Classic Mashed Potatoes
Updated Nov 11, 2023
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Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish recipe that stand the test of time. They’re irresistibly creamy and buttery, making it hard to stop at one serving. And while they’re easy to make, I do have a few tips so you can learn how to make homemade mashed potatoes perfectly.
I love a good mashed veggie side dish. Whether that’s mashed sweet potato or mashed cauliflower or mashed butternut squash. But nothing beats a side of classic mashed potatoes that’s ultra creamy and perfectly salted with a sprinkle of fresh herbs on top. And that’s exactly what this recipe delivers!
Making mashed potatoes isn’t hard, but there are a few tricks to making this “the best” mashed potato you’ve ever had. So read through the post before you start cooking to make sure you don’t miss anything. And once you serve this to guests, I guarantee you’ll be on mashed potato duty for a Thanksgiving side dish from here on out.
Easy Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
- Potatoes: Starchy potatoes, like Russet potatoes, are best for creamy mashed potatoes. These brown-skinned spuds are naturally buttery and fluffy when cooked. But if you’re not a fan of Russet, Yukon gold potatoes make a great alternative. They’re also naturally creamy, and not quite as waxy as new potatoes.
- Milk: Whole milk is what makes these mashed potatoes extra creamy. The key here is to use warm milk to keep the consistency smooth and temperature of the potatoes warm. For a dairy-free option you can swap in your favorite plant-based milk (just know that it won’t be quite as creamy).
- Butter: For this recipe, it’s best to stick to unsalted butter since we’re mixing in salt and black pepper. Plus, unsalted butter gives you more control over how salty you want your potatoes. For a dairy-free option, use a vegan butter alternative.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below
How To Make Mashed Potatoes
Peel and dice the potatoes. Peel the potatoes using a hand peeler (it’s much easier than a straight peeler) and dice them into large chunks or cubes.
Boil the potatoes. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Drop the potatoes in and let them cook for about 15 minutes, until they’re fork tender.
Warm the milk and butter. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and milk in a saucepan until the mixture is warm. Alternatively, you could also melt and warm this mixture in the microwave. Then, drain the potatoes in a colander, place them back into the hot pot, and pour the butter milk mixture on top.
Mix and mash. Start mashing with a hand masher until it’s fluffy and creamy. If it’s not creamy enough, just add a bit more milk as you go. Then, season it with salt and pepper. Remember to taste test to see if it needs more salt!
It’s best to mash the potatoes while they’re still hot, straight from the pot. It’ll result in a much creamier texture than if you were to mash them cold.
You can use milk (at any percentage), heavy cream, or half and half. The higher the fat content the creamier and more luscious the mashed potatoes. But if you want to reduce the fat content, stick with regular milk.
That creamy texture and simple flavor complements just about any main dish from roast chicken and turkey, to prime rib and filet mignon. Mashed potatoes are also a great base for pot roast or short ribs (it’s delicious when oozy sauce drizzles into the mashed potatoes!).
I love to top these mashed potatoes with an extra pat of butter and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. But here are a few more delicious ideas!
- Make it garlicky: Add freshly minced garlic into the warmed up milky butter so it infuses the mixture. You could also stir roasted garlic right in with the mashed potatoes towards the end.
- Add bacon: Toss in crispy oven baked bacon bits, because it’s never a bad idea to add more bacon, right?
- Add some greens: Mix in cooked leafy greens such as cabbage or kale to turn them into colcannon (an Irish favorite). You could also chop fresh herbs and stir them in for a light and herby flavor.
Storage & Make-Ahead Tips
- To store: Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Perfect for heating up a quick side dish along with any main throughout the week.
- For freezing: Want to save this for the future? Freeze it in freezer-safe containers and store iti for up to 3 months!
- To reheat: Mashed potatoes are best reheated in the microwave, just give them a stir and reheat until warmed through. And if you want to add some “fluff” back into them, add a splash of milk while you reheat.
More Potato Side Dishes
- Scalloped Potatoes: The perfect side dish for when you’re craving something extra cheesy and potato-y.
- Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes: Nail a simple yet delicious side of crispy roasted potatoes with this recipe.
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole: The nutty crumble topping is what makes this version so special.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes: I’m a big fan of roasted sweet potatoes and often meal prep them for the week.
- Baked Sweet Potato: The vibrant orange of baked sweet potatoes always brightens up any meal.
There’s no doubt you’ll be making mashed potatoes on the regular once you’ve memorized the recipe. Once you do, I’d love to hear how this turned out in the comment box below! Your review will help other readers in the community.
Classic Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- ½ cup milk, or more for a creamier texture
- ¼ cup butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Peel and dice the potatoes. Peel the potatoes using a hand peeler and dice them into large chunks or cubes.
- Boil the potatoes. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Drop the potatoes in and let them cook for 15 minutes, or until they’re fork-tender.
- Warm the milk and butter. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and milk in a saucepan until the mixture is warm. Alternatively, you could also melt and warm this mixture in the microwave. Then, drain the potatoes in a colander, place them back into the hot pot, and pour the butter milk mixture on top of the potatoes.
- Mix and mash. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher until you've reached your desired consistency. You can always add more milk or butter for a creamier consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish and serve. Scoop the mashed sweet potatoes into a bowl, add a pat of butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional) and serve!
- You can certainly make this recipe dairy-free and vegan by using a plant-based milk and butter alternative.
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Recipe originally posted December 2019, but updated to include new information and photos.