Ok, this is real life. I was obsessed with chicken and mashed potatoes growing up. I’m an expert when it comes to making the creamiest, Best Mashed Potatoes ever!
The BEST Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Growing up, I was obsessed with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted chicken. 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.
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!
I’m not sure why it’s taken us this long to post a recipe for this Thanksgiving staple. Maybe because we make these creamy mashed potatoes in our family so often that I forgot you all might want the recipe too! This mashed potato recipe is an absolute must on your Thanksgiving menu, and we have a few key tips for making the best mashed potatoes that we wanted to share with you.
These homemade mashed 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 way easier and cheaper than the turkey, so go ahead and count that as win.
Homemade Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
This is a classic mashed potatoes recipe that anyone can make. There are no unique flavorings in these creamy mashed potatoes, and we haven’t tried to make them healthier in any way. Oh no, this recipe is for mashed potatoes like mom used to make, because that’s our favorite kind.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the best mashed potatoes ever:
- Heavy cream
- Black pepper
What Are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
You can use many kinds of potatoes for mashed potatoes, but we usually stick with Russet potatoes because they’re quite starchy and make for thick, creamy mashed potatoes. The smaller potatoes are really creamy and nice, so for sure choose those for roasted potatoes.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
I no longer make homemade mashed potatoes exactly like my mom, and after years of trial and error I’ve finally settled on a recipe that makes the best mashed potatoes ever. Here’s how to make mashed potatoes:
- Place the unpeeled potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes, then peel the skins off.
- Mash the potatoes.
- Stir the melted butter into the potatoes, followed by the warm cream.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
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
There are several different ways to mash potatoes. All of the methods listed below work equally well, so just pick whichever method is easiest for you.
Mash Potatoes Using a 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 fluffy mashed potatoes.
Mash Potatoes Using a 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.
How to Mash Potatoes Without a Masher
If you don’t have a mesh colander or a potato ricer, you can mash potatoes using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Just don’t use the whisk attachment as it’s not going to be strong enough.
How Many Mashed Potatoes Per Person?
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 people?
Generally think in terms of potatoes as people. One person needs 1 potato, two need 2 potatoes, and so on.
How many mashed potatoes for 25 people?
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.
How many mashed potatoes for 100 people?
Now we are really talkin’. You’ll need about 60 pounds of potatoes to feed 100 people.
How Many Mashed Potatoes From a 5-Pound Bag of Potatoes?
A 5-pound bag of Russet Potatoes will make about 10-12 servings.
Why Are My Mashed Potatoes Gluey?
Oh, we totally feel you! This is one of our most commonly asked questions this time of year, so we wanted to address this issue, plus a few more, to help you make the BEST mashed potatoes you can.
How to Avoid Gluey Mashed Potatoes
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.
How to Avoid Lumpy Mashed Potatoes
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 using a potato ricer or mesh strainer.
Another reason your potatoes are lumpy may be 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.
How to Avoid Gummy Mashed Potatoes
Gummy mashed potatoes are similar to gluey mashed potatoes. You over cooked the potatoes, added too much cream, and then over beat them. Or you allowed too much water in during the cooking process, hence why we prefer keeping the skins on the potatoes when we boil them.
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, otherwise they will in fact start to break down.
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 a GLASS bowl of mashed potatoes over top. Cover the glass bowl tightly with plastic wrap and do NOT let the bottom of the bowl touch the hot water underneath.
You can also warm mashed potatoes in an oven set to a low temperature. The mashed potatoes should be covered tightly with aluminum foil. The only issue with this method of warming mashed potatoes is that it takes up precious oven space you’ll likely need to cook the turkey or stuffing in.
If you don’t have oven or stove space, you can keep mashed potatoes warm in a slow cooker. Simply set the slow cooker to the “Warm” setting, pop the lid on, and walk away. I recommend using a slow cooker liner for this, that way you don’t have an extra dish to clean afterwards.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
To reheat mashed potatoes, use the glass bowl method mentioned above and then stir after about 10 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.
How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
If you have leftover mashed potatoes, don’t throw them out! You can easily freeze homemade mashed potatoes for later. Let them cool to room temperature, then store them inside freezer bags. When you’re ready to eat the frozen mashed potatoes, reheat them, covered, on the stove over low heat and add a splash of whole milk to loosen them up as needed.
Tips for Making the Best Mashed Potatoes
The main thing to remember when making creamy mashed potatoes is to boil the potatoes in their skins. You see, when you boil Russet potatoes in their skin it keeps the water from totally soaking into the potatoes and making them water logged and not as creamy.
Once the potatoes have finished boiling, just pull them out of the pot to cool for a few minutes and carefully peel each potato (I like to use a towel to hold the potato in one hand). If one part is stuck, just finish the batch, go back to the potato with a pairing knife, and peel it.
The other key thing to remember when making mashed potatoes is to heat the butter first, and then the cream, but in separate dishes. Also, you want to 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.
More Easy Potato Side Dishes:
- Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes
- Crash Potatoes
- Potato Rolls
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes with Tzatziki
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
More delicious SIDE DISHES you’re sure to love:
- Brazilian Coconut Rice
- Macaroni Salad
- Sweet Cornbread
- Instant Pot Refried Beans
- Herbed Focaccia Bread
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Easy 7-Up Biscuits
- Grilled Corn
- Best Baked Beans
- The BEST Macaroni and Cheese (Southern-Style!)
- Best Potato Rolls
- All our SIDE DISH recipes!
The Best Mashed Potatoes
- 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
- 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.
- Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife, about 20-25 min depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Drain potatoes well and set aside.
- Peel the potatoes by sliding the skins off.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave and warm the cream in a separate bowl. Do NOT mix together.
- Stir the butter into the potatoes.
- Add the cream and salt and pepper and stir again until smooth.
- Serve with additional butter on top!
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So you peel the potatoes with a peeler after boiling them?
And we have dairy allergies in our family so I have to use rice milk-which is another starch. So any suggestion on the order? Should I use the same order and heat the rice milk?
Yes, peel the potatoes after boiling them, and I’ve never tried it with rice milk, but I would add it in the same order. I don’t think you would need to warm it up first. Enjoy!!
Geez . Never thought you’d getting the recipe. Very wordy.
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!
Hi Katie! Sounds like a fun-filled day! Did you read the sections in the post about storing and reheating mashed potatoes? If you follow those steps, you should be all set!
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!!
Yay for a big Thanksgiving crowd! So you are multiplying the original recipe by about 7-8ish. So you’ll want 7-8 sticks of butter melted for the potatoes, plus another stick or two melted for the top. Then you will want 7-8 cups of cream/half and half/whole milk. And then 4 Tablespoons of salt. Have so much fun!
Thank You so much @ sweet basil 😍 Have a HaPpY Thanksgiving!!
Same to you!
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!