This recipe for Homemade Mashed Potatoes is the ultimate recipe for preparing creamy, buttery, fluffy, classic mashed potatoes. The results are truly perfect.
Mashed potatoes are an all-American, classic side dish that is a must for Sunday dinners and of course for the holidays.
But when I want buttery, creamy, classic Mashed Potatoes, this is the recipe I turn to!
There is nothing fancy or complicated about this recipe for classic mashed potatoes. But by following a few key "chef tricks," they never turn out lumpy, gummy, or flavorless.
Instead, this recipe produces perfect homemade mashed potatoes, that are always smooth, flavorful, and fluffy.
Notes on Ingredients
- Potatoes: Choose a starchy potato, like Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes. This is not the time to use waxy white or red potatoes, which are best used in dishes like smashed potatoes or roasted red potatoes.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter to control the sodium content. You can use a dairy-free butter replacement, but the flavor will not be as rich.
- Milk: Use any fat percentage of milk you like, you can even opt to use cream or half and half. Keep in mind that the higher the fat content of your milk or cream, the richer, and more luxurious your mashed potatoes will be.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream may sound like an odd addition, but the tanginess of the sour cream finishes off these potatoes perfectly. It also helps to keep them light and fluffy. Reduced-fat sour cream is fine to use, but do not use fat-free sour cream as the flavor is not as good.
- Optional Additions: These mashed potatoes are classically delicious. But if desired, you can add grated parmesan, fresh herbs, garlic powder, or roasted garlic to further season your mashed potatoes.
∗ 5 Secrets to Perfect Mashed Potatoes ∗
With this easy mashed potato recipe and a few chef secrets, you are well on your way to making the best homemade mashed potatoes.
- Cook Potatoes Evenly. 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.
- 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! It is best to steam the cooked potatoes over low heat to evaporate the excess liquid. This will let potato flavor really shine through and you won't be left with watered-down mashed potatoes.
- Do Not use a Mixer. If you want to avoid gummy and tough mashed potatoes, skip mashing your potatoes with a handheld or stand mixer. This overworks the starch in the potatoes, turning them into a gummy mess. Instead, use a ricer, food mill, or handheld potato masher to mash up the potatoes into a smooth consistency. Trust me, this extra step is well worth the outcome!
- Add Warm Liquid. You do not want to add cold butter or cold milk to your potatoes, as this can cause them to seize up a bit. Instead add warm milk and melted butter, which will allow the potatoes to absorb the delicious flavor while staying light and fluffy.
- Add Sour Cream. The sour cream will help to keep your mashed potatoes especially light and creamy and give the potatoes a bit of a tangy flavor which will help cut through the richness of the added butter and cream.
How to Make the Best Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Keeping the tips above in mind, you are now ready to make perfect mashed potatoes.
- Wash, peel, and cube the potatoes into 1-inch-sized chunks.
- Place the potatoes into a large, heavy-bottomed stock pan and cover them with cold tap water so they are fully submerged and covered by about 1 inch of water.
- Heavily salt the water. Don't be tempted to skip this step, potatoes need a lot of salt to enhance their flavor!
- Bring the water to a rapid boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer the potatoes until fork-tender and nearly falling apart.
- Drain off the cooking liquid and return the potatoes to the hot pan.
- Place the drained potatoes back into the hot pan and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until all of the water has evaporated.
- Using a hand-held potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth. Alternatively, transfer the potatoes to a ricer and rice the potatoes over a large mixing bowl.
- Either in a small saucepan over low heat or in a heat-safe glass measuring cup, gently warm the milk and butter together until the butter is melted.
- Add the mixture to the mashed potatoes and fold into the potatoes until creamy.
- Fold the sour cream into the mashed potatoes. At this time, you can also opt to add in grated parmesan, fresh herbs, garlic powder, or roasted garlic to further season your mashed potatoes.
- Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter and top with additional butter if desired.
How much Mashed Potatoes should you make?
As a side dish, you should plan on ½ 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.
Keeping Mashed Potatoes Warm for Serving
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 stir the potatoes every few minutes to keep the heat evenly distributed. You can hold your potatoes warm like this for up to 1 hour.
Storing Leftover Mashed Potatoes
You can store leftover mashed potatoes in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. But you can also freeze prepared Mashed Potatoes for up to 2 months.
To freeze leftover mashed potatoes, allow them to cool and then place them in a 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 the foil, stir, and add 1-2 tablespoons of additional milk. Cover again with foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Keep in mind leftover mashed potatoes are fabulous in dishes like Pierogi Lasagna, Potato Cakes, or Thanksgiving Egg Rolls as well! Or you can replace the tater tots in Tater Tot Casserole with leftover mashed potatoes for a quick and easy version of Shepherd's Pie.
Mashed Potatoes are the perfect holiday side dish served alongside, Baked Ham, New York Strip Roast, or Instant Pot Turkey Breast. However, don't just reserve these mashed potatoes for the holidays! They also pair well with Chopped Steaks, Chicken Marsala, Instant Pot Short Ribs, Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon, or Honey Garlic Pork Chops for a comforting weeknight meal.
More Favorite Potato Recipes
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
- Homemade Oven Fries
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- Homemade Scalloped Potatoes
Be sure to leave a comment and rating below if you tried out this recipe for Mashed Potatoes.
Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- 3 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes scrubbed clean
- 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- ¾ cup half and half or milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup sour cream
- Peel and cube the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Place the into a large stock pan and cover them with cold tap water. Salt the water with 3 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Over high heat, bring the potatoes to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (the chunks should fall apart easily when pieced with a fork.) This will take between 15-20 minutes.
- 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.
- Run potatoes through a food mill or ricer or mash with a handheld potato masher until potatoes are smooth.
- 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 ½ teaspoon salt as needed.
This post was originally published in 2017.