The Best Mashed Potatoes

The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.

The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world barely even need a recipe, they're so easy to whip up. All it takes is three ingredients to make perfect homemade potatoes that absolutely hit the spot with every fluffy forkful.

No matter what’s on the menu for the holidays, mashed potatoes should always make an appearance. They 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.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled mashed potato ingredients.

Ingredient notes:

  • Potatoes: The best potato for the job? The Russet, the original baked potato. They’re drier and they have more starch which is a good thing for mashed potatoes. Whole potatoes cook unevenly, so cut them into uniform pieces before you cook them. By the way, if you want skin-on mashed potatoes; leave the skin on.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, add cubed potatoes and cover with cold water. Add some salt. Bring the pot to boil and cover, cooking the potatoes until a knife inserted into the potato goes in with almost no resistance. Cooking time is usually 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
    Cooked potatoes in a silver colander.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and wipe the pot dry. Then return the potatoes to the hot pot. Mash the potatoes up using a potato ricer, masher, or a pastry cutter.
    Mashed potatoes in a black pot with a potato masher.
  3. After adding the butter, pour in most of the milk, and fold it into the mashed potatoes. If you like the consistency, stop there. But if you want to thin the potatoes down, add the rest of the milk a little at a time.
    Milk being poured onto mashed potatoes in a black pot.
  4. Once you get the perfect texture, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • 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!)
  • For chunky, rustic-style potatoes, or skin-on 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, fluffy 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.
  • No masher: A pastry blender or a couple of sturdy forks work just fine.
  • 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 for a little more staying power.
  • Slow cooker: Once the mashed potatoes are ready, you can put them in a crock pot and heat on the LOW or WARM setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. I honestly have never found a mashed potato recipe MADE in a slow cooker that I thought tasted good.
  • Freezing: As long as you use butter and dairy, mashed potatoes freeze beautifully. Let them completely cool, then scoop them into single serving portions and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray in the freezer. When completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and store. Or, if you don’t want to portion them, spoon the mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe container.
  • 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 2 bulbs of garlic (40 cloves) for every 5 pounds of potatoes.
  • Fresh herbs: Try a sprinkling of minced fresh parsley or snipped chives.
  • Sour cream: Use half the amount of butter but add sour cream to the potatoes to amp up the richness.

The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world barely even need a recipe, they're so easy to whip up. All it takes is three ingredients to make perfect homemade potatoes that absolutely hit the spot with every fluffy forkful.

More mashed potato recipes:

The best mashed potatoes in a silver bowl with a silver spoon.

The Best Mashed Potatoes

The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 365kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, add potatoes and 2 tablespoons 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 1 1/2 cups hot milk. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust the consistency as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Video

Notes

  1. Potatoes: The best potato for the job? The Russet, the original baked potato. They're drier and they have more starch which is a good thing for mashed potatoes. Whole potatoes cook unevenly, so cut them into uniform pieces before you cook them. By the way, if you want skin-on mashed potatoes; leave the skin on.
  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. For chunky, rustic-style potatoes, or skin-on 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.
  4. For super-smooth, fluffy 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.
  5. No masher: A pastry blender or a couple of sturdy forks work just fine.
  6. 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 for a little more staying power.
  7. Slow cooker: Once the mashed potatoes are ready, you can put them in a crock pot and heat on the LOW or WARM setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. I honestly have never found a mashed potato recipe MADE in a slow cooker that I thought tasted good.
  8. Freezing: As long as you use butter and dairy, mashed potatoes freeze beautifully. Let them completely cool, then scoop them into single serving portions and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray in the freezer. When completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and store. Or, if you don't want to portion them, spoon the mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe container.
  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 2 bulbs of garlic (40 cloves) for every 5 pounds of potatoes. 
  10. Fresh herbs: Try a sprinkling of minced fresh parsley or snipped chives.
  11. Sour cream: Use half the amount of butter but add sour cream to the potatoes to amp up the richness.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 241mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 871IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This form collects your name, email, and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Melissa

    Where can I find your Boursin mashed potato recipe? 

    1. meggan

      Hi Melissa, I’m so sorry about that! Somehow a redirect got added so the link wasn’t working (technical jargon). Here it is: https://www.culinaryhill.com/boursin-mashed-potatoes/ Thank you for finding that for me!!!

  2. Dave

    Like the Barefoot Contessa’s mantra goes, “There’s no such thing as too much butter.”  You just taught me something – use hot milk for a creamy finish. Most times I make mine with the jackets on and use a hand masher so they’re lumpy. For guests, I break out the stand mixer. My mom used to use a ricer because she did not have a good mixer with sufficient power to whip the huge amount we would eat at Sunday dinner.

    Great recipe – simple with lots of butter!!!5 stars

Scroll to top