How To Make Mashed Potatoes

How To Make Mashed Potatoes | Amazing Guide 2023

How to make mashed potatoes? There’s a reason that homemade mashed potatoes are a classic holiday tradition. They’re a comforting reminder of the very best times gathered together around a table. But don’t just make them a few times a year, this recipe for easy mashed potatoes can become your year-round favorite.

I’ve included all of my best tips and a complete “how to make mashed potatoes” guide for absolute perfection every time. The wonderful thing about these mashed potatoes is that they can be made ahead of time, then warmed in the oven when you’re ready.

Ingredients In Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes have no additions of cheeses but feel free to stir in additions to change up the flavor.


This is one place where there really are no substitutes. Use real butter for these creamy spuds, and plenty of it. I prefer salted if I have it but unsalted butter works and the potatoes can be salted to taste.


I use warmed whole milk in this recipe, but cream also works if you have it on hand. Remember to heat the dairy for the best potatoes.


Again, keeping this recipe simple, I simply add salt & pepper. If you’d like a little bit of garlic, chop a few cloves and let them boil with the potatoes. Chives are great in this recipe too (add with the butter).

How To Make The Best Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Use A Starchy Potato

Yukon Golds or Russets are perfect for mashing. You can also use a combination of both.

Using waxy potatoes such as red or new potatoes can cause your mashed potatoes to have a gluey consistency as opposed to being nice and creamy.

Cut The Potatoes Into 3/4-Inch Slices

This allows them to cook evenly. Some say to boil whole potatoes to prevent them from absorbing too much water, but they cook unevenly this way.

You can choose to leave the skins on or off, or you can leave some of them on. Just be sure to scrub them thoroughly if leaving the skins on.

Use Cold Water, Slowly Bring To A Gentle Boil

This ensures that the potatoes cook evenly. Otherwise, the middle will be hard and the outside will be soft.

Salt The Water Once It’s Reached A Boil

This is the best way to evenly season the potatoes all the way through, you can always add more salt at the end. You’ll use about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of potatoes.

Let The Steam Rise After Draining

Once you’ve drained the potatoes, return them to the warm pot and let them steam for 5 minutes, this will allow excess moisture that the potatoes absorbed to steam off.

Don’t Add Cold Ingredients To Warm Potatoes

Make sure the half and half, sour cream, and butter are all room temperature. This ensures the potatoes are able to fully absorb them which makes them extra creamy.

Add Butter Before The Half And Half/Sour Cream

The butter helps to coat the starch and gives you a silkier consistency.

Don’t Over-Mash

Potatoes release starch every time they’re handled/mashed. Too much starch leads to a gluey, gummy consistency.

A dual-action potato masher works well for this. Avoid any type of electric mixer as they will go from creamy to gluey very quickly.

Things To Add To Mashed Potatoes

You can leave these as classic buttery potatoes or add any of the following:

  • Sour cream, Greek Yogurt, or cream cheese
  • Cheddar, parmesan, or gouda
  • Roasted garlic or garlic powder, caramelized onions
  • Ranch mix, fresh herbs, chicken broth
  • Garnish with extra butter, chives, herbs or thinly sliced green onions.

Tips About How To Make Mashed Potatoes

Go For A Mix Of Potatoes

Russet potatoes (the classic brown-skinned ones used for baked potatoes) are the classic go-to for mashed potatoes, but you don’t have to stick to only those. We like using a mix of russet and Yukon gold, which have a super-creamy texture. Russets cook slightly faster, are starchier and fluffier, and taste less sweet; Yukons are a little more moist, a little waxier, and they hold their shape better. Why use just one type when you can use more?

Peel Or Don’t

This is the age-old debate: Should you peel your potatoes for mashed potatoes? Many of us in the Delish kitchen fall into the camp of people who happen to love the texture that the skin adds, but it’s entirely up to you. Keeping the skins on will make for a more textured mash with a little more fiber and nutrients. Eliminate the skin (like we did here) and you will have the smoothest mash in all the land!

Avoid Waterlogging

To avoid adding too much water to our potatoes, we like to boil our potatoes whole. All of the potato-ey goodness gets trapped inside, and you don’t get as much water in the potato, resulting in a fluffier texture. Plus, it’s way easier.

Add All the Mix-ins

We’re obsessed with loaded mashed potatoes, so we totally encourage you to stir in shredded cheddar or grated Parmesan, cooked bacon bits and chives right after you add the melted butter-milk mixture. But don’t stop there! Any addition of fresh herbs (we love parsley), cheese or even garlic will only help your mashed potatoes taste even more amazing.

Freezing Leftovers

You can freeze leftovers and they reheat pretty well in the oven with a little milk. Scoop them into a plastic freezer bag and press flat (this helps them thaw quickly). When you reheat them, add about a tablespoon of milk per cup of potatoes and place them in the oven to reheat (or microwave stirring occasionally).

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Mashed Potatoes

What Is The Best Way To Mash Potatoes?

The absolute best way to mash potatoes depends entirely on how you prefer to eat them: If you like them fluffy and somewhat lumpy, use a hand masher. If you like them perfectly smooth and airy, use a food mill. If you like them velvety but not at all gluey, use a tamis.

How Long To Boil Potatoes?

Cubed spuds will take around 15 minutes where larger chunks or whole new potatoes will be 20-25 minutes. To check when they are done, pierce the potatoes with the tip of a knife to see how much resistance there is. If it goes in easily, you’re done!

What Liquid Is Best For Mashed Potatoes?

Liquid dairy is what makes mashed potatoes luscious and creamy. Since it’s Thanksgiving, splurge a little and use half-and-half or splurge a lot and use cream

Why Do You Soak Potatoes In Water Before Boiling?

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

Why Do You Add Milk To Mashed Potatoes?

They absorb liquids brilliantly, which is why they mash so well. But when you boil them in water, the liquid they are absorbing is just that, water, which can make for a less flavorful mash. By boiling the potatoes in salted milk, they are absorbing creaminess and seasoning, which makes them inherently more flavorful.

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