When you hear the words “mashed potatoes,” you might think of a lumpy, bland side dish that’s only worth eating because it’s covered in gravy. But these can be so much more, they are versatile and easy to make at home! This easy mashed potatoes recipe is the perfect side dish for any meal. They are so rich and creamy, and they go with just about everything. The best part about this recipe is that it is so easy to prepare. You only need a few simple ingredients, and they come together in just a few minutes.
Potatoes are one of my favorite classic and beloved comfort foods besides shepherd’s pie. They’re simple to make, yet so satisfying. And, they can be made in endless different ways. Whether you like them plain or loaded with toppings, mashed potatoes are always a good choice.
One of the best ways I love to serve this dish is with this delicious Hungarian beef goulash stew. This can be either a meat-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy. This dish is the perfect side dish for thanksgiving, any other holiday meal, or a family dinner. On this blog, you will have a step-by-step guide to making an easy mashed potatoes recipe every time.
What are mashed potatoes made of?
The basic recipe for mashed potatoes simply involves potatoes that have been cooked until soft and then mashed with butter and milk (or cream) until they reach a smooth and creamy consistency. Common ingredients usually include butter, milk or cream, salt, and pepper.
One thing I love about this easy mashed potatoes recipe is that you can use any type of potato you like but the most popular variety that I always love to use are Yukon gold because they are very common where I live. I sometimes make use of Russet potatoes when I’m able to find them. You can even combine both Yukon gold and russet or Idaho potatoes to make this recipe if you want.
The key to making this delicious dish is to start with a good recipe. This easy mashed potatoes recipe is the perfect place to start from. It only requires a few simple ingredients, and it can be easily customized to suit your taste. So whether you like your mashed plain or loaded, this recipe is sure to please.
What are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?
Yukon gold potatoes
For the best-mashed potatoes recipe, you want to use potatoes that are high in starch and low in moisture. The best potatoes to use for this dish are Yukon Gold potatoes. This is because they have a creamy texture that allows for smooth and fluffy mash.
They also hold their shape well when cooked, so your mash will not become mushy. They’re also packed with flavor, so you don’t need to add too much flavoring. When choosing Yukon gold potatoes for your mashed potatoes, make sure to look for the ones that are firm and have no blemishes. Avoid any potatoes that are soft or have wrinkled skin.
Russet potatoes or Idaho potatoes
Russet or Idaho potatoes have the perfect balance of starch and moisture, which means they whip up into fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes every time. They’re also easy to find and relatively inexpensive. However, russet potatoes can also be quite dry and mealy, so be sure to add plenty of butter and milk or cream to your mashed potato recipe if you’re using this type of potato.
Also, if you find yourself with a mixture of Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes, don’t be afraid to combine them to make mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes will add creaminess, while the Russet potatoes will add a fluffy texture to your dish. If you are using Russet potatoes, then you will want to peel them before you mash them. However, Yukon gold potatoes have thinner skin, so they can be left unpeeled if you prefer. Just make sure to give them a good wash before you start mashing them.
Red bliss or red skin potatoes
Red bliss or red skin potatoes are also a good choice for you. They’re not as starchy as russet potatoes, so they don’t get as mushy, but they still have a creamy texture that makes them perfect for mashed potatoes. Plus, they have beautiful red skin that adds a pop of color to your mash.
Ingredients for mashed potatoes
- 3 lb or 6 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup of whole milk or more if needed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
How to make easy mashed potatoes recipe
Peel and cut the potatoes into even pieces– This will help them cook evenly. You can leave the skin on or peel it off, depending on your preference. You don’t need to peel them unless you really want to. Some days when I’m making mashed potatoes I usually just leave the skin on because it adds extra nutrition and flavor. But I wanted something different today.
Rinse the potatoes under the running tap– Make sure to rinse your potatoes well before boiling them. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface of the potatoes.
Boil the potatoes until they’re fork-tender– Add the potatoes, salt, and 3 cloves of garlic to a large pot and add water to cover the top. Cook the potatoes until they are soft. This should take about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them, or they’ll start to fall apart and become mushy.
Drain the cooked potatoes and dry them up well– Drain the potatoes through a colander and return them back into the pot and heat up for a few minutes to help dry up the remaining liquid from the body.
Heat up butter and milk– In a small saucepan combine both milk and butter and place on low heat to melt, you don’t want the milk to boil but just hot enough to melt the butter. Remove from heat once melted.
Mash the potatoes– Once the potatoes are cooked, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until they’re the desired consistency. The best way to mash your potatoes is to use a potato masher. However, you can use an immersion blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
Add the butter and milk mixture– Pour half the milk and butter mixture and gently fold in with a spatula until the potatoes have absorbed the liquid. Stir in the rest and fold in again.
Follow with the sour cream and make sure not to over-mix it, you want it to mix well until just combined. If you find that your mashed potatoes are too thick, simply add a little more of the butter mixture until they reach the desired consistency.
Add some seasonings– Season the mashed generously with salt, and pepper, and fold again. Taste for more seasoning once you are happy with the taste, transfer them to your serving dish, and top with a tablespoon of butter and fresh chives if you like.
Serve immediately– Mashed potatoes are best when they’re piping hot, serve with sliced butter and chives.
These easy mashed potatoes go so well with roasted chicken or beef. So, I paired mine with roasted chicken leg quarter, and with a delicious gravy on the side.
What is the trick to good mashed potatoes?
- Start with the right potatoes- First, you want to use starchy potatoes like Yukon gold potatoes, Russet, or Idaho potatoes. These types of potatoes will give you the best texture for your mash. They can break down more easily when cooked and create a light and fluffy texture for your mash. Avoid waxy potatoes like new potatoes and fingerlings; they are low in starch but have high moisture, they won’t mash well and will end up being lumpy which can result in a gluey, dense mash.
- Cut potatoes into uniform pieces before boiling– When making mashed potatoes, it’s important to start with boiled potatoes that are peeled and cut into uniform pieces. This will help the potatoes cook evenly and prevent them from turning into gluey mashed.
- Cook the until very tender– Be sure to cook the potatoes thoroughly before mashing-otherwise, they’ll be lumpy.
- Drain well before mashing– This will help to remove any excess water from the potatoes which can make them mushy.
- Warm the milk and butter– Do not reach out to the fridge for cold milk or cold butter, cold butter or milk will lower the temperature of the potatoes, making them gloopy and thick, rather than light and fluffy.
- Make sure not to over-mix your potatoes– A few quick pulses with a potato masher or an immersion blender are all they need. You want to mix them until they’re smooth and creamy. If you mix them too much, they’ll become gummy and heavy.
- Add your favorite ingredients– For that extra creamy mashed potatoes recipe, you can stir in some cream cheese, sour cream, or heavy cream.
How long does it take to boil potatoes for mashing?
When it comes to boiling potatoes for making mashed potatoes, the key is not to overcook them. You’ll want to boil them until they are fork-tender, but not so much that they start to fall apart, as this can make them watery and difficult to mash. I like to boil my potatoes for about 15 minutes and sometimes 20 minutes depending on their sizes; if the potatoes are not cooked long enough, they will be difficult to mash and will have a gritty texture.
The best way to ensure perfectly cooked potatoes is to use a knife or a fork to pierce them before removing them from heat; if the knife goes in easily, they’re ready. Another method is to time your boiling according to the type of potato you’re using: New potatoes will take about 10 minutes. While Yukon Gold, Russet, or other waxy potatoes will take about 15 to 20 minutes to get soft.
What to add to mashed potatoes for flavor
- Add roasted garlic– This is how I do it if I’m not adding the fresh garlic to the potatoes to boil. I will take a head of garlic and cut off the top. Drizzle it with olive oil and wrap it in aluminum foil. I will roast the garlic in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the garlic cloves from their skins and add them to the potatoes, and mash. This gives a more garlicky flavor and also results in a delicious mashed.
- Use chicken, beef broth, or vegetable broth instead of water to boil your potatoes– This will infuse the potatoes with flavor and make them more savory.
- Add shredded cheese on top of the potatoes before serving– The cheese will melt into the hot potatoes and make them even more creamy. Cheddar, Gruyere, or Parmesan are good options to choose from.
- Another way is to add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
- Sauteed garlic or onion– You could also stir in some sautéed garlic or onion for an extra flavorful mashed potato dish. These can also be cooked along with the potatoes and then mashed or they can be added afterward for extra flavor.
- Stir in bacon bits– Bacon is always a welcome addition to any dish just the way you use it in your homemade mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes are no exception. Other meats that can be added include ham, pancetta, or crumbled sausage. These meats will add a nice smoky flavor to the mashed potatoes.
- Crumbled blue cheese– For a more decadent mashed potato dish.
- For extra heat, you can add some cayenne pepper, paprika, or chili powder.
- Add herbs and spices to give the fresh and zesty flavor– This simple touch adds color and crunch to the dish, making it even more irresistible. Some good options include chives, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, and black pepper.
- Other add in– Sauteed mushrooms -Sun-dried tomatoes -Green onions, Pesto, and Truffle
Are mashed potatoes better with milk or cream?
Milk or cream can be used for making mashed potatoes, Both ingredients will add richness and depth of flavor to your mashed, but each has its own unique benefits. Milk is more affordable, it gives your potatoes a lighter consistency and it’s also lower in fat, making it a healthier choice. While cream will make them richer, creamier, and more decadent. If you’re looking for a healthful option, then milk is the way to go.
But if you want something that’s truly indulgent, then cream is your best bet. The best milk to use for mashed potatoes is full cream milk or whole milk however, skimmed milk works too if you really want to keep your dish really simple. For the cream, you have many options to choose from ranging from heavy cream, light cream, or even half and half. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which ingredient you prefer.
Can you freeze mashed potatoes?
If you have leftover mashed potatoes, store them by freezing them for up to 1 month. Freezing potatoes is a great way to extend their shelf life and enjoy them at a later date. Simply transfer the cooled mashed to an airtight container with a fitting lid and place them in the freezer. This will help prevent freezer burn and keep the potatoes fresh.
It’s also a good idea to portion out the mashed before freezing them. This way, you can thaw and reheat only as much as you need. When reheating frozen mashed potatoes, be sure to add a little bit of milk or cream to them before doing so. This will help restore their creamy consistency and prevent them from becoming dry or crumbly.
Mashed potatoes can be frozen for up to 1 month and after that, the potatoes will have a dry, crumbly texture and will be very unappetizing. Also, the texture will change and they will not taste as good as they were when they were first made. Therefore, it is best to eat frozen potatoes within 1 month of making them.
What goes with mashed potatoes?
Mashed potatoes can be served as a side dish or as a main course. There are a lot of things that go so well with them. Some of my favorites include roasted vegetables, grilled or roasted chicken, and even a simple salad.
Roasted vegetables– When it comes to roasted vegetables, I love to pair these homemade mashed potatoes with carrots, green beans, and Brussels sprouts. This is a great way to get in some extra nutrients, and the roasted veggies add a great flavor to the dish.
Grilled or roasted chicken thighs– This is always a hit, and it pairs so well with this dish. The juicy chicken thighs pair perfectly with the creamy potatoes, and you can never go wrong with adding a little bit of gravy on top.
Salad– If you’re looking for something lighter, a simple salad goes really well with mashed potatoes. We like to use a mix of greens, like arugula and spinach, and top it with some diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. This is a great option if you’re trying to eat a little healthier but still want something hearty and filling.
You can also serve your mashed on their own and top them with sauteed onions, mushrooms, or garlic for extra flavor. Stir in shredded cheese, bacon bits, or chopped fresh herbs for a delicious twist.
Other variations of mashed potatoes
There are many variations of mashed potatoes. The most common variation is to add garlic, butter, and milk to the potatoes before mashing them. Other variations include adding sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, or goat cheese. Some people also like to add roasted garlic, green onions, or chives.
Vegan mashed potatoes
If you like to make your mashed vegan, opt for non-dairy milk, vegan sour cream, and butter substitute. I like to use soy milk and Earth Balance buttery spread. You could also use almond milk or coconut milk. When it comes to the actual potatoes, you can use any type that you want.
Instant pot mashed potatoes
One of the best things about cooking with an Instant Pot is that you can make any food in a fraction of the time that it could have taken to make them on the stovetop. If you’re looking for a quicker, easier way to make your potatoes, then you should definitely consider making them in an Instant Pot.
Cauliflower is a great mashed potato substitute for those looking to cut down on carbs. While the texture is different from the traditional mashed potatoes, cauliflower can be mashed into a smooth, creamy consistency too. Simply steam or roast cauliflower florets until they are soft, then mash them with some butter, salt, and pepper to taste. You can also add other herbs and spices as you like.
Loaded mashed potato recipe
You can give your potatoes a hearty boost by adding in some bacon, shredded chicken, roasted vegetables, sour cream, and/or shredded cheese. You can even add any of your favorite toppings to make it your own. This is sure to be a hit with the entire family.
Mashed potato with cream cheese
This is a delicious, creamy variation of this classic dish. It is all about combining the creamy texture of mashed potatoes with the rich flavor of cream cheese. This variation is easy to make too; just follow the recipe as described above and add the cream cheese once the potatoes have been mashed in place of sour cream.
Mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not only a healthier option, but they also add a unique flavor to your mashed potatoes. Substitute an equal amount of sweet potato for regular potato in your potato recipe. You can use either boiled or baked sweet potatoes for this recipe; if you bake them, just be sure to remove the skin first before mashing.
Crocked pot mashed potatoes
Making mashed potatoes in the crockpot is about as easy as it gets. This method is a great way to keep your potatoes hot and ready to serve. Plus, they free up valuable stove space for other dishes. Simply add your peeled and diced potatoes to the crockpot with some water and salt. Set it on low, and let it cook away while you attend to other things. Once the potatoes are cooked through, they’ll be ready to mash right in the crockpot. Just add the needed seasonings to taste then mash into a creamy paste and you are good to go.
Garlic mashed potatoes
Garlic is a classic flavor that goes well with potatoes. To make a garlic variation, add some minced garlic to your mashed potato recipe and stir.
Try adding some fresh herbs to your mashed potato recipe for a flavor twist. Popular herbs to use include parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Another common variation is to use heavy cream or half-and-half instead of milk for a richer flavor. you can use cream cheese, greek yogurt, and goat cheese in place of sour cream. Green onions, rosemary, and red chili powder can also be used to season the potatoes.
How to keep mashed potatoes warm
- In a slow cooker– If you’re serving potatoes as part of a holiday meal or large dinner party, there’s a simple way to keep them warm without having to reheat them. Just before serving, spoon the mashed potatoes into a slow cooker set on low. Cover and let them stay warm in the slow cooker for up to 3 hours. This method will keep the potatoes creamy and smooth, without making them dry out or turn grainy.
- In the warm oven– If you’re using an oven, put the potatoes in a casserole dish and set the temperature to 175 degrees F. Stir the potatoes occasionally to prevent them from drying out. You can also stir 1 tablespoon of milk or cream if the potatoes start to look dry or cover the dish with foil to keep it moist.
- On the stovetop– If you don’t have a slow cooker, put the mashed potatoes in a metal or ceramic bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. Keep the bowl covered so the potatoes don’t dry out. Be sure to add more milk or cream if they seem dry and mix to combine. You can also keep them in a covered pot on the stovetop over low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Just before serving, give the mashed potatoes a final stir.
How to thicken mashed potatoes
If you find yourself with mashed that is too thin, there are a few easy ways to fix them. One way to thicken your runny potatoes is to add all-purpose flour, or cornstarch to them while they are being mashed. This will help to absorb some of the moisture and make the mashed potatoes thicker. If you’re using flour or cornstarch, start by adding a tablespoon or two of either one to the potatoes and gently stir until you get the consistency you are looking for.
Another way is to add some cooked, diced potatoes back into the potatoes and mash. Finally, if you find that the potatoes are still too thin, put them in a pan and cook them over low heat until they are thickened.
How long do mashed potatoes last?
Mashed potatoes should be eaten soon after they’re made. But we know that’s not always possible. So, if you need to store your potatoes for a little bit, here’s what you need to know. These will last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Be sure to store them in an airtight container if you have leftovers, they can also be frozen for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to eat your potatoes, simply reheat them on the stove over low heat until they’re warm through.
If you store mashed potatoes for too long, they will become freezer burnt. This means that the potatoes will have a dry, crumbly texture and will be very unappetizing, and may develop an off-flavor.
Are mashed potatoes healthy?
Mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food that many of us grew up on. They’re creamy, delicious, and filling. But are they healthy?
While potatoes are delicious, they are not necessarily healthy. This is because they are typically high in calories and fat.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, you could try making roasted sweet potato wedges or mashed cauliflower. These options are lower in calories and fat, and higher in nutrients.
Cut back on the amount of butter and cream you use or swap out those ingredients for their lower-fat counterparts. You can also add in some extra fiber and nutrients by including things like cooked cauliflower, roasted garlic, or shredded carrots. Finally, you can make them with low-fat milk like almond milk and substitute olive oil or vegan butter instead of using regular butter. This way, your mashed will be nutritious and quite delicious.
Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Potato masher
- Silicon spatula
- 3 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered 6 large
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup whole milk Add more if needed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sliced butter
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- Peel and cut the potatoes into even pieces- This will help them cook evenly. You can leave the skin on or peel it off, depending on your preference. You don't need to peel them unless you really want to.
- Rinse the potatoes under the running tap- Make sure to rinse your potatoes well before boiling them. This will remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface of the potato.
- Boil the potatoes until they're fork-tender– Add the potatoes, salt, and 3 garlic cloves to a large pot and add cold water to cover the top. Cook the potatoes until they are soft. This should take about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them, or they'll start to fall apart and become mushy.
- Drain the cooked potatoes well– Strain all the water from the potatoes through a colander and return them back into the pot and heat up for a few minutes to help dry up the remaining liquid from the body.
- Heat up butter and milk-In a small saucepan combine both milk and butter and place on low heat to melt, you don't want the milk to boil but just hot enough to melt the butter. Remove from heat once melted
- Mash the potatoes– Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until they're the desired consistency. The best way to mash your potatoes is to use a potato masher. However, you can use an immersion blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
- Add the butter and milk mixture– Pour half of the milk and butter mixture and gently fold in with a spatula until the potatoes have absorbed all the liquid. Stir in the rest and fold in again. Follow with the sour cream and make sure not to over-mix it, you want it to mix well until just combined. If you find that your mashed potatoes are too thick, simply add a little bit of the butter mixture and mix until they reach your desired consistency.
- Add some seasonings– Season the mashed generously with salt, and pepper, and fold in again. Taste for more seasoning; once you are happy with the taste, transfer them to your serving dish, and top with a tablespoon of sliced butter and chives if you like.
- Serve immediately– Mashed potatoes are best when they're piping hot, serve them with sliced butter and chives. These easy mashed potatoes go so well with roasted chicken or beef. So, I paired mine with roasted chicken leg quarter, and with a delicious gravy on the side.
Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time?There are a few things you can do to make mashed potatoes even easier. First, you can peel and chop the potatoes ahead of time, and place the potatoes in chilled water until when you are ready to mash, you can start cooking them. Another way is to cook the potatoes as directed in the recipe, then transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat them on the stovetop and mash them as directed in the recipe above.
Making ahead of time over a shorter period
- In the warm oven– If you’re making your mashed potatoes ahead of time let’s say 30 minutes less, it is best to keep them warm and fluffy. The best way to do this is to put them in a covered dish and keep them in the oven without lighting them. They will stay warm until you are ready to eat.
- On the stovetop– The potatoes can also be placed in a heat-proof bowl and the bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. This will keep the potatoes hot without making them dry out until you are ready to use them.
- In a slow cooker– Alternatively, you can put the potatoes in a slow cooker set on low. Again, be sure to use a covered dish so the potatoes don’t dry out.
Making ahead of time over a longer period
- Make a day before and store them in the fridge– Also, if you want to get a head start on Thanksgiving dinner, you can cook and mash the potatoes the day before and store them in the fridge overnight. Just be sure to take them out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to reheat them so they have time to come to room temperature.
- Store in the freezer– Another great tip is to make a big batch of mashed potatoes and then freeze them in individual portions for up to 1 month. That way, you can just pull out a portion when needed and not have to worry about making them from scratch every time. When you’re ready to eat, simply thaw the potatoes in the fridge overnight and reheat them in a covered dish in the microwave or on the stove until heated through.
How to reheat mashed potatoes
Using an OvenOne of the best ways I like to reheat mashed potatoes is in the oven. To do this, simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, then add the potatoes to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil or a lid. Place in the oven and heat for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. For a creamier texture, add a splash of milk or cream when reheating to keep them moist.
On the StovetopYou can also reheat mashed potatoes on the stovetop over low heat, put them in a pot or saucepan with a lid over low heat, stirring occasionally until they are heated through. You can also add a little milk or cream to the pot to help keep the potatoes moist during the process.
In the MicrowavePlace the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Make sure to stir after each interval for even heating.
What to do with leftover mashed potatoes
- Make potato cakes or fritters– Mix the mashed with an egg and some shredded cheese, shape them into small patties, then fry them in a bit of oil until golden brown on both sides. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
- Stuffing for chicken or turkey– Stir in some chopped herbs or spices and use them as stuffing for roasted chicken or turkey.
- Potato casserole– Add some cheese, bacon, and green onions to the mashed potatoes and bake in a casserole dish until hot and bubbly.
- Turn them into gnocchi– Mix the potatoes with an egg and some flour and roll them out into flat dough, cut the dough into gnocchi shapes and boil in hot water for delicious homemade gnocchi.
- Make a delicious pie– Use leftover mashed potatoes as a topping for shepherd’s pie or vegetable pie by layering the mash over a ground meat filling or vegetable filling.
- Potato soup– Simply add some chicken or vegetable stock to the potatoes, along with some chopped vegetables and seasonings. Puree the soup until smooth.
- For potato gratin– Mix them with shredded cheese, chopped onions, and some eggs, then bake in a muffin dish for a tasty potato gratin.
- Make twice-baked potatoes– Mix the mashed potatoes with some shredded cheese and bacon, then spoon into the shells of baked potato halves and bake again until golden brown.
- Make mashed potato pancakes or waffles– You can make waffles or potato pancakes by adding some flour and egg, then frying them up in a pan for a delicious breakfast treat.