Mashed potatoes are the quintessential comforting side dish for any meal. Mashed potatoes are a staple on the holiday table, but are also the perfect accompaniment to meatloaf, pot roast, or fried chicken any night of the week. When made properly, mashed potatoes are light, fluffy and ultra creamy. This classic recipe ensures pillowy soft potatoes infused with cream and butter. Learn the keys to making perfect mashed potatoes at home!
- 3 lbs russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Additional butter (optional)
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Avoid overcooking.
- Drain the potatoes well and then place back into the dry pot. Shake the pot over low heat for 1 minute to evaporate any excess moisture.
- Off heat, use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes until smooth. Do not use a food processor – it will make them gluey.
- Add the warm milk and butter pieces to the potatoes. Continue to mash or stir with a wooden spoon until fluffy.
- Stir in the salt and pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- For an extra rich finishing touch, top with additional pats of butter. Serve warm.
Tips for Making the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes
- Choose starchy potatoes like russets or Yukon Golds. They get fluffier than waxy potatoes.
- Cut potatoes into even 1″ cubes for consistent cooking.
- Start potatoes in cold water for steady cooking. Do not boil from a hot start.
- Simmer just until a knife inserts easily. Do not overcook into mush.
- Drain potatoes well before mashing. Excess water makes for gummy spuds.
- Allow potatoes to steam dry after draining to remove more moisture.
- Always mash while the potatoes are still hot for the best texture.
- Gently mash and fold for light, pillowy potatoes. Do not aggressively beat.
- Warm the milk before adding it for enhanced creaminess and absorption.
- Add butter slowly in chunks to evenly infuse flavor.
- Flavor boosters: garlic, Parmesan, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch seasoning
Follow these easy tips and you will achieve smooth, creamy dreamy mashed potatoes every time. Now that’s comfort food at its finest!
FAQs About Making Mashed Potatoes
Some common questions people have about crafting the perfect mashed potatoes:
Can I prepare mashed potatoes in advance?
Yes, you can make mashed potatoes 1-2 days ahead of time. Prepare the potatoes according to the recipe up until adding milk and butter. Transfer potatoes to a buttered baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add milk and butter, transfer to a saucepan and gently reheat over medium-low heat until warmed through. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
What kind of milk works best?
Whole milk or half and half give the creamiest, most indulgent mashed potatoes. For a healthier option, try using low-fat milk, almond milk or unsweetened soy milk. Avoid non-dairy creamers which can curdle and taste artificial.
Is it okay to use a food processor?
It’s best to avoid using a food processor or electric mixer to mash potatoes. The blades destroy the potato starches leading to a gluey texture. For fluffiest spuds, use a ricer, masher or whisk by hand.
Can I freeze mashed potatoes?
Yes, mashed potatoes freeze well for up to 3 months. Prepare potatoes according to recipe and transfer to freezer containers or bags. Thaw overnight in fridge before reheating on the stovetop with milk or broth to loosen the texture.
What are some flavor additions I can mix in?
Get creative with mix-ins like roasted garlic, shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, caramelized onions or roasted bell peppers. Fresh herbs like chives, parsley or dill add color and flavor too. Spice it up with sour cream, mustard or hot sauce!
What do I do if my potatoes are too thin or watery?
If your mashed potatoes lack body, stir in an extra spoonful of potato flakes while reheating to thicken them up. You can also whisk in a bit of cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water). Simmer briefly until desired consistency is reached. Add more seasoning if needed to balance the flavor.
With any homemade dish, there is always room for tweaking and improvement. Don’t get discouraged if your potatoes are too loose or thick on the first try. Keep practicing this essential side dish and you will be a mashed potato master in no time!
Serving Ideas for Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes make the perfect pairing for all kinds of entrees beyond holiday meals:
- Cozy up to mashed potatoes with pot roast or beef stew.
- Spoon creamy potatoes alongside fried chicken, meatloaf or sausages.
- Top a shepherd’s pie or cottage pie with mashed potato crust.
- Layer in a gratin with greens, bacon, onions or mushrooms.
- Swirl into soups like loaded potato soup or cheddar broccoli soup.
- Stuff into potato skins or hollowed out potato halves.
- Pipe fluffy potatoes into croquettes and fry them for an appetizer.
- Bake into cheesy scalloped potatoes or au gratin.
- Fold into potato pancake or galette mixtures.
The possibilities are endless! However you serve them up, a heaping mound of dreamy mashed potatoes is guaranteed to make any dish more comforting.
More Delicious Potato Recipes
Looking for more tasty ways to use potatoes? Try one of these reader favorites:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup – Creamy potato soup with bacon and cheddar.
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes – Crispy roasted potatoes with cheese.
Twice Baked Potatoes – Potato shells stuffed with cheesy mashed spuds.
Potatoes Au Gratin – Sliced potatoes and cheese baked in a creamy sauce.
Potato Pancakes – Crispy shredded potato fritters.
Cheddar and Chive Mashed Potatoes – Spiked with sharp cheddar and chives.
However, you like your potatoes – mashed, baked, roasted, or fried – they are a versatile and tasty staple ingredient. With this classic mashed potato recipe in your back pocket, you’ll be ready for any meal or occasion calling for soft, creamy spuds.