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!
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 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).
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.
- Peel the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes (per the recipe below).
- Cut into quarters and place into cold salted water in a large pot (cold water helps to ensure they cook evenly).
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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 Steak, Crock Pot Pork Chops, and of course a roast turkey!
I have four words for you. Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.
- Loaded Mashed Potato Egg Rolls
- Shepherd’s Pie – Family favorite!
- Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes)
- Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole – Great side dish
- Baked Potato Soup – Creamy and amazing!
Did you love this easy recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below!
The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 4 pounds potatoes russet or Yukon gold
- 3 cloves garlic optional
- ⅓ cup salted butter melted
- 1 cup milk or cream
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 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.
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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You don’t mention using a crockpot to make them earlier; I make my potatoes and then put them in a covered, greased crockpot and leave it on low. They actually get fluffier and stay perfect until ready to eat. Great tip on Thanksgiving when you have so many other things that need to be done at the last minute. Potatoes don’t have to be one of them!
It’s definitely a great way to make mashed potatoes ahead of time, we use this recipe to make Crockpot Mashed Potatoes.
That is such a great idea, Dawn! Thanks for sharing.
These mashed Potatoes were a flop sadly. It was my second time making them because the last time I tried this recipe it was soggy gross and way too buttery. I decided to try it again and the same thing happened even when I added less of every ingredient. Very disappointed, please go find a different recipe. If you want soggy oily just plain gross mashed potatoes please do this recipe. If not I would spend your Ingredients and time elsewhere.
Actually I just wanted to say that I forgot that my husband made it and he said it was amazing. Maybe it’s just not for me so I apologize for the harsh review. So I would change my review to, “Not For Everyone”. Thank you and I am sorry if I offended the Author.
None taken :) We definitely understand. Not every recipe is for everyone! We are happy to hear your husband enjoyed them still. Thanks for sharing Karen!
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.
I love hearing when people learn new things Lori! You’re welcome!
I have made these with gold potatoes and with russet potatoes and both times, they were delicious! I do add the garlic!
I use sour cream in mine and it’s even better than cream cheese (I think!)
I do the same with sour cream..I love it
These were perfect! Thanks for the recipe.
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!
You’re welcome Peggy! So glad you enjoyed them!
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.
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!
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. Thanks
You’re welcome Timothy! Glad that the tips are helpful!
The recipe made you spill it everywhere? Obviously if the potatoes were hard when you checked them you leave them in longer.
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!
So glad you enjoyed the potatoes Bob! Thank you :)
These were the most perfect, simple mashed potatoes! So easy to make. WIll keep coming back to this recipe!
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!!
Happy Thanksgiving to you! So glad to hear that you love these potatoes!
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!
Yay Savannah! So happy to hear that you love the potatoes, and Spend With Pennies!
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.
Thank you so much Mike!! I’m glad you loved these as much as we do. Happy Thanksgiving!
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
Great recipe! I like peeling and soaking the potatoes the night before,it removes the starch makes them best
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!
So glad you loved them Diane!
Perfect recipe! I never knew that adding cold milk was a no-no and I love that you give add-in options.
Can you use buttermilk instead of milk/cream?
We haven’t tried this recipe with buttermilk Kent, but it should work. Let us know how they turn out!
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.