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Best Mashed Potatoes

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. Learn how to make homemade mashed potatoes perfectly, then serve them alongside my roasted balsamic chicken or crispy chicken thighs or on top of shepherd’s pie for the perfect cozy meal.

Mashed potatoes in a bowl topped with butter.

Who else agrees that a mashed side dish is essential to a dinner table? That creamy texture and simple flavor complements just about any main course, including chicken, salmon and beef.

The only thing you have to decide is what vegetable or spud to use. Your options can range from mashed cauliflower (for a low-carb option), to mashed butternut squash, and mashed sweet potatoes. But today, I’m showing you how to perfect the iconic and original mashed potatoes recipe.

How To Make The Best Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are simple to make with just a handful of ingredients. To make the BEST mashed potatoes, it’s all about flavor and texture. And the good news is that you can adjust as you go! Watch the video below to see how I make them.

Here’s how to make mashed potatoes, step-by-step:

  1. Peel the potatoes using a Y peeler (it’s much easier than a straight peeler) and cut them into large chunks or cubes.
  2. Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with cold water. 
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then cook the potatoes for 13-15 minutes, or until fork tender.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and warm the milk together in a small saucepan.
  5. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place back in the warm pot.
  6. Pour the butter mixture on top of the potatoes, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Mash the potatoes using a hand masher until they’ve reached your desired consistency.
  8. Taste test to see if they need more salt and pepper. You can also add more milk for a fluffier consistency.
  9. Garnish with diced parsley, add a pat of butter and serve immediately!

Note: You don’t want to add cold milk and butter to your potatoes, as it will cool them down before serving. The milk to butter ratio is different from my mashed sweet potatoes recipe due to the starchiness of russet potatoes. They require a bit more liquid.

Potatoes getting mashed in a bowl.

What Type Of Potato To Use?

When it comes to making mashed potatoes, the one question we all have is: how do you make them creamy?

The answer to that is to use a batch of starchy potatoes, like russet potatoes. These brown skinned spuds are fluffy when they’re cooked, and have a slight buttery texture to them. That makes russet potatoes the best potato for a classic mashed potatoes recipe.

But if you don’t have russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes make a great alternative. They’re also naturally creamy, but not as waxy as new potatoes.

Make This Recipe Ahead Of Time

Want to save time in the kitchen? Make a large batch of mashed potatoes ahead of time (always a great meal prep option), then enjoy when the craving strikes. You can store mashed potatoes in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

So how do you reheat them? Just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, give them a stir and you’re ready to go!

Mashed potatoes in a bowl, topped with butter and herbs.

Extra Flavors To Enhance Your Mashed Potatoes

While mashed potatoes are meant to be simple in flavor, it doesn’t hurt to switch it up a bit. Here’s a few variations that will give these spuds some kick.

  • Add garlic if you love a more garlicky flavor. Melt it with your butter mixture or stir roasted garlic right in with your potatoes.
  • Toss in crispy oven baked bacon bits, because it’s never a bad idea to add more bacon, right?
  • Chop fresh herbs and stir them in for a light and refreshing flavor.
  • Add a few tablespoons of cream cheese or goat cheese for an ultra creamy and smooth texture.

Need More Side Dishes?

Complete your dinner table with these delicious veggie-filled recipes.

5 from 6 votes

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe (How to Make Mashed Potatoes Perfectly)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
These classic mashed potatoes are irresistibly creamy, buttery, and pair perfectly with any main course for the ultimate cozy meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk, or more for a creamier texture
  • 1/4 cup butter, or ghee
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Add Ins

  • bacon bits
  • chives or other herbs
  • cream cheese or goat cheese
  • roasted garlic

Instructions

  • Peel the potatoes with a hand peeler.
  • Dice the potatoes into chunks and place them into a pot. Fill the pot with cold water, bring it to a boil and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and milk in a saucepan until it's warm. Alternatively, you could melt and warm this in the microwave.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and place them back into the pot.
  • Pour the butter milk mixture on top of the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher until the desired consistency. You can always add more milk or butter for a creamier consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Scoop the mashed sweet potatoes into a bowl, add a pat of butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!

Lisa's Tips

  • You can certainly make this recipe dairy-free and vegan by using a plant-based milk and butter alternative.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 140mg, Potassium: 1012mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 172IU, Vitamin C: 73mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best mashed potatoes, classic mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes recipe
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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16 comments on “Best Mashed Potatoes”

  1. These Definitely Are the Best Mashed Potatoes I’ve ever made! SO delicious!
    Love your tips and your never-fail recipes!

  2. Hello Lisa,
    I love your recipes and every one I’ve tried has been delicious! Thank you! Just wondering which milk you usually use when you make this? If I remember right, you’re dairy free.

    • Hi Michele – I’m so glad to hear you’re loving all the recipes so far! As for this one, I made it with macadamia nut milk (which was what I had leftover in my fridge), but you can use any non-dairy milk for this!

  3. This is almost the same as my mashed potatoes recipe. All the add ins make this even better, especially the bacon bits!

  4. I love all your tips in your mashed potato recipe, plus the options to switch things up. A bowl of mashed potatoes is comfort food at its best!

    • Hi Deanne – I would have to agree completely :) Mashed potatoes are the best during the winter months!

    • Your recipes are so reliable! Just made a batch for dinner, with leftovers going in the freezer for later. Thank you for including basics, even mashed potatoes aren’t intuitive!

      • Hi Pearl- There’s nothing ever wrong with brushing up on basic recipes such as mashed potatoes! Glad you loved it :)

  5. There is nothing better than fluffy mashed potatoes with butter. Yours look fantastic no leftovers on this one as everyone had seconds!

  6. Love your photos – your mashed potatoes look so creamy and dreamy!

  7. These mashed potatoes topped with all that melted butter, the perfect side dish for Sunday dinners!