The BEST Mashed Potatoes


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Mastering perfect mashed potatoes is easy (and I’ve included all of my best tips below). They come out perfectly creamy every time; creamy, delicious, and fluffy! 

Mashed potatoes (and stuffing) are the best part of any holiday meal and the perfect side for almost any meal!

Big bowl of Mashed Potatoes with butter

Potatoes are great and can be baked, fried, or cooked in a Potato Casserole. Homemade mashed potatoes definitely top the list of favorites for us!

Choosing Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

The best potatoes for mashed potatoes those that are very starchy like Russet or Idaho potatoes. Yukon gold work too but they’re more buttery and not quite as starchy.

If you’d like, leave some of the skin on if using Yukon gold potatoes. The skin adds texture.

Other Ingredients

This recipe is for classic mashed potatoes so there are no additions of cheeses or spices but of course, you can add those if you’d like.

  • Butter: This is one place where there really are no substitutes. Add real butter to the potatoes and plenty of it. I prefer salted if I have it but unsalted works and the potatoes can be salted to taste.
  • Cream/Milk: I use warmed whole milk in this recipe, but cream also works if you have it on hand. Remember to heat the dairy for the best potatoes.
  • Garlic/Seasonings: Again, keeping this recipe simple, I simply add salt & pepper. If you’d like a little bit of garlic, chop a few cloves and let them boil with the potatoes. Chives are great in this recipe too (add with the butter).

Ingredients to make mashed potatoes. Butter, milk, potatoes, salt and pepper

How To Make Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes are super simple to make with very few ingredients. You can make them in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot, but I really do think the best mashed potatoes are a simple classic.

  1. PREP: Peel and chop potatoes (per recipe below).
  2. BOIL: Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender.
  3. MASH:  Mash with other ingredients until nice and smooth and creamy.

Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes

The real key to making the BEST creamy mashed potatoes is to get the consistency right.

  • Drain Well: I usually let them sit about 5 minutes or so to completely drain or even drain well and put them back in the warm pot for a few minutes to make sure all liquid is evaporated.
  • Mash by Hand: Use a hand masher or a potato ricer for the creamiest potatoes. A hand mixer, stand mixer or food processor can work but it can also break down the starches in the potatoes and cause a gummy texture.
  • Add BUTTER! There are places you can skimp on the butter and this is not one of them.  I like to use salted butter and lots of it (but you can use unsalted season yourself). Butter adds a creamy and… well, buttery texture.
  • Heat the Cream:  Heat your milk/cream before adding.  This keeps the potatoes hot and absorbs better.  Add cream/milk a little a time to get the right consistency.

Cream cheese, garlic, and butter added to homemade mashed potatoes can add a delicious tang! You can really add whatever toppings you love the most, mashed potatoes are very forgiving!

Mashing potatoes in a bowl

How Long To Boil Potatoes For Mashed

Potatoes should always be placed in cold salted water and brought to a boil, this helps them cook evenly. The length of time you need to boil the potatoes entirely depends on how big they are cut.

I quarter my potatoes and boil them about 15 minutes.  To check if your potatoes are ready, use a fork and if it is easy to pierce the potato, it is done!

To Make Ahead

Mashed potatoes can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Follow the recipe as directed and cool completely. Refrigerate.

To reheat, they can be placed in a casserole dish in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Stir in a little bit of warm cream/milk if needed. You can also reheat these in the microwave stirring occasionally or even on low in the slow cooker for a couple of hours.

Mashed Potatoes with butter on top

Freezing Mashed Potatoes

You can freeze mashed potatoes and they reheat pretty well in the oven with a little milk. To freeze, scoop them into a plastic freezer bag and press flat (this helps them thaw quickly). When you reheat them, add about a tablespoon of milk per cup of potatoes and place them in the oven to reheat (or microwave stirring occsionally).

They are an easy side dish and go perfectly with Mushroom Salisbury SteakCrock Pot Pork Chops, and of course a roast turkey!

Got Leftovers?

I have four words for you. Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.

Big bowl of Mashed Potatoes with butter
4.95 from 117 votes
Review Recipe

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Fluffy, creamy and buttery, these are literally the PERFECT mashed potato.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds potatoes russet or Yukon gold
  • cup salted butter melted
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic optional

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Instructions

  • Peel and quarter potatoes, place in cold salted water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook uncovered 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well.
  • Heat milk on the stove top (or in the microwave) until warm.
  • Add butter to the potatoes and begin mashing. Pour in milk a little at a time while using a potato masher to reach desired consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

  • Drain Well: I usually let them sit about 5 minutes or so to completely drain or even drain well and put them back in the warm pot for a few minutes to make sure all liquid is evaporated.
  • Mash by Hand: Use a hand masher or a potato ricer for the creamiest potatoes. A hand mixer, stand mixer or food processor can work but it can also break down the starches in the potatoes and cause a gummy texture.
  • Add BUTTER! There are places you can skimp on the butter and this is not one of them.  I like to use salted butter and lots of it (but you can use unsalted season yourself). Butter adds a creamy and... well, buttery texture.
  • Heat the Cream:  Heat your milk/cream before adding.  This keeps the potatoes hot and absorbs better.  Add cream/milk a little a time to get the right consistency.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 243, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 75mg, Potassium: 981mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 235IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 1.9mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword mashed potatoes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Mashed Potatoes with a title

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Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

  1. LOVE the garlic cloves in the water while the potatoes cook! Wonderful! Funny I never heard of doing that before and I’m 60. So glad I decided to look up a recipe for mashed potatoes. I guess it’s never too late to learn! Thank you.

  2. I have made these with gold potatoes and with russet potatoes and both times, they were delicious! I do add the garlic!5 stars

  3. I made these to go with Guinness beef stew tonight and we loved them! I cut the potatoes into about 1-inch pieces and they were perfect at 15 min (started the timer once they started to boil). Also added 3 garlic cloves to the water. Thank you for the specific directions!5 stars

  4. This was my first time making mashed potatoes and this recipe was completely inadequate. Why you you say? Because the cook time is incorrect. 15 minutes is not long enough to boil potatoes. The potatoes came out hard as a rock , the milk and butter spilled everywhere. This recipe need a edit.1 star

    1. I’m sorry these didn’t work out for you. Larger potatoes may need a little bit more time, as the recipe mentions to cook 15 minutes or until fork tender. If you find your potatoes aren’t fork tender, just let them continue to boil a couple minutes more. As for the milk and butter, perhaps a larger bowl or pot will reduce the spilling. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for sharing. Always made them this way from my own experimenting. Wife and son love it. Was looking for recipes to see if I could improve on my concoction or if I was doing mashed potatoes right. Nice to know mixing potato types is also acceptable/good. Guess this way and keeping it simple is fine. Was great to find an ‘expert’ doing it this way. Great tips for storing and reheating as well. Thanks5 stars

    2. The recipe made you spill it everywhere? Obviously if the potatoes were hard when you checked them you leave them in longer.

  5. Wow, these turned out fantastic! I thought my mom only made potatoes like this. It just goes to show things don’t have to be complicated to tasty. Might I add Holly, it doesn’t get any better than being beautiful and and a great cook!

  6. Thank you for the wonderful and simple recipe, Holly! The texture was both hearty and smooth. My husband was ready to sit down with a spoon and eat them all up! My son and I prefer more salt, so we just left it plain for people to tailor these spuds to their own buds. Happy Thanksgiving!!5 stars

  7. Easiest and perfect mashed potato recipe. It’s very simple and can easily add additional ingredients, like bacon or green onion, if desired. I love them as is though! I find all my favorite and best recipes from SpendwithPennies!5 stars

  8. Fantastic! I’ve mad so many of Holly’s great recipes: from potatoes to taco mix; they are always so good!
    Make this recipe exactly as stated. It’s wonderful. Thank you so much.

  9. Great recipe! I like peeling and soaking the potatoes the night before,it removes the starch makes them best. Also leftovers are great fried in a little butter makes them crispy

  10. Perfect! Everyone thinks they know how to make mashed potatoes but your tips are the best Holly! I did exactly as recipe calls for (no garlic) and they are great consistency. I used all russet potatoes this time, usually I use yukon golds, they are both great actually. Hand mash, definitely…thank you!5 stars

    1. We haven’t tried this recipe with buttermilk Kent, but it should work. Let us know how they turn out!

  11. Forget the milk use Philadelphia cream cheese, sour cream and butter and you will have the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat. Forget garlic too this is potatoes it’s not an Italian dish. It’s a stick to your ribs comfort food dish to be eaten with meat and gravy and I don’t mean pasta sauce.4 stars