Skordalia is a beautiful Greek-style garlic dip that has a thick base of either day-old bread or mashed potatoes. This easy skordalia recipe is made of mashed potatoes and flavored with garlic, crushed almonds, and lemon juice. Extra virgin olive oil is the way to whip it all together into a smooth, tantalizing dip that you can serve chilled or at room temperature–as a starter to a tasty Greek meal or a side next to fish or even grilled souvlaki.
A few weeks ago, a reader wrote asking if I had a recipe for some tangy, garlicy, tantalizing dip he recently tried at a local Greek restaurant.
He described it as something like a mashed potato dish, but better! Skordalia.
Prompted by his e-mail I was on a mission to create an easy skordalia recipe to share with everyone. So here we are!
Now, what the heck is it?
What is Skordalia?
I learned that the name itself, Skordalia, may be a compound of the Greek [ˈskorðo] ‘garlic’ and Italian agliata [aʎˈʎaːta] ‘garlicky’. So, clearly, garlic is the star here.
Skordalia is basically a Greek garlic dip or spread made by combining crushed garlic with a thick base such as day-old bread or pureed potatoes, lots of olive oil and citrus–either a wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Some skordalia recipes call for the addition of nuts such as walnut or almonds, which I do and highly recommend.
In my research, I found a bread-based skordalia in Diane Kochials cookbook Ikaria (affiliate link) where she used sourdough bread! But I decided to go for a potato-based skordalia here.
How is this different from mashed potatoes?
At first glance, this looks just like a comforting side of mashed potatoes. And it kinda is! But think of it more as mashed potatoes punchier Greek cousin.
Skordalia uses quite a bit of garlic. Citrus adds a certain punch you won’t find in mashed potatoes as we know them. And extra virgin olive oil–in generous amounts–is used to basically whip everything together into this smooth, extra fluffy dip.
This particular skordalia recipe also uses almonds (or walnuts), which add another subtle nutty element than your typical mashed potatoes.
You don’t have to serve it hot as a side, this potato and garlic dip can be served chilled as mezze or as at room temperature as a side. And if you chill skordalia for a bit, the flavors really intensify!
- Potatoes– I use 1 lb gold potatoes here. Russet potatoes will work well also.
- Nuts– about 3 ounces blanched almonds or shelled walnuts
- Garlic- this is the star ingredient (about 6 cloves of garlic), although you can adjust the amount of garlic to your liking or use roasted garlic for a milder dip (view the how to roast garlic tutorial).
- Citrus– fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar will work here (I use fresh lemon juice about 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil– all skordalia recipes, if done right, will use a good bit of extra virgin olive oil, anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cup. It’s important to use a quality olive oil here to add richness and good flavor. I use either Private Reserve or Early Harvest Greek EVOO.
- Garnish– to finish this lovely potato dip, top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh chopped green onions, parsley and a sprinkle of lemon zest.
How to make Skordalia
Time needed: 25 minutes.
Guide for how to make Skordalia: Greek garlic dip (print-friendly option below)
- Prepare and cook potatoes
Peel and dice the potatoes and rinse under cool water. Add them to a saucepan and top with water (water should cover the potatoes by about 2 inches). Add a good pinch of kosher salt to the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and let simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). They should easily break at this point. Rinse them again, this time under hot water. And set aside for 5 to 7 minutes (you want the moisture to evaporate)
- Make the garlic and almond paste
In a food processor, combine blanched almonds (shelled walnuts will work too) with garlic and lemon juice. Add a good pinch of kosher salt. Run the processor until the mixture turns into a paste. (It might be a bit grainy, keep going until you achieve the smoothest paste you can. It will still have some texture, which is fine).
- Mash the potatoes very well
Use a masher or a food mill to mash the potatoes so well
- Combine potatoes with olive oil and garlic-almond paste
Here’s where the magic happens! Add about half of the extra virgin olive oil, but do it one bit at a time while using a wooden spoon to mix the potatoes. Add the garlic and almond paste and keep adding the extra virgin olive oil a little bit at a time while using a wooden spoon to mix everything together. (You want to reach a fluffy potato dip). Taste and add kosher salt to your liking. Mix again to combine. (Note: at this point, you can chill the skordalia to serve at a later time).
- Garnish and serve
Transfer the smooth garlic dip goodness to a serving bowl. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with chopped green onions, parsley, and lemon zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled (if you chose to chill earlier).
- Rinse the potatoes before and after cooking. This will help remove the starchy film and reduce the gumminess of the mashed potatoes.
- Skordalia is meant to be garlicy! If you want the real deal, use about 6 garlic cloves. But as mentioned earlier, if you’re not sure, you can start with less garlic or use roasted garlic instead. If you end up using roasted garlic, you will likely use a good amount (about 10 to 12 cloves or so).
- Serve skordalia dip chilled or at room temperature. As it sits, the garlic dip will have a thicker consistency and its flavors will intensify.
Can you make this mashed potato dip in advance?
If you like, you can prepare this garlic dip one night in advance. Do not add the garnish until you are ready to serve. Remember that the garlic and citrus flavors will intensify overnight.
Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to a tight-lid glass container and refrigerate for the night. Add a drizzle of olive oil and garnish to your liking and serve.
What to serve it with?
Typically, skordalia is served next to fried salted cod but I love it next to this lemony cod, whole-roasted fish, grilled chicken or even lamb burgers. Just like mashed potatoes, it goes with a ton of things!
And if you ask me, I’d keep with the Greek theme and finish the meal with some baklava!
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Skordalia is a beautiful Greek-style garlic dip that has a thick base of either day-old bread or mashed potatoes. This easy skordalia recipe is made of mashed potatoes and flavored with garlic, crushed almonds, and lemon juice.
- 1 lb gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (see cook’s tip #1)
- kosher salt
- 3 ounces blanched almonds (or shelled walnuts)
- 3 to 6 garlic cloves or roasted garlic (see cook’s tip #2 below)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil (I use either Private Reserve or Early Harvest EVOO), more for later
- 1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish
- Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
- Zest of 1 lemon, for garnish
- Prepare and cook the potatoes. Place cubed potatoes in a big colander and rinse with cold water until the water is clear (see cook’s tip #1). Transfer to a saucepan and add water to cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches. Salt the water well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are well cooked through (test by inserting a knife, it should break the potatoes with no resistance). Drain the potatoes in the same colander and rinse again, this time with hot water, for 30 seconds. Set the potatoes aside for 5 to 7 minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
- Make the garlic and almond paste. While potatoes are cooling, combine almonds, garlic, large pinch of kosher salt, and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Run processor until the garlic and almonds turn into a paste (as smooth as you can get it).
- Mash the potatoes. Using a potato masher or a food mill (do not use food processor), mash the potatoes thoroughly.
- Combine mashed potatoes with extra virgin olive oil and garlic-almond paste. To the mashed potatoes, add about 1/2 of the olive oil, a little bit at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and almond paste and mix well. Then add the remaining olive oil, again a little bit at a time, mixing well with your wooden spoon. Taste and add more kosher salt if needed. Mix well to combine. (At this point, if you’re not serving the skordalia, you can let it cool then chill in the fridge until later).
- Add garnish and serve. Transfer the mashed potato dip into a serving bowl or dish. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and top with chopped green onions, parsley and lemon zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled (if you had chilled it before adding garnish).
- Cook’s Tip #1: Make sure to rinse the potatoes with water before and after boiling, this will help remove surface starch and reduce the gumminess of the mashed potatoes.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Skordalia is meant to be very garlicy using about 6 garlic cloves or so. Blending the garlic with the acid helps reduce its its pungency, while keeping the flavor. But if you’re unsure about using this much garlic to start, you can use less (it won’t be the same). You can also use roasted garlic, which is milder and sweeter. Once you chill skordalia, the flavors will settle some more and intensify.
- Visit our online shop to browse quality ingredients including extra virgin olive oil used in this recipe.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Mixed
- Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keywords: Skordalia, greek garlic dip, greek potato dip