can embrace his life in your happiness and content as well. Because that is what he wants for you. I am so sorry for this crappy year and that this time of year will never be the same for you. Hugs to you, my friend.

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much, Cheri. You nailed it.

  • Looks like a great recipe Annie…it’s officially on my menu for the year. Hope your Thanksgiving this year is happier than last year…


  • Kisa

    Hi Annie,

    I would like to say a huge thank you for playing such a big part (albeit unknowingly) in my early Thanksgiving celebrations. I’m a US Marine, my unit and I are gearing up for a deployment to Afghanistan, which has left very little time to return home for the holidays. We held a family day celebration on base, and cooked up a storm, using recipes we came across on here. This dish in particular was a favorite.

    The event was a much-needed morale boost before we leave, and I honestly think that was down to the excellent food, and down to you.

    I shall be keeping your family in my thoughts this holiday season, especially this weekend.

    Best wishes,o
    Sgt. Kisa Bell

  • Kisa

    Hi Annie,

    I would like to say a huge thank you for playing such a big part (albeit unknowingly) in my early Thanksgiving celebrations. I’m a US Marine, my unit and I are gearing up for a deployment to Afghanistan, which has left very little time to return home for the holidays. We held a family day celebration on base, and cooked up a storm, using recipes we came across on here. This dish in particular was a favorite.

    The event was a much-needed morale boost before we leave, and I honestly think that was down to the excellent food, and down to you.

    I shall be keeping your family in my thoughts this holiday season, especially this weekend.

    Best wishes,o
    Sgt. Kisa Bell

  • Thinking of you this month and especially on this day, Annie. My heart goes out to you as you share the holidays with your family, minus your father. May you treasure the memories you had with your dad, and create new ones that he would have loved, with your own family.

  • annieseats

    Thank you, Brenda.

  • annieseats

    Wow. Thank you Kisa, for your kind words and for all you do. I’m so glad you had a nice Thanksgiving celebration.

  • Mary Beth Nibberich

    I so remember this because my niece referred me to your site and it was right around the time that your Dad passed away. the month of November is a tough one for my family as well. Our sweet wonderful mom of 9 children and 23 grandkids passed the day after Thanksgiving. Although she was 70, we still were not ready to say goodbye to this amazing woman. Holidays are special times to remember those people that made them special. God bless you and yours!

  • LV

    I am starting to plan my thanksgiving menu and all your recipes look fabulous!!! Do you have a “go to” stuffing recipe that you use?

  • annieseats

    I will try to post one before Thanksgiving for you!