No holiday meal would be complete without a big bowl of creamy dreamy mashed potatoes

These are the BEST mashed potatoes, incredibly buttery and creamy, easy to make, and the perfect addition to every meal.

I’ve included all of my best tips and a complete “how to make mashed potatoes” guide for absolute perfection every time!

plated The Best Mashed Potatoes with butter

How to Mashed Potatoes That Are Always Perfect

Mashed potatoes (and stuffing) are the best part of any Thanksgiving or holiday meal and the perfect side with almost anything! They go especially well with sauces, gravy or things like Salisbury steak, beef tips, or Swiss steak.

  • Below I’ve shared my favorite tips and tricks for creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes each and every time.
  • They are so buttery and creamy, nobody can resist (and anyone can perfect them)!
  • This mashed potatoes recipe is simple so it’s perfect alongside almost anything.
  • They are great on their own and of course, served with turkey and gravy, holiday meals, or just as good ol’ comfort food.

The Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

The best potatoes to use for mashed potatoes are Russet potatoes or Idaho potatoes because of their high starch content.  Yukon gold potatoes are another good option, the texture of Yukon gold is a  bit more buttery and not quite as starchy.

If using Yukon gold potatoes, you can leave some of the skin on for a bit of texture. Russet or Idaho potatoes have tough skin that should be peeled first.

Tip: If time allows, the potatoes can be baked for 1 hour at 400°F. You can scoop out the potato flesh and save the skins for making potato skins!

Ingredients for mashed potatoes on a counter

Ingredients in Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes have no additions of cheeses but feel free to stir in additions to change up the flavor. I’ve added some of my favorite variations below.

  • Butter – This is one place where there really are no substitutes. Use real butter for these creamy spuds, and plenty of it. I prefer salted if I have it but unsalted butter 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.
  • 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

Pro Tips for Perfection

While a homemade mashed potatoes recipe is easy to make, here are a few tips to make sure they’re absolutely perfect.

  • Drain Well: I usually let them sit for 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. An electric mixer, stand mixer or food processor can work but it can also break down the starches in the potatoes and cause a gummy texture if they are overmixed.
  • 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 in a small saucepan or the microwave before adding.  This keeps the potatoes hot and absorbs better.  Add cream/milk a little a time to get the right consistency.

How To Make Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes are super simple to make with very few ingredients. You can make Crock Pot or Instant Pot mashed potatoes as well.

  1. Peel the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes (per the recipe below).
  2. Cut into quarters and place into cold salted water in a large pot (cold water helps to ensure they cook evenly).

peeled potatoes to make The Best Mashed Potatoes

  1. Boil the Potatoes: Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. The length of time you need to boil the potatoes depends on how big they are cut. I cut my potatoes into quarters and boil them for about 15 minutes.  To check if your potatoes are ready, use a fork to poke the potato and see if it is tender!

potatoes in a pot of water to make The Best Mashed Potatoes

  1. Mash the Potatoes:  Once well-drained, mash with the potatoes with a hand masher and with melted butter, warmed milk, and salt & pepper per the recipe below.

Mashing potatoes in a bowl

To Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time

Follow the recipe below and allow the mashed potatoes to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To Heat the Potatoes for Serving

Spread them into a greased casserole pan, dot with butter if desired and cover. Bake at 325°F until the butter melts and the potatoes are heated through, about 35-40 minutes. If you’d like a browned crust, bake uncovered.

top view of The Best Mashed Potatoes

Things to Add to Mashed Potatoes

You can leave these as classic buttery potatoes or add any of the following:

  • Sour cream, Greek Yogurt, or cream cheese
  • Cheddar, parmesan, or gouda
  • Roasted garlic or garlic powder, caramelized onions
  • Ranch mix, fresh herbs, chicken broth
  • Garnish with extra butter, chives, herbs or thinly sliced green onions.

Freezing Leftovers

You can freeze leftovers and they reheat pretty well in the oven with a little milk. 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 occasionally).

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.

Did you love this easy recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below! 

mashed potatoes with butter and thyme on top in a white bowl
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The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Fluffy, creamy and buttery, these are absolutely PERFECT every time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings
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Ingredients  

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

Instructions 

  • Peel and quarter potatoes, place in a pot of cold salted water.
  • Add cloves of garlic (if using) & bring to a boil, 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 heated milk a little at a time while using a potato masher to reach desired consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Video

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 and season potatoes to taste). Butter adds a creamy and... well, buttery texture.
  • Heat the Cream:  Heat your milk/cream before adding.  This keeps the potatoes hot and it absorbs better.  Add cream/milk a little a time to get the right consistency.
To Make Ahead
Follow the recipe below and allow the mashed potatoes to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To Heat the Potatoes for Serving spread them into a greased casserole dish and dot with butter. Bake at 325°F until the butter melts and the potatoes are heated through, about 35-40 minutes (you may need more or less time based on the shape of the dish and the amount of potatoes). If you'd like a browned crust, bake uncovered.
4.99 from 971 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 209 | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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