A Simple Side to Warm Up on Chilly Days: Kale Mashed Potatoes

Now that everyone is on the kale train, it’s making an appearance in a huge variety of dishes. And sometimes it’s swapped in for other leafy vegetables in a variety of familiar recipes.

Here’s on that you’re going to love, and I think it’s perfect for the cooler seasons when you’re craving something warm and comforting.

Closeup of a white square serving dish piled high with red-skinned mashed potatoes and kale, with other dishes in shallow focus in the background, printed with white and orange text.

To be honest, I was skeptical at first about putting greens like kale into my fluffy mashed potatoes. But after giving this recipe a whirl, I really loved it.

The overall flavor is creamy and rich, with sauteed onions and kale for a kick of additional depth that’s not completely overpowering.

Overhead shot of a square white serving dish of mashed potatoes with kale, on a brown wood table with white and blue place mats, with a square plate of roasted green beans in the background.

I really like to use red potatoes for this recipe because you can leave the skins on to give the mash itself an even richer texture.

I know that some of you might not be fans of the skin-on potatoes in this type of recipe, but it’s all about using the right type for this purpose.

When you use russets or another baking variety, the skin is a bit too chewy to add to a mash, even if you boil them until they are fork tender. But with the right potato, the texture of the skin folds seamlessly into the dish, with added nutrients to boot.

Red bliss or Yukon gold are two of my favorites for this type of dish, but any type with thin red or golden skin will work beautifully.

When you stir it all together with the kale, you get a delightfully creamy dish that creates a flavor explosion on your taste buds.

A gold forkful of kale mashed potatoes is held up to the camera, with a square white serving dish that holds more below it, and a square plate of roasted green beans, on a brown table with blue and white cloth place mats.

As for the recipe itself, it is extremely easy to make. You start by simply boiling the spuds, and then you mash them up.

While the starchy vegetables are cooking, you combine sauteed onions with the chopped kale until the greens are wilted. Or, if you prefer, sautee the kale along with the onions for a caramelized, roasted flavor.

Stir it all together with some milk, cream, or kefir (read more about those options at the end of the post), and you end up with a side dish that you will want to make again and again.

A square serving dish piled high with kale mashed potatoes, with a serving spoon handle sticking out of the right side, on a brown wood table with a folded blue and white cloth napkin, and a plate of chicken and carrots in soft focus in the background.

Whether you are trying to eat more greens yourself or looking for a way to get the kids to eat their greens that won’t make them say “Yuck!” this is the recipe to try.

Trust me: The moment they taste it, there will be smiles on both sides of the table.

I have cooked these up for my husband and myself a few times so far this season, and we’re always satisfied. It’s an excellent source of green vegetables that even the kale haters will love.

I am personally not a big leafy green eater, so to me, it’s a win-win to discover a way that I enjoy eating kale, in one of my favorite side dishes of all time. You’ll end up craving this hearty dish all year round, no matter what season it is.

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A square, white, ceramic serving dish is nearly overflowing with red-skinned mashed potatoes and kale, on a brown striped wood table with folded light blue and white cloth napkins, and serving platters of chicken with carrots and roasted green beans in the background.

Kale Mashed Potatoes

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


When the weather gets chilly, warm up with these kale mashed potatoes. The mix of greens and hearty roots will become a staple in your home.




  1. Place potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with water, adding a little salt on top. Bring water to a boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until fork tender.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the chopped onion, cooking until softened and transparent, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the kale, cooking until the leaves have wilted, approximately 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
  3. When the potatoes are tender, drain the liquid and add the olive oil and 3/4 cup of the milk. Mash well.
  4. Add the grated cheese and continue mashing. Add more milk and continue mashing until you reach the consistency you like. Fold in the cooked kale and onion mixture.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with more Pecorino, if desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Side Dishes

Keywords: kale, potato, red potatoes, colcannon, mashed potatoes

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Vegetables, Grate Cheese, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Wash the produce well, using a vegetable brush to clean the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces, and remove any eyes or bruised portions. Set aside.

Finely chop 1/4 of a medium-sized yellow onion. Not a fan of this kitchen task? Say goodbye to those tears with our tips!

Six red-skinned potatoes, half of a yellow onion, a bunch of green kale, and glass bowls of milk, oil, grated Parmesan, and coconut oil, on a brown striped wood background.

Remove the stems from about half of a bunch of kale. Chop the leaves, and set aside.

Grate the cheese until you have about 3/4 of a cup, a little more if you want to have some extra left over to garnish each serving.

Measure out the remaining ingredients as listed.

Step 2 – Boil

Add the potatoes to a large pot of water. Sprinkle a large pinch of salt on top.

A red enameled pot of water with red-skinned potatoes cut into chunks, ready to boil.

Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 20-25 minutes, until they are tender.

Boiled red-skinned potatoes cut into chunks in a stainless steel bowl.

Drain the potatoes in a colander, and transfer them to a large bowl.

Step 3 – Cook Vegetable Mixture

While the potatoes cook, melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Raw onion sautees in a frying pan, on a brown wood surface.

Once the pan is hot, add the chopped onion. Cook the onion until it has softened, approximately 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Torn green kale and lightly sauteed onions in a frying pan, on a brown striped wood surface.

Add the kale to the pan and cook until the leaves are wilted, approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like, you can continue to cook until the onions begin to caramelize, but be sure to keep an eye on the veggies so they don’t burn.

A large silver-colored frying pan of sauteed green kale and onions, on a brown wood surface.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4 – Mash

Add olive oil and 3/4 cup of milk, cream, or kefir to the potatoes. The choice here is up to you. Heavy cream provides a richer flavor, and kefir adds a bit of tang, and healthy probiotics. Mash the potatoes well.

Red-skinned boiled potatoes are being mashed with a metal utensil with a black plastic handle, in a stainless steel bowl, on a brown striped wood surface.

Add the grated cheese and continue mashing until the mixture is well-combined. Add the remaining dairy a little at a time, until you get the consistency you prefer.

A stainless steel bowl of mashed red-skinned potatoes with green kale, on a brown wood surface.

Stir in the kale and onion mixture. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm, with additional grated cheese sprinkled on top, if you like.

Why Use Kefir?

I generally like to use milk or cream when I make these at home, but kefir lovely ingredient that I recently discovered, and that I like to add to recipes like this one.

Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk that is packed with a bunch of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The flavor is similar to what you might find if you were to add some sour cream to the mix, or a touch of lemon juice to cut through the richness of the dish.

A square, white, ceramic serving dish is nearly overflowing with red-skinned mashed potatoes and kale, on a brown striped wood table with folded light blue and white cloth napkins, and serving platters of chicken with carrots and roasted green beans in the background.

There are so many benefits to using kefir, since it also serves as an excellent source of probiotics that help to get good bacteria into your system.

If you do choose to go this route, I recommend using half kefir and half milk or cream so the creamy final product isn’t overly tangy. Once you get used to the kefir flavor, adjust to add as much as you like.

Try This Twist on a Classic

If you know anything about Irish recipes, you are probably be familiar with colcannon.

This traditional dish combines cabbage and mashed potatoes, perfect stick-to-your-ribs food to warm up with in the winter. And this combination has a ton of flavor, making it a side that’s perfect to indulge in during the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities, right next to a big, fluffy loaf of our Irish Soda Bread!

A dinner plate of kale mashed potatoes, roasted parmesan green beans, and braised chicken with carrots, on a brown wood table with a blue and white cloth napkin.

Our take swaps out the cabbage for nutrient-packed kale, and we love the vibrant green color that it adds to the dish. Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or enjoying a cozy meal at home, this side is simple to make, and pairs so well with whatever protein you choose to serve it with. It’s great with Coq au Vin Blanc made in the Instant Pot, and a side of Roasted Parmesan Green Beans!

Tell us all about your favorite uses for kale and kefir in the comments. And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!

And if you love your potatoes, you’ll also love these recipes:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on September 25, 2012. Last updated: October 12, 2020 at 19:23 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

6 thoughts on “A Simple Side to Warm Up on Chilly Days: Kale Mashed Potatoes”

  1. These are beautiful photos to go with a beautiful meal. I made a similar meal last night with rib eye and mashed potatoes and broccoli. It’s so simple and stunning and wonderful. Perfect for sharing with someone you care about!

    • Yes, this will be fine. Making them a day or two ahead of Thanksgiving will be completely okay (and very smart to do – great way to save time, Debbie!). Just reheat in the oven or microwave until completely warm throughout. Just save any garnish of grated cheese for when you are ready to serve. Happy Thanksgiving!


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