Mom’s Mashed Potatoes

Published November 1, 2012. Updated January 7, 2019

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Mashed Potatoes – a staple recipe! These are one of my families favorite side dishes and they’re so easy to make! Just simmer potatoes until tender, mashed well then beat with butter, cream, milk and sour cream. These are heavenly!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe!

Mom, you were right. Didn’t want to admit it but you are. Cooking the potatoes in the smallest amount of water possible yields better results then covering them entirely with water when cooking them. I know we’ve had our separate opinions on this but I’d have to say I think the “Food Network” may not always be right :).

I made potatoes on Sunday, covering them entirely with water to cook, as I usually do because that’s what I’ve always seen them do on Food Network and read in the directions of countless recipes, so I just assume that’s the right method.

If you ask me, there is no right and wrong way of cooking. They are all just opinions, but yes some methods yield better results then others.

Well, my Sunday potatoes were much more “water logged” as my mom calls it, than this batch of mashed potatoes I made today cooking them in a smaller amount of water.

My mom always said, cooking them in a small amount of water (basically creating a steam bath) will give you better mashed potatoes.

I think it’s true and it makes sense too. If you cover them entirely with water I think you are basically boiling off many of the starches and flavors and filling them with water.

The key is to use just a few cups of water while keeping an eye on the water level as they cook to make sure you water doesn’t completely evaporate, or yes they will burn.

My Grandpa was a potato farmer so I hope my family knows a thing or two about cooking potatoes :). Growing up, we rarely missed a Sunday of meat and potatoes. My mom always made a Sunday roast and served mashed potatoes with gravy alongside it.

And as far as instant potatoes go, I didn’t even know that they existed until my late teens because my mom didn’t believe in them.

I’ve adapted what my mom taught me about making mashed potatoes to go along with a few ideas of my own, to create what I believe are the perfect mashed potatoes. This was always one of those recipes of my mom’s that was a bit of this and a little of that until the consistency was where she wanted.

She didn’t ever heat the milk and cream but I like to so the potatoes don’t cool off so quickly. I also decided to add the butter first, while mashing and before the liquids are added because it seems to give them a silkier and creamier texture.

The butter seems to adhere to the potatoes. These are the potatoes you are going to want to serve this Thanksgiving, covered with that homemade Turkey gravy.

I’m telling you my mom has always made the best potatoes! They are amazingly creamy, silky, fluffy and smooth, with just the right amount of richness and an incredibly delicious flavor. They are Heavenly. Enjoy!

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5 from 3 votes

Mom’s Mashed Potatoes

These are one of my families favorite side dishes and they're so easy to make! Just simmer potatoes until tender, mashed well then beat with butter, cream, milk and sour cream. These are heavenly!
Servings: 8
Prep15 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes



  • Peel, rinse and dice potatoes into large chunks (I diced my medium potatoes into 6 pieces total). Fill an 8 quart saucepan with 3 cups cold water (pan should have about 1/2-inch of water). 
  • Add diced potatoes to cold water. Heat potatoes over high heat, stirring occasionally, until water begins to boil. As soon as water begins to boil, reduce heat to medium high and cover pan with lid and cook about 20 - 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking and keeping a close eye on the water level* until potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork. 
  • During the last few minutes of cooking potatoes, heat heavy cream, milk and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium high heat until very warm, whisking occasionally.
  • Remove cooked potatoes from heat and strain any excess water from potatoes. Pour strained potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour melted butter over potatoes and mash potatoes with a potato masher until smooth, about 2 - 3 minutes (I wouldn't recommend using a wire type potato masher). 
  • Pour 3/4 of the very warm cream mixture over mashed potatoes, season with 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste then using and electric hand mixer on low speed blend until well combine (adding more salt as desired). 
  • Then increase speed to medium-high speed and whip for a minute or two, adding remaining cream mixture as desired to reach desired consistency (if you like thick mashed potatoes you may not want to add it, and if you like them thin you can add a little more milk to thin as desired), until potatoes are fluffy and smooth. Serve warm topped with gravy or butter if desired.


*3 cups works for me, but if your pan doesn't have a fairly tight fitting lid then a lot of water may evaporate and escape so you may need to add about 1/2 cup more hot tap water to prevent potatoes from burning.

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