Bacon Cheddar Ranch Mashed Potatoes are loaded with flavor and have a secret ingredient that yields perfectly creamy potatoes every time. These potatoes are sure to be the star of weeknight dinners and holiday meals alike.
This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been completely updated with new photos, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and more.
These bacon cheddar ranch mashed potatoes will satisfy your greatest comfort food craving. They are perfectly creamy and are loaded with crowd-pleasing flavors.
From weeknight dinners to special holiday meals, these potatoes are sure to please.
With my tips and make-ahead instructions, you will serve up the very best mashed potatoes each and every time. No more lumpy potatoes or dried-out leftovers!
- Flavor - We're pumping up the volume on my traditional mashed potatoes by adding salty bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and savory ranch seasoning.
- Make-ahead - No more standing at the stove mashing potatoes at the last minute! My secret ingredient keeps these potatoes creamy and silky - even after reheating.
- Family favorite - Creamy mashed potatoes are always a crowd-pleaser, from weeknight meals to holiday dinners.
For another indulgent potato side dish, try this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole.
- Potatoes - Russets or Yukon golds are the best potatoes for creamy mashed potatoes. Cut the potatoes into uniformed-sized cubes so they cook evenly.
- Cream cheese - This is my secret ingredient. It gives the mashed potatoes a silky texture. When making these potatoes ahead of time, the cream cheese keeps the potatoes creamy and prevents them from drying out.
- Heavy cream yields the creamiest mashed potatoes. Half-and-half or whole milk can also be used. Avoid using milk with less fat - 2%, 1%, or skim - it won't yield the same consistency and flavor.
- Bacon - Everything is better with bacon! I use center-cut bacon.
- Cheddar cheese - I like yellow cheddar, but white cheddar is equally tasty. Monterey Jack, Colby, or Pepper Jack (for a kick) are also great options.
- Ranch dressing mix - This adds wonderful flavor to the potatoes. My homemade version comes together with pantry staples:
- buttermilk powder
- dried chives
- dried parsley
- dried dill
- minced onion and garlic
- onion and garlic powder
- salt and pepper
Use the extra ranch dressing mix for seasoning roasted vegetables, making ranch dressing, or flavoring popcorn.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Cook the bacon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, warm the cream along with the butter and ranch seasoning.
- Drain the potatoes. Add the cream cheese to the hot pan and using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the hot pan. The warm potatoes will soften the cream cheese so that it can be easily incorporated. Add the warm cream mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine.
- Fold in the cheese and bacon, reserving some for topping. Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish, top them with the extra cheese and bacon, and bake for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Make ahead instructions
- Cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. These potatoes can be made 2-3 days in advance.
- When ready to serve, cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-45 minutes until heated through. Uncover and top with extra cheese and bacon during the last 10 minutes.
- Garnish with scallions or chives and serve.
Tips for recipe success
- Cut the potatoes into uniform 1-inch pieces for even cooking.
- Salt the cooking water. This adds flavor to the potatoes themselves.
- Drain the potatoes well. No one wants watery spuds!
- Use a potato ricer. This keeps the potatoes light and fluffy and contributes to the smooth and silky texture.
- Use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor and melting quality.
- Adjust the seasoning at the end. The bacon and ranch seasoning both contain salt, so it's best to taste and add salt only as needed to avoid oversalting the finished dish.
Storing and reheating
Cool the mashed potatoes completely, then cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat, cover and heat in a 350-degree oven until warmed throughout. For small portions, these potatoes reheat well in the microwave.
Frequently asked questions
Overmixing can cause mashed potatoes to be gummy. Use a potato ricer (or food mill) to create a light and fluffy consistency and mix just long enough to incorporate the cream and butter and any other add-ins. Avoid using a stand or hand-held mixer which can easily overmix the potatoes.
Potatoes should be added to cold water. This ensures the potatoes cook evenly. If the water is already boiling, the outside of the potatoes will cook faster than the inside.
No, butter should be at room temperature or melted before incorporating it into the mashed potatoes. For ease, combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan so the butter melts as the cream warms. Then gently stir this mixture into the riced potatoes.
Bacon Cheddar Ranch Mashed Potatoes
- 12 ounces bacon (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 ½ pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons ranch dressing mix (see recipe below or use store-bought)
- 4 ounces cream cheese (softened and cut into cubes)
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese (shredded plus extra for garnish)
- scallions or chives (for garnish)
- Add the bacon to a heavy pot over medium heat. Cook until browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Peel potatoes and cut into one-inch cubes. Add to a heavy pot with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, approx. 10-12 minutes once boiling.
- Meanwhile, add the cream, butter, and ranch dressing mix to a small saucepan set over low heat. Warm the cream until the butter is melted and whisk to incorporate the ranch mix.
- When the potatoes are fork-tender, drain. Add the cream cheese to the hot pot. Using a ricer, rice the potatoes into the warm pot. The potatoes will need to be riced in batches. (The hot potatoes will soften the cream cheese).
- Pour the warm cream and butter mixture over the potatoes. Stir until well-combined, being careful not to overmix. Additional cream can be added if needed. Fold in the shredded cheddar cheese and most of the bacon (reserving some for topping).
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
To Serve Immediately
- Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish. Top with extra cheese and the reserved bacon. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese., and then garnish with the chopped scallions.
To Reheat Later
- Spoon the mashed potatoes into an oven-safe casserole dish. Cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to reheat, bring the casserole dish to room temperature. Cover with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven until warmed through, approx. 35-45 minutes. Top with cheese and bacon and bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Top with scallions and serve.
Ranch Dressing Mix
- In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk powder and seasonings. Whisk to combine. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This recipe yields approx. ⅔ - ¾ cup mix.
- Cut potatoes into uniform pieces for even cooking.
- Salt the potato water to flavor the potatoes themselves.
- Drain the potatoes well before ricing.
- Use a potato ricer to create light and fluffy potatoes.
- Use freshly grated cheese for the best melting quality.
- Check seasoning at the end once all of the ingredients have been incorporated. Salt if necessary. The bacon and ranch seasoning are both salty, so be sure to taste before seasoning at the end.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.