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Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Not all mashed potatoes are created equally. Read on to discover how to make easy, smooth, and creamy mashed potatoes that will be the best you’ve ever eaten!

The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Why Make this Mashed Potatoes Recipe?

I’ve made a lot of mashed potatoes over the years. Always on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, to serve with stews, meatballs, even to make my mom’s potato cakes. You name it, I’ve had a reason to make some mashed potatoes. And over the years I’ve perfected the recipe using some simple tricks and tips that I’ll share with you!

What are Mashed Potatoes?

This is pretty obvious, especially since I don’t know a single person who’s never enjoyed them in one form or another. But in case you’re the rare person who’s never come across them, they’re potatoes that are (sometimes) peeled, boiled, then mashed. Butter and cream are then added to make a smooth and creamy consistency that’s perfect with a few spoonfuls of gravy.

Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

The main ingredient is – obviously – potatoes. Russet potatoes are commonly used and must be peeled. Yukon Gold or Red potatoes are also a very good choice, and can be peeled or not (I never peel my red potatoes and simply leave the peel in once they’ve been mashed). You can also use a blend of potatoes, if you prefer.

  • Butter is used to both flavor the potatoes as well as give them a creamier texture. How much you use is really up to you! I like to add some melted butter while I’m in the process of mashing the potatoes, which makes the mashing process easier while incorporating that delicious butter flavor.
  • Heavy cream is another ingredient that will help to get smooth and creamy mashed potatoes. I’ll add a little more or less depending on what I’m serving it with (less if they’re on their own as a side dish, and a bit more if I’m going for a “looser” version that’s destined to go under a stew).
  • Herbs are a wonderful way to add flavor and color. Any fresh herbs will work, although thyme and parsley are the most common. You could even try garnishing with some fresh or fried sage leaves.
  • Garlic is an amazing addition to mashed potatoes, too! Make some roasted garlic or simply add a few cloves freshly minced to the butter when you melt it.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper is an absolute MUST. I don’t normally mention these but you simply can’t skip them when it comes to flavorful mashed potatoes. The other main ingredients are quite bland without it – including the potatoes themselves – but the right amount of salt will elevate the dish from just okay to downright heavenly.

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

Mashed potatoes are incredibly simple to make and use just a few ingredients. Depending on the type of potato you’re using, you’ll want to peel them first.

Next, slice the potatoes so they’re all the same thickness. This will help them to cook more evenly.

Place your potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water plus another inch. Put them on the stove, bring them to a simmer, and cook them until they’re just fork-tender.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly, then place them back in the pot over low heat for a couple of minutes so that any residual water evaporates.

Run the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a mixing bowl. While they’re still piping hot, add any other ingredients you’re using, such as heavy cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

Pour the potatoes into your serving dish, then top with a little more melted butter and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

Tips for the BEST Mashed Potatoes

  • Slice your potatoes for the most even cooking. If you opt to chop them, just make sure each piece is roughly the same size as the next. This will ensure they’re all done at the same time and none are overcooked.
  • The butter and cream should be warmed before adding to the potatoes. You want hot potatoes on your table, and cold ingredients will cool them too quickly.
  • Start with cold water. If you put potatoes in a pot of already-simmering water, the outsides will cook too quickly and can break apart in the water.
  • Simmer, don’t boil. Keeping them at a simmer will prevent the edges from overcooking. They might be done a bit quicker overall if you turn up the heat, but you’ll be sacrificing the perfect end result.
  • To thicken your mashed potatoes to your liking try adding a tablespoon of flour, cornstarch, or powdered milk.

Variations and Additions

Basic mashed potatoes are great on their own, but here are some additions you can add to keep things interesting:

  • Roasted garlic
  • Blue cheese or gorgonzola and fresh chives
  • Goat cheese
  • Browned butter
  • Parmesan – use this either as a mix-in or sprinkle on the top and broil for a gorgeous browned top
  • Bacon and grated cheddar
  • Make buttermilk mashed potatoes simply by substituting regular milk with buttermilk
  • Horseradish (goes especially well with prime rib)
  • Swirl in a bit of mashed sweet potato for a gorgeous presentation and added flavor
  • Cream cheese mashed potatoes – bring it to room temperature then stir in cream cheese while the potatoes are piping hot
  • Sour cream (and chives!)
  • Add 1 to 3 teaspoons liquid smoke to infuse a smoky flavor into the mashed potatoes. Start a lesser amount then add more to taste.
  • Caramelized onions – stir them in or use as a topping
  • Make a tex-mex version with chopped bell peppers, chopped poblano peppers, jalapeños, and a mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • Mashed cauliflower is a delicious substitute for mashed potatoes without the carbs

How Many Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?

When serving mashed potatoes as a side dish you’ll want to plan on 1/3 to 1/2 pound potatoes per person.

Number of GuestsMinimumMaximum
Potatoes for 22/3 pound1 pound
Potatoes for 41 1/3 pounds2 pounds
Potatoes for 62 pounds3 pounds
Potatoes for 82 2/3 pounds4 pounds
Potatoes for 103 1/3 pounds5 pounds
Potatoes for 124 pounds6 pounds

Russet potatoes vary in weight, here are their approximate weights by size:

  • Large russet potato weighs about 1 lb.
  • Medium russet potato weighs about 1/2 lb.
  • Small russet potato weighs about 1/3 lb.

Can mashed potatoes be made ahead of time?

In my opinion, mashed potatoes taste best served immediately. But they can be made ahead of time! Prepare them as directed and store covered in the refrigerator, leaving off any toppings until you’re ready to serve. The best way to reheat them is in a slow-cooker on low heat for about an hour, or you can use the microwave on 50% until they’re hot and table-ready.

The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe Social

Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These easy homemade mashed potatoes are deliciously rich and creamy and a flavorful addition to any meal. This recipe is perfect for a summer BBQ, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any meal in between.


  • 4 lb russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp coarse salt


    1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water (about an inch above the potatoes). Bring to a simmer, and cook just until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 20 minutes, depending on how thick the slices are).
    2. Drain the potatoes well in a colander. Put them back in the pot over low heat until all the water has evaporated. Run the potatoes through a potato ricer into a bowl.
    3. Gently warm the heavy cream on the stovetop or microwave. Add the cream, butter, and salt to the potatoes and stir just until smooth. Taste and add more salt (and pepper), if desired. Serve immediately.


If you don't have a potato ricer, mash with a potato masher or blend with a mixer until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 266mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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Kristy Bernardo
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