Learn how to make mashed potatoes with my simple recipe for THE BEST mashed potatoes with butter that are rich and creamy every time.
Does the internet really need another creamy mashed potatoes recipe? To some, the answer could be a “no,” but then the naysayers haven’t tried my easy recipe for the best mashed potatoes that work every single time. Whether you’re making them as part of your Thanksgiving feast (don’t forget the gravy) or as a stellar side dish to pot roast or chicken piccata, there’s no arguing that this is one of the best ways to eat potatoes and that mashed potatoes are one of the most classic (and most delicious) sides of all time.
Sure, flavored versions like garlic mashed potatoes are tasty, and Crock Pot or Instant Pot mashed potatoes might be convenient, but the best mashed potatoes to pair with any recipe are the kind mom used to make. Potatoes that are fluffy and creamy at the same time, and that don’t skimp on the butter. There are only a couple of easy tricks you need to master to get a great mashed potato to complete any meal.
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What’s in These Mashed Potatoes
There are lots of different techniques to make mashed potatoes including using a potato ricer or a potato masher. And I have tried them all. But in the end, I go back to the same way my mom and my grandma always made them, and that’s by using a good old handheld blender mixer (I have this one).
The only ingredients you need for basic mashed potatoes are:
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Half and half, cream, or whole milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chives, parsley, or chopped green onion if you like a fleck of green
How to Make These Mashed Potatoes
Don’t be intimidated by homemade mashed potatoes. They’re easy to make and a skill every home cook should master. I’ve broken it down into different, simple steps:
Is it Better to Boil or Bake Mashed Potatoes
It’s definitely better to boil your potatoes when making mashed potatoes, and that’s your first step:
Boil the potatoes whole and with their skin on. I’ve boiled potatoes with and without the skin, and have found that boiling with the skin on protects the spuds from absorbing more water and losing flavor. Nobody wants a watery mash.
Cook the potatoes until totally tender. Place your potatoes in a large pot and completely cover them with cold water (about ½ inch above the potatoes). Once they’ve come to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt to flavor them as they cook. Cook your potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are fork-tender and the skin easily pulls away from the potato where cut.
Smash, Flavor, and Whip
These next steps are key for getting the creamiest, fluffiest, most flavorful mashed potatoes.
Wipe the skin away. Drain the potatoes, then use paper towels to wipe or scrub off the potato skin while still hot. It’s so much easier than having to peel your potatoes anyway. I use a fork to rotate the potato as I wipe them since these are literally hot potatoes. This method makes it incredibly easy for the skin to wipe away yet keep its flavor, so long as your potatoes are cooked enough.
Put the taters back in the pot. A trick I’ve found to get an extra creamy potato is once the skins are quickly removed, I add the potatoes back to the same warm pot I cooked them in, then lightly smash them with the hand mixer tines, and add my butter to the still-hot potatoes. Cover the potatoes with a lid and let them sit for a couple of minutes, allowing the potatoes to dry out a little, keep warm, and absorb the melting butter for a barrier.
Stir in the butter before the dairy. Adding the butterfat to the potatoes before adding the cream, half-and-half, or milk, coats the potato starches and acts as a barrier to ensure your mashed potatoes won’t turn out gummy, sticky, or overmixed.
Whip ‘em with a mixer. The real secret to great mashers is how you mash them. I’ve used a ricer, but it’s a bit of a pain and my muscles never seem strong enough. I’ve used a masher and gotten a tasty mashed potato but always have a few potato chunks. A few minutes on medium speed should do the trick.
see more: 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
What is the Trick to Good Mashed Potatoes
There are a few easy but tried and true tricks I swear by for making good mashed potatoes:
Use Yukon golds for the smoothest, creamiest texture. The best potato for mashed potatoes is a starchy potato and Yukon golds fit the bill. Avoid using waxy potatoes like red potatoes or russet potatoes, which result in a pasty mash since they need to be creamed more to achieve the desired texture.
It’s important that you salt the water the potatoes cook in. This flavors the potatoes themselves and prevents you from having to add lots of salt later on.
Heavy cream will make for the creamiest mashed potatoes, but whole milk or half and half will also work. Don’t use anything with less fat than whole milk, otherwise, your potatoes won’t be as flavorful or creamy.
I prefer using unsalted butter in my homemade mashed potatoes because I like to know exactly how much salt is in them. If you’re using salted butter, give your potatoes a taste before you stir in any extra salt — you don’t want them to turn out too salty!
How to Make Mashed Potatoes Even Creamier
If you’re someone who loooooves the cream, cream in ⅓ cup of the following ingredients for an extra creamy spoonful. Adding this extra fat keeps the potatoes from drying out when reheating as well.
- Sour cream
- Greek yogurt
- Cream Cheese
Mashed Potato Mix-Ins
- Roasted garlic
- Cheddar cheese, mascarpone, gorgonzola, or blue cheese (I love this recipe)
- Bacon or pancetta
- Chopped green onion
- Caramelized onion
- Fresh herbs, such as chives, thyme, or rosemary
What Does Milk do to Mashed Potatoes
Milk helps give your mashed potatoes a nice creaminess, but if you really want super creamy spuds, use, well, cream! Go big or go home, right?
Can I Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time
Yes, it’s a fact that you don’t have to wait ‘til the last minute to make your mashed potatoes. Here’s how to make mashed potatoes ahead and serve hot when needed.
Make them earlier the day of and then keep still-warm potatoes warm on the stove by placing them in a bowl, covering them with foil or plastic wrap, and setting the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler. They’ll stay warm this way for a few hours, just be sure to watch so you don’t run out of water in the pot.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
To reheat mashed potatoes, make them 2 days ahead of serving, and then:
Reheat mashed potatoes on the stove: Gently rewarm the potatoes over low heat with 1-2 tablespoons of dairy to loosen them and add more moisture to the potatoes so they don’t turn gluey or stick to the bottom of the pan. Low and slow is the ticket here.
Reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave: Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat on half-power for about 5 minutes. Reheating at a lower temp is the key to keeping your microwaved potatoes from drying out and getting stiff.
Reheat mashed potatoes in the oven: Place the potatoes in a medium-sized baking dish, spreading in an even layer, and then warm them in the oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Add more butter if desired.
Reheat mashed potatoes in the slow cooker: Allow the mashed potatoes to come to room temperature, for about 3 hours. Add to the slow cooker and set on low for 3 hours, and stir once or twice with a wooden spoon as they reheat.
What to Serve With Mashed Potatoes to Make a Meal
Mashed potatoes are the little black dress of side dishes and go with just about everything. They’re especially good with:
- Juicy Roast Turkey Breast
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts
- A Healthier Meatloaf With Tomato Glaze
- Braised Pork Roast in Almond Milk
- Filet Mignon with Porcini Mushroom Compound Butter
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Stuffed Pork Chops
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Butter
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The BEST Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
- 4 tablespoons butter , cut into chunks
- ⅓ cup half and half , or cream, or milk
- ½ teaspoon black pepper , freshly ground
- chives , minced
- Scrub the potatoes clean and add to a deep pot. Completely cover the potatoes with water, about ½ inch above the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil and add ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Boil the potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are very easily pierced with a fork and the skin pulls away from the potato where cut.
- Drain the potatoes, and while still hot, use a paper towel to wipe the skin away from the potatoes, then add back to the warm pot.
- Gently smash the hot potatoes with the tines of a hand mixer and add the butter to the potatoes. Cover with a lid for the butter to melt, about 3-4 minutes.*
- Add the half and half or other liquid dairy to the pot and set it in the kitchen sink so the potatoes don't fly around the kitchen while whipping. Cream the potatoes with the hand mixer until smooth, rotating the pot counter-clockwise as you mix. Don't over mix the potatoes. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and black pepper to taste, and add more dairy to get the consistency you like best.
- Add more butter if you'd like, and garnish with minced chives, green onion, or serve plain.
More Foolproof Potato Recipes You’ll Want to Make
- How to Make the Best Potato Salad (one of my most popular recipes)
- The Best Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Easy Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
- The Best Buttery Parsley Potatoes (and only 3 ingredients!)
- Buttermilk Blue Cheese Potatoes
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Heavenly Funeral Potatoes
- Rosemary Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes
Tools You’ll Need for This Recipe
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