Costa Rican Boiled Potato Recipe

Close-up of Costa Rican potatoes.

These Costa Rican mashed potatoes combine white or gold potatoes with a special stir fry of garlic, onion, cilantro, and red pepper to make a unique and delicious filling for all kinds of popular recipes, including Costa Rican tamales, Costa Rican empanadas, and of course picadillos!

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About Costa Rican Potatoes

These Costa Rican mashed potatoes are a simple side dish popular in Costa Rica both for their unique flavor, and the fact that they’re cheap. While in the US we usually serve potato as the starch for a meal, I have been served mashed potatoes with white rice on many occasions. 

This recipe uses a white potato- there are several types found in Costa Rican markets including the white (Floresta) the yellow (Granola) or the smaller red-skinned ones (Unica.) All these types could be used for this recipe. In the United States, I usually use a Yukon gold or the red-skinned ones.

These potatoes are unique because after cooking, they are roughly mashed and then refired in a typical Costa Rican sofrito before serving with a meal (such as in picadillo), or using them as a filling for tamales and empanadas.

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan, making it a good menu item to look for when traveling through Costa Rica with either of those diets.

Related post: 20+ Best Places For Your Next Costa Rica Vacation

Costa Rican Cooked White Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound white potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bullion (Maggi)
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Roughly chop the potatoes into evenly sized pieces. Place them in a medium saucepan or stockpot and cover with water. Stir in the Maggi seasoning. Bring everything to a boil and boil until potatoes are fork-tender. 

While the potatoes are boiling, you can make your sofrito. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, cilantro and garlic and cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent and the red pepper has softened significantly. 

Once the potatoes have cooked, drain all of the water except about 1/2 cup.  Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. You will roughly mash these potatoes- you want some small chunks of potato in there. This doesn’t really affect the flavor, but it’s the traditional texture of this recipe.

Add the potatoes to the sofrito and stir until evenly combined. You may need to add a bit more oil to the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking as you stir fry. Check for salt, and serve!

Substitutions

The Maggi chicken bullion to give the final potato both a slightly salty flavor and good yellow color. But you could easily substitute salt for this.

In place of the oil in the sofrito, you could use butter or margarine too.

Variations

We also cook what we call a pure de papa, which is more of a true mashed potato in that the potatoes are finely mashed, or even run through a blender. They are not cooked in the sofrito in this instance.

These potatoes can also be combined with chorizo, ground beef or Costa Rican-Style Shredded Beef Recipe to make a picadillo de papa. 

Serving Suggestions

These potatoes are usually served as part of a Costa Rican casado. They are also used as a filling for the Costa Rica Tamal Mudo and the Costa Rican potato empanada.  You can also put a spoonful on a warm corn tortilla to make gallitos de papa.

Also- serve with Salsa Lizano! Duh! 

FAQ

Can I make these mashed potatoes ahead? – You can, especially if you are going to use them in an empanada or in the tamal mudo. 

How do I store mashed potatoes? – I store them in an airtight container in the fridge. I do notice they go bad more quickly if there is more air in the container.

What type of potatoes should I use for these Costa Rican mashed potatoes? – You can use any type of Russett potato, any kind of Yukon gold potato or the Norland red potatoes.

Where can I eat mashed potatoes in Costa Rica? You can generally find them in empanadas at bust stops or from street vendors. Around Easter time and Holy Week, you can find them inside the tamal mudo. Otherwise, these will most likely be part of a picadillo de papa on a menu.

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Printable Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Costa Rican Boiled Potato Recipe

Close-up of Costa Rican potatoes.

These Costa Rican mashed potatoes combine white or gold potatoes with a special stir fry of garlic, onion, cilantro, and red pepper to make a unique and delicious filling for all kinds of popular recipes, including Costa Rican tamales, Costa Rican empanadas, and of course picadillos!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bullion (Maggi)
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the potatoes into evenly sized pieces.
  2. Place them in a medium saucepan or stockpot and cover with water.
  3. Stir in the Maggi seasoning. Bring everything to a boil and boil until potatoes are fork-tender. 
  4. While the potatoes are boiling, you can make your sofrito.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, cilantro and garlic and cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent and the red pepper has softened significantly. 
  6. Once the potatoes have cooked, drain all of the water except about 1/2 cup. 
  7. Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. You will roughly mash these potatoes- you want some small chunks of potato in there. This doesn't really affect the flavor, but it's the traditional texture of this recipe.
  8. Add the potatoes to the sofrito and stir until evenly combined.
  9. You may need to add a bit more oil to the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking as you stir fry.
  10. Check for salt, and serve!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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