Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Everybody seems to have their favorite way of making mashed potatoes. Some cook them with the peel on, some without. Some add a little of the cooking water to the mashed potatoes for extra starch. I have found that the single thing that makes the biggest difference for making perfect creamy, heavenly potatoes is the type of potatoes you use.

Most people use starchy Russets for mashed potatoes. With their high starch and low water content, they’re good for baking, for making French fries, and for mashing. Here’s my secret though—even better than Russets for mashing are Yukon Golds. They’re a little more expensive than Russets, but worth it. They’re naturally creamy when mashed, never mealy, and have a slightly buttery flavor all on their own. Yukon golds make the most perfectly creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

From the recipe archive, first posted 2005.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Always put potatoes in cold water to start, then bring to a boil. That way the potatoes cook more evenly.



  • 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 1 Tbsp milk (or more)
  • Salt and Pepper

Recommended equipment—a potato masher


1 Place the peeled and cut potatoes into a medium saucepan. Add cold water to the pan until the potatoes are covered by at least an inch. Add a half teaspoon of salt to the water. Turn the heat on to high, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke through them with a fork.

2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and warm the cream. You can heat them together in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.

3 When the potatoes are done, drain the water and place the steaming hot potatoes into a large bowl. Pour the heated cream and melted butter over the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Then use a strong wooden spoon (a metal spoon might bend) to beat further. Add milk and beat until the mashed potatoes are smooth. Don't over-beat the potatoes or the mashed potatoes will end up gluey.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Perfect Mashed Potatoes

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Showing 4 of 92 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Oh how I wish I could find Yukon Gold in this country where they haven’t really got a clue to what a GOOD potato is like! Italy has the supremacy over my native country Sweden on a lot of things but we sure know the importance of nice potatoes better than they! Once I was offered fantastic mashed potatoes when I visited an acquaintance living in the mountains close to where I live but that’s the ONLY time in my Italian history….

  • Carl

    This is pretty my my recipe as well – delicious, aren’t they? Two tricks I use: first, I drain the potatoes and return them to the still-hot pot while I heat the butter and cream – the extra minute in the pot dries them a bit and they absorb the fats better. And second, I run them thru my ricer into the mashing bowl, which really helps de-lump quickly. Still use my masher to integrate the butter, milk, and cream though.

  • Jeff

    Not bad. Personally, I like to skip the heavy cream and use a combination of sour cream and cream cheese. I also toss a few cloves of garlic in with the potatoes (while cooking) – then just leave it in and mash it up when they are cooked :)

  • veronica

    You know, I’ve been eating mashed potatoes for over 50 years and I love russets. Whether you mash, boil, fry, or bake, you can’t beat them for flavor and versatility. Although I do suggest a waxier potato for a salad, I believe that for the money, russets are a much better potato for all-round use. If you think they are a little dry, you simply didn’t add enough liquid.

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