Knowing how to make mashed potatoes from scratch is a recipe every home cook needs in their kitchen skill set, and this easy recipe shows how to make the best creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes every time.
The Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
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 works every single 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 a only a couple of easy tricks you need to master to get a great mashed potato to complete any meal. After years of mashed potato making, I’ve figured them out, and that’s why I’m adding my mashed potato recipe to the internet today.
Homemade Mashed Potatoes From Scratch
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
There are a variety of different potatoes you can use to make homemade mashed potatoes that will raise all result in different textures and results. The best potato for mashed potatoes is a starchy potato, and that’s why I choose Yukon golds for the most luscious, creamy mashed potatoes.
Avoid using waxy potatoes like red potatoes or whites, which result in a pasty mash since they need to be creamed more to achieve the desired texture.
How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes
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 ‘til totally tender. Completely cover the potatoes with water, about 1/2 inch above the potatoes. Once the potatoes have come to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt to flavor the potatoes as they cook. Cook your potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are very easily pierced with a fork and the skin easily pulls away from the potato where cut.
Wipe the skin away. Drain the potatoes, then use paper towels to wipe or scrub off the potato skin while still hot. I use a fork to rotate the potato as I wipe since these are literally hot potatoes. This method makes it incredibly easy to for the skin to wipe away yet keep their flavor, so long as your potatoes are cooked enough.
see more: 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
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.
Add 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 get a tasty mashed potato but always have a few potato chunks.
That’s why I’ve returned to my potato roots and use an electric hand mixer just like my mom and grandma used to do. I still use my mom’s trick of setting the pot of potatoes in the sink to whip them, so the hand mixer doesn’t send potato particles across the kitchen.
How to Make Them 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
What You Can Add to Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted garlic
- Cheddar cheese, gorgonzola, or blue cheese (I love this recipe)
- Chopped green onion
- Caramelized onion
Can I Make This Mashed Potatoes Recipe 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 with 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 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 the lower temp is the key to keeping your microwaved potatoes pastey-free.
Reheat mashed potatoes in the oven: Place the potatoes in an even layer and warm 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, about 3 hours. Add to the crock pot and set on low for 3 hours, stirring once or twice as they reheat.
Tips for Making the Best Mashers
It’s important that you salt the water the potatoes cook in. This flavors the potatoes themselves and prevents you from having to add in 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 adding extra salt — you don’t want them to turn out too salty!
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, and are 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
The Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 4 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup half and half or cream, or milk
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- chives minced
- Scrub the potatoes clean and add to a deep pot. Completely cover the potatoes with water, about 1/2 inch above the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil and add 1/2 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 1/2 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 Too
- 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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