How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes
You want the very best mashed potatoes without having to try a gazillion recipes. That’s why we did the hard work for you! This is, indeed, the very best mashed potato recipe out there.
After a lot of research about mashed potatoes, we’ve come to realize one thing: there are a TON of really strong opinions about mashed potatoes. What potatoes to use (russets, Yukons or baby reds); what method works best to mash (to rice or not); what dairy to include or not include (milk, cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese). There are so many possibilities and combinations!
We did the research for you, and the good news is that you’re less than an hour away from the best classic mashed potatoes ever.
Pick your potatoes: Yukon golds result in the creamy, buttery texture that mashed potatoes are known for. Russets, while another good choice, are a little bit lighter and fluffier and are best used in combination with Yukon golds. Check out our post on the different types of potatoes and why certain ones work best for mashing.
Cook just right: Instead of adding the potatoes to a pot of boiling water, we cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. This ensures that the potatoes will cook evenly. To add a layer of seasoning during the cooking process, we salt the water, just as we do with pasta.
Mash away: Regular old mashers work well, but not if you are looking for the smoothest mashed potato. If you don’t want a single lump in your potatoes, you’ve got to use a ricer (like this one). Don’t put the potatoes in the blender or food processor – they can turn gummy very quickly.
The mix ins: The mix ins should elevate the flavor and texture of the mashed potatoes – not take over – so we kept it simple. A few cloves of garlic impart a nice flavor without overpowering the potatoes. We keep the butter cold so the milk fats and solids don’t separate, and we keep the milk warm or hot so we don’t cool the potatoes down too much. A touch of sour cream adds a bit of tang that’s indistinguishable, but so good. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Some people like a tad of nutmeg in there. We don’t.
The Best Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 8 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Optional: pepper
- Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces.
- In large pot, add potatoes, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with cold water, an inch above potatoes.
- Cook over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
- Drain potatoes, add back to pot, and mash with cold, cubed butter until smooth.
- Stir in warm milk and sour cream until incorporated.
- Season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper if desired.