If you need to know how to make perfect, creamy mashed potatoes, this is the recipe for you! Made with Yukon Gold potatoes for that extra buttery flavor and a Cookaholic Wife tip to make them perfectly fluffy, these homemade mashed potatoes will be the star of your dinner table.
Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? They’re like the quintessential side dish for so many recipes. Chicken? Mashed potatoes. Beef? Mashed potatoes. Pork? …you see where I’m going here. So if you’re looking for how to make perfect, creamy mashed potatoes from scratch, you’ve come to the right place.
The trick to getting creamy mashed potatoes is one part the ingredients and one part how you mash them. Cream, whole milk and full fat sour cream will provide the absolutely creamiest mashed potatoes. That’s how I make them on Thanksgiving, but when calories don’t count, but maybe you want them creamy but not quite as full fat.
You can balance this with the wet ingredients. If you use whole milk, replace the cream with half-and-half and/or light sour cream. Or cream with 2% milk and light sour cream. Basically any combination of those ingredients where one is less fat than the other.
As for mashing them, I do a little bit by hand and then transfer it to my stand mixer to do the rest. (Especially on Thanksgiving, where I turn 10 lbs of potatoes into mashed potatoes. I could probably use the arm workout, but nah)
What type of potatoes to use
I am a huge fan of Yukon Gold potatoes. Sometimes they’re known as butter potatoes or yellow potatoes. They have a thin skin and a yellow hue. Yukon Gold potatoes mash up into the perfect mashed potatoes.
🥘 Ingredients for this recipe
- Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and diced
- Unsalted butter – I prefer unsalted because I like to control how much goes into the recipe
- Milk – 2% or whole milk (whole milk will provide a creamier consistency)
- Cream – heavy whipping cream is great but half-and-half works too
- Sour Cream – any kind is fine, I use regular but have used light
🔪 Instructions for this recipe
- Wash, peel and dice your potatoes.
- Add potatoes to a large pot of heavily salted water (cover potatoes by at least 1 inch of water). Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, letting the potatoes simmer until they’re fork tender.
- Drain water from potatoes. Return potatoes to pot and lightly hand mash.
- Transfer potatoes to a stand mixer (or large bowl and use a hand mixer).
- Slowly add in butter, cream, milk and sour cream until combined and potatoes are mashed.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tips and Tricks for the best mashed potatoes
- Wash your potatoes before peeling.
- Cut your potatoes into evenly sized pieces so they finish cooking at the same time. I half, then quarter, then slice the quartered pieces into 3-5 slices depending on the size of the potato. (See image below)
- Place cut up potatoes into COLD water then bring to a boil. Adding them to hot water will likely overcook the outside but not fully cook the inside.
- Don’t use cold milk or cream. By using room temperature it allows the potatoes to better absorb the liquid.
- But don’t add hot butter. Add cold or room temperature pats of butter so they melt evenly and are distributed into the potatoes.
- Hand mash slightly, then transfer to a mixer to do the rest of the work. Don’t overmix, just mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. If you see any unmashed pieces, scoop them out, mash by hand and add back in.
Mashed Potato Help Section
- My mashed potatoes are too creamy/runny. If you have extra potatoes, boil them up and add in to thicken. You can also drain the liquids from mashed potatoes by placing them in cheesecloth. But the easiest option? Add in potato flakes, a hard cheese like Parmesan or cornstarch to thicken. Make sure to taste test to adjust other seasonings as necessary.
- My mashed potatoes are gluey. This happens when you overwork the potatoes. You can mix in a new batch of mashed potatoes, but if you don’t have time for that, the best “fix” is to turn them into a gratin. (Layer into a baking dish, cover with seasoned bread crumbs, grated Parm and some butter and bake until golden) Or, if you happened to save some of the liquid the potatoes cooked in, mix a little of that in until you reach the right consistency.
- My mashed potatoes are bland. Avoid this by heavily salting the water first (I use about a tablespoon). Once they’re mashed you can still add in additional salt just make sure to fully mix it. Or mix in fresh or dried herbs like parsley, rosemary, or thyme.
- How do I make mashed potatoes ahead of time? Follow the recipe but use ¼ cup less cream and reserve ¼ cup of the water the potatoes cooked in. Potatoes will be stiff. Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, warm up potatoes and add in the reserved cream (warm) and cooking liquid until they reach the desired consistency. Also, see my Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd recipe for more make-ahead tips and tricks.
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Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 stick unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
- ½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
- ½ cup milk at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream at room temperature
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash, peel and cut your potatoes into evenly sized pieces.
- Add potatoes to a large pot. Add cold water and 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and let the potatoes simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Return the potatoes to the pot and lightly mash by hand. Then transfer the potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Mix on low speed, slowly adding in the butter, cream, milk and sour cream until they're light and fluffy.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Always add COLD water to potatoes before boiling. Using hot water will cause the potatoes to cook inconsistently.
- Don’t use cold milk, cream or sour cream. It’s easier for the potatoes to absorb when they are room temperature. But don’t melt the butter. Butter needs to be cold or at room temperature.
- Don’t overmix or the potatoes will become gluey. Let the mixer run until they look fully mixed, but as you transfer them to a bowl or container, remove any unmashed pieces, mash by hand and then add back into the mashed potatoes.
- To make mashed potatoes ahead of time see my Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd recipe
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.