Perfect Mashed Potatoes

VideoHolidayVegetarianMashed Potatoes

Want the creamiest mashed potatoes? Use Yukon Gold potatoes, lots of butter, and cream. This recipe makes the best mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any holiday 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.

Video! How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Yukon Golds Make The Best Mashed Potatoes

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.

Three Yukon Gold Potatoes on White Surface

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.

A show bowl with Thanksgiving mashed potatoes inside.

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.

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Updated November 15, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  • 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.

This recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (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 Cook the potatoes: 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 Prep the butter and 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 and mash the potatoes: 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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191 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Brittany

    Thank you! My potatoes turned out great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Cheryl

    I am 54 and even though I cook a lot, I have only made homemade mashed potatoes once…when I was about 20. I wasn’t impressed. So I’ve been using instant every since but was nostalgic for some homemade creamed potatoes like my grandma used to make. This recipe nailed it! I didn’t even add butter after I reheated leftovers tonight. They are perfect as per the recipe. I will be making these a thousand times over. Thanks and happy new year!

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Jeffrey

    Awesome recipe, Elise! Thank you for all of your great recipes!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. MaryAnn

    Delivered homemade Thanksgiving dinners to 3 households. Everyone raved about these potatoes! This will be my recipe from now on and have the Yukon Golds etc ready for making tomorrow. Just perfectly delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Jeff Murty

    Simply perfect!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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A show bowl with Thanksgiving mashed potatoes inside.Perfect Mashed Potatoes