Mashed Potatoes

April 11, 2020

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My go-to Mashed Potatoes recipe!  A comforting side dish made with just 5 ingredients and always sure to satisfy!

Finish the meal off by serving with roast chicken and gravy and a cooked vegetable (we usually go with fresh or frozen corn).

Overhead image of mashed potatoes topped with butter in a grey bowl.

Creamy Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Perfect for a Sunday dinner, a holiday feast or just to curb a weeknight craving. Here you’ll learn all you need to know to make the best mashed potatoes!

Ever since I could eat solid foods, I’ve been eating mashed potatoes. My grandparents were potato farmers so of course it only makes sense that the love for fresh potatoes got passed down through our family.

My mom made mashed potatoes almost every single Sunday growing up. Usually she’d serve it with a beef roast, sometimes ham or pork roast, sometimes chicken or turkey – but the mashed potatoes were always there.

So naturally they are one of my favorite foods and now my kids love them too. I’ve made them so many different ways and this is my favorite.

Just made with basic ingredients (including tangy sour cream for a flavor boost) and a straightforward method.

Top them with your favorite gravy or just finish with butter and you’ll have an incredibly delicious side dish no one can resist!

Ingredients used to make mashed potatoes shown here. Includes sour cream, butter, salt, half and half and russet potatoes.

Ingredients Needed

The 5 ingredients you’ll need include:

  1. Russet Potatoes
  2. Half and half or cream
  3. Butter
  4. Sour cream 
  5. Salt (and optionally pepper)

Scroll down for ingredient amounts, directions and print option.

Image of first four steps of making mashed potatoes. Includes dicing peeled potatoes, boiling potatoes, draining potatoes and passing potatoes through a food mill (or can be done with a potato ricer).

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

  1. Rinse potatoes, transfer to a pot.
  2. Cover potatoes with water by 1-inch.
  3. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, add salt to water.
  4. Let boil until potatoes are tender.
  5. Heat half and half with butter.
  6. Drain potatoes.
  7. Pass potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer back into pot or into a large bowl.
  8. Add heated half and half mixture and sour cream then gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Image showing remaining four steps of making mashed potatoes. Includes potatoes shown after passing through food mill, adding liquid ingredients, blending and topping with butter.

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Sit at Room Temperature?

I know how it goes, we are at a party and forget to put the leftover food away in the refrigerator. Just remember for food safety mashed potatoes shouldn’t sit out longer than 2 hours before refrigerating. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of food borne illness.

How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm

  • I like to place mashed potatoes in a double boiler – a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Cover bowl. Fold occasionally as outsides will get warmer. I don’t recommend keeping potatoes here longer than 30 minutes.
  • Another option is to use a greased slow cooker set on warm heat, but don’t do this more than 2 hours.

Can They be Made in Advance?

  • Yes. Just transfer potatoes to a greased 9 by 9 or 11 by 7-inch baking dish.
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 2 days.

How to Reheat Chilled Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes reheat well in the oven (do not Microwave, it alters their taste!). To reheat in oven:

  • Remove potatoes in baking dish from fridge and let rest at room temp while oven preheats to 350.
  • Bake covered with the foil until heated through, about 25 – 30 minutes.

How to Make Twice Baked Potatoes (Casserole Style)

Sometimes I like to make a double batch of the potatoes then with the second half I spread them into a greased 11 by 7-inch or 9 by 9-inch baking dish then:

  • Refrigerate up to 2 days.
  • Remove from fridge while oven preheats to 350.
  • Bake 15 minutes covered with foil.
  • Remove from oven and top with cheddar, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and salt and pepper
  • Continue to bake, uncovered, until heated through about 10 minutes longer.

How to Make Them in the Slow Cooker

Wanting to start prep and cooking ahead of time? Try my slow cooker mashed potatoes recipe.

How to Make Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Looking to use up some red potatoes (or yukon gold) and add some garlicky flavors? Try my Garlic Mashed Potatoes (made with roasted garlic!).

 

Mashed potatoes in a grey serving bowl over a grey napkin. Potatoes are topped with butter, shown as a serving suggestion.Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes

  • Work to cut potatoes into evenly sized chunks. This way some won’t end up water logged while others are still hard.
  • Rinse potatoes before adding to pot with water. This will remove some of the extra starches for a fluffier texture.
  • Start potatoes in cold water so they cook more evenly throughout.
  • Use half and half or cream instead of milk for richer potatoes.
  • Stick with butter, don’t use margarine.
  • Press potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill after boiling and draining. This will give you the smoothest, lump-free mashed potatoes.
  • Heat liquids before adding (but the sour cream bring to room temp, it can’t be heated or it will curdle). Otherwise if added cold you’ll end up serving lukewarm potatoes.
  • For best texture potatoes use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir ingredients into potatoes, not an electric mixer!
  • Don’t over-mix. If you do potatoes will become pasty and gluey in texture.

Possible Variations

  • Use 4 oz cream cheese or 1/3 cup buttermilk in place of sour cream.
  • Add sautéed garlic or roasted garlic to the potatoes when stirring in half and half or cream.
  • Add chopped herbs such as chives, parsley, and thyme.
  • Use Yukon gold or red potatoes in place of russets. Add a little more liquid to thin as needed.

What to Serve with Mashed Potatoes

More Delicious Potato Recipes to Try

Mashed Potatoes

My go-to Mashed Potatoes recipe!  A comfort food made with just 5 ingredients and always sure to satisfy! Finish the meal off by serving with roast chicken and gravy and a cooked vegetable (we usually go with corn). Recipe yields about 6 cups.
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and rinsed clean, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks
  • Salt and optionally freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup half and half, whipping cream or heavy cream*
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, preferably brought to room temperature while potatoes cook

Instructions

  • Place potatoes in a colander and rinse under cold water about 20 seconds. Transfer to a pot (6 quart or larger).
  • Cover potatoes with cold water by 1-inch. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Season with water with salt (I add 1 Tbsp) and let boil until potatoes are tender all the way through when pierced with a fork, about 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Near the end of potatoes cooking heat half and half and butter together in a microwave safe dish (I just use the glass liquid measuring cup it was measured in), or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, until very warm.
  • Drain potatoes well in colander set in sink.
  • Pass potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer back into pot or into a large bowl.**
  • Add warm half and half mixture and sour cream then gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until combined, while seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm topped with butter or gravy.

Notes

  • *Half and half makes lighter, slightly fluffier potatoes, whipping cream and heavy cream make richer, creamier yet slightly denser potatoes. If you like thinner mashed potatoes you may want to add an additional 1/4 cup.
  • **If you don't have a potato ricer or food mill you can just mash well with a potato masher texture just will be a little lumpy.
  • Nutrition estimate does not include butter topping or gravy and is calculated using half and half.

To Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm

  • Place mashed potatoes in a double boiler - a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Cover bowl. Fold occasionally as outsides will get warmer. I don't recommend keeping potatoes here much longer than 30 minutes.
  • Another option is to use a greased slow cooker set to warm heat. Hold here up to 2 hours.
Nutrition Facts
Mashed Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 136mg6%
Potassium 999mg29%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 546IU11%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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10 Comments

  • Astrid

    Thank you for this recipe! The potatoes were easy to prepare with delicious results. My husband and I loved them! I recently discovered your website and receive your emails. I really appreciate your detailed instructions, photos and additional tips. I’ve browsed through the many recipes on your site and am looking forward to trying many more in the future. Please those recipes coming! So glad I found your site!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you found my site! Happy to hear you liked my mashed potatoes recipe and I hope you find many more recipes you enjoy!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry I wasn’t specific on that. I usually use either or but if you go with unsalted it will give you more control over amount of salt added in.

  • Duncan

    This recipe looks great and I will try it because I just love mashed potatoes… have you ever tried boiling the potatoes in milk and then mashing the potatoes in that same milk?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I haven’t tried that but it does sound tasty. Wondering though if a lot of milk goes wasted?

      • Duncan

        Cutting the potatoes into 1″ cubes and filling with milk, butter, and roasted garlic until the top layer of potatoes project out of the milk works well…but sometimes I do worry about to much milk and will put aside a cup or two of this delicious liquid and add back to the mashed potatoes if needed.

  • Letitia

    For a five star recipe you need to add a hint of nutmeg and pepper. And mozzarella.