4510 the best mashed potatoes
The Best Masked Potatoes. Photo: Downshiftology

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MASHED POTATOES

Go For a Mix of Potatoes

Russet potatoes (the classic brown-skinned ones used for baked potatoes) are the classic go-to for mashed potatoes, but you don't have to stick to only those. We like using a mix of russet and Yukon gold, which have a super-creamy texture.

Peel—Or Don't

This is the age-old debate: Should you peel your potatoes for mashed potatoes?! The Delish kitchen falls into the camp of people who happen to love the texture that the skin adds, so we don't peel our potatoes, but it's entirely up to you.

Use All The Butter

Our recipe calls for a whole stick, but real butter enthusiasts might even want to use another few tablespoons. We like to melt our butter with milk in a saucepan so the milk is warm when it hits the mashed spuds.

Use Full-Fat Everything

Starchy potatoes need serious fat to turn them creamy, so skip low-fat varieties for sour cream and milk, which will produce drier mashed potatoes.

Don't Be Afraid of Going Heavy on Seasoning

Mashed potatoes are begging for salt and pepper. Potatoes need a lot of salt—go heavy! This will help bring out their buttery flavor and ensure they don't taste lackluster.

Add All the Mix-ins

We're obsessed with loaded mashed potatoes—who isn't?!—so we totally encourage you to stir in shredded cheddar or Parmesan, cooked bacon bits, chives, the works, after you add the melted butter-milk mixture. Truly any fresh herb or cheese will only help mashed potatoes taste amazing, according to Delish.

MASHED POTATO INGREDIENTS:

4616 how to make mashed potatoes
Ingredients for mashed potatoes. Photo: The Petite Cook

Ok, shopping list! As said by Gimme Some Oven, to make this homemade mashed potato recipe, you will need:

Potatoes: As mentioned above, I’m a big fan of using a mixture of half Yukon gold potatoes and half Russets. It gives you the best of both worlds — starchy and waxy potatoes — and they cook alongside one another beautifully. Although you are welcome to use just one variety of potatoes, if you prefer.

Garlic: When serving these to a crowd, I like to add just 2-3 cloves to give just a subtle undertone of garlic to the recipe. (But if making them for myself, I will toss in up to a dozen cloves. I adore good garlic mashed potatoes.)

Butter: When I eat mashed potatoes, I go all-out and want them to taste nice and buttery. We don’t add as much butter here as many recipes do, but it’s definitely indulgent. If you are eating dairy-free and/or vegan, feel free to substitute vegan butter.

Milk: I always use whole cow’s milk in my mashed potatoes. But you are welcome to amp things up with half and half or heavy cream, if you prefer. Or use something lighter, or turn to mildly-flavored non-dairy milk alternatives.

Cream Cheese: I always grew up making mashed potatoes with cream cheese, and enjoy the slight extra tangy and creaminess that it adds. Be sure that your cream cheese is room temperature and cut into small 1-inch chunks, for easy melting into the potatoes.

Fine sea salt: Which we will use to season the potatoes at different points while cooking.

Toppings (Optional): I like to sprinkle on some chopped chives or green onions, for some extra color and freshness. Plus lots and lots of freshly-cracked black pepper. But feel free to add on what you’d like!

HOW TO MAKE MASHED POTATOES:

To make mashed potatoes, simply…

  1. Cut the potatoes. Again, feel free to peel your potatoes or leave the skins on. (I always leave them on for the extra nutrients and flavor.) Then cut your potatoes into evenly-sized chunks, about an inch or so thick. Then transfer them to a large stockpot full of cold water until all of the potatoes are cut and ready to go.

    Pro tip: If you are prepping ingredients for a big meal ahead of time, the potatoes can chill in the cold water for up to 4 hours before boiling. Just add a few ice cubes to the water to be sure that it stays cold.
  2. Boil the potatoes. Once all of your potatoes are cut, be sure that there is enough cold water in the pan so that the water line sits about 1 inch above the potatoes. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon salt to the water. Then turn on high heat until the water comes to a boil. And boil the potatoes for about 10-12 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle of a potato goes in with almost no resistance. Carefully drain out all of the water.

  3. Prepare your melted butter mixture. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are boiling, heat your butter, milk and an additional 2 teaspoons of sea salt together either in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter is just melted. (You want to avoid boiling the milk.) Set aside until ready to use.

  4. Pan-dry the potatoes. Return the potatoes to the hot stockpot, and then place the stockpot back on the hot burner, turning the heat down to low. Using two oven mitts, carefully hold the handles on the stockpot and shake it gently on the burner for about 1 minute to help cook off some of the remaining steam within the potatoes. Then remove the stockpot entirely from the heat.

  5. Mash the potatoes. Using your preferred kind of masher (see above), mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.

  6. Stir everything together. Then pour half of the melted butter mixture over the potatoes, and fold it in with a wooden spoon or spatula until potatoes have soaked up the liquid. Repeat with the remaining butter. And then again with the cream cheese. Fold each addition in until just combined to avoid overmixing, or else you will end up with gummy potatoes.

  7. Taste and season. One final time, adding in extra salt (plus black pepper, if you would like) to taste.

  8. Serve warm. Then serve warm, garnished with any extra toppings that you might like, and enjoy!