My Mashed Potato Recipe uses just 5 ingredients and is perfectly balanced to be fluffy, creamy. and yet still sturdy enough to hold a pool of gravy. Recipe includes recommendations for my favorite add-ins for a flavorful, next-level side dish!
The Best Mashed Potatoes
My mashed potato recipe makes the butteriest, best mashed potatoes you’ll ever try! It strikes the right balance between creamy and fluffy for the *perfect* texture. Personally, I don’t like my mashed potatoes too soft/runny (and never gluey), and I don’t ever want them so dry that you could sculpt them. Today’s recipe is soft, yet sturdy enough that you can add a pool of gravy, if that’s your thing.
I also included some of my favorite add-ins in the recipe card; you can add one or all of them, depending on your meal. If I’m serving my mashed potatoes with something like salisbury steak, I typically won’t include the add-ins (enough flavor from the rich gravy), but if the potatoes need to shine on their own without gravy (like as a side to roast chicken) I like to add all three. These mashed potatoes are wonderful without any additions too though!
My mashed potato recipe takes less than half an hour to whip up and requires no fancy tools or techniques. Simply chop, boil, and mash! Serve yours as a hearty base for beef stew, or save them for Thanksgiving, where they’ll pair nicely with my brussels sprouts salad!
What You Need
Using simple ingredients in this mashed potato recipe not only means that it’s easy, but also lets the potato flavor really shine. Here’s what you need:
- Potatoes. I prefer to use either russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Some recipes recommend using a blend of the two; while this can be done, I don’t really recommend it as the potatoes don’t cook at the same rate. If you want to do this, your best bet would be to cook them in separate pots to make sure they’re each cooked properly before combining. Red potatoes would also work well here!
- Milk. I like whole milk, but 2% milk or even a plant-based milk would work.
- Butter. Feel free to use salted instead of unsalted butter in the recipe, just use whichever you have on hand.
- Salt and pepper. Add both to taste. If ever a recipe tastes bland, it usually just needs a pinch more salt!
SAM’S TIP: Peel your potatoes, or don’t–whatever your preference is fine! With Yukon golds, I often won’t peel because the skins are thin, but with russets I usually peel their coarser, tougher skin (especially since, no matter how well I scrub them, I swear I can always taste the dirt).
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
- Prep the potatoes – Peel (optional), chop, and rinse your potatoes under cold water, then place them in a large pot.
- Boil until tender – Fill the pot with cool water, making sure the potatoes are covered with at least ½″ of water. Bring this to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter and milk – Drain the potatoes, then place them back in the warm pot. Let this sit for about 2 minutes, then drizzle in melted butter/milk mixture.
- Season and mash – Add salt and pepper to taste, then mash the potatoes until smooth. Do not over-mix!
- Enjoy! Stir in any add-ins and enjoy.
SAM’S TIP: Overcooking your potatoes (boiling to the point where they are falling apart) will make for watery mashed potatoes. Once they are overcooked, your potatoes will be nearly impossible to fix. You’re better off starting over if you over-boil them, so avoid this!
Frequently Asked Questions
For the best results from this mashed potato recipe, I recommend heating the butter and milk. I’ll admit that I don’t always do this step myself if I’m feeling lazy or impatient or when I’m making Shepherd’s Pie; however, it really is best to heat them up first. Doing so helps the potatoes absorb the liquid better (rather than shocking them with cold milk), and it reduces the risk of over-mixing because things will combine easier.
Now, if you find yourself needing to add just a splash more milk or wanting another pat of butter, you can just toss it in–no need to warm it first.
For smooth(er) mashed potatoes, make sure your potatoes are tender after boiling and use a potato ricer (which breaks them down better than a regular masher). I linked to the ricer I have in my recipe card.
Note that this still isn’t guaranteed to give you perfectly smooth mashed potatoes; you’d need to run them-through a fine mesh sieve for that, which is a lot of trouble and can result in gluey potatoes.
Overmixing/overmashing potatoes can make them gluey. I don’t recommend using an electric mixer because of this and prefer to do it by hand.
Rinsing your potatoes after cutting them helps wash away some of the starch that could make them gluey; if you skipped this step, that could also be why.
If you love this recipe, you have to try my creamy potato soup–it’s a huge hit!
My Favorite Mashed Potato Recipe
- 3 lbs (1.3 kg) potatoes russet or gold
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup (157 ml) milk
- ½ teaspoon table salt + additional to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper + additional to taste
Optional add-ins (add one or all of them!)
- ¼ cup (60 g) full-fat sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- ½ cup (50 g) freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- Peel potatoes (if desired) and cut into 1 ½” (4cm) pieces. Place in a colander or large mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for one minute.3 lbs (1.3 kg) potatoes
- Place potatoes in a large pot of cool water (make sure the potatoes are covered by at least ½” of water and that the pot is not more than ⅔ of the way full or it could overflow). Generously salt the water and turn stovetop heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- While potatoes are cooking, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium/low heat, cooking until butter is melted.½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, ⅔ cup (157 ml) milk
- Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes but time can vary).
- Drain potatoes well and return to pot. Let them sit in the pot for about 2 minutes, this allows the steam to cook off excess water.
- Drizzle butter/milk mixture over the potatoes and add salt and pepper use a potato masher to mash until mostly smooth and well-combined.½ teaspoon table salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- If using any add-ins, stir them in now until combined.¼ cup (60 g) full-fat sour cream, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup (50 g) freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- Serve warm.
MilkWhole milk is my preference, but use whatever you have on hand (almond milk works, too).
Smooth potatoesA potato ricer will give you smoother mashed potatoes, but avoid the urge to mix your way to completely smooth potatoes, or they’ll end up gluey. After boiling/draining your potatoes, run them through the ricer back into the pot, then stir in your butter/milk and remaining ingredients. Gluey potatoes are typically a result of over-mixing.
Add-insAdd one or all of these add-ins for super flavorful, next-level mashed potatoes. You could also try substituting cheddar cheese for the parmesan.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If reheating on the stovetop, you may wish to add another splash of milk to loosen the potatoes as they’ll often stiffen in the fridge.
FreezingAllow potatoes to cool, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 5 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or transfer to a saucepan and thaw over low heat.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.