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! 

A bowl of mashed potatoes with butter
4.97 from 189 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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

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.
4.97 from 189 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

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 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. Great recipe ! Never fails . Garlic and sour cream make it extra special . A very happy holiday to you and yours ! ☃️5 stars

  2. Going to be trying this recipe for Thanksgiving this year!! I have a question about how you boil the potatoes. Do you do a slow boil and then once a boil has reached do you let them sit in the boiling water for 15 minutes? Or is the total stove top time a total of 15 minutes, so once you put the potatoes on the stove top they should usually be fork tender in 15 minutes? Thank you so much, I am so excited to try your recipe!

    1. I bring them to a boil (which can take up to 10 minutes to start boiling depending on your pot, stove, and the water temperature). Once boiling I keep the water at a medium boil (so it doesn’t splash over the sides of the pot). I start timing once the water comes to a boil.

      Depending on how large your potatoes are, they can sometimes be done a little bit early so around 12 minutes or so, poke one with a fork. It should be very soft throughout and if it isn’t let it boil a few more minutes and check again. Happy Thanksgiving Olivia!

    1. Rice the potatoes back into the warm pot and then add the butter and milk to the riced potatoes. They’ll be nice and smooth and it should be easy to stir it in!

  3. I add equal parts of chicken/turkey broth and heavy cream (so one cup of each+). And a full stick of real butter. It seems a bit runny at first, however, since I make it early (as soon as I put the bird in the oven) I don’t have to rush. Then about 30 min prior to dinner time I put the mashed into the oven to reheat/dehydrate which also allows it to get that crusty top that we so love.

  4. What is the serving size? I’m thinking 4 lbs of potatoes “might” feed 8 hungry adults, not enough for 10. Thanksgiving is coming up and there’s always a need for leftovers. Can this recipe be doubled?

    1. Hi Ron, a serving is about ½ cup. If you have a big enough pot, you can definitely double this recipe for larger portions.

  5. Hi Holly. My question to you is about “salt to taste”. I believe within all the ingredients listed on a given recipe – I believe the salt is the one contiment that makes or brake the dish. My point is “salt to taste” the amount should be more specific mentioned in a recipe. For example for a beginner to season a salad with a pinch of salt is fine,but a pinch of salt used on a roast is not enough then how much salt should one use on this roast to make it tasteful. Holly in no shape or form I am criticiizing you. I liked all your recipes that I made. I am hypothetically commenting the use of salt in a

    1. Thank you for your feedback Antonia, I appreciate it! I often suggest “salt to taste” as I find salt is something people tend to like more or less based on preference.

      That being said, I agree with you in that it’s difficult for a beginner cook to know where to start and in our newer recipes going forward we are adding the actual amount with a suggestion of more or less to taste. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes!

    2. Great idea and thank you Holly for adding a measurements going forward. As a beginner, I always struggle with “salt to taste” as I’m usually over or under seasoning if I have to make the determination on my own.

      Happy Thanksgiving, can’t wait to make these potatoes and the stuffing recipe which was a hit last year. Xoxoxo