These are the most perfect mashed potatoes. They are creamy, fluffy, buttery–everything you want in mashed potatoes! Find out the secrets that will help you make the best mashed potatoes!
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
I don’t know about you, but the holidays would not be complete without mashed potatoes!
But if the mashed potatoes aren’t light and fluffy–forget it! I don’t want them.
There is nothing worse than lumpy, gummy, flavorless mashed potatoes.
Let me share with you 5 tips that will help you achieve mashed potatoes that are fluffy, light, creamy, buttery–everything you crave in a recipe for mashed potatoes!
5 Secrets to Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Secret #1: Cook Potatoes Evenly
The first step to achieving really great mashed potatoes, is going to sound obvious. BUT, it is one that is easily overlooked–especially when in a hurry!
It is really important to dice your potatoes into equal size chunks and to begin the cooking process with cold water. This will ensure that the potatoes all cook evenly and will be fork tender at the same time.
If you have randomly sized pieces of potatoes, the smaller potatoes will become water logged and mushy in the time it takes the larger potatoes to cook through.
Secret #2: Get rid of Excess Moisture
After your potatoes have cooked through, you need to drain off the cooking liquid.
But draining off the water is not enough!
Instead, place the drained potatoes back into the hot pan and cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until all of the water has evaporated. This will let potato flavor really shine through and you won’t be left with watered down mashed potatoes.
Secret #3: Do Not use a Mixer
If you want to avoid gummy and tough mashed potatoes, skip mashing your potatoes with a hand held or stand mixer. This overworks the starch in the potatoes, turning them into a gummy mess.
Secret #4: Add it Warm Liquid
Once your potatoes have been mashed, you want to stir in the cream and butter. But you do not want to add in cold butter or cold milk. This can cause the potatoes to seize up a bit.
Instead, gently warm up your milk and butter on the stove or in the microwave and then add to the potatoes. By adding in warmed milk and melted butter, the potatoes absorb that delicious flavor while staying light and fluffy.
Secret #5: Add Flavor
At this point, your mashed potatoes are great. But if you want memorable mashed potatoes, now is the time to add in some flavor.
I always finish my mashed potatoes with a generous scoop of sour cream. The sour cream adds creaminess, richness, and a bit of tang that makes these mashed potatoes incredible.
You can also add in freshly grated Parmesan, fresh herbs, or roasted garlic for additional flavor.
FAQs about Mashed Potatoes
Which potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?
For creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes, you want to choose a starchy potato like Russet or Yukon Gold. And peel the potatoes for the creamiest mashed potato recipe. Red and white potato varieties are waxier and therefore best used for smashed or roasted potatoes.
How much Mashed Potatoes should you make?
As a side dish, you should plan on 1/2 pound of potatoes per person. That means if you are planning on 10 people, use 5 pounds of potatoes. 4 people, use 2 pounds of potatoes.
Can you Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
YES! Prepared Mashed Potatoes can be frozen for up to 2 months.
To freeze leftover mashed potatoes, allow to cool then place in freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat frozen mashed potatoes, place frozen mashed potatoes in a casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil, stir, and add in 1-2 tablespoons additional milk. Cover again with foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.
How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm?
To keep your potatoes warm until serving, simply set the bowl of prepared mashed potatoes over a pot of simmering water–sort of like a double boiler. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and give the potatoes a stir every few minutes to keep the heat evenly distributed. You can hold your potatoes warm like this for up to 1 hour.
Leftover Mashed Potatoes?
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- 3 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes scrubbed clean
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 3/4 cup half and half or milk
- 3 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Peel and cube the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place into a large stock pan and cover with water. Salt the water with 2 teaspoons kosher salt.
- Bring the potatoes to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (the chunks should fall apart easily when pieced with a fork.)
- Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pan. Place over low heat and simmer until all the moisture has evaporated–about 1-2 minutes.
- Heat the half and half or milk and butter together in a small saucepan or in the microwave, until the butter is melted. Slowly fold the warm milk into the potatoes and mix until absorbed and creamy.
- Stir in the sour cream if using and serve. Taste and season with additional 1/2 teaspoon salt as needed.
- Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes are best for creamy mashed potatoes.
- Half and half is best for the most rich luscious mashed potatoes, but milk of any fat percentage can be used if desired.
- Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes: Use vegetable stock in place of milk and use a vegan butter in place of butter. Omit sour cream.
- Low Fat Mashed Potatoes: Use evaporated milk or skim milk in place of cream and decrease butter to only 1 tablespoon. Use low fat sour cream.