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If adding salt to water for cooking, always add it once the water is hot. This makes sure you are cooking in salt water, not in water that slowly heats. And I’m not some condescending guy. Certified culinarian and professional chef for 15 yrs.
Everything is great except eith Yukon golds, the skin is pretty thin and edible. I find it makes way better mashed potatoes if you don’t peel them
I am not a experienced cook, but trying to learn the art cooking. This was one of my first recipes I tried. The potatoes turned out Exceptional! Still my favorite mashed potatoes. Perfect as the name implies…
Easy for a beginner cook and good thrown together with an egg. Yummm
The only way to make Mashed Potatoes for me. So perfectly delicious and fluffy. I use Yukon Gold when available… by far the best for mashers.
There is no denying that Gold Yukon’s are excellent for mashed potatoes, however they can be hard or impossible to find and even be more expensive. We usually get them as a special thing for Thanksgiving. But what we have found that in our opinion is even better, is reasonably priced and seems to be available all the time is Klondike Rose. They are cross between a yellow and red potato, both of which are excellent for mashed potatoes. It’s all about the starch to water ratio in the potatoes. We prefer skins on and if you cook them right, you can just use a big spoon, no need for the unnecessary “one trick pony”, the potato masher.
Using Yukon Golds, which is just a superior variety of the common butter potato is not exactly a “secret” lol. That being said this is a good instructional on the preparation of mashed potatoes. Too many people over mix the potatoes which you addressed here. And the proportions seem pretty spot on. All in all I’d say this is a good go-to recipe. Cheers :)
How do you heat this up? Stove top or in the oven? I saw you had a bake ahead recipe but already had the ingredients for this one :( Can I still make this one ahead of time?
Great question Candace! We usually reheat in the microwave, then give it a good stir before serving. (I just updated the headnotes with instructions.)
Great! Thank you sooooo much!!
Can I make this ahead of time? Do they warm well?
Hi, Gitu — I’d recommend following this recipe for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes!
A few years ago I was just learning to cook. This recipe was my lesson in perfect mashed potatoes. I now make them with ease…and get raves on the results! Simply recipes are just the way I like food – reliable ingredients, easy prep & cooking instructions, and glorious results. Thank you for helping me to be a good cook!!
So happy to hear it! Thank you!
Can I use Russet just use potatoes or will that throw off the recipe
Hi Teresa, you can use Russets, they just won’t taste quite as amazing or whip up as creamy and smooth as Yukon Golds.
While you CAN heat the milk and butter together in the same pan, you will want to heat them separately. Adding the butter to the potatoes first coats them in fat first, making them more silky and then adding the milk will loosen them up and make them smooth. If you add both together and beat too much you run the risk of them getting too glue like – adding fat first avoids this.
Thank you! Never heard this before!
I’m a firm believer in yukon golds for mashed potatoes. But, I also use a potato ricer – easily found on Amazon – they produce a better product than a masher. Also, I add my warmed cream before adding my butter ’cause that’s what Cooks Illustrated said. After all of the above, my mashed potatoes are legend.
I like color, texture and flavor. Small Cauliflower pieces, Carrot shreds, cheddar cheese, Bread crumbs, potato skin, almond milk – the leftovers make great potato pancakes.
I need to find an old ricer like my family used. Nothing beats riced potatoes. Those were the days.
After the potatoes have cooked & drained, I put them back in to pot and, on low heat, allow them to steam for a few minutes, so as to remove all the moisture from the potatoes. I then use a ricer to get all the lumps out. Glad you said to warm the butter & cream….Nothing can ruin mashed potatoes more than adding those cold! (& haven’t we all done this at one time? :-) ) Thanks for the recipe!
i add creamed cheese to mine…. always a favourite with our family.
I add mayo to this recipe. YUM
I love this recipe! Easy and Yum :)
Is there any alternative to cream?
I did plain yogurt and it worked just fine.
I haven’t scrubbed my potatoes for years. I run them through a pre-rinse in my dishwaher, works great (don’t put soap in)
I used milk instead of heavy cream because i didn’t have any heavy cream but it turned out good with just the milk thanks! :)
I tried making the Mashed Potatoes they were so good thanks! :)
Great recipe for a competition. It’s easy and awesome.
I agree with you but my yukon gold mashed potatoes keep turning out like paste and i can’t figure out why.
Hi Susan, it could be that you are over-beating them. If you whip them too much, that will turn any potato into paste.
Agreed! Been there, done that — on Thanksgiving, no less.
I always use Russet and have never ventured to the Yukon or the reds. I’m going to try it out next week for Thanksgiving! Thank you!
I’ve never encountered a Yukon Gold in Europe or Australia. The only reason I have heard of them is because all the North American food bloggers rave about them :-) Here in France I grow my own potatoes and use a little known variety called Stemster (aka Prospere) for mash. In terms of supermarket potatoes I would use Agata or Charlotte. Both a little dull, but reasonable. Many French people use packet freeze dried potatoe flakes to make purée, as mash is called here.
We like Yukon golds and red potatoes, unpeeled. My secret is lots of salt in the cooking water; they are sweeter that way.
This is pretty much the recipe I use to make mashed potatoes, except I also add quarter pound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and my kids love that! Thanks!
My husband won’t let us use any other recipe..and he insists on following it to the letter!
I the mash turned out greatr it was a hit. thank you :)
Nice to have a pirates opinion!
This is a fabulous starting point for a recipe. I tweaked it a bit, switching out the proportions of milk and cream so that I used more 2% milk, and less cream. It still had a lovely rich taste without being too heavy tasting.
I actually did 10lbs. of potatoes and scaled the other ingredients accordingly. I used a ricer and very gently folded the warm milk mixture into the potatoes. I made them the night before Thanksgiving and put them in the slow cooker insert in the fridge. A few hours before Thanksgiving dinner I put them on the lowest setting on the slow cooker and stirred them right before serving. There was no change in the texture and they were still very creamy without adding any additional liquid.
I find it much easier to make up a very large batch of mashed potatoes and freeze in quart bags. I always re-heat in a saucepan on the stove. The texture suffers if you re-heat in the microwave. Heat them very slowly over low heat on the stove. They will initially look like they have separated and are very runny, but once they are warm, stir them gently and they go back together beautifully.
Does anyone know how to make the “perfect pear”? It’s mashed potatoes shaped like a pear. Some kind of coating, maybe fine bread crumbs, on the outside and browned…or maybe it’s the potatoes themselves…make this look exactly like a pear. Then a leaf is added next to a small sliver of potato that makes the stem. It is awesome and really dresses up a plate. Anyone know how it’s done? Anyone?
I am wondering about “day ahead” mashed potatoes? If I make these a day ahead and then reheat them in the oven… just add a bit more milk and stir well, heat in oven til hot? Any other suggestions on reheating these for “the big meal” ? Thanks…
If I were to make mashed potatoes a day ahead, I would add an egg or two, fill a casserole dish, coat with a little melted butter on top, and then heat in a 375°F oven until the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. ~Elise
Try boiling potatoes in chicken or vegetable stock – so much extra flavor!
Thank you so much for posting this recipe and all of your recipes. It was my first attempt at homemade mashed potatoes and they really were, “perfect”.
this was soooooooooooooo delish! i made them and im only 11, my parents said that we are going to eat these alot! i love potatoes and these are the best!
I’m lazy so I often don’t peel my potatoes. I’ve also started adding celery into my mashed potatoes (cook in boiling water with the potatoes, then mash everything together). Adds a lovely lightness!
I’ve done it both ways but I actually like to peel the potatoes after boiling them. You have to wait for them to cool off a little bit first, but it seems to help keep them from getting waterlogged.
Hi Elise: I was wondering about how many potatoes would it take to get 1 1/2 pounds? The yukons are fairly small, about on the smaller medium range. Thanks! I’m planning to make this along with your pot roast. :)
No idea, it completely depends on the size of the potatoes. If you don’t have a scale, look for something packaged in your fridge or pantry that is 24 ounces. (That’s a pound and a half.) Then compare. You can also just wing it, this recipe is just a guideline, not an absolute. ~Elise
Some people on here have mentioned adding an egg, and I have to say I’ve always made the best mash potato with potatoes, cream, butter, salt and pepper, and an egg! Crack 1 egg into the potato whilst mashing. I think you’ll agree it helps make the perfect mashed potato!
Is there any other way of reheating mashed potato than putting it in the oven? Wouldn’t this dry it out? Would re-heating it in a microwave be O.K.?
You could easily reheat mashed potatoes in a microwave. ~Elise
We used this recipe tonight, and this was our first time using Yukon potatoes instead of Russets. TERRIFIC — thank you for this!
Someone asked about making potatoes ahead of time. I have been using this recipe for many years, One less thing to do on the day of “the Big meal”.5 lbs potatoes8 oz.cream cheese1 cup sour cream2 tsp onion salt2 tbsp. butterBoil potatoes until tender and mash well. Add rest of ingredients and beat until fluffy. Place in a buttered casserole and dot with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Remove about 1 hour before supper and bake 30 minutes at 350º. Yield 10-12 servings. This is from CANADIAN KINETTE COOKERY sent in by Linda Dey of Camrose, Alberta ; 1979
This may sound bad but…Do You Peel the potatoes before you boil or after?
Good question. Before. ~Elise
Since everyone’s putting their two cents in regarding “extras”…..When I feel like changing things up a bit, I use my mortar & pestle to grind dried rosemary or thyme, then put it in with the potatoes to boil (yes, minced garlic and onion too…YUM-EEE!). You can also add it AFTER the potatoes cook; just mash it in with the butter, milk, heavy cream (or whatever you normally use to make your mashed-taters). It does not take much(rosemary can overwhelm a dish quickly, if you’re not careful). All in all though, I think it emparts a wonderful flavor to the potatoes, and is very complimentary when served with steak or chicken. :)
Wow, what a great recipe and so many interesting posts from around the world. One additional thought on Alla ‘s suggestion to add onion — make it a Vidalia onion. Grown here in Vidalia, Georgia (the Georgia in the southeast United States), this onion will not have to be removed after cooking, because it is sweet and smooth, and will add texture and a bit of twang.
Perfect Mashed potatoes is creamy and delicious. I had so many requests for the recipe at our church potluck. Definitely a keeper.
Hi,all the recipes look amazing and I cannot wait to make the Turkey, cranberry relish and other tasty things this Holiday season :) – Thank you for shearing these with us
Mashed potatoes are my very very favorite food ever since i have been a child, so i would like to share one or two other tricks about mashed potatoes. When boiling the potatoes, try adding ONE of the following – 1 sweet potato / carrot / peeled onion. Sweet potato and carrot should be left and mashed together with potatoes – it will give that sweeter taste – very tasty. Onion should be taken out and thrown away after cooking, but it does add a unique flavor to potatoes. Also, i like to add a little bit of Vegetta spice to cooked potatoes and always put LOTS of butter…mmmm…delicious holidays to you all :))))
Does anyone know where I can buy yukon gold potatoes in california? I have only seen them rarely at my local grocery stores – I can’t figure out why they’re so hard to find. Do they sell them in cali?
Safeway carries them, as well as Raley’s. Sometimes they’re not labeled as yukon gold, but just as new potatoes (that happen to be yellow). Ask the produce guy/gal in your local supermarket about them. ~Elise
Don’t be deceived by fake Yukons. A “Yellow fleshed” potato does not mean it is a Yukon Gold. Yukons are yellow all the way thru and have a higher sugar to starch ratio that makes them more desirable for taste. Often grocers will prey on people’s ignorance and sell “yellow fleshed” potatoes that are no different from getting a white variety like a shepardy or a superior, only with yellow skin on the outside for the premium price.
In addition to using the Yukon Gold potates and sour cream, I put mayonaise in my mashed potatoes. This gives it extra flavor and fluffiness.
Is the cream absolutely necessary? I JUST got home from the grocery store and only now realized I needed heavy cream.
Agree on the Yukon gold for mashed, French fingerlings for German Style potato salad and russet for baked. Easy to grow potatoes on your own and there’s nothing like home grown.
I always make extra mashed potatoes, add some flour the next day and make potato pancakes. My kids love them better than mash w/gravy!
Hello everyone. Excellent recipe. I also added some garlic….hmmmmm
Thanks so much, my potatoes were amazing.
Thanks you..I did it well..my hubby likes it..GOD SPEED..
Here are a couple of tricks to try for great mashed potatoes.
Toss a few cloves of garlic into the water when boiling your potatoes. After draining, just mash them right into the potatoes for great garlic mashed.
Don’t think about this one too much, just try it. While mashing your taters, crack a raw egg in and beat it in thoroughly. The heat from the potatoes will cook it so no worries. Season the potatoes as you normally would. Taste. Then wonder why in the world nobody taught you this years ago. :)
Thanks for posting this recipe; it was simple, easy-to-follow, and came out great when I tried it. I also appreciated the interesting information on comparative water/starch content between Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes.
This is s great mashed potatoes recipe, I LOVE IT! Yukon Gold potatoes are so easy to find here in Canada :) Although I wonder if it’d be easy to find once I go back to Japan…
I always use Yukon Gold potatoes for the perfect tasting mashed. One trick I learned that gives it such incredible flavour is to put some onion powder in the water when boiling them. I also add a touch more when I mash them with milk, butter, salt and pepper. Everyone just loves them!
Thank you! They turned out great. I made the adjustments for 9 lbs of potatoes today for 15+ people.
I live in Peru (with our originally ~3800 varieties and now ~300 available varieties). The best potato in the world is the Peruvian Yellow Potato (Papa Amarilla) if you are looking for richness, but it is for some reason impossible to find outside of Peru. I am using it this year for thanksgiving mashed potatoes and following basically the recipe listed above. For more info on potatoes you can go to the international potato center! http://www.cipotato.org
Next time you make mashed potatoes try using red skin potatoes, butter and believe it or not buttermilk. Makes for fluffy and sort of tangy potatoes. Red skins are for a little color.
Thanks for the great mashed potatoes recipe! I am a terrible cook but I was able to make these and they came out great! I’m so appreciative because I am spending my first xmas away from home in Japan and I didn’t want to be eating sushi on xmas!
I like to add onion powder with the parsley already in it and a little onion salt.
Thanks for this perfect recipe! I just made it to take to my boyfriend’s family’s house for Thanksgiving. I was in charge of the mashed potatoes and creamed corn. I used your recipe and threw in some sour cream and chives. Super yummy! I didn’t have milk so I just used some more whipping cream. What does the milk do for the mashed potatoes, anyways?
Has anyone ever made mashed potatoes the night before Thanksgiving and then warmed them in a crock pot the next day?
I am going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving. Looks great. I have just made up my own recipe in the past, using ranch dressing instead of sour cream, believe it or not, adds an extra zip.Thanks for posting!
This recipe sounds great! I’m going to try it this weekend as a side with stuffed clams. One additional thing I’ve put in mashed potatoes is bacon bits! With this approach you use less salt, add a bit of texture and integrate that distinctive bacon taste to the mix! If you don’t want to add bacon directly to the potatoes it also works as a garnish.
This is a great recipe idea, mashed potatoes where you are able to use less butter and cream is always good. I like to add garlic and cheddar to mine because of how we use leftover mashed potatoes. We make patties out of them (they should be cold for this) and then dredge them in some bread crumbs and fry them in butter…sooo bad for you, but so delicious. I think the cheddar in the potatoes helps to hold them together during this process as they get really soft as they are reheated while frying.
Yellow potatoes are magical for making mash – you can make them with no butter or oil at all and nobody notices!
I love mash with many different additions –mayo with chopped spring onion and sweetcornpasta sauce and greenerypestoolive oil, tamari and chopped onionsalad dressingschopped fresh mint
I love adding cress, and raw leafy greens, or herbs or dulse (a seaweed).And I like to have something crunchy in with it, such as pine nuts or raw peas, or raw onion.
Eating mash in the same mouthful as leafy crunchy salad is just gorgeous to me.
Hi, Thanks for the tips.I make my potatoes about three hours before we eat. That way everything is cleaned up and makes things run smooth. I place the potatoes in a slow cooker this is diffrent then a crock pot. slow cooker on about 2 and stir every hour stays hot and creamy. (don’t use a crock pot they will turn sticky) I always make the mash potatoes and looking for something diffrent I can’t wait to try yours. I never heard of mayonaise, would like to try this also.ThankKim
One additional tip – I use white pepper instead of black in my mashed potatoes. It gives a slightly different flavor and helps with presentation (if you’re trying to be fancy). Otherwise, great recipe.
These potatoes are probably very delicious and I will try them but, have you ever tried just mashing them with fat free chicken stock and light cream cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. They are to die for. A friend gave me this recipe and I have been using it ever since. My family loves the potatoes this way and they are less fat because we don’t use any butter.
Hope you try this recipe.
Cream cheese is NOT less fat than butter, lol! Plus it ruins the natural taste of the potatoes.
Butter is 100% fat and 100 calories per tablespoon. Cream cheese is a mixture of fat, carbs, and protein and is 50 calories per Tbsp. If you use light cream cheese as Barb is suggesting it is only 30 calories per Tbsp… much less fat. Though I do agree that it takes away from the natural taste of the potato.
Has anyone ever tried making mashed potatoes ahead of time and freezing them? Do they turn out OK reheated?
Great Recipe and really goes great with any other food to like fried chicken!
This recipe sounds very tasty, and I plan on making it once I find Yukon Gold potatoes, but for now I’ll stick with the potatoes I make. I use Russet potatoes, boiled and drained. Then mash them up with butter, salt, pepper, and Sour Cream. It tastes awesome if you put the right amount of everything. I don’t go by recipes for this because my aunt taught me how to make it, But just put as much of the ingredients as your taste likes =)
I never used to like mashed potatoes but when i tried this recipe i started to love them. I never knew that a day would come that i would love mashed potatoes now i make it all the time. I cant belive i never liked it.
I’ve been using Yukon’s for smashed taters for a long time. My wife and I prefer them with the peelings on. Also I have found that I like them with a small can of Cream of chicken condensed soup in them and a stick of butter. Sometimes with a bit of garlic too.
Thank you Elise! The Yukon Gold potatoes made all the difference. I hardly used any butter or cream at all, and my boyfriend took one look at them and said “Why did you add so much butter!?” They are that rich looking compared to russets.
I plan on using a hand beater next time- I got lazy mashing them myself and they were a bit lumpy as a result.
Thanks Elise, nicely done!
Here’s a UK tip that you might want to try:
Boil the potatoes with the skins on, obviously scrub them first thoroughly, but we find that this helps to keep in some flavour and moisture, though adding garlic or mint to the pot can be nice too!
Also the tip on putting them through a ricer has always worked nicely for me, they come out very smooth and creamy.
Elise, thanks for a great recipe…I tried it for my thanksgiving dinner and everyone enjoyed it! I added some roasted garlic. your recipe is indeed “perfect”.
On this Potato thing. It is just what a personlikes. I myself don’t use cream or milk whenmaking mashed potatoes. I add some butter andmayonaise, and it gives it more taste, and I eatmore. They come out nice and fluffy and they aren’t dry. I live here in central Californiawhere all the vegetables and fruits come from.I know everything has different varities so Isay it’s just what a person likes. If you havenever tried putting mayonaise in you potatoesjust try it one time, I also use a hand mixerinstead of a masher.
Potato salad usually has mayonnaise. So we are all familiar with mayonnaise even though we might not think of that when we see somebody putting mayonnaise on French fries and go “eeewww!”.
Great Post! I totally agree that Yukon Gold’s do make the best mashed potatoes and they are all I ever use. I always get asked what I did to make them taste so good. When using russets, a chef in a restaurant taught me to throw in some regular mayonaise when mixing them. Don’t use the low-fat or fat free. This made them nice and creamy.
Hi Carl – thanks for the tips on the still-hot pan and using the potato ricer. These potatoes taste so good I’m not that concerned with lumps, but if I were, the ricer would be a great way to get rid of them.
Hi Jeff – we do the same with garlic sometimes, thanks for sharing.
Hi Johnny – will have to keep my eye out for those, thanks!
Hi Aardvarknav – we used to call them mashed potato “volcanos”, yummmm.
Hi Steve – I had no idea that Yukon Golds were developed in Canada, but with the name “Yukon”, that should have been obvious. Did you know that potatoes originally came from the Incas in Peru, where they had something like 3000 varieties? The conquistadors brought them to Europe from the new world in the 1500s.
The Incas also invented freeze-dried potatoes. They were taken up into the High Andes, and left to freeze-dry, creating a staple that could be rehydrated.
I live in Toronto. It may interest you to know that the Yukon Gold potato was developed at the Ontario Agricultural College (University of Guelph) near Toronto. They were selected for colour, cooking properties and, of course, taste.
They’re understandbly very popular here in Canada.
I’m with you. Mashed potatoes are a vehicle for gravy. And its not just pouring the gravy over the mashed potatoes – you have to make an indentation in the potatoes to hold the gravy. Heaven forbid that someone uses the gravy ladle to make the indentation and then puts it back into the gravy bowl with potatoes attached. Sometimes I even prefer the mashed potatoes and gravy without the potatoes. One of the first things we learned as young kids was how to make a mashed potato dam to hold the maximum amount of gravy.
Use Red Pontiacs or Lasodas. They’re even better.There is no such thing as a white potato in my home!
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.
Did you try Yukon Golds? This author, and myself, think they are better mashed than russets. Booyah
Yea i like both yukon gold and russets
I like both alsoI like to use microwave to bake the Yukon goldPotato for a quick dinner. Yum Yum.
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 :)
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.
I always return mine to the pot to dry out, too. Is there a reason you don’t do that, Elise? I find it makes sure they don’t turn pasty.
Hi Kathryn, sometimes we return the potatoes to the pot. That works too!
My Yukon gold cooked in chicken broth turned yellow. Taste great.. Is that unusual.
Nope, that’s normal. Besides, Yukon Golds are golden, so they are going to be a bit yellow when mashed. Your chicken broth may have had some coloring in it as well to bump up the yellow.
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….
Grow your own! You can even grow potatoes in a barrel if you don’t have much space.
OH yea i wish there were high quality potatoes too! Thinking of that what’s your favorite potato dish mine is fries and mashed potatoes.
America has been going through a potato renaissance. There are many more kinds grown than just russets and Yukon Golds. They’re both good for mashed potatoes. Whole milk, salt and optionally pepper is all you need. …butter or gravy on top. Some people add stuff like garlic, keep the skins on (dirty mashed) or add cream cheese. Think stuffed potato…sour cream and melted cheddar! “Straight up” is just fine with me though.
P.S. I forgot to mention adding parsley or chives. The green color offsets the white potatoes. If you do sour cream and melted cheddar on top, put chives on top of everything else. If you decide to do the sour cream and cheddar, it may make more sense to make individual portions of potato, put a little valley in the middle and add the sour cream cheddar and chives.