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How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes

Learn how to make the best mashed potatoes with creamy, smooth results every time! Made without milk, this homemade recipe is simple, but full of rich and creamy flavor! Plenty of tips below for making ahead of time, the best type of potato for mashing, tips, shortcuts, and more in the post below.

Mashed potato with spoon, in a copper pot

Potatoes are an inexpensive way to feed a crowd. Plus, there are so many different things you can do with them…From a humble baked potato to twice-baked potatoes, to smashed potatoes with herby seasoning, potatoes are great served any way you can dream up, especially homemade.

If you are looking for a sweet potato recipe, try out these simple baked sweet potatoes, twice baked sweet potatoes, and creamy savory mashed sweet potatoes!

Mashed potatoes are an essential for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any holiday dinner. They are the perfect base for a delicious turkey gravy! They also make a great side dish with pot roast or beef stew

Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

The secret to choosing the best potato for mashing is the starch level! The starch changes the texture of the mash. If you want a heavier, denser mash, choose Yukon Golds. They have a natural buttery flavor, so fewer ingredients are needed for that rich flavor everyone loves!

If fluffy pillows of mashed potatoes are more your style, Russets are the better option. In my opinion, Russet potatoes (also called baking potatoes) produce the perfect balance of pillowy softness and density in mashed potatoes!

How to Make Creamy Mashed Potatoes without Milk

These are a breeze to make can easily be made ahead of time and kept warm in a slow cooker. You can also make these in a pressure cooker for a lot of mashed potatoes fast!

These can easily be made with or without milk. Sometimes, mashed potatoes can come out a little on the drier side. Things like the size of the potatoes, amount of water used for boiling, and other seemingly inconsequential variables can impact the texture of the final recipe.

With that said, if your potatoes are a little too dry for your liking, add a splash of milk, whipping cream, or heavy cream. There are notes in the recipe card to help guide you.

Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

Potatoes: The best potatoes for mashed potatoes are Russet or baking potatoes.

Dairy: This recipe uses full fat butter, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Using full fat dairy is best for maximum flavor. Dairy that is lower in fat often uses other ingredients to make up for the lost flavor. Avoid margarine, skim anything, or similar.

The sour cream and mayonnaise give these potatoes the tang that is so addicting! But, you cannot taste the mayonnaise flavor.

Seasonings: Because this is a basic recipe, salt, pepper, and garlic are used. Feel free to add additional seasonings as you desire.

Ingredients for Mashed Potatoes laid out on counter top
  1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender. Make sure to drain them well so they don’t turn soupy!
  2. Mash them with a potato masher or potato ricer. If you choose to use a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, be careful not to overmix. This can cause a gluey texture.
  3. Don’t skimp on the butter and sour cream. Texture is key to excellent consistency, so make sure to use the same amounts called for in this recipe.
  4. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Taste layer by layer to adjust to your liking. 
Mashing potatoes with potato masher

What can I add to make mashed potatoes more flavorful?

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Increase the garlic by doubling or tripling the measurement for extra garlicky flavor.
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes – Top with cheese, bacon bits, and chives for super flavors!
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Swap baking potatoes for sweet potatoes and omit the sour cream and mayo for a healthier take on mashed potatoes!
  • Mashed Red Potatoes – If you prefer red potatoes, this recipe would be delicious with all red new potatoes.
  • Leave the skins on for added texture. 
Potato Masher in bowl with potatoes

Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Can I peel potatoes ahead of time for mashed potatoes? To prep the potatoes ahead of time, place peeled and chopped potatoes in a bowl or pot and cover with cool water. Keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours to prevent the potatoes from browning.

To keep mashed potatoes warm: Follow the recipe, then transfer the potatoes to a slow cooker. Place on warm until you are ready to serve. I’ve used this method to keep the potatoes warm for up to 3 hours at a time.

Occasionally, you will need to give them a stir and add a splash of milk to keep them from sticking to the bottom and sides of the slow cooker pot.

For easier clean up, spray the slow cooker pot or use a slow cooker liner.

What to do with Leftover Mashed Potatoes

If you happen to have leftovers, store cooked mashed potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Here are some great recipes for leftover mashed potatoes! You can repurpose leftovers for delicious, new side dishes!

Reheating Mashed Potatoes

To reheat, microwave in one-minute increments until warm, stirring between heating.

Mashed potato with spoon, in a copper pot

How Many Mashed Potatoes Per Person?

For a large holiday dinner with other side dishes, take the number of guests and divide in half to see how many potatoes you will need for this recipe.

What can I substitute for milk in mashed potatoes?

Use half and half, whipping cream, or heavy cream in place of milk.

Why are my mashed potatoes gluey?

Overmixing using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer can result in gluey mashed potatoes. Use a hand masher for best results.

Mashed potato with spoon, in a copper pot

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Anna Kate
There’s nothing more American than homemade mashed potatoes! Rich and creamy, this recipe is easy to make and perfect for your holiday table or smothered by a stew or pot roast.
4.37 from 11 votes
Servings 10 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 5 pounds Baking Potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Wash, peel and quarter potatoes.
  • Place the potatoes in a large pot with room for the water. Then, fill the pot with water until all of the potatoes are covered.
  • Place on the stove on high heat until boiling, then turn down to medium and cover for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
  • When the potatoes are done cooking, carefully strain them into a colander. Then, add them to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher, handheld beater, or stand mixer.
  • Then, add in the butter, milk, sour cream, mayo, and garlic cloves. Mix well to combine.

Notes

If you are preparing these potatoes for a crowd, save your arm strength and use a stand mixer to whip these up a little quicker. Be careful not to overmix!
To prep the potatoes ahead of time, place peeled and chopped potatoes in a bowl or pot and cover with cool water. Keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours to prevent the potatoes from browning.
To keep mashed potatoes warm: Follow the recipe, then transfer the potatoes to a slow cooker. Place on warm until you are ready to serve. I’ve used this method to keep the potatoes warm for up to 3 hours at a time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 6gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 976mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 196IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




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Tender and Juicy Crockpot Turkey Breast - Southern Cravings

Monday 26th of September 2022

[…] and family. With this in mind, serve it up with some of my favorite sides like air fryer potatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, or a green bean […]

Tammie

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

Is it really okay to make mashed potatoes and then keep them in a crockpot on low for two days?

Anna Kate

Monday 5th of July 2021

To clarify, you can make the potatoes up to 2 days ahead of time. Then, just before you are ready to serve, put them in the slowcooker to warm. Does that make more sense? I'll make a note to update that in the post.

Jolene

Monday 15th of March 2021

Such a different way I never thought of using mayo& sour cream, I may just try it next time??...Mashed potatoes are so so good thank you for sharing.

John P. Duarte

Monday 15th of March 2021

My mashed potatoes are always so bland and ordinary. I can't wait to try these...

Gerald Woodham

Thursday 2nd of January 2020

How do I cut down the ingredients if I'm only making it for 5 people

Anna Kate

Thursday 2nd of January 2020

Hi Gerald,

To cut the servings down to 5 people, just use half of the ingredients listed in the recipe above. I hope this helps!

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