Mashed potatoes make the perfect side dish for your holiday meal. These potatoes are creamy, smooth and full of rich, buttery flavor. They’re surprisingly easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.
In this irresistible recipe, heavy cream, butter and milk help to smooth out all those lumps and create a fluffy white cloud of mash. If you want to go epic, I’ve included my three all-time favorite add-in flavors—roasted garlic and chive, Gorgonzola Blue Cheese and horseradish black pepper.
What Type Of Potato To Use
For mashed potatoes, use a potato that’s high in starch, either Russet or Yukon gold. This will result in fluffier, smoother potatoes. You can also use a combination of both Russet and Yukon gold potatoes. At the grocery store, choose potatoes that are very firm with no sprouting, and avoid potatoes with any green color on them.
How Much To Make
Plan on using 1/3 to ½ pound of potatoes per person.
Basic Ingredients For Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes: Russet, Yukon gold, or a mixture of both.
Butter: Use real, high-quality unsalted butter in this recipe. Let it warm to room temperature before using.
Milk: I use whole milk in my mashed potatoes for the richest flavor. Let it reach room temperature or warm it in the microwave for 15 second intervals. You don’t want to add cold milk to the potatoes.
Heavy Cream: Use good quality heavy cream that’s room temperature or warmed in the microwave.
Kosher salt: After mashing, season the potatoes with kosher salt.
Black pepper: Adds a balanced and peppery finish to the dish.
Toppings and add-ins (Optional): My three favorite mashed potato variations are roasted garlic and chive, Gorgonzola Blue Cheese and horseradish black pepper. See below for how to incorporate these delicious flavors into a batch of mashed potatoes. Feel free to add in what you like!
How To Make Mashed Potatoes
- Wash, scrub and peel the potatoes. You can leave the skin on if you want, you just won’t have a smooth consistency. Russet potatoes have a thicker skin, so I prefer to peel them. Cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces, about 1 inch thick. This ensures that they all cook evenly and at the same time.
- Bring a large stockpot full of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water.
- Carefully add the cut potatoes. Boil until you can pierce each potato fairly easily with a sharp knife, about 20-25 minutes. Carefully drain out all of the water.
- Transfer the cooked potatoes to a stand up mixer.
- Add the butter, cream, milk, salt and black pepper. Mix on low-medium speed using a whisk attachment until most or all of the lumps are gone, scraping the bowl down at least once. Avoid overmixing—no one wants gummy potatoes!
- Taste and season if necessary. The mixture is now ready for adding any extra ingredients. The variations I’ve listed below are pretty epic!
- Serve warm and enjoy!
My Favorite Variations
Roasted garlic and chive– Before you start on the potatoes, cut a whole garlic bulb in half horizontally and lay it on a square of aluminum foil in an oven safe pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, bring up the sides of the foil sealing the garlic and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. After preparing the potatoes, fold 1 Tablespoon chopped roasted garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives into the potatoes.
Gorgonzola Blue Cheese– Combine 1 cup crumbled of grated Gorgonzola cheese with the mashed potatoes. Add more cheese if desired.
Horseradish black pepper– Add 3 tbsp creamed horseradish and 1/4 teaspoon extra black pepper to the mashed potatoes.
How To Prep Ahead And Reheat Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are pretty low maintenance, so you can prepare them ahead of a big meal and reheat them, or keep them at low heat in a slow cooker while you get the rest of the meal ready. Don’t worry—you won’t sacrifice flavor or texture by reheating!
Easy potato prep a day ahead: peel the potatoes and put them in a pot or container and cover them with water to keep them from browning. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cut, boil and mash.
To prep potatoes the morning of a big meal: Peel and cut the potatoes and store them in a stockpot covered with cold water for up to 4 hours. Store in the fridge or add ice cubes every few hours to keep the water cold. When you’re ready, boil and mash the potatoes.
To make the whole mashed potato recipe ahead of time: Prepare the mashed potatoes, cover with an airtight lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
To Reheat The Mashed Potatoes
- In the oven, transfer the potatoes to a large casserole dish or stockpot, cover with foil, and heat at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until hot.
- On the stovetop, transfer the potatoes to a large pot or heavy sauté pan, and cook over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once heated, add more butter and seasoning to taste.
- In a slow cooker, transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker, cover, and heat on “high” for 1 hour, or until hot. You can also make the mashed potatoes in the morning and keep them on the low setting of your slow cooker for up to 4 hours before serving.
- In an Instant Pot, transfer the potatoes to the pot and heat on the “warm” setting for 1 hour, or until hot.
- In the microwave, transfer the potatoes to a microwave safe dish with a cover, set the microwave to medium-high and heat for 5-7 minutes. Stir the potatoes and test for doneness. If still cold, microwave for another 5-7 minutes or until hot. Fluff the mashed potatoes with a fork after reheating.
How To Store Leftovers
Mashed potatoes should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Cover the potatoes tightly with plastic wrap or in a container with an airtight lid and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze the potatoes, place them in a heavy duty resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 12 months.
More fantastic mashed potatoes perfect for the holidays!
Saffron Garlic Buter Mashed Potatoes– 101 Cookbooks
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – Damn Delicious
Traditional Mashed Potatoes – Pocket Change Gourmet
Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes – Chef In Training
This post has been updated since it was first posted in 2014.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe Three Ways
Mashed Potato Base
- 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
- 4 oz unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Gorgonzola Potatoes
- 1 cup Gorgonzola crumbles
For the Horseradish Potatoes
- 3 tbsp creamed horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon extra black pepper.
For the Roasted Garlic Potatoes
- 1 whole garlic bulb see instructions
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
Roasting the Garlic
- Cut the whole garlic in half horizontally and lay it on a square of aluminum foil in an oven safe pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, bring up the sides of the foil sealing the garlic and bake in the oven for about 1 hour.
To Make The Mashed Potato Base
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add the potatoes and boil the peeled potatoes until you can pierce each one fairly easily with a sharp knife, about 20-25 minutes
- Drain and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the butter, cream, milk, salt and black pepper.
- Mix on low-medium speed using a whisk attachment until most or all of the lumps are gone, scraping the bowl down at least once.
- The mixture is now ready for adding any extra ingredients from the choice above.