Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Learn how to make the best mashed potatoes with this easy recipe! Rich, creamy, and flavorful, they're always a crowd-pleasing side dish.

Mashed potatoes

I can’t share a mashed potatoes recipe without mentioning my husband Jack. He LOVES homemade mashed potatoes, specifically ones that are rich, creamy, and flavorful.

I’ve made plenty that he’s liked in the past (see these garlic mashed potatoes and these Instant Pot mashed potatoes). But this year, I finally made the potatoes he’d been waiting for: ones loaded up with butter, milk, and sour cream.

I’m not kidding when I say that these are the best mashed potatoes I’ve tried. They’re ultra-rich and blissfully creamy, and the sour cream gives them a delicious tangy kick. They’re easy to make (and make ahead!), and they’re guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving or any meal. If not from me, then take it from Jack—you’re going to love this mashed potatoes recipe.

Best mashed potatoes recipe ingredients

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

You can find the complete recipe with measurements at the bottom of this post, but for now, I’ll give you an overview of how it goes:

Ingredients

This classic recipe starts with 7 simple ingredients:

  • Potatoes, of course! 3 pounds yields enough for about 8 people. Double the recipe if you’re serving more!
  • Garlic – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – For richness and buttery flavor.
  • Milk – It smooths the starchy potatoes into an incredibly creamy mash. Use whole milk for the creamiest results.
  • Sour creamTechnically, this ingredient is optional. If you skip it, the recipe will still come out great. But for the best mashed potatoes, I highly recommend folding it in! It makes the taters extra-creamy and gives them a tangy taste.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

What are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?

I think Yukon Golds and russets are the best potatoes for mashing.

  • Yukon Gold potatoes are thin-skinned yellow potatoes. I love to mash them because they have a creamy texture, rich golden color, and buttery flavor.
  • Russet potatoes are white potatoes that are high in natural starches. Thanks to all that starch, they yield fluffy mashed potatoes.

Feel free to make this recipe with either of these types of potatoes.

Another option I like is to use a mix of both kinds. The russets help with fluffiness and the Yukon Golds supply great flavor. It’s a combination that can’t be beat!

Potatoes boiling in white pot

Preparation

My method for how to make mashed potatoes couldn’t be simpler! Here’s how it goes:

First, peel and chop the potatoes. Cut them into large chunks—halve smaller Yukon Golds and cut larger russets into quarters or sixths. Do your best to cut the pieces to a consistent size so that they cook evenly.

Next, cook. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a tablespoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil until the potatoes are fork-tender.

How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

When I make this recipe, I generally boil the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes.

But the timing can vary! The potatoes are ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork. Avoid undercooking them. If they’re still firm in the center, you’ll end up with lumpy mashed potatoes!

Mashing potato mixture in white pot

When the potatoes are tender, drain them into a colander. Lightly shake to remove excess water, and return the potatoes to the pot.

Finally, mash! Use a potato masher to partially mash the potatoes. Then, pour in the milk and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Continue mashing until the potatoes have reach your desired consistency (we like them totally smooth!). If desired, use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the sour cream.

Season to taste, adding more butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Recipe Tip

Don’t forget the fixings! We love these potatoes with butter, chives, and salt and pepper on top. You can’t go wrong with mushroom gravy either.

Creamy mashed potatoes in pot

How to Store Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

You have a few options for reheating them:

  • In the microwave – Microwave until heated through, stirring every 2 minutes.
  • In the oven – Transfer the potatoes to a casserole dish or oven-safe pan. Dot the top with butter and cover. Warm in a 350°F oven until heated through, 25 minutes or more depending on the size and shape of your baking dish.

I’ve also had success reheating these mashed potatoes using the Keep Warm setting of my Instant Pot. A slow cooker would work well too!

If the potatoes seem dry after reheating, stir in some melted butter or a splash of milk to loosen them up.

Best mashed potatoes recipe

More Favorite Potato Recipes

If you love these homemade mashed potatoes, try one of these potato recipes next:

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Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

rate this recipe:
5 from 45 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 8
These are the best homemade mashed potatoes I've tried! They're smooth, creamy, and full of rich flavor. Serve them with butter and chives, or top them with savory mushroom gravy. This recipe is an easy, delicious side dish for Thanksgiving or any meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds potatoes, russet potatoes, Yukon Golds, or a mix, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • teaspoons sea salt, plus more for the cooking water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ cup sour cream, optional
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Instructions

  • Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Season the water with a tablespoon of salt.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and return to the pot.
  • Begin to mash the potatoes and garlic with a potato masher. When they are partially mashed, add the butter, milk, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Continuing mashing until the potatoes reach your desired consistency (we like them totally smooth), then use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the sour cream, if using.
  • Season to taste and serve topped with butter and chives.

30 comments

5 from 45 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Sandy
    07.21.2024

    5 stars
    I have made this so many time and they always turn out perfect. My husband loves these mashed potatoes!

  2. Willa
    07.19.2024

    5 stars
    This recipe is beyond delicious. Thanks so much!

  3. Mary
    05.27.2024

    Have you ever used chicken broth to boil the potatoes in?

  4. Desiree
    05.21.2024

    Can I use skim milk for this instead of whole?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.22.2024

      Hi Desiree, yep, that would be just fine.

  5. Sumeet
    05.12.2024

    5 stars
    Turned out awesome. My wife loved it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.16.2024

      I’m so happy to hear!

  6. Vicky
    04.17.2024

    5 stars
    This recipe turned out well. We loved it. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.20.2024

      Hi Vicky, I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Vicky
    04.17.2024

    This recipe turned out well. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Siolibi
    01.18.2024

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I have a very strict daughter who is always criticizing my food and this one passed the test!
    So I am saving it and will do my mashed potatoes like this forever!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.19.2024

      Hi Siolibi, I’m so glad the mashed potatoes were a hit!

  9. Bruce
    11.29.2023

    5 stars
    I love mashed potatoes but finding a good recipe was difficult. I always just did the regular mashed potatoes recipe but then found this one. Really simple to make. Just really enjoy the easy step-by-step directions for the recipe. Thank you so much.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      12.01.2023

      Hi Bruce, so glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Brittany
    11.22.2023

    5 stars
    I have finally found a recipe that is easy and tastes heavenly! I will NEVER make mashed potatoes any other way!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2023

      I”m so glad you loved them!

      • noah smith
        05.11.2024

        Creamy perfection! This recipe nails it with the perfect balance of buttery richness and fluffy texture. A definite crowd-pleaser!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          05.16.2024

          I’m so glad you loved it!

  11. Vicki
    11.20.2023

    Sounds delish! Two questions, did you mince/chop the garlic gloves? Also, do you think plain Greek yogurt would be a suitable substitute for sour cream? I use it in other ways as a sub but don’t think I’ve ever tried it in potatoes. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2023

      We mashed the garlic along with the potatoes. I have to say that we tried Greek yogurt and we didn’t love it.

  12. Hina
    11.18.2023

    5 stars
    So easy recipe and delicious.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.19.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  13. Jessie
    11.18.2023

    5 stars
    These really are the best mashed potatoes! Adding the sour cream really makes a yummy difference!!

  14. Josh
    11.18.2023

    5 stars
    Made these last weekend and loved them, thanks for the recipe!

  15. Sarah Casey
    11.17.2023

    I’m so confused. These were listed on a vegan recipes list of yours yet they aren’t vegan? Am i missing something?

  16. Tammy
    11.09.2023

    5 stars
    Loved the mashed potatoes

  17. Nora Crane
    11.09.2023

    I truly believe that the best mashed potatoes are my mom’s, and I strongly suspect that most feel that way. Norland Reds are the Midwest potato for mashing. I’ve never considered adding sour cream – in my farming family that wouldn’t past muster. The mashed taters were the one dish that everyone would wait to be passed around the table, even after the meat/turkey. Thanks for sharing, I just might consider adding the sour.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.09.2023

      Hi Nora, what a lovely story, of course mom’s dishes are always best! Let me know if you give this version a try 🙂

  18. Erica
    11.09.2023

    Yum! Can these be made ahead and frozen to reheat in the big turkey day?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.