Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes

Last updated: November 1, 2022
5 from 1 vote
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Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes {Thanksgiving side dish}

A few months ago, an email popped into my inbox from my lovely friend Sara. We’ve known each other via this digital space for about two years, after I stumbled upon one of her beautiful food illustrations. She is incredibly talented, and as humble and genuine as they come. Seeing her name, I opened the email with excitement, not even taking a moment to glance at the subject line.

And then I giggled out loud as I read the first sentence: “I know you’re the squash girl, but would you like to join my Virtual Pumpkin Party? I’ve decided to spread the pumpkin love to my friends of the blogging world, so on October 21st, we’ll each share a recipe to bombard the internet with all things pumpkin.”

Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes {rustic and beautiful, a thanksgiving side dish}
Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes {Thanksgiving side dish}

Well that was an invitation I couldn’t say no to.

Although my love for squash runs deep, it was time to put away my snobbery and play around with the other orange hued character of autumn. Since I truly do prefer the likes of kabocha and delicata for baked goods like this Winter Squash pie recipe, I headed in the savory direction where I think pumpkin shines……

My vision was to put a vibrant spin on one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, mashed potatoes. And serve it with this gluten free vegan green bean casserole.

The pumpkin roasts cut-side down as to encase the garlic and thyme, infusing the earthy flesh with deep flavor. Then it’s pureed, and swirled throughout rustic, buttery mashed potatoes.

how to roast pumpkin {infused with thyme and garlicky for savory recipes}
the very best mashed potatoes are made with buttermilk. and always high quality butter.

And can we take a few minutes to talk about what makes really good mashed potatoes?

My grandmother always used russets, but after a few rounds of testing, I am on team Yukon Gold. They’re naturally a little sweet, and lend themselves to a rustic, creamy texture rather than fluffy.

Don’t hesitate buying the best (grassfed) butter you can afford for this dish. And although you might second guess my choice of buttermilk over cream, trust me when I say it’s the secret to the very best potatoes. Even Ina Garten thinks so. But if you need to go a different route, I do like these instant pot mashed potatoes.

Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes {Thanksgiving side dish}
Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes {Thanksgiving side dish}

More Potato Recipes:

Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes

Traditional, creamy mashed potatoes swirled with pumpkin puree and garlic!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time :25 minutes
Cook Time :40 minutes
Total Time :1 hour 5 minutes
Author: Amanda Paa



For the pumpkin (can be made two days ahead of time):

  • 1 small baking pumpkin you will need 1 1/4 cups of roasted “meat”
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 cloves garlic papery skin left on
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt to taste

For potatoes:

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes peeled
  • 2 teaspoons salt divided
  • 3/4 cup warm important! buttermilk (or whole milk)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cut pumpkin in half and deseed, rubbing clean flesh with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Rub garlic and thyme with a 1/2 tablespoon oil, then place them on the baking sheet and cover them with one pumpkin halve. Place the other pumpkin halve cut side down next to it. (You probably won’t need this half because you should get enough meat from the one with the garlic, etc.) Roast for 40 minutes, or until flesh of pumpkin is completely soft.
  • Let cool, so you can handle, then scrape flesh out of the halve that was covering the garlic & thyme. Measure out 1 1/4 cups flesh, then add to a food processor.
  • Remove papery skin from garlic and discard, and also take thyme leaves off the sprigs. Add garlic & thyme leaves, plus remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to food processor and blend all until smooth (add a tablespoon of water if needed to become smooth).
  • While pumpkin is roasting, place potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt in large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Then return potatoes to to pot. Mash potatoes until somewhat smooth, then stir butter into them.
  • Add warm milk and continue lightly mashing until absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of cooking water, and incorporate. (You can add more if you like them smoother, and continue mashing. The texture part of this recipe is all up to you!) Season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and black pepper.
  • Using a spoon, add pumpkin mixture at once to mashed potatoes and fold in, creating swirls throughout. Serve warm.


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October 21, 2015


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  1. 5 stars
    Any chance of making this with canned pumpkin purée? I’m always squashed for time during holiday season- pun intended;)

    • hello! you’ll really want the savory, caramelized flavor from the roasted pumpkin, so I wouldn’t use canned pumpkin puree. you can definitely make the roasted pumpkin up to 3 days in advance though, to help for thanksgiving ease of prep!

  2. Honestly, you’ve shared a really scrumptious mashed potatoes recipe here and oh my gosh I’m totally drooling over it right now!

  3. Hi Amanda,

    Honestly, you’ve shared some really scrumptious recipes here and oh my gosh, I just want ALL of them. I’m totally drooling over here!

  4. Potatoes, butter, herbs, squash, garlic and buttermilk – this is pretty much my ideal food. And I totally had the same reaction – wait, do I really have to use pumpkin and not butternut/kabocha/anything else besides pumpkin? Savory pumpkin 4-eva! And I’m fully on team Yukon Gold (and hella good butter). Such a gorgeous post, my friend!! <3 <3 <3

  5. What a perfect description of Sara. I completely agree! I was so thrilled to be included in this pumpkin party. Your recipe blew me away. Swirling pumpkin into your potatoes…genius! The thyme addition is the perfect pairing. YUM!

  6. This looks like the perfect fall comfort food ever!! And I could eat this as a whole meal instead of just a side dish! Your photos are beautiful and I just want to eat it right up :)

  7. loooove. this is a really creative use for pumpkin and it totally reminds me of my family’s thanksgiving dinners when we serve mashed butternut squash, mashed rutabaga, and mashed potatoes together on a plate where they inevitably swirl into a beautiful mess.

    i’m going to keep your tips about mashed potatoes in mind for thanksgiving… my family is usually so sick of cutting and mashing vegetables so potato flakes from a box is a salvation, but i think i’ll step in this time and get some legit potato action happening. xo