My Best Mashed Potatoes recipe – scaled down for 2! They are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.

A plate of roasted cornish hens, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable casserole, and cranberry sauce.

Mashed potatoes make the perfect moat to hold all that gravy on the plate, plus they taste great with everything. Even cranberries! For some, it’s the best part of the dinner.

Of course, there’s a million recipes out there, but in case you’re looking for an old-school, classic mashed potato recipe that really lets the flavor of the potato shine, make this one. It is tried and true and absolutely foolproof.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Mashed Potatoes for Two Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Mashed potatoes ingredients labeled.

Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: For the fluffiest, smoothest, and most flavorful mashed potatoes, choose high-starch potatoes like Russet, Idaho, or Yukon gold potatoes.  Waxy potatoes (such as new, red, or white varieties) require more mashing to become creamy which could result in gluey, pasty spuds.
  • Butter before milk: Always add the butter first so the butter fat coats the potato starch molecules. Then, add the hot milk to make them creamy. If you mix up the order, you could end up with gluey spuds. (Thanks Cook’s Illustrated for this tip!)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small pot, add potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch.
Peeled, cut potatoes in a pot for boiling.
  1. Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
Boiled potatoes in a colander.
  1. Wipe pot dry. Return potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency. Using a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until just incorporated.
Boiled potatoes mashed in a pot.
  1. Slowly stir in ¼ cups hot milk. Add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to adjust the consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
A metal serving dish full of the absolute best mashed potatoes.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipes makes about 2 ½ cups mashed potatoes, enough for 2 (1 1/4-cup) servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Peel and cube the raw potatoes up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with water and chill in the refrigerator. Or, try my Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, a recipe that uses cream cheese and egg whites for a little more staying power.
  • Freezer: As long as you use butter and dairy, mashed potatoes freeze beautifully. Let them completely cool, then spoon the mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • For chunky, rustic-style potatoes: Use a basic potato masher. A waffle-head masher will mash the potatoes into a smoother consistency, if you like them somewhere in-between.
  • For super-smooth mashed potatoes: Use a potato ricer (peeled potatoes) or food mill (unpeeled potatoes). These gadgets make the smallest, finest pieces of cooked potato, which fluff up beautifully.
  • Garlic mashed potatoes: Toast garlic in a skillet (or roast whole bulbs of garlic in the oven), peel, mince, and add to your mashed potatoes. You’ll need about 10 cloves for 1 pound of potatoes.
  • Cauliflower mashed potatoesFor a low carb, highly satisfying side dish, try cauliflower mashed potatoes (without a potato in sight).
  • Boursin mashed potatoes: Soft-skinned small red potatoes mixed with fresh herbs and a block of Boursin cheese. You don’t even have to peel the potatoes!
  • Mashed sweet potatoes: These mashers are flavored with fresh thyme and a touch of brown sugar.
  • Potatoes for a party: For a full-sized batch of mashed potatoes (12 servings, 1 cup each), see my Best Mashed Potatoes recipe.
  • Potatoes on top: Delicious mashed potatoes are critical for the best possible Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Slow cooker: Once the mashed potatoes are ready, you can put them in a crock pot and heat on the LOW setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. I have never found a mashed potato recipe MADE in a slow cooker that I thought tasted good.
  • Fresh herbs: Use the extra fresh herbs to make an herb butter to mix into your mashed potatoes, or simply garnish the spuds with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives.
A plate of roasted trukey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberries.

Cornish Hens with Stuffing

Roasted Cornish Hens with Stuffing make Thanksgivings extra special. An easy apple mustard glaze takes the place of gravy, and a classic bread stuffing soaks up all the flavors.

1 hour 10 minutes
View Recipe

More Thanksgiving recipes for two

A plate of roasted cornish hen, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable casserole, and cranberry sauce.

Mashed Potatoes for Two

My Best Mashed Potatoes recipe – scaled down for 2! They are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 2 servings (1 ¼ cups each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 402

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound russet potatoes peeled and cut into large, uniform sized pieces (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter melted (½ stick, see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup milk hot, plus more if desired (up to ½ cup)

Instructions 

  • In a small pot, add potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt. Add cold water to cover potatoes by 1 inch.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring to boil and partially cover pot. Cook until potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily slipped into the center, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well, tossing in colander to remove excess water.
  • Wipe pot dry. Return potatoes to pot and mash to a uniform consistency. Using a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until just incorporated.
  • Slowly stir in ¼ cups hot milk. Add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to adjust the consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. Potatoes: For the fluffiest, smoothest, and most flavorful mashed potatoes, choose high-starch potatoes like Russet, Idaho, or Yukon gold potatoes.  Waxy potatoes (such as new, red, or white varieties) require more mashing to become creamy which could result in gluey, pasty spuds.
  2. Butter before milk: Always add the butter first so the butter fat coats the potato starch molecules. Then, add the hot milk to make them creamy. If you mix up the order, you could end up with gluey spuds. (Thanks Cook’s Illustrated for this tip!)
  3. Yield: This recipes makes about 2 ½ cups mashed potatoes, enough for 2 (1 1/4-cup) servings.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. Make ahead: Peel and cube the raw potatoes up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with water and chill in the refrigerator. Or, try my Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, a recipe that uses cream cheese and egg whites for a little more staying power.
  6. Freezer: As long as you use butter and dairy, mashed potatoes freeze beautifully. Let them completely cool, then spoon the mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month.
  7. For chunky, rustic-style potatoes: Use a basic potato masher. A waffle-head masher will mash the potatoes into a smoother consistency, if you like them somewhere in-between.
  8. For super-smooth mashed potatoes: Use a potato ricer (peeled potatoes) or food mill (unpeeled potatoes). These gadgets make the smallest, finest pieces of cooked potato, which fluff up beautifully.
  9. Garlic mashed potatoes: Toast garlic in a skillet (or roast whole bulbs of garlic in the oven), peel, mince, and add to your mashed potatoes. You’ll need about 10 cloves for 1 pound of potatoes.
  10. Cauliflower mashed potatoesFor a low carb, highly satisfying side dish, try cauliflower mashed potatoes (without a potato in sight).
  11. Boursin mashed potatoes: Soft-skinned small red potatoes mixed with fresh herbs and a block of Boursin cheese. You don’t even have to peel the potatoes!
  12. Mashed sweet potatoes: These mashers are flavored with fresh thyme and a touch of brown sugar.
  13. Potatoes for a party: For a full-sized batch of mashed potatoes (12 servings, 1 cup each), see my Best Mashed Potatoes recipe.
  14. Potatoes on top: Delicious mashed potatoes are critical for the best possible Shepherd’s Pie.
  15. Slow cooker: Once the mashed potatoes are ready, you can put them in a crock pot and heat on the LOW setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. I have never found a mashed potato recipe MADE in a slow cooker that I thought tasted good.
  16. Fresh herbs: Use the extra fresh herbs to make an herb butter to mix into your mashed potatoes, or simply garnish the spuds with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cupsCalories: 402kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 292mgPotassium: 986mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1064IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the tip regarding adding melted butter, then hot milk to avoid the gooey mess. This worked well, and is sincerely appreciated. :)5 stars