Mashed Potatoes

Skill Level:

Servings : Prep Time : Cook Time : Ready In : Making something as simple as Mashed Potatoes can be difficult unless you know the right potato and method to make it all work.

mashed potatoes

{The making of Mashed Potatoes}


Well duh, I know it’s a classic comfort food. And so easy to make. Well, it’s easy to make, if you know how to make them.

I remember when I went for my first Thanksgiving dinner at my husband’s family home.  We are all in the kitchen, cooking and yakking, and I see a pot of water, milk, and butter simmering on the top of the stove.

“What’s that for?” I ask

“The mashed potatoes” was the reply.

“Oh, you know you should start the potatoes in cold water,” I say as I stick my foot in my mouth.

“No, the package says to use hot water then add the POTATO BUDS”…

O.K. then.  I’m going to shut up.

As we got to know each other better I found that my husband’s mother always used white potatoes.

White Rose Potatoes.

Which are fine for many uses, but not for making mashed potatoes.

You might be able to “smash” them, but not to really “mash” them.  If you mash them, they turn glue-like.

And glue is not a good thing to put in your mouth.

Unless you’re in kindergarten.

So we had the conversation, and I told her I would do the potatoes next year (I was rather full of my stay ability haha, now 25 years later, I guess I was right) and show her how to make fresh, homemade mashed potatoes.

So as I did all those years ago, we’ll start with the basics, and then add some embellishments as we go on. You can steam the potatoes, boil them or even microwave them. For this recipe, I’m going to boil them.


russet potatoes


So use these for Mashed Potatoes


white-lady potato

Not these


Perfect Mashed Potatoes


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes or Yukon gold; (do not use white rose or any waxy potato for this dish. russet potatoes or Yukon gold will give you a nice fluffy mash. If you use the others, you will get glue.)
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk or cream, half and half or whole milk. (I like buttermilk, it gives them a nice ting, and is lower in calories and fat.)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Step 1

Peel and cut the potatoes into chucks. (if you are using a Yukon Gold or Red Potato, you do not need to peel them if you don't want to, but I don't like the russet potato skin, so I ALWAYS peel them) Place into a sauce pan large enough to hold them and enough water to cover by 1 1/2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are very tender. Drain into a colander. Return the potatoes to the pan and shake gently over a low heat to dry them out. You want the water to go away so it can be replaced by some yummy butter and milk.

Step 2

Once the potatoes are dry and look starchy, about 5 minutes; do one of the following:

1. Put the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer; return to the pan, add the butter, whichever milk you choose, and mix well with a spoon; or

2. Mash with a potato masher in the pan until smooth, then add the butter and milk, using the potato masher, blend until smooth; or

3. Using an electric mixer, add the butter and milk and beat until smooth, this method works best with the russet potatoes, not so well with Yukon gold.

Step 3

Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with a pat of butter, if desired.

Photo Credit: yelenayemchuk/123RF

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Margie Rasmussen on July 25, 2013

    That is how I always make mashed potatoes! I love Yukon Gold and I use half and half along with LOTS of unsalted butter. I also like to add garlic cloves to the water for wonderful garlic mashed potatoes and after they are mashed, I add a little fresh parsley! YUM!!! Thanks for posting, I now feel like my potatoes are top notch, especially if they are cooked the way you cook yours!

  2. posted by LindySez on July 28, 2013

    Aw Margie, that’s so sweet especially since I know you are a fantastic cook! Thank you thank you for your kind words. ~ Cheers


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Fat
    6g (4g Sat, 2g Mono, trace Poly)

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