How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This easy mashed potato recipe will rival the Thanksgiving Turkey or Holiday Ham at your next family gathering. Light, smooth, and whipped to perfection with just a few simple ingredients makes for the perfect holiday or weeknight side dish.

A close up image of a white bowl with perfect mashed potatoes topped with butter and chopped parsley

The centerpiece to Thanksgiving may be a turkey, however, you can expect some pushback from family if you do not also have the perfect mashed potato side dish. Homemade and easy to whip up, you’re not going to know how you got along all these years without this recipe!

We love potatoes!

Potatoes in general are a staple to many American homes. Whether they are Twice Baked Potatoes, Shepard’s Pie topped with mashed potatoes, or Purple Sweet Potato Pie for dessert – we can’t get enough of them!

Random Fact: The Potato Association says the average American consumes nearly 142 pounds of potatoes per year, especially at Thanksgiving!

An upclose image of mashed potatoes whipped with a kitchen aid whisk attachment

What to know when making Mashed Potatoes

I have a few tips and tricks to help you make the best mashed potatoes. Doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to satisfy a crowd or just your own tastebuds – you’ll be sure to nail these perfectly creamy mashed potatoes every time.

How much mashed potatoes per person

To determine how much mashed potatoes you’ll need to make for dinner, calculate 1/3 to 1/2 pound of potatoes for every adult person at your dinner table. Use that as a base start. I like to double my batches so I am sure to have leftover mashed potatoes.

A black spoonful of mashed potatoes with parsley and black pepper

What ingredients do you need?

For the most basic (process wise – not taste!) and the easiest of mashed potatoes you’ll need Yukon Gold potatoes, unsalted butter, milk, salt and pepper.I recommend unsalted butter so that you can control the salt content and really nail the taste that you and your company likes.And milk, whole milk preferred, to really thicken the mashed potatoes, keep them glossy and rich!

Ingredients for the perfect mashed potatoes include potatoes, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. All ingredients pictured from above on a white marble countertop.

What potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

The type of potato to use in your recipe depends on the type of mashed potatoes that you’re looking to eat. With over 4,000 varieties to choose from, I’ve broken it down into a few commonly shopped for kinds to help you decide what potato based on your dish or desired style of mashed potatoes.

  • Sturdy, yet fluffy  = russet potatoes = amazing baked potatoes
  • Smashed or chunky, with thin skins = baby reds = delicious fried potatoes
  • Smoother, with a thin skin = yellow potatoes, like Yukon Gold or white potatoes = silky smooth mashed potatoes
An overhead image of perfectly mashed potatoes in a white bowl next to two black spoons, topped with melted butter and chopped parsley.

Tips for making the best mashed potatoes

  1. Scrub your potatoes and wash them using cold water. Avoid using warm or hot water to wash or soak your potatoes, as it is very easy to start cooking them as you wash. This will cause them to cook in part and stop. Making for some very hard and chunky mashed potatoes.
  2. Peel and quarter or dice your potatoes into even cubes before boiling. You will cut your cooking time down significantly based on the size of the potato cubes you cut. Also, be sure to remove any skin prior to dicing.
  3. Use a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer for a quick whip. Fitted with the paddle attachment, break up the potatoes once boiled. After the potatoes have broken down and before adding your butter and milk, fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Both tools do their job quickly and easily, ensuring you do not overmix your potatoes.
  4. Add the butter melted, and milk warm. Adding cold butter and milk to hot potatoes will cause the mixture to seize up and become pasty in consistency.
A zoom image of mashed potato on a whisk

What can you make with leftover mashed potatoes?

What to serve with mashed potatoes?

A close up image of a white bowl with perfect mashed potatoes topped with butter and chopped parsley

How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Light, fluffy, creamy, perfect mashed potatoes. This is the side dish that holiday side dish perfection is made of!
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 347 kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • knife
  • vegetable peeler
  • cutting board
  • kitchen-aid stand mixer
  • paddle attachement
  • whisk attachment
  • small sauce pot

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (1/4 liquid cup) milk any variety
  • Β½ teaspoon kosher salt (more or less if desired)
  • ΒΌ teaspoon white or black pepper (more or less if desired)

Instructions
 

  • Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into quarters.
    A close up image of quartered and sliced gold potatoes
  • Place potatoes into a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, then bring to a boil over high heat. Once potatoes are fork tender (about 10-12 minutes), drain water and return to the pot for a minute to absorb excess moisture.
  • While potatoes are boiling, place butter and milk into a small saucepan over medium low heat and allow butter to melt, then reduce heat to lowest setting possible to keep mixture warm.
    A close up image of butter melting in a pot of milk
  • Mash potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or with a potato masher) to remove large lumps, but don’t over mash them. Once potatoes are mashed, change to whip attachment. IF USING A POTATO MASHER, just mash potatoes half way before following the next step..
    A close up image of the paddle attachment used to soften cooked potatoes.
  • Add 1/2 of the heated milk mixture, salt and pepper to the potatoes and use whip attachment to mix on medium high speed, just until the liquid has absorbed into the potatoes, about 10 seconds. If using a potato masher, follow the same steps, using the masher as quickly and lightly as possible to incorporate the milk mixture.
    An upclose image of mashed potatoes whipped with a kitchen aid whisk attachment
  • If the potatoes appear too dry, add more of the milk mixture and mix quickly again.
  • Taste and add additional seasoning, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 7gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 180mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe? Mention @itsyummi or tag #itsyummirecipe!

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23 Comments

  1. Mashed potatoes are my favorite part of holiday dinners. I could skip the turkey, ham etc. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  2. Yum! Mashed potatoes are always a favorite in my house and your method looks like it yields perfect results! I am definitely going to give this a try.

    1. All of those yummi foods are on their way, Melanie! In my case, they’ll end up vacationing on my hips, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it πŸ˜‰

  3. Becca, I’ve never thought to use the stand mixer. It’s always been a handheld masher, then the handheld electric beater for a short power whip. Gotta tell you, it makes sense to me, and it’s a good thing Thanksgiving is around the corner. Lovely work, my friend!

    1. Thank you, Brooks! I used to use a hand mixer for no other reason than I simply didn’t want to deal with the extra mess of the stand mixer, but it makes such a huge difference in the quality of the mashed potatoes that I’ll never go back!

  4. 142 pounds of potatoes a year? Holy cow…that’s a lot! Actually, I love potatoes and mashed potatoes are one of the best comfort foods of all times. I think I could eat 143 pounds of your mashed potatoes…they look delicious! Mmmm….

    1. Isn’t that crazy, Dave?! I mean, I love potatoes and all, but good grief, that’s a lot of starch. I’m guessing that those figures are for all types of potatoes, though. I could eat my weight in sweet potatoes πŸ˜‰

  5. Yikes that’s a lot of potatoes! We try not to eat them often but when we do we enjoy them. Thanks for the great tips and recipe. πŸ™‚

    1. Same situation here, Diane. Mashed potatoes are a favorite, but I like to make sure that I don’t eat them too often, for fear of getting stuck in my house πŸ˜‰

  6. The butter and milk have to be warm? NOW you tell me?
    Bet I make the best mashed potatoes in history (well, my history anyway) this year!

    1. I know… I’m an awful friend for not telling you the instant I found out the key to perfect mashed potatoes, Karen! πŸ˜‰

    1. I’m so glad you plan to try the mashed potatoes recipe, Jenni. Please let me know how they turn out for you! πŸ™‚

  7. Yum! Love this! I use my stand mixer too, I do it because I am a lazy cook! Happy to hear people actually think it tastes better too! Win!

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