How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

A little presumptuous right? To call these the perfect mashed potatoes? Well, these are the Perfect Mashed Potatoes for me. After trying many recipes and trial and error over the years, I have found the technique that works for me.

Perfectly creamy with some potato chunks is the way I like to make mine. Picking the right potatoes for your perfect mashed potatoes is very important.

White potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes and even red potatoes will work depending on the texture you’re looking for. For Thanksgiving, I use white potatoes.

Very important tool for peeling potatoes, having the right vegetable peeler. I know you what it’s like to work with a dull peeler or a non-efficient one…it takes forever to peel potatoes! With a good peeler, it should only take 10-15 minutes to peel a 5-pound bag of potatoes.

Rinse and then dice your potatoes, trying to get most of them cut in a uniform size. Use a good knife and make sure it’s sharp.

Cover the potatoes with water in a heavy-bottomed pot along with two teaspoons of table salt. Bring to a boil and allow the potatoes to boil for at least 8-10 minutes or until potatoes soft enough to stab a fork through.

This is an important step, drain the potatoes and return to the same burner (turned down to warm), cover the potatoes for at least 15 minutes before mashing. This will remove the liquid, getting rid of watery mashed potatoes.

Now we’re ready to go. This is very simple recipe, just potatoes, salt, (very good) butter, 2% milk and nutmeg (optional).

Mashed potatoes is my absolute favorite Thanksgiving side. I don’t want to play favorites because I love stuffing and vegetables too but if I had to, you know what I mean.

I only add the nutmeg for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. It adds a really nice, unexpected flavor and makes it that more special. This Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. I hope you enjoy yours this holiday season.

If you make any of recipes and decide to share them on instagram or twitter be sure to tag me @thelittlekitchn and use the hashtag #thelittlekitchenrecipes! I love seeing your posts and photos!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6-8

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Total Time: 40 min

An easy recipe with some great tips to make the most perfect mashed potatoes. This recipe goes well with either white potatoes, Yukon golds or red potatoes.


5 lbs of white potatoes (or Yukon Gold or red), peeled and diced

2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 - 1 cup 2% milk

coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper

pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)


In a heavy-bottomed pot, add peeled potatoes, enough water to cover the potatoes (about 1 to 2 inches above the potatoes) and salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Allow potatoes to boil for 8-10 minutes or soft enough to stab with a fork.

Drain potatoes and return to the burner, turn heat down to warm, and cover potatoes. Allow to sit on the burner for at least 15-20 minutes, to allow the moisture to dry off.

Add butter and mix with a wooden spoon. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes.

Add milk and mix well, for creamier potatoes, add more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of nutmeg to taste.

Cook's Notes:

Potatoes can be peeled and added to your pot along with the water the day before. Often, I will boil my potatoes and allow them to sit on the burner with it turned off for a couple of hours. When you're ready, turn the burner back on warm for 15-20 minutes and start mashing.

I use a potato masher because I like mine a combination of creamy and chunky. If you like them completely creamy, use a potato ricer or even a blender.

When adding milk, add a little bit at a time, you can always add more but you can't take away.

From The Little Kitchen

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I’m joining in on Food Network’s (Virtual) Communal Table for Thanksgiving. Follow along on twitter using the hashtag #pullupachair and visit the links to below to see what other fellow food bloggers are bringing:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Eat Be Mary: She’s Mulling It Over Wine
Cookistry: Bread With Ancient Grains
Celebrity Chefs and Their Gardens: The American Hotel Peconic Clam Chowder
Picky Eater Blog: Butternut Squash Soup With Thyme and Parmesan
Good Food Good Friends: Mushroom Soup

Mains: Grilled Quail with a Warm Beet, Frisée, and Pistachio Salad
She Wears Many Hats: Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey

Living Mostly Meatless: Vegan-Friendly Corn Casserole
Healthy Green Kitchen: Red Kuri Squash Pie
The Naptime Chef: Crispy Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes
Gluten-Free Blondie: Apple and Cranberry Studded Stuffing
Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat: Blue Cheese and Rosemary Celebration Potatoes
Burnt Lumpia: Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Empanadas
Panfusine: Pan Fried Polenta Seasoned With Cumin, Ginger & Black Pepper
Homemade Cravings: Warm Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Slaw
Bakeaholic Mama: Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Prosciutto
Show Food Chef: Beer-Braised Brussels Sprouts
T’s Tasty Bits: Sweet Empanadas with Pumpkin and Lupini Beans Filling
The Amused Bouche Blog: Braised Kale
The Little Kitchen: How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The Macaron Queen: Macaron Tower
Poet In The Pantry: Amaretto Apple Crisp
Farm Girl Gourmet: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
That’s Forking Good: Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Blondies
Out of the Box Food: Out of the Box Food Maple Pumpkin Pie
Cake Baker 35: Orange Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Lisa Michele: Pumpkin, Pecan, Cheesecake Pie
Food For My Family: Buttermilk Custard Pear Pie
Simple Bites: Black-Bottom Maple Pumpkin Pie
A Cooks Nook: Swedish Apple Pie
Yakima Herald: Pretzel Jell-O Salad
How Does She: Three of Our Favorite Desserts
Dollhouse Bake Shoppe: Thanksgiving Candy Bar Name Plates
Sweet Fry: Pumpkin Latte
Tasty Trials: Spiced Apple Panna Cotta With Caramelized Apples and Caramel Sauce
An Uneducated Palate: Puff Pastry Apple Tart
Frugal Front Porch: Mini Cheaty Cheesecakes

Even more:
Kitchen Courses: Thanksgiving for Six People Under $60
A Curious Palate: The Communal Table

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61 Responses to “How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes”

  1. 41
    themacaronqueen — November 23, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    ooooo…..I’ll have these mash potatoes with my turkey and gravy. You can’t go wrong with this classic recipe. I like my dinner the traditional way. Thank you for reminding me of a real Thanksgiving meal :)


  2. 42
    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels — November 24, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    Mmm your mashed potatoes look sooo creamy and oh so good. I’d have a hard time not eating the entire bowl of mashed potatoes! Love the addition of nutmeg. Can’t wait to try that out! :)


  3. 43
    Jennifer @therebelchick — November 27, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    I love it that you mentioned adding salt while boiling the potatoes – this is something that I didn’t learn until a few years ago and it makes such a big difference!


  4. 44
    Carol Belles — November 29, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    going to try the covering and letting sit – sounds like an excellent plan


  5. 45
    Laura — December 1, 2011 @ 1:34 am

    “This is an important step, drain the potatoes and return to the same burner (turned down to warm), cover the potatoes for at least 15 minutes before mashing. This will remove the liquid, getting rid of watery mashed potatoes.”

    I made mashed potatoes tonight and mine were definitely on the runny side. Next time around I will definitely be giving this tip a try!


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  7. 46
    Tesa @ @ Wired 2 TIred — December 11, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    These look amazing! We all love mashed potatoes here and I can’t wait to try this recipe!


  8. 47
    Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy — December 19, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    Those look so creamy and delicious!


  9. 48
    Dee @ Cocktails with Mom — December 27, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    I stumbled across this recipe and so glad I did. I just love me some mashed potatoes. I will be trying your method this week and thanks for the wonderful tip about adding the potatoes back to the burner to dry off access moisture. I’ve never done that before but makes so much sense.


  10. 49
    Lisa [With Style and Grace] — January 7, 2012 @ 1:41 am

    based on the photos, these LOOK like the perfect mashed potatoes!


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  19. 50
    Elayne — September 20, 2015 @ 2:50 pm

    yOu say: Often, I will boil my potatoes and allow them to sit on the burner with it turned off for a couple of hours….

    Are they sitting in the water or are they drained?



    • Julie Deily replied: September 20th, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

      Hi Elayne,

      I drain as much water as I can before putting it back on the burner I just used (with the heat off). Hope that helps!


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