The Best Mashed Potatoes

Ok, this is real life. I was obsessed with chicken and mashed potatoes growing up. I’m an expert with the creamiest, The Best Mashed Potatoes recipe ever!


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley


This is literally the dumbest thing in the entire world that I haven’t posted a real, creamy and perfect recipe for such a Thanksgiving staple. The Best Mashed Potatoes are an absolute must on your Thanksgiving Menu, but there are a few things we want to do and avoid to make the perfect, most creamy mashed potatoes.

Unless you want the steak house SMASHED potatoes. Now that’s a totally different story and you should for sure check out our Steakhouse Style Smashed Potatoes. So good!!

These potatoes are so rich, so creamy and are totally going to blow your mind. Every Thanksgiving you’ll be put in charge of the potatoes which is was easier and cheaper than the turkey, so go ahead and count that as win.


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley


How my Mom Made Mashed Potatoes


When I was growing up I was obsessed with creamy mashed potatoes, roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. Actually, that’s not true, haha I loved Jell-O too. I don’t really know what to tell you about that. It was good. It’s a kid thing. 😉

I used to stand next to my mom in the kitchen and peel potatoes on Sunday morning. I can remember it all, her Sunday dress, her apron to keep her clothes clean for church and how the potato peeler felt in my hands.


Our Sunday Routine


It was such a simple Sunday routine, prepping dinner before we went to church. I’m not sure why it always stands out to me so much. Maybe that’s how it is with life and memories, it’s not the big stuff, it’s just the moments when you’re side by side. I need to be better about that, taking the time to just be together without a plan. I think that’s when the real conversations happen anyway.

Mom would put the peeled potatoes in this big, old pot filled with water and let them boil away until we stuck a fork in a few and it slid clean through the potato. Then we would get out our hand mixer and beat them with some milk, butter and salt. That was it!


How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes

Things have changed a stitch since then, I hardly do anything the same as my mom, but it’s only after so much testing and finding a few tricks that make a big difference.


  • What Kind of Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?

You can use different potatoes for mashed potatoes, but we usually stick with the Russet Potato because of it’s amount of starch to really pull the potatoes together. The smaller potatoes are really creamy and nice, so for sure choose those for roasted potatoes.


  • Boil Potatoes in their Skins

One of the very first things that you should change in making mashed potatoes is to boil potatoes in their skins.

I know, that sounds like we are going to be making smashed potatoes with pieces of skins all over in them, but that’s not it.

You see, when you boil Russet potatoes in their skin it keeps the water from totally soaking into the potatoes making them water logged and not as creamy.

Once the potatoes are done just pull them out of the pot to cool for a few minutes. Carefully (I like to use a towel to hold the potato in one hand) peel each potato. If one part is stuck just finish the batch, go back to the potato with a pairing knife and peel it.


How to Mash Potatoes


  • Use a Mesh Colander or Ricer to Mash the Potatoes

No, don’t run away!! I’m serious! I know this is a little more work, I know, but trust me, it’s totally worth it to not use a hand mixer or standing mixer. You have two options.


  1. Mesh Colander– This specific mesh colander, the Bellemain is sturdy enough for pushing the cooked potatoes through, but also has small enough holes to work like a very fine potato ricer. Plus, it has feet so you can stand it in a bowl, which you want for sure. When you do this, you allow the potatoes to get more air into them which leads to a fluffier mashed potatoes recipe.
  2. Potato Ricer- If you’re up for buying a potato ricer you’ll want to get the RSVP Potato Ricer as it’s only $15 and does a great job pushing those potatoes through.


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley


The MOST Important Rule for Mashed Potatoes

  • Heat the butter first, and then the cream, but in separate dishes. Only mix the butter into the mashed potatoes first and then stir in the cream. The order in which you add dairy changes how the starches connect and you’ll end up with gluey mashed potatoes if you don’t follow this most important rule.

How Much Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving?


Trying to figure out how many mashed potatoes to make for Thanksgiving or any meal for that matter can be a real beast. But don’t worry, there’s a little trick to help you until you get to the bigger numbers.


  • How many mashed potatoes for 2

Generally think in terms of potatoes as people. 1 person needs one potato, 2 need 2 potatoes and so on. But what if you’ve bought a whole bag? How many mashed potatoes will that make?


  • How Much Mashed Potatoes for a 5 Pound Bag of Potatoes

A 5 lb bag of Russet Potatoes will make about 10-12 servings.


For 25 people you don’t really have to count exact numbers any more because whipping them up with additional ingredients will increase the volume, so instead I’ll give you some numbers.

A 15 pound bag of potatoes is generally used for 25 to 30 people.


Now we are really talkin’. You’ll need about 60 pounds of potatoes to feed 100 people.


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley


How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

If you’ve peeled and cut your potatoes it’s going to take anywhere between 15-20 minutes to cook the potatoes.

Whole potatoes with their skins on can take over 30 minutes depending on their size, but it’s totally worth it.


How to Mash Potatoes Without a Masher

Well, go back to where I talk about how to make the best mashed potatoes, and you’ll see that we never use a masher for creamy mashed potatoes, but if you don’t have those two things either then I would go for the hand mixer or stand mixer. Just don’t use the whisk attachment. It’s not going to be strong enough.


Why Mashed Potatoes are Gluey

Oh, we totally feel you!!!!! This is one of the most asked questions around this time of year, why mashed potatoes are gluey. And in case you have any other issues I’ll tell you about those as well.


  • Why Mashed Potatoes are Gluey- There are a couple of reasons that this happens. Mashed potatoes can end up gluey because you overcooked them or didn’t drain them well. Also, did you add your milk or cream before the butter? Butter should always be added first or the potatoes end up gluey.


  • Why Mashed Potatoes Lumpy- Did you use a potato masher or beaters? Potatoes look like they should smash beautifully but there are tiny pieces of potatoes that need to be pressed through something to smooth them out which is why we recommend the Potato Ricer or Mesh Strainer above. Another reason is because you added the potatoes to boiling water. NEVER add potatoes to boiling water. Always start them in cold water so that they cook evenly instead of the outside hitting the hot water and cooking faster than the inside.


  • Why Mashed Potatoes Gummy- Gummy mashed potatoes are similar to gluey mashed potatoes. You over cooked the potatoes, added too much cream and then over beat them or allowed too much water in during the cooking process, hence the skins on potatoes.


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley


Can Mashed Potatoes be Made Ahead of Time?


Mashed potatoes are actually a great recipe to be made ahead.

Don’t make your mashed potatoes more than one day ahead of time though, they will in fact start to break down.

The key to make ahead is how you store and reheat, but first let’s go over how to keep mashed potatoes warm.


How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm


The absolute best way to keep mashed potatoes warm is to heat a pot of water to a simmer and place the GLASS bowl of potatoes, with plastic wrap tightly over the top on the pot. Do not let the bowl touch the water.


How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes

To reheat mashed potatoes, do the same thing as keeping the mashed potatoes warm and then stir after about ten minutes, place the plastic wrap back over the top and repeat until heated through.

Reheating mashed potatoes in the microwave will cause them to bubble and over cook in some places while remaining cold in others.


a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley



Looking for more potato recipes? Check these out!! Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes, Crash PotatoesPotato Rolls, Scalloped Potatoes, Garlic Roasted Potatoes with Tzatziki or Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes!

Or if you want a different side dish, try this cornbread dressing!


When you try a recipe, please use the hashtag #ohsweetbasil on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in our stories!  FOLLOW OH, SWEET BASIL ON FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER FOR ALL OF OUR LATEST CONTENT, RECIPES AND STORIES.


The Best Mashed Potatoes

Ok, this is real life. I was obsessed with chicken and mashed potatoes growing up. I’m an expert with the creamiest, The Best Mashed Potatoes recipe ever!


  • 2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, about 6-7 potatoes
  • 8 Tablespoons Butter, melted, plus 2 more for the top
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream *half and half or whole milk may be used
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt, or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Place unpeeled potatoes in a large pot (5 Qt+) and cover potatoes with cold water. Never start with hot water or the potatoes will overcook on the outside and be undercooked in the middle.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife, about 20-25 min depending on the size of your potatoes.
  3. Drain potatoes well and set aside.
  4. In a potato ricer, or mesh bowl, push the potatoes through. In the strainer we use a well curved wooden spoon to push them through.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave and warm the cream in a separate bowl. Do NOT mix together.
  6. Stir the butter into the potatoes.
  7. Add the cream and salt and pepper and stir again until smooth.
  8. Serve with additional butter on top!

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4-6 servings, Serving Size: 1 scoop

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 390 Calories
  • Total Fat: 29.8g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28.4g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 2.1g
  • Protein: 4.5g
All images and text ©Carrian Cheney for Oh Sweet Basil.

a grey le creuset pot full of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and parsley

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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8 comments on “The Best Mashed Potatoes”

  1. Sounds delicious! I am planning to make this recipe Thanksgiving morning, before traveling for the day. I will have access to a refrigerator during our first family Thanksgiving in the afternoon, but need to bring these to the second family dinner later on in the evening. Would making these first thing in the morning, driving a couple hours, plopping them in the fridge for several hours, then reheating on the stove in my Le Creuset work ok? I’d hate to put all this effort in to a yummy recipe only to screw it up with the storing and reheating! Also don’t want to be too much of a pain to the host when reheating. Thanks!

  2. Help!! I am making mashed potatoes for approx 25 people!! I have the 15 pounds of potatoes but help me figure out the amounts of the other ingredients to make sure I get them right!!

  3. Excellent recipe. Nice to see someone paying attention and not just boiling some random potatoes, adding milk and whipping them with a hand-held mixer. I love real mashed potatoes and your methodology is so close to the recipe I inherited from my Irish Grandmother, Faye. my only add-ons to mine (which I think make them world-class) is chives, sliced garlic when boiling, Dubliner cheese (AFTER the butter and sour creme!) and a dash of cayenne – cayenne may sound weird, but in just the right dose, it isn’t hot, it will just take your breath away a tiny bit at the first bite. Heaven.

    • And now I’m drooling! I love Dubliner cheese! I’ll have try a batch with your additions. Although, I’m totally weak sauce when it comes to spicy, so I might pass on the cayenne! Thank you so much for your feedback!