Best Mashed Potatoes

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If there ever was a side dish that should be deemed the king or queen of all side dishes, this would probably be the one.

Achieving the perfect potato side dish isn’t hard to achieve, but there are a few techniques that we strongly recommend you follow to get the fluffiest, lightest, creamiest, most buttery spuds on the planet. Dishes such as Best-Ever Meatloaf, Ale-Braised Bratwurst, Instant Pot Braciole, and of course, the Perfect Turkey just wouldn’t be the same without them!  Here we go!

A large circular bowl filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter on top.

How To Make Mashed Potatoes

Homemade mashed potatoes are not difficult to make at all.

We’ve got the tips to make this truly the best mashed potato recipe you will ever try.

 

Selecting the Right Potato

We’re often asked, “what are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?”

There are two types of potatoes, those that are ‘waxy’ such as red potatoes. Then there are starchy potatoes, such as the ubiquitous russet.

EXPERT TIP: Our favorite potatoes for mashed potatoes are gold potatoes, such as Yukon gold. They are closer to russet, but we find the taste and texture is just perfect. Russets are perfectly fine to use, too, but we don’t recommend using a waxy potato, such a red.

We peel the potatoes and then cut them into approximately 1-inch cubes. Place them in your pot and then add enough cool water to cover the spuds by about 1 inch.

Water being poured from a 10-cup measuring cup into a pot of cubed potatoes.

The Tools You Will Need

Once the cubed potatoes have simmered in the salted water for 15 minutes, they will be ready to mash.

There are several methods for mashing the cooked potatoes. First, you can use a standard hand masher, that’s common, and will still yield delicious potatoes.

EXPERT TIP: Here is the most important tip for this recipe: Using a potato ricer or a food mill will give you incredibly fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes. They both perform the same task and force the cooked potatoes through small holes that create a texture that allows the potatoes to be light yet creamy. The bonus for a food mill is that you don’t have to peel the potatoes. We used a ricer for this version, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

NOTE: Never place the cooked potatoes in a food processor or blender. They will become a gummy mess on not desirable.

Cooked gold potatoes being passed through a ricer into a glass bowl.

Okay, now, let’s keep going with the super important tips:

After you have passed the cooked potatoes through your ricer or food mill, it’s time to add the butter! 1 cup (2 sticks) may seem like a lot, but the best mashed potatoes are buttery! And believe us, 4 lbs of potatoes can handle a good amount of butter.

EXPER TIP: Always add the melted butter to the potatoes BEFORE you add the cream. Use a large wooden spoon to mix the butter into the potatoes, which will allow the butter to adhere to the starch. The result means a delicious buttery taste with every bite.

Melted butter being poured from a small glass bowl into another large bowl filled with cooked gold potatoes.

Next, it’s time to add the cream.

Make sure you heat the cream. We love using half-and-half, which is part milk and part cream. For extra luxurious potatoes, go with all heavy cream.

EXPERT TIP: Add the heated cream in stages, and stir until you’ve reached your desired consistency. For thicker potatoes, you’ll need about 1¼ cup of the cream, for creamier potatoes, go with 1¾ cups.

Warm cream being poured into a large bowl filled with mashed potatoes.

Reviewing the Key Steps for Making the Best Mashed Potatoes

There are lots of ways to make homemade mashed potatoes, but we find if you employ the following steps, you’ll get the fluffiest, most delicious potatoes ever:

  1. Use gold or russet potatoes (we prefer Yukon gold).
  2. Simmer cubed potatoes in salted water until just soft enough to easily pierce with a knife (15 mins after brought to a simmer)
  3. Use a potato ricer or food mill to ‘shred’ the potatoes.
  4. Mix the melted butter into the potatoes BEFORE adding the cream.
  5. Make sure the cream is warmed before mixing in.
  6. Add salt in increments until the desired seasoning is reached.

Add more butter on top when serving, for extra flavor and a beautiful presentation. We add a few grinds of fresh black pepper, too.

A white serving bowl filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter and ground black pepper on top.

Tips for Making Ahead

When you’re making your gameplan for preparing the big feast, it’s always great to be able to prepare components of the meal ahead of time.

This side dish is the perfect one to make ahead of time.

EXPERT TIP: Make the potatoes as written up to 6 or 8 hours in advance. We find the best way to reheat them is to place them into a pot that will fit into a larger pot filled with simmering water. Bring the water to a simmer about an hour before serving.  If the potatoes are chilled, it may take closer to 2 hours go get them to the right temperature.  Stir the potatoes every now and then. They can also be reheated in a large skillet on the stove, but be careful, overheating them can dry them out. Even nuking them in the microwave is an option. But the submerged pot in simmering water works perfectly for us.

A large wooden spoon holding up a big helping of creamy mashed potatoes.

I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone not liking a bowl of warm, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.

Now, you can serve this iconic dish with confidence and ease.

And get ready for lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’!

A bowl of mashed potatoes with melted butter on top and a bottle of cream nearby.

Ready to make the best bowl of mashies in the world? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A large circular bowl filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter on top.

Best Mashed Potatoes

The Best Mashed Potatoes really are the best mashed potatoes in town. We highly recommend using a potato ricer or food mill to get extra fluffy and creamy spuds. See Notes for tips on making in advance and storing.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American / French
Keyword: best mashed potatoes recipe, how to make homemade mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving side dish recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 358kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot for simmering, potato ricer or food mill

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs gold potatoes peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter melted, 2 sticks
  • cup half and half heated
  • black pepper freshly ground, optional

Instructions

  • Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot and cover with cool tap water.  Season the water with 1 tbsp salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. 
  • Drain the potatoes.  Pass the potatoes through the ricer or food mill into a large bowl. 
  • Slowly mix in the melted butter until fully incorporated into the potatoes.
  • Gradually stir in the warmed half and half until desired consistency is reached.  Less cream if you prefer thicker potatoes, more if you prefer creamier spuds. 
  • Season with salt, usually 2½ teaspoons.  Taste as you salt until you reach the desired seasoning. 
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and top with another pad or two of chilled butter.  Top with freshly ground pepper, if desired.  Serve at once. 

Video

Notes

Russet potatoes are a fine substitution for the gold.  We don't recommend red potatoes.
If using a ricer, you'll need to peel the potatoes.  If using a food mill, still cube the potatoes, but there's no need to peel the potatoes.
Make sure you incorporate the melted butter into the potatoes before adding the warmed cream.
We use half and half, but you can use all heavy cream for an extra luxurious taste and texture.  All whole milk is just fine, too.  We don't recommend skim milk or milk substitutes, but it won't ruin the potatoes if you do go that route.
You can prepare the potatoes up to 8 hours in advance of serving.  We like to gently reheat them by placing them in a pot that will fit into another pot of simmering water.  They'll need to be in the simmering water for at least an hour to be warmed throughout.  Don't fill the outer pan to the top with water...you don't want it to overflow any hot water when simmering.
You can reheat the potatoes on the stove, but be careful to not overdo it and dry them out.  Nuking them in the microwave is an option, too.
The potatoes will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.  They freeze just fine but will lose some of the fluffy texture when thawed and reheated. 

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 717IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

15 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Just made this for our second Thanksgiving…kids were elsewhere and are getting here today. Holy mackerel…I had to stop myself from eating them as I was tasting them (for seasoning purposes). This recipe will be my go to from here on out!!

    • We LOVE that you have a second Thanksgiving with the kids. That is a beautiful thing! We are so happy you had such great success with the potatoes and we hope your Thanksgiving (both of them) was beautiful. Kris & Wesley

  • I can’t say thank you enough … not only do you provide me with delicious recipes & tips to make them over the top, but you entertain me as well. I am delighted when I see your email arrive. Bless you both & being Thanksgiving I give thanks for you two!
    Hugs, Bliss

    • Suzanne, we can’t thank YOU enough!! Thank you sooooo much, that truly means the world to us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please stay in touch! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Made your mashed potatoes and flavor was perfect…genius to add all of the butter prior to liquid. If I double amount of potatoes for large dinner party, would you recommending doubling all other ingredients as well? Many thanks! Barb

    • Hi Barb! We are so glad you enjoyed the mashed potatoes! We have to agree…they’re pretty spectacular!! And if you double the recipe, definitely go ahead and double all ingredients. Thanks again for the great review. That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Just me again! I am the mashed potato cooker of the family. I do a nice job with them. You are correct in saying two sticks of butter is the key. I never have tried warming the butter and heavy cream before mashing, but FANTASTIC! They were just a little lighter and less dense with the same yummy flavor. Have to once in awhile add in a pinch of garlic powder while boiling. Way to go and thank for teaching me something new. Again, you guys always make me look like a better chef than I really am. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will keep reading all of your recipes as they come into my email. Slow cooker brisket is on the menu this week with your ultimate Mac and Cheese. Then maybe Weight Watchers next week lol

    • Hi Diane!!! We are honored that the official mashed potato family cook gave us the thumbs up on our version!! We know you are an amazing home chef!!! Thanks for your continued support and keep us posted with you wonderful adventures in the kitchen!! We love it!!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Hi guys, I just wanted to say I’m going to try the ricer next time I make my mashed potatoes. Also, my daughter taught me to put some cloves of garlic in the water when you boil the potatoes. Then mash them in with the potatoes, plus she adds sour cream to them also when she mashes them. They are so good.

    Thanks for the video,
    Barbara Richmond

    PS : Now I’m hungry for them.

    • Hi Barbara! Cloves in the water is a great idea! We sometime mix roasted garlic into the mashed potatoes! LOL!! We’re hungry for them, too!! Thanks so much for the great review! We truly appreciate that!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I thought I made great mashed potatoes but you gave some fabulous tips to improve them. The texture looks like my grandmother’s creamed potatoes, and those were the best in the world and a formative experience in my world! I would add two of my own tips – I cook in chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor, and instead of all half and half, I add some sour cream, organic European style preferably (Wallaby brand is best), and that makes the potatoes over the top!!

    • Hi Sarah!! That all sounds heavenly!! Nothing much better than Grandmother’s mashies, right? Your version sounds delish! Let us know if you give our version a try and what you think. And thanks for the GREAT review! We truly appreciate that so very much!! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    DISCLAIMER: I give this 5 stars without even trying it. I’ve given up on making mashed potatoes and “just” do gnocchi instead because I feel I mastered that – which is considered a lot harder to do. Our friends tell me they love my gnocchi, but when I explain I can’t make good mashed potatoes they look at me like I’m a goofball that can’t even cook as well as Waffle House … (I prefer Waffle House over my cooking breakfast any day … but it’s still embarrassing).
    What you guys say makes a lot of sense, so I’m POSITIVE I’ve learned a lot from your technique(s) in making the simple mashed potato. Thus my 5 star review without even trying it.

    • P.S. – I love this tip because it confirms what I always believed about you guys. As you claimed here, Wesley works “so hard” in the kitchen but Chris loves the spotlight and talks all the credit.
      Wesley, you are a foodie after my own heart. Work, work, slave slave over the stove, add butter, butter and let the other guy do the talking. You know what’s important …. lots of good food, butter and Cuervo and a happy partner.

    • Wow! Thanks so much, Cobia! Gnocchi is a pretty awesome thing to master!! Now you can master mashed potatoes, too!! Let us know if you make them and what you think! And thanks SO MUCH for the awesome review!! That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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