These basic mashed potatoes are easy to make and just as easy to customize - be sure to check out the variations at the end of the recipe. Note that this recipe doubles or triples beautifully in case you have a full table; cut it in half for smaller gatherings.
Learn more about making Perfect Mashed Potatoes here with tips and explanations.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 2 1/2 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 Tbsp. salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
- 2 - 3 Tbsp. butter
- Scrub the potato clean, put them in a large pot, and cover them with cool water. Bring to a boil, add the 1 Tbsp. salt and cook, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady low boil, until the potatoes are tender all the way through, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the milk or cream in a small saucepan or in a microwave. Put the warmed milk or cream in a large bowl with the butter.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot, empty pot over low heat. Cook, shaking the pot frequently, to dry the potatoes out a bit. Less moisture in the potatoes will result in fluffier potatoes at the end.
- If you are lucky enough to own a ricer (and for about $15, I recommend you put yourself in this lucky position if at all possible - find a potato ricer here), put one of the potatoes in the ricer and press into the bowl with the warmed milk or cream and butter. Lump-free mashed potato will be in the bowl and the potato skin will be in the ricer. Repeat with remaining potatoes and mix thoroughly with the milk and butter in the bottom of the bowl. If you don't have a ricer, use an oven mitt to hold a potato and a paring knife to scrape off its skin. Put the peeled potato in the bowl with the milk or cream and butter. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Use a potato masher or large fork to mash the potatoes with the milk and butter until as smooth as possible. Some people like to use an electric mixer to do this. If you choose that method be careful not to overmix the potatoes, since they can become a bit gluey if overworked.
- Taste the mashed potatoes and add salt to taste. Serve hot or at least warm.
- Tangy! Use sour cream or creme fraiche in place of the milk or cream
- Light Use about 2/3 cup buttermilk in place of the butter and milk
- Garlicky Peel a head of garlic cloves, wrap them in foil with a drizzle of olive oil, bake until tender and mild - about 30 minutes, and mash with the potatoes
- More Than Taters Substitute some of the potatoes with an equal amount of other root vegetables - celery root and parsnips work particularly well
- Herbal Add fresh sage or thyme leaves to the milk or cream when you warm it - take out the leaves for less flavor or mash them with the potatoes for more herbal essence