All the secrets to making super fluffy, buttery, smooth mashed potatoes.
I’ve eaten a lot of mashed potatoes in my time – from the ultra luxe and expensive to down home cafeteria mash. Mashed potatoes are classic for a reason. They’re comforting, warm, filling, and the perfect accompaniment (or main dish, in my case). I have made countless pots of mashed potatoes and these are my perfect mash.
I definitely am known in my circle of friends as the best mashed potato maker. People always ask for my recipe and for a while, I didn’t understand it. Mashed potatoes, to me, are as simple as boiling water. But then, after a long discussion with a friend on how they make their mash, I realized, I have mashed potato mastery!?
Other recipes rely on cheese or toppings, but this is a perfect mashed potato: no gimmicks, no fancy add-ins, just pure potato goodness.
Waterlogged potatoes mean gluey mashed potatoes. To avoid this, make sure you drain your potatoes really well. I like to use a giant slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes out of the water. It’s a lot easier than lifting a heavy pot of hot water.
Starting the potatoes in cold water makes sure that the potatoes are par cooked through evenly.
Salt the water when you’re cooking the potatoes (just like pasta) so the potatoes are seasoned. After they’re mashed, finish them with salt when you add in the butter and milk so you have layers of flavor.
I love the way mashed potatoes taste when you push the potatoes through a fine mesh sieve. It gives you the smoothest, most luscious mashed potatoes you’ve ever eaten. But, if you like a slightly chunkier mash, use a potato masher. There are even different kinds of mashers: smooth mashers or chunky mashers depending on how you like your potatoes.
Once your potatoes are mashed, you want to just stir in the liquids (butter and milk or cream) without over mixing, which can lead to gummy potatoes.
There are only two kinds of potatoes that are perfect for mashed potatoes: Yukon golds (my absolute favorite) and Russets.
Yukon golds: dense, buttery, rich, more potato flavor
Russets: light, delicate, fluffy, mild potato flavor
Yukon golds are perfect for mashing because they’re starchy, beautifully yellow, and have a rich buttery potato taste. They’re also a more dense potato with a thin skin, and when you use them, you get a more luxurious mash.
Russets (or Idaho) potatoes are those big potatoes with the dusty skin that most people use for baked potatoes. These are also excellent for mashed: fluffy, dry, and starchy, when cooked right. Russets are the more mild potato of the two potatoes I recommend and if you’re a fan of lighter potatoes, they make a mash with a more delicate texture.
If you want the best of both worlds, use a mix!
Because I’m in the smooth mash camp, I don’t think potato skin belongs in mashed potatoes. But some people love that texture contrast. And for those people, I say, feel free to leave the skins on!
Yes, check out our recipe for instant pot mashed potatoes!
Super fluffy, buttery, smooth mashed potatoes.
5 from 1 vote
fine mesh sieve
Peel the potatoes and then cut in even chunks. Place in a large pot, along with the garlic, and a large pinch of salt. Add cold water to the pot, making sure cover the potatoes by 1 inch.
Place the pot on the store and bring to a hard boil over high heat. When the water hits a rapid boil, turn the heat to medium or medium-high, being sure to maintain a boil, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain very well.
Remove the potatoes from the liquid and mash or push through a ricer or a sieve.
Stir in the butter and add the milk, stirring, until your desired consistency. Taste and season generously.
The Best Mashed Potato Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 112
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7.7g48%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.