The BEST mashed potatoes are rich and creamy, easy to make, and make the perfect side dish! Use our tips for a foolproof recipe!
If there is one classic side dish that I turn to time and again, it is this homemade mashed potatoes recipe! This recipe always makes such creamy mashed potatoes that are hands-down my most made side dish. I love them with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter favorites of turkey and ham, especially with a drizzle of gravy!
Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
What You’ll Love About This Recipe
Delicious flavor. The flavor of the buttery potatoes shines through in this family-favorite recipe.
Easy recipe. Peel, boil, mash, add warm butter and milk, and seasonings, and serve. That’s it! No blender, food mill, food processor, or electric mixer is needed!
Best side dish. Perfect for Sunday suppers and holidays, but easy enough for weeknights!
Table of Contents
- Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- How to Make Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Potato Ingredients and Substitutes
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Make Ahead Instructions
- How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
- How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Can You Peel Potatoes Ahead of Time to Make Mashed Potatoes?
- Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potato Ingredients and Substitutes
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.
My easy recipe only requires five basic ingredients. I’ve included a few variations that you may enjoy in the post as well as in the recipe notes.
- Potatoes – I love to use Yukon Gold potatoes. You can also use Russet potatoes. See my discussion on the difference between these potatoes.
- Salt – You’ll use salt twice in this recipe. Once in the water as the potatoes are cooking, then as a seasoning at the end.
- Butter – Use salted or unsalted butter or Ghee based on your preference. If dairy-free, use vegan butter.
- Milk – I love to use whole milk or half and half. You can use 2% or, if dairy-free, your favorite dairy-free milk.
- Black Pepper – I use freshly ground black pepper. You can also use white pepper if you prefer.
Prep and Cook the Potatoes
After scrubbing and peeling the potatoes, I cut them into 2-inch cubes, place them in a large pot or Dutch oven, and cover them with cold water, plus about ½ inch more. I cook them over medium heat until they come to a full boil. Add the salt, then reduce the heat, and let them simmer for about 15 minutes until they are fork-tender.
Drain the water off of the potatoes, return the pan back to the stove, and heat on medium-high just until the excess moisture has evaporated. This takes about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let your potatoes burn.
Heat the Butter and Milk for the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes
You never want to add cold ingredients to hot potatoes. While the potatoes are re-heating, I melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. I then add my milk, salt, and pepper to the melted butter and heat until warm. Do not boil. I set this aside then while I mash my potatoes.
Mash the Potatoes Until Creamy
I use a potato masher since I’ve found I can get the smoothest and best consistency of my potatoes with one. Once I have thoroughly mashed the potatoes, I slowly pour half the milk and butter mixture and stir until it is all mixed well. Then I slowly, just a little at a time, stir in just enough of the remaining milk and butter mixture until I have a perfect consistency – light, fluffy, and creamy!
Variations You May Enjoy:
Sour cream mashed potatoes – stir in 1/2 cup sour cream to add a tangy flavor that reminds you of a baked potato topped with sour cream!
Cream cheese mashed potatoes – add 1/2 cup softened cream cheese to add just a hint of something different. They are delicious and a little indulgent.
Garlic mashed potatoes – add two cloves garlic (minced) to the saucepan with your butter and milk as it heats.
Herbed mashed potatoes – stir freshly chopped thyme, rosemary, or chopped chives before serving.
Boursin Mashed Potatoes – a “fancy” mashed potatoes recipe that I shared years ago. If you love Boursin cheese, you will love this one.
Slow cooker garlic mashed potatoes – Perfect for busy days!
Make Ahead Instructions
I like to make a full recipe so that I may have leftovers for later. I also make this recipe ahead of time, especially during the holiday rush.
To store. Cool and transfer to an airtight, microwave, oven-safe container. It should keep well for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
My homemade mashed potatoes freeze beautifully.
To freeze. Cool and transfer into a freezer-safe container, remove as much air as possible, and then seal. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Freeze individual portions. Scoop individual portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly cover with freezer-safe wrap and place into the freezer until the potatoes are frozen. Overnight works best. Place the individual portions into the freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
When ready to serve, remove the container from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before mealtime. Stir more milk or cream and add a bit more butter on top of the potatoes. Reheat them in a 350º F oven for about 25 minutes or until warmed throughout. So delicious!
From frozen. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, follow the reheating directions above.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Potatoes Do You Need Per Person for Mashed Potatoes?
The suggested serving size for potatoes is 1/2 pound per person. My recipe is written for 10 servings, which can easily be scaled based on the number of servings you need. Realize that many people will put more than 1/2 pound on their plate. I make the full recipe, so I have leftovers to use or freeze.
1/2 pound per person X 10 servings = 5 pounds of potatoes
What are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
Russet potatoes are considered high-starch potatoes, while Yukon golds are medium-starch.
The amount of starch in a potato influences the final texture of the mashed potatoes. Yukon Golds make a denser, super creamy mashed potato, while russets will give you a super light and fluffy version.
Can You Peel Potatoes Ahead of Time to Make Mashed Potatoes?
Yes! Peeling the potatoes in advance is a great time saver. Peel the potatoes and place them in cold, unsalted water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. To keep them from browning, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per gallon of water. I like to go ahead and prep my potatoes by peeling and cubing them and storing them in the refrigerator in my Dutch oven until I am ready to cook them. When you are ready to cook the potatoes, pour off the water, cover them with fresh water, and cook as directed.
Here is The BEST Mashed Potatoes Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!
Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and then dice into 2-inch cubes. Cover with fresh, cold water plus about 1-inch. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain away the water and return the potatoes to medium-high heat to remove all of the excess water from the potatoes, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the milk or half and half, salt and black pepper. Allow the mixture to warm, but never reach a boil. Remove from the heat until you mash your potatoes.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until all have been well mashed. Then, slowly pour in the half of the milk and butter mixture. Carefully stir in the milk mixture until it is well incorporated. Add more of the milk mixture, being sure to only add enough for the mashed potatoes to be light, fluffy, and creamy and to the desired consistency.
- Serve with additional butter, salt, pepper and any additional toppings you prefer.
Make Ahead InstructionsI like to make a full recipe so that I may have leftovers for later. I also make this recipe ahead of time, especially during the holiday rush. To store. Transfer cooled mashed potatoes to an airtight, microwave, oven-safe container. It should keep well for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze Mashed PotatoesYou can easily freeze mashed potatoes as well. To freeze. Place cooled mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe container, remove as much air as possible and then seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze individual portions. Scoop individual portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly cover with freezer-safe wrap and place into the freezer until the potatoes are frozen. Overnight works best. Place the individual portions into the freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat Mashed PotatoesWhen ready to serve, remove the container from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before mealtime. Stir more milk or cream and add a bit more butter on top of the potatoes. Reheat them in a 350º F oven for about 25 minutes or until warmed throughout. So delicious! From frozen. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, follow the reheating directions above.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.