Perfect Mashed Potatoes

HolidayVegetarianMashed Potato

These heavenly mashed potatoes are made using buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, cream, butter, milk, salt, and pepper. This is a classic recipe, perfect for Thanksgiving, Easter, and everything in between!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Three Yukon Gold Potatoes on White Surface

Use Yukon golds

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.

How to make creamy mashed potatoes

Tips for the best mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are essentially an easy dish, but we’ve found a few tips and tricks that ensure the best potatoes ever:

  • Start cooking the potatoes in cold water: This ensures that the potatoes cook evenly. Otherwise, if you start with hot or boiling water, the outsides of the potatoes cook and soften while the middles are still hard and crunchy.
  • Warm the butter and cream: This might seem like a fussy step, but it’s worth it. Warm butter and cream will blend more easily into the warm potatoes, making them creamier and softer.
  • Use a potato masher: If your potatoes are cooked properly and the butter and cream are warm, you should have no problem mashing your potatoes into a creamy consistency with just a potato masher. Avoid using a blender or food processor; this can make your potatoes gluey.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Can you reheat mashed potatoes?

Yes! You can even make ahead and freeze mashed potatoes. Just make sure that you don’t skimp on the butter or cream. It’s the fat that helps the potatoes reheat well.

Our favorite way to reheat mashed potatoes is to just put them in the microwave (covered) for a couple minutes, and then give them a good stir before serving.

You can also put them in a slow cooker (a couple hours on low), or reheat in the oven or on the stovetop. Just stir occasionally, and add more butter and seasoning if needed to serve.

More Favorite Potato Side Dish Recipes

Updated April 12, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

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.

Ingredients

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

Special equipment:

Method

1 Cover peeled, cut potatoes with cold, salted water, simmer until tender: 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 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 the potatoes with a fork.

2 Melt butter, warm cream: 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 Drain cooked potatoes, mash with butter, cream, milk: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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147 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jessica

    For some reason I always thought you needed a ton of butter, salt, garlic, chives, and who knows what else to make good mashed potatoes. Probably because I was trying to make russets taste good, lol! These are the BEST, SIMPLEST mashed potatoes. It’s all in the potato you choose! LOVE THEM. Aptly named, “perfect mashed potatoes!”

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Billie

    I have been making mashed potatoes forever. Sometimes they turn out the way I want to, other times not so much! This is my favorite mash yet. Especially with the roasted garlic. Heaven on a plate!!! Only used more butter. You do not need to change a thing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Jill

    My first time making homemade mashed potatoes! Turned out delicious. My husband asked if I can make these same ones with garlic. Any suggestions on how much to add?

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. John Meyer

    Given the number of recipes you post that use the Insta-Pot, I’d suggest you try the following.

    1. Use traditional Russet potatoes.

    2. Peel and then cut each potato into 4-8 chunks. Don’t make the pieces too small.

    3. Put about one inch of water in the pressure cooker.

    4. Put potatoes in a steamer basket and put that into the pressure cooker. The potatoes should not touch the water.

    5. Bring the pressure cooker to 15 psi, and start the timer when the steam begins to hiss.

    6. Cook for six minutes.

    7. Turn off the heat and let stand for another six minutes. I use a stove-top pressure cooker and it does a great job retaining pressure. If your pressure cooker loses pressure quickly, you may have to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

    8. Release remaining pressure.

    9. Remove potatoes from cooker and let stand in the steamer basket for a minute to let excess steam escape.

    10. Put the potatoes through a food mill.

    11. Add 2 T. melted butter for each potato. Use spatula to combine butter with potatoes until the potatoes are fully coated. It is important to have the fat on the potatoes before adding the liquid.

    12. Add heated milk (I use skim since the butter adds the richness) until you get whatever consistency you find pleasing.

    It took me several years to perfect this and, for me, it has been a total game changer. The pressure-steam cooking provides a far fluffier and tastier result. Steaming avoids the “water-logged” consistency and flavor that you get if the potatoes are boiled in the water. The food mill creates a much more consistent results with no lumps. It also avoids any hint of pastiness that sometimes happens with other methods that tend to beat the potatoes (whatever you do, NEVER put mashed potatoes in a food processor).

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Chris

    These were delicious! I ended up adding quite a bit of milk but that’s probably because I used sour cream in place of cream!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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