Making the most perfect mashed potatoes for any holiday or for a Sunday dinner isn't hard. I give you the step by step instructions on how to make the best homemade perfect mashed potatoes every time!
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After years and years of making mashed potatoes, I have perfected the method on how to make creamy mashed potatoes that everyone loves!
I'm here to tell you, it's not that hard and if you follow my steps, you will be beaming with success. Because who doesn't love perfect mashed potatoes?
How do you like your mashed potatoes? Super creamy? Or do you like them creamy with some chunks of potatoes?
Perfectly creamy with some potato chunks is the way I like to make mine.
What I love about mashed potatoes is, you can make them to your liking. I use a potato masher. Mash the potatoes until they are as creamy as you like them.
Should I soak my potatoes before making mashed potatoes?
Soaking your mashed potatoes will help them be more creamy. I often will add some water a pot and as I'm chopping up my potatoes, I'll add them to the pot. As I'm peeling and chopping, they are soaking!
If you like to prep ahead especially for holidays like Thanksgiving, you can put the whole pot into the refrigerator the night before. Put the pot on the stove (don't forget to add salt to the pot) and turn it on high and bring to a boil to start cooking.
What to add to mashed potatoes for flavor
There are so many things you can add to your mashed potatoes to add flavor. First, you want to make sure you add salt to the pot of water with the potatoes. Bland potatoes are not good potatoes.
I love to add pepper and a dash of nutmeg to my potatoes. You can add shredded cheese to your potatoes if you like cheesy potatoes. You can also add roasted garlic to your potatoes!
Can I use almond milk in place of regular milk for mashed potatoes?
If you're asking if you can use almond milk to make mashed potatoes. The answer is yes! I have done it many times. Just be sure to use unsweetened almond milk.
Alright, I'm going to share with you how to make the best mashed potatoes from scratch!
What are the best kind of potato to use for mashed potatoes?
Picking the right potatoes for your perfect mashed potatoes is very important. For the best texture mashed potatoes, I like to use white potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes.
You can use red potatoes too! When I use red potatoes, I leave some of the peel on for a more rustic texture.
For Thanksgiving, I use white potatoes.
The Essential Tool for Perfect Mashed Potatoes
A very good vegetable peeler is necessary for making the perfect mashed potatoes. 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.
How to make the most perfect mashed potatoes
After you have peeled your potatoes, rinse and then dice your potatoes.
I try to get most of them cut in a uniform size. Use a good knife and make sure it's sharp.
If you haven't already, add potatoes to a pot and fill it with water. Make sure the potatoes are covered. Add two teaspoons table salt.
How long to boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?
Turn the heat on high and bring the potatoes to a boil. This will take a few minutes to for the potatoes to start boiling.
Once they are boiling, you want to boil the potatoes for at least 8 to 10 minutes.
Test the potatoes for doneness. I remove a couple of pieces and stab it with a fork. Once it breaks in half easily, they are done.
If they just turn to mush, you have overcooked the potatoes.
This next step is a crucial step. If you don't want watery mashed potatoes, you'll be sure to follow this step.
Drain the potatoes thoroughly. The burner you previously use, turn it down to very low. Cover the potatoes and put them back on this burner for at least 15 minutes before mashing them.
This will ensure there is no liquid left in the pot of potatoes, so no more watery mashed potatoes.
Add butter and milk. Be sure to add the liquid in gradually.
And then mash them.
If they are too dry, add more milk. This is where it's totally up to you and how much potatoes you used. Sometimes you need more liquid and sometimes you need less.
Mash the potatoes until they are perfect.
Add pepper and ground nutmeg if you wish.
And add more butter if you'd like!
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.
I love eating mashed potatoes as leftovers too! I top them with yellow sharp cheddar and make sure the cheese melts, it's sooo good!
Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 5 pounds of white potatoes, or Yukon Gold or red, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 to 1 cup whole 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.
- 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.
Other Dishes to have with perfect mashed potatoes
Crockpot Whole Chicken
French Onion Pot Roast
Other Potato Recipes
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
This post was originally published in November 2011. It was edited in November 2020.
Betty Curran says
Mashed potatoes are a family favorite. I think my granddaughter would be happy to make them her entire meal.
Karen R says
My mashed potatoes are always lumpy. I am doing everything wrong.. I’ll try your directions in the future. Thank you for sharing.
Nancy Shaw says
Your recipe is all most our family recipe. I make them so often I can do it without thinking. I Love them. My recipe is different only in the fact that we love to add cheese, cooked vegetables, bacon. We love mashed potatoes!
kathy pease says
My mashed potatoes always seem lumpy no matter how long I beat them. These look great!
Antoinette M says
Great recipe. I like a little nutmeg in my mashed potatoes.
Susan P. says
I have been the one in my family to make mashed potatoes since I was in high school (almost 50 years ago!) and I have always made them with white potatoes – usually from Maine, Michigan or Florida. I still like them to be without lumps. Your recipe could be my recipe! My Dad always said great minds think alike.
Sarah L says
That is a good way to make mashed potatoes. I usually put cream instead of milk.
Dana Rodriguez says
We love mashed potatoes. I add sour cream and cheese to mine.
Susan Biddle says
These do look perfect! The option of nutmeg was surprising. I use it in soups, so I think I’ll try that!
Tina W says
I often add nutmeg to cream sauces but I’ve never tried it in mashed potatoes! Gonna try it soon.
Christopher Sorel says
mm homemade ismuch better than the box
Sandy Klocinski says
Mashed potatoes are awesome! These sound heavenly.
Jaye Smith says
Love the ideas! Can’t wait to try them the next time I make potatoes.
Mary Beth Elderton says
Mashed potatoes are our favorite side with almost any meal…YUM!
Jennylyn Gross says
Mary Gardner says
Your mashed potatoes look good. This is a favorite side dish for our family as well.
I have never had mashed potatoes with a little nutmeg. Sounds delicious!
Michelle J. says
I could eat mashed potatoes every day.
Linda Bick says
Yummy and delicious
shelly peterson says
We love mashed potatoes! These look good.
Love mashed potatoes. Great recipe!
never go wrong with potatoes, you can add anything you want .
Tom King says
patricia caradonna says
I am crazy about mashed potatoes. I usually get Idaho potatoes.
paige chandler says
Oh my do these look awesome…drool
Janice Wright says
I love mashed potatoes, probably one of my favorite comfort foods.
Julie Deily says
Linda Beus says
This recipe looks delicious!
Sarah Bridges says
Mashed potatoes with homemade gravy are my favorite!
Jennifer Essad says
I’m anxious to try your way of making the mashed potatoes, I’ve not drained and covered like this, I bet it really makes a scrumptious difference
Yes, mashed potatoes is my fav, too, among all the sides. My nephew took a video of all the food for Thanksgiving last year, and even though there were pies and all kinds of dishes and turkey, he zoomed in on a huge mountain of mashed potatoes – cooked just right, like these! yum!
Rachael DeBates says
Potatoes are my favorite!
Cassy J says
I never thought of adding nutmeg to my mashed potatoes but I think it’s a good idea. Thanks for sharing 🙂
this sounds so easy. nutmeg sounds interesting for this recipe.
Lisa Reid says
We love mashed potatos. Will have to make this recipe.
Rachel B says
This is a great recipe and I like the tips
athena j graeme says
Nutmeg? Now why have I not thought of that before! I bet it’s amazing!
Jennifer Raybon says
Good idea and they look delicious.
Rose Reeder says
I never used a potato peeler but that is a must for my husband
Erika Estrada says
Definitely have to try these. Been looking for a good mashed potato recipe for Thanksgiving!
Steve Guth says
I haven’t had mashed potatoes that are a little chunky. I’ll give it a try.
Melissa Storms says
I have never returned the potatoes to the burner after draining. I am going to try it the next time I make mashed. I hear you on the peeler, I definitely need to replace mine. I forget until the next time I try to use it.
Evon Rairdon says
I add sour cream with just a splash of milk to mash my potatoes with. Delicious! My family really loves it!
Theresa Jenkins says
Always made instant mashed potato but this year we are trying these.
Susan Smith says
These look delicious. I like to add a little garlic to mine.
Ronnell Storie says
The warming part is new to me. I always drain them well and have great mashed potatoes. The nutmeg is a no for me.
MARY BENACK says
mashed potatoes are my fave with gravy these look so good an simple
Christina Sparks says
These look good.
Debbie Yoder says
Ive never put salt in the pot with the potatoes,Im going to try this,they look so creamy and good!
Rachel Mauffray says
There’s nothing better than creamy buttery mashed potatoes. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
Deborah Waddell says
This is how I’ve been making mashed potatoes for years. Delicious!
Kakhaber Khmelidze says
Ohh, love it! Looks yummy,
the pinch of nutmeg sounds interesting. I will have to give it a try next time.
All the potatoes!
Rebekah Kirby says
Lately, I’ve been making mashed potatoes in my Instant Pot, but I think I could adapt this recipe for that.
Heather Clark-Hill says
Looks yummy and I definitely saved the recipe!
Cynthia Smith says
I cut into thick slices in lieu of ‘dice’, easier and peeling isn’t necessary as the skins will come off in the water. A pinch of nutmeg is a nice touch.
marilyn orsini nuovo says
love smashed potatoes need to make some now im hungry
sheila ressel says
The mashed potatoes are my favorite Thanksgiving side dish. I’ve never tried nutmeg in them but it definitely sounds good.
Rebecca V says
Looks so good, I’d like to try it!
kelly nicholson says
just like mom make them..nice n creamy
Jeanna Massman says
Thanksgiving dinner needs mashed potatoes! These look great!
Mashed potatoes – is there anything more comforting? Love them!
I love home made mashed potatoes. Such a classic from childhood. Thanks for posting.
Andi Durgin says
So simple and they look wonderful!
Lisa Lawton says
Going to def try this recipe! I like mine without any lumps at all.
Ella williams says
Looks really nice and creamy!
Thomas Gibson says
I really like your recipe. However I prefer to leave the skin on my potatoes. Looks great though.
Pat F says
These look simply amazing ! I will be making these soon!
These mashed potatoes look perfect! I love real mashed potatoes especially when they are slightly lumpy! Yummo!
Josephine Berlin says
Sweet lord, I love me some potatoes.
Pam Flynn says
These mashed potatoes look so delicious and buttery. I like the way different potatoes are used.
Pam Flynn says
This is a great mashed potato recipe. It looks creamy, buttery, and delicious.
Lisa Ayers says
I love using Yukon Potatoes for mashed potatoes! Makes them so creamy and a rich tasting!
Diana M Haggerty says
Yum !!! Looks good.
Alicia Hewitt says
I love mashed potatoes and this recipe sounds delicious. I’ll have to try these out on thanksgiving.
Karin F says
Yum. Definitely will have to try it
Teena Sierson says
I just love mashed potatoes but I usually don’t make them because my husband doesn’t like mashed potatoes, the only time I can make them is if other people will be eating with us then I just make him rice which he perfers
I hadn’t thought of adding nutmeg. I shall have to try that!
Devon Pickford says
Mashed potatoes are the supreme comfort food, can’t wait to try these
rhonda miotke says
An awesome tip about leaving the potatoes covered for 15 minutes!! I will be doing this. Thank you!
We will definitely be making these they sound amazing
Anita Kennett says
This is going to be a big hit this Thanksgiving.Thanks????
belinda bell says
This is how I make my mashed potatoes. They are good
My vegetable peeler is ancient, and since I don’t use it that often I never really thought that I should upgrade and maybe I wouldn’t hate peeling potatoes so much. Great tip!
Kim Hillman says
Mashed potatoes are the best!!
Phyllis Huebbe says
This sounds like exactly what my mother used to do when she made mashed potatoes!
Janet Fletcher says
Those mashed potatoes look yummy! I love mashed potatoes. Thanks for all of the tips and recipe.
Rebecca Foughty says
Wow your recipe looks very close to how my grandmother made her potatoes. Yummy!
Diane Sallans says
Yum – I like a bit of potato chunks
rana durham says
okay, i have to admit i really want some good homemade mashed potatoes. i need to make these soon bwcause it so dedcadant
Tami Vollenweider says
Your potatoes look so creamy! I got to add that little touch of nutmeg!
Looks really good! My family would love these
Michelle Damon says
Thank you for the tips! Maybe my potatoes won’t turn out so sticky this year!
I was just telling my husband I needed a recipe for mashed potatoes.
Tashia M Jennings says
Looks and sounds delicious. Definitely going to try.
Nikki Sones says
Thank you! I’m going to try the nutmeg in the mashed potatoes, that sounds like a wonderful idea for thanksgiving. My mother likes to add cream cheese to her mashed potatoes for creaminess but i just stick with butter, milk and more butter lol.
Jamie Herrick says
Oh yum, wish I had these right now!
can I use salted butter?
I have tried a lot of different mashed potato recipes but this looks fluffy and delicious!
Minta Boggs says
Your potato cutting is a lot better than mine, I usually end up with small potato’s, large potato’s needless to say they are all different sizes. Your mashed potato’s look yummy.
Lynne B says
Mashed potatoes have become a mood food for me – sometimes I’ll eat them, sometimes not. My family, however, will eat them all the time.
Carol Moore says
Would love to try this recipe.
Definitely using this on Thursday
Gloria Luongo says
Looks delish. Going to make this Thanksgiving!
This is such a good recipe I love mashed potatoes I’ve never made it homemade though
Rania R. says
So delicious and creamy !! drooling here…..
Sara Zielinski says
Yummy these potatoes look delicious.
Michael DeFren says
MMM I love mashed potato, its my favorite side dish, im gonna try this
Amanda B. says
Yum…one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides!
I have heard a variation where they use so many sticks of butter.. makes it really creamy. I think this is a good balanced mashed potato recipe. Nice share!
These DO look perfect!
New Jenks says
I like the touch of nutmeg.
mj rudy says
you can always tell when someone doesn’t salt their potatoes while boiling them. Thanks for not skipping this step,
love me some taters!
April Greene siggal says
I love chunky mashed potatoes with gravy. This isn’t one thing I’m looking forward to at Thanksgiving.
You say 4 Tablespoons of butter but your picture clearly shows 8 T. How much do you actually use? I’m hoping it’s 8!
Julie Deily says
It’s four…and then I use a little bit more here and there. 🙂 (We have the skinny sticks here in Florida.)
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 says
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!
Lisa [With Style and Grace] says
based on the photos, these LOOK like the perfect mashed potatoes!
Dee @ Cocktails with Mom says
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.
Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy says
Those look so creamy and delicious!
Tesa @ @ Wired 2 TIred says
These look amazing! We all love mashed potatoes here and I can’t wait to try this recipe!
“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!
Carol Belles says
going to try the covering and letting sit – sounds like an excellent plan
Jennifer @therebelchick says
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!
Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says
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! 🙂
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 🙂
How did I miss this post earlier, Julie!??? Those look like amaziing mashed potatoes. and a great round up too!
I’m a sucker for a good batch of mashed potatoes. I like some of the skins left on in mine, though – especially with red potatoes. BUT – word to the wise – if you cut them in half and boil them with skins on, you can just let them cool a bit after you’re done boiling and the skins slip right off!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
great recipe! lot this one
50+ and on the Run says
Oh, I forgot to add: Do NOT use a food processor–you will make glue!
50+ and on the Run says
Looking good. Alternatively, you could halve the potatoes before cooking and use a ricer rather than a masher–especially if you are cooking for a crowd!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
I love creamy mashed potatoes and yours looks really creamy and wonderful!
I’m a potato fanatic, in fact I could survive of them. These mashed potatoes look delicious!
Love this recipe, YUM! I can’t wait to try it out myself
Just made these. They turned out great!
Lorie Shewbridge says
Thanks for the recipe and for the tip about putting the taters back on the burner with the cover… I never knew how to make them fluffy like that.
I still use whole milk though because I love the creaminess. And you are SO right about the butter, you need REAL creamy butter.
Wishing your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.
These do look perfect. I never thought about returning the potatoes to the burner to remove the watery liquid. Thanks for the recipe.
Beautiful potatoes! I love the nutmeg in them; that’s such a great twist!
I adore mash potato, I imagine for some having to tell them how to mash a spud would seem like madness. They are probably the people who have never eaten good mash. Great post and happy thanksgiving
Those look SO good! :
Russell at Chasing Delicious says
Yummmm! My all time favorite thing in the world. Give me a big bowl of this and I’ll be set.
Hello! I saw this on facebook, and I have to tell you my secret for perfect mash potatoes, and it is sour cream, so you just put everything you normally do, and just add sour cream, and potatoes will be great. They would be light, and soft like finest cream belive me! 🙂 Well happy thanksgiving to you nice people and greetings from Croatia!
Julie Deily says
Thank you! I love sour cream in my mashed potatoes but my husband is totally against it! He knows it when I sneak it in…can you believe that? I should have called this Perfect Mashed Potatoes for Curtis. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Beeb Ashcroft says
Looks delicious! I’ve never thought to add nutmeg to mash.
Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray says
They do look perfect! Love the addition of nutmeg!
Yeah, I just need to say mmmmmm. And hand me a spoon, Ill be right over. 🙂
Jessica @ How Sweet says
I want these for dessert. Love the nutmeg!
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups says
Mashed potatoes are my fiance’s absolute favorite, so I’ve been trying to perfect them. This looks simple and delicious!
Not presumptuous at all! In fact that is exactly how I do it… GREG
Julie @ Willow Bird Baking says
Ohhh these look so comforting and delicious to me right now! Love that BUTTER pooling at the top!!!
The potatoes look great! I make mine the same way: peeled and chopped before boiling rather than boiled whole and then peeled and mashed. This way is quicker and much easier.
I needed this post. I really suck at mash potatoes and usually make it a point to pass this off to someon else.
GORGEOUS photos!! Love this set.
Chelsea @ Naturally Sweet Recipes says
How delicious! These look so fluffy and wonderful! How fun to join in the food network! Have a great week!