Homemade Mashed Potatoes are one of the easiest side dishes to make, but a few simple tricks can take them from average to fantastic! Follow my simple tips and step-by-step photos for the most perfect light, fluffy mashed potatoes!

Have an Instant Pot?  Don’t miss my Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes!

A bowl of creamy mashed potatoes with a slice of butter, and a large serving spoon.

As simple as mashed potatoes are to make, I’ve tried too many bland, thick and gluey mashed potatoes at various events recently that I couldn’t help but feel the dire need to share a tried and true Mashed Potatoes recipe with you all.

There are few really simple techniques involved in making mashed potatoes that make a world of difference to their taste and texture. Because really, all the world deserves a side of truly amazing, creamy and soft mashed potatoes. It’s the way they were always meant to be!

What type of potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

Different types of potatoes will yield different textures and flavor, but the best potatoes for traditional fluffy mashed potatoes are Russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Red potatoes will yield a thicker, chunkier mash. Avoid using fingerling potatoes.

Most importantly, use good quality potatoes! The better the quality, the “fluffier” the potatoes. Avoid potatoes with any green in them. They should be really firm, and no sprouting. Smell the bag before buying it to make sure there are no bad potatoes hiding in it.

How to make Mashed Potatoes:

  • Peel potatoes. You can leave the skins on, if you want skins in your mashed potatoes.
  • Cook the potatoes. Cut the potatoes in half and add them to a large pot with about 4 inches of water (they don’t need to be completely covered). Cover pot with a lid, and cook, covered, until fork tender, but firm, about 15-20 minutes. You don’t want them mushy or falling apart.
A pot with peeled and cut potatoes next to the same pot with cooked potatoes, butter, milk, sour cream and seasonings added.
  • Drain and steam: Once they are fork tender, drain water completely from the pot and leave potatoes in the pot, covered with a lid, for about 10 minutes. This allows them to steam and dry, which helps us achieve a fluffy texture when they’re mashed.
  • Season: Add butter, milk, sour cream and seasonings.
  • Mash. Use a potato masher to mash the big potato pieces, and then use an electric mixer to beat them on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. AVOID over-mixing them or they will get starchy and gummy.
A pot of russet potatoes being mashed with a potato masher.
  • Serve them warm, garnished with fresh parley, or melted butter, if you want.
An overhead view of a clear bowl filled with mashed potatoes, melted butter, parsley and a silver serving spoon.

*Pro Tips:

Allow the potatoes to rest after cooking. Drain the water from the pot, but leave the potatoes in the pot with the lid on. This gives them time to steam, which will result in fluffier potatoes.

Flavor them, to taste. I always add a scoop of Better then Bouillon chicken base to add great flavor to my mashed potatoes. Thanks, Mom for this great tip! Also, make sure to taste test them before serving. You may want to add more salt and pepper, or an extra scoop of sour cream, or a little melted butter.

Don’t over-mixing: I can’t say it enough, DON’T mash the potatoes to much! As you mix potatoes it causes them to release their starch, which is necessary for creamy mashed potatoes, but too much mixing releases too much starch, and causes thick and gluey mashed potatoes.

Make Ahead Instructions:

Mashed potatoes are a great side dish to make in advance, especially during the holiday season, to free up time and oven-space.

To make ahead, add a little extra milk to the finished mashed potatoes to make sure they’re really soft and not too thick. The potatoes will absorb moisture as they rest. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a casserole dish or large container. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

Remove from fridge 1 hour before baking. Taste and add additional seasonings as needed, or milk, to make sure they are nice and soft. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until warm. You could also reheat them in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave.

Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish to serve with:

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Recipe

A bowl of creamy mashed potatoes with a slice of butter, and a large serving spoon.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 5 medium Russet potatoes , peeled, or skin on
  • 1/4 cup butter , room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon paste , paste, or dry
  • ½ - 3/4 cups evaporated milk , warmed (or use cream or half and half)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cut potatoes in half and place in a large pot with about 4 inches of water (they don't need to be completely covered). Cover pot with a lid, and cook, covered, until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. You don't want them "mushy" or falling apart.
  • Drain water completely from pot and leave potatoes in the pot, covered with a lid, for about 10 minutes. This gives them time to dry out, which helps them to be extra fluffy.
  • Remove lid and add butter, chicken bouillon, evaporated milk, sour cream and salt and pepper.
  • Mash with a potato masher. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed, or more milk, until they are creamy, fluffy and smooth. 
  • I use an electric mixer to beat them on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. But, be careful not to over-mix them or they will get starchy and gummy.
  • Serve warm.

Notes

*I use Better then bouillon base (chicken flavor).
 
To make ahead:
Add a little extra milk to make sure they're really soft and not too thick. (The potatoes will absorb moisture as they rest.) Spoon mixture into a casserole dish or large tupperware. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Remove from fridge 1 hour before baking. Taste and add additional seasonings as needed, or milk, to make sure theya re nice and soft. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
You could also reheat them in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 98mgPotassium: 786mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 320IUVitamin C: 10.3mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 1.5mg

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*I originally shared this recipe November 2017. Updated with additional tips and instructions October 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Best & easiest ever! Typically I over beat and they come out gluey! Steaming for 10 mins after cooking potatoes does something special… and the addition of bullion paste is perfect!

  2. 5 stars
    I simply love mashed potatoes, and I always make it a little “rough”, leaving small small potato lumps for a better texture. Normally I use full fat cream instead of sour cream. Full fat butter is a must. Try serving it with steamed salmon and sweet and sour cucumber salad (vinegar, sugar and water). Yummy yummy!! For the variation, put the salmon on the grill putting some hickory chips on the coal, or use a smoke box if you use a gas grill….! Still yummy yummy…!!!

    1. Gross!!! Condensed milk made these mashed potatoes disgusting!!! What a bummer! Keep it simple and stick to sour cream, butter and whipping cream.

  3. 5 stars
    First time making boneless prime rib roast. SCARY! BUT Christmas Dinner WINNER! HUGE SUCCESS for our first Christmas together.

    Easy to follow, thorough instructions. Great tips. Didn’t have exact ingredients for rub so improvised a little and turned out great.

    YES meat thermometer is essential for great outcome. Cooked to perfection. Used pan drippings and some beef broth for gravy and added beef “Better Than Bouillon” for fabulous gravy.

    Tips on mashed potatoes especially steaming before mashing made them nice and fluffy. Used butter ,a little heavy cream and a dollop of sour cream and they were the best I’ve ever made. Not lumpy or starchy. Didn’t have chicken flavor Better Than Bullion but will add it next time.

    Thank you so much for helping to make a perfect Christmas Dinner, our first together.

  4. Hi Lauren. I was wondering if this recipe would be just as great with Better than Bouillon vegetarian base. Or should I just leave it out? Thank for the tips!

  5. Yes I will try. Where can I get a potato masher like the one you used? I got one for a shower gift 52 years ago and still use it but I would like another one which I’ve never come across.

  6. 4 stars
    They were good, but they were not the best mashed potatoes, but it’s the first time I have ever made MPs and the recipe was super easy and super cheap! I will absolutely use this recipe again! Thank you so much.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Lauren,
    Fist off I want to say I LOVE ALL of your recipes. I don’t consider myself a good cook but when I follow your directions to the “T” everyone raves about the food I make. I tell them “Im not a good cook I just know how to follow directions”. Anyways, I chose to do you recipe because of the Make Ahead instructions for Thanksgiving. They turned out beautifully. I did add a little bit of milk like you suggested and they were perfect. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    The additional hints on not overcooking, steaming, and then not stirring to much were essential. These were excellent!

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is so good. I love the extra ingredients that make these potatoes so delicious. I also appreciate all the extra tips and tricks you include with each of your recipes. I love your website!!

  10. 5 stars
    These were the BEST mashed potatoes I’ve ever made. I really think your tips made all the difference. Boiling the potatoes whole and using the mixer was great advice! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    We made this for Thanksgiving this year and it was delicious! We had a crowd, so I doubled the amount and made it in the instant pot. Turned out great! I am loving all the recipes I try from your site! Thanks!

  12. 5 stars
    I made these mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner! They were super easy to make and so light, delicious and fluffy!!

  13. Hi! I was wondering if, when making them in advance, can they be warmed in a slow cooker?

    Thanks for the great recipe!!

    Beth

  14. 5 stars
    I followed all of your tips (used regular Idaho baking potatoes) and they were the best I’ve ever made. I’m excited to try more of your recipes.

  15. Merry Christmas Lauren,

    When we make any kind of potatoes, Russets, Yukon Gold), we drain the pot when finished cooking then we set the pot back on the flame for a few minutes to dry the left over moisture.
    This method only takes a minute & the potatoes remain hot. Just thought I would share this as one of our favorite tips.

    Thank you for the delicious recipes you share.