Instant Pot Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

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Instant Pot Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes are light, fluffy, and full of savory flavor from sweet onions, melted cheddar cheese, and smoky bacon. This is a crowd-pleasing side dish for the holidays or any day of the year. 

A 45 degree shot of a silver spoon dipping into a bowl of caramelized onion mashed potatoes, topped with shredded cheese and bacon

At my house, we love serving up our favorite meals with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. Our classic Instant Pot mashed potatoes are an all-time favorite, but every now and then we like to mix things up. This savory take with caramelized onion and bacon is a great twist on traditional potatoes. 

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: This is a delicious spin on classic mashed potatoes. The onions add a wonderful depth to the dish, complemented by melted cheese and everyone’s favorite potato topper: bacon! 

pinterest button for instant pot onion mashed potatoes

How to Make Instant Pot Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

This Pressure Cooker Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

The first step in making these savory mashed potatoes is to caramelize your onions in the Instant Pot. You’ll use the saute function and a bit of butter to turn your sliced onions soft, melty and slightly sweet. 

Because the onions will release liquid on their own, there’s no need to deglaze the pot or add any more liquid to help your Instant Pot come to pressure. After a brief pressure cook, your onions will be dark and caramel-colored. 

Then, simply remove the onion from your pressure cooker and add the potatoes. 

making caramelized onions in a pressure cooker

Steaming Potatoes in a Pressure Cooker

To cook potatoes for Instant Pot mashed potatoes, you’ll use a steamer basket. You can use a regular metal steaming basket or the trivet that came with your Instant Pot. 

Tip: Be sure to add a cup of water to the pressure cooking pot. Otherwise, you risk a burn warning!

If the potatoes are totally fork-tender when you remove the Instant Pot lid, you can return the pot to pressure for another couple of minutes. You want super soft potatoes for easy mashing. 

overhead of cubed potatoes in a pressure cooker

Serving Suggestions

To serve these fluff mashed potatoes, I like to top them with a crunchy sprinkle of bacon and shredded cheese. You can cook the bacon in the Instant Pot before the onions if you like. Just use the Saute function until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, let it cool, and chop it into small pieces. 

You can use a sharp cheddar or grated parmesan cheese if you prefer a stronger cheesy flavor. 

stirring caramlized onions into mashed potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

You can prepare these potatoes ahead of time if you’re planning. Store the mashed potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can reheat them on the stove, in the microwave or in the Instant Pot. 

bowl of caramelized onion mashed potatoes with bacon

More Instant Pot Potato Dishes

We love using the Instant Pot to make easy potato side dishes. Here are some of my family’s favorites:

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an overhead shot of caramelized onion mashed potatoes

Instant Pot Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This recipe for Instant Pot Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes is light, fluffy and full of savory flavor from shredded cheese, sour cream and bacon. 


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 Medium-size russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and quartered
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled


    1. Select Saute and preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the cooking pot. When the butter melts, add the onions. Saute for about 3 minutes until onions start to soften, stirring frequently to break apart the onion layers. (The onions will release enough liquid to come to pressure. No additional liquid is needed.)
    2. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
    3. Select Saute and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions caramelize (about 15 minutes).
    4. Remove the onions to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pressure cooking pot.
    5. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooking pot. Place a steamer basket in the pot. Add the potatoes to the steamer basket. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time.
    6. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Use a fork to test the potatoes for doneness.
    7. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash. Add the sour cream, milk, pepper and salt. Mash until blended. (Add more milk if needed to achieve your desired consistency.)
    8. Stir in the caramelized onions and transfer to a serving bowl.
    9. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle with Cheddar Jack and cooked bacon.


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