Our homemade mashed potato recipe uses simple ingredients yet provides light, fluffy, creamy, smooth, and buttery results. Whether it's a weeknight dinner or a holiday celebration, these potatoes deliver flavor.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This mashed potato recipe has such a creamy texture and you won't be disappointed.
- Simple ingredients with many variations to create recipes any night of the week as well as being on your Holiday table.
- There are different types of potatoes to use depending on where you like. In North America, Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes provide the best flavor. Yukons have a buttery texture. Russets contain a bit more starch. We love a combo of the two which produces the most amazing mash potatoes. In the UK, try starchy potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward. In Australia, look for Kiplfer or Desiree potatoes, both are starchy.
- Warm Milk will help get fluffy smooth potatoes. Cold liquid will cook down the veggies too fast. Whole milk, 1 or 2% percent milk all work well. Also heavy cream can be used for a much richer flavor.
- A simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and bay leaf are a must for a great mash.
- Yellow onion or shallot, finely chopped add umami flavors to the dish.
- Unsalted butter adds creaminess and allows control over the sodium.
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This is an overview of the recipe. The full instructions are below in the recipe card.
Step 1: Place cut potatoes, onion, bay leaf, salt, and pepper in a large pot of cold water.
Step 2: Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Step 3: Reduce heat to low. Simmer potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 -25 minutes.
Step 4: Drain the potatoes in a colander. Gently shake to remove as much water as possible. Discard the bay leaf.
Step 5: Return the potatoes back into the pot.
Step 6: Turn heat to low for about 30 seconds. Shake the pot to allow any excess water to fall to the bottom of the pot and absorb.
Step 7: Mix in warm milk and butter. Use a hand masher to mash potatoes. If needed add more milk and/or butter.
Taste, add additional salt and pepper, milk and/or butter, to taste. Give another stir to the spuds.
Layering the flavors is key to the best, from scratch mashed potatoes. Seasoning the potato water with salt, pepper, bay leaf, and onion are very important to begin flavoring the veggies. When adding in the milk and butter, be sure and do a taste test and when needed, re-season.
Can be topped with more butter, chopped parsley, dill, or chives. (optional)
According to the USDA, store raw potatoes in a cool dark location with good ventilation.
For a big celebration with lots of prep or a weeknight dinner, the potatoes can be scrubbed, peeled, and placed in a large pot of cold water, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Be sure to drain the water and put the potatoes, onions, and seasoning in fresh cold water before cooking.
If you have to make mashed potatoes ahead of time, they can be stored in the fridge. Reheat in a slow cooker on warm for about 1 hour before needing to serve. The potatoes can be kept in a warm 175°F oven once they are hot to keep until being served.
They can also be heated in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes depending on the manufacturer's instructions.
Leftover potatoes can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight covered container up to 3 days.
Potatoes can be frozen up to 3 months in a well-sealed bag or container.
Reheat by defrosting overnight and either microwaving them. They can also be heated in a casserole dish in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
Expert Tip: Hand mashing the potatoes ensures light and fluffy spuds.
- For the best flavor, use Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes. Yukons have a buttery texture. Russets contain more starch. We love a combo of the two.
- Scrub the spuds before peeling. They are a root veggie and should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Cut the potatoes into the same size, about 1 ½ to 2 inch cubes for even cooking.
- Be sure to dice the onion into very small pieces. They will be mashed in but you do not want large pieces.
- If you are making a gravy, when draining the the potato water, save a cup of the water to add into the gravy. The starchy water adds amazing flavor to the gravy.
Frequently Asked Questions
A ½ pound per person will yield enough. If you are having lots of side dishes ⅓ pound per person.
Absolutely! Use vegan butter and almond milk to replace the dairy. I make this for my oldest daughter and it is just as delicious as the original recipe!
Once the water is drained, return the potatoes back to the same pot. Place over low heat for about 30-40 seconds. This ensures excess water will dry up to prevent a watery mash.
Gently hand-mash the potatoes while they are still hot.
Don't use a food processor, electric hand mixer, or stand mixer to "mash" the potatoes. They can also overwork the veggies and risk them becoming mushy or gluey.
Use high starch potatoes, like Russet or Yukon. Red potatoes are best for smashed, roasted potatoes, and corned beef and cabbage.
- Add roasted garlic into the drained potatoes for a nice kick.
- Mix in cooked chopped bacon and green onions .
- For additional creaminess, add ⅓ cup cream cheese or homemade Boursin cheese to the mash.
A few favorites to serve with this homemade mashed potato recipe would be Salisbury Steak, a classic ground beef patty with a flavorful mushroom gravy that makes a delicious meal.
Instant Pot Lentil Stew topped with these amazing mashed potatoes is another comfort food meal you will enjoy.
Cranberry Pot Roast is all my childhood favorites that my hubs and kids still enjoy
A perfect side dish for any night. Even better with your holiday dinner. Enjoy them with roasted turkey breast for a fabulous Holiday celebration. For smaller celebrations, enjoy Air Fryer Turkey breast alongside these creamy spuds.
Don't forget to make my Instant Pot Beer Braised Short Ribs with these taters, you won't be disappointed!
You may enjoy some of my other favorite potato recipes.
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes have a buttermilk base and they're super creamy and always a hit.
Foil Wrapped Cheesy Potatoes, baked or grilled, so darn good.
Funeral Potato Recipe, a flavorful traditional hash brown potato casserole that is perfect for pot lucks and family dinners.
Don't be quick to discard leftover potatoes. They make great fried potatoes and breakfast potatoes. Make a cottage pie with the leftovers for a meal full of comfort.
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If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This recipe was originally published on March 28. 2018. It has been updated for reader experience.
Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 4 pounds Russet or Yukon potatoes Note 1
- water, to cover potatoes while they cook
- 1 white onion or shallot, peeled and diced Note 3
- 1 teaspoon salt, additional if needed Note 2
- 1 teaspoon pepper, additional if needed Note 2
- 1 bay leaf Note 2
- 1 1½ cup milk, warmed Note 4
- 4-5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- diced parsley, chives, dill, favorite gravy optional garnish
- Wash potatoes, eel potatoes and cut into equal size chunks, about 1 ½ - 2 inch chunks.
- Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water, adding about 1 inch above the potatoes. Add in the onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
- Place the pot over medium heat-high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove pot from the heat. If making a gravy, see note below. Otherwise, drain the potatoes in a colander. Discard the bay leaf.
- Return the potato mixture to the original pot over medium-high heat. Shake the pot and stir potatoes to ensure water evaporates. About 5 seconds, remove the pot from the heat.
- Add to the pot, the butter, and 1 cup of the milk. Mash the potatoes for about 30 seconds.
- If needed, add another ¼ cup of milk. Taste for seasoning, if needed, add salt and pepper. Continue to mash for at least 30 seconds.
- If needed, add remaining ¼ cup of milk to the potatoes. Continue to mash for about 15 seconds, again taste for seasoning, if needed adjust salt and pepper. Mash until smooth and creamy, about another 30 seconds. The whole process of mashing the potatoes takes about 2 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh herbs, optional. Serve.
- Onions or Shallots: When dicing onion or shallot, remember they are going to be included in the mashed potatoes so finely dice. They add great flavor.
- Water: The potato water should be seasoned with salt and pepper. Additional salt and pepper can be used as the potatoes are mashed. Always check seasoning and re-season if needed.
- Mashing: for best results, a hand masher delivers great potatoes.
- Milk: Use either full-fat, 2% or 1% milk. We do not recommend skim milk, gives a watery texture to the spuds. Use either a microwave or stovetop to heat the milk before adding to the potatoes to ensure a smooth texture.
- Making Gravy: If making a gravy, keep a cup of the potato water to add into the gravy. It adds amazing flavor to the gravy. My Mom's fantastic tip :).
- Vegan Potatoes: Make these potatoes Vegan using vegan butter and coconut milk.
Variations to making mashed potatoes
- Change up the recipe and add in roasted garlic.
- Loaded mashed potatoes, add some chopped cooked bacon and green onions.
- Kept warm in a covered pot that is oven safe or casserole dish in the oven on 170 degrees.
- Transfer the potatoes to a slow cooker. Keep on warm setting for a large party.
- Can be made ahead and reheated the second day at 350°F for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.