We have an easy no-fuss Mashed Potato recipe that works for special occasions or easy dinner nights. Our Easy Mashed Potatoes recipe shows how to make mashed potatoes in a few simple steps. Grab the recipe down below!
Easy Mashed Potatoes
If you’re a potato fan and you love mashed potatoes, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a tried and true go-to mashed potato recipe at your disposal. So, it doesn’t matter where you’re at on the kitchen experience chart because even with many years of cooking under my belt, I am still learning and unlearning my approach to cooking, entertainment, and creating memorable eating experiences.
This one goes out to all of the novice cooks (or anyone who wants to make killer mashed taters) whose need for good food outweighs their fear of failure and is willing to roll their sleeves up and cook good food. Because by going “for it,” you’ll gain confidence and knowledge, which happens to be essential ingredients in every kitchen. If you follow the instructions, you’ll come out of the other end with your new favorite Easy Mashed Potato recipe in hand or, better yet, on your plate!
Here’s what you’re going to need to make our Easy Mashed Potato recipe:
Russet & Yukon Gold Potatoes. I love leaving the skin on the potatoes because it gives the potatoes a much better taste, plus the nutrient boost is highly coveted. But if you’re not a fan of leaving the skin on, by all means, grab a potato peeler and get to peeling. For this recipe, I love using two kinds of potatoes because each potato brings something useful to the table, and when combined, the results make for a pretty freaking good pot of mashed potatoes. First, let’s grab some russets. Russet potatoes don’t contain a lot of water, and when boiled and mashed, the potatoes take on a billowy texture. Yukon Gold potatoes are a different story because Yukon Gold potatoes are a bit sweeter and have a smooth, waxy texture. However, if you choose to use only russet or Yukon Gold instead of both, no worries because either one makes excellent mashed potatoes, but using both, well, I can’t lie, is very satisfying!
Half & Half. If you research mashed potato recipe, you’ll find many of these recipes call for both heavy cream and milk, so I decided to use half & half. Plus, I don’t have to foot the bill and purchase two ingredients. Half and half adds creamiest and respectable mashed potatoes are better when they have a cream texture. I recommend Land O’ Lakes Half & Half.
Sour Cream. Adding a bit of sour cream adds a bit of tang to the mashed potatoes; it also joins forces with the half & half and butter to create creaminess and adds subtle savory flavor.
Butter. Garlic. Fresh Thyme & Freshly Cracked Black Peppercorns. Now, we’ve come to the flavor bomb portion of this recipe. I prefer melting the butter over low heat, then adding minced garlic and sprigs of fresh thyme. Adding this step makes a huge difference because it infuses the butter with lots of garlic flavor. The fresh thyme adds a layer of the herbaceousness that brightens up the recipe. I also love adding the freshly cracked black peppercorns to the melted butter because it allows the cracked peppercorns to bloom and ensure the peppery taste is pretty consistent throughout the mashed potatoes.
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt. There’s nothing like the zippy-do-da that is adding a measure of quality salt to almost any recipe. Salt brings it all together and enhances the flavors of everything you’ve thrown into the pot. But when it comes to making mashed potatoes, you live and perish upon the sword of either using too little salt or, even worse, dumping in too much salt. But to tell the truth, preferably, it’s better to under salt a recipe rather versus over-salting a dish because once the salts in there, you can’t take it out. Here are the salts you’ll find in my kitchen—Mortons Kosher salt. Diamond Chrystal salt. And my favorite, Maldon flaky sea salt.
Easy Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, washed and rinsed
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1/2 stick butter reserved
- 5 large cloves of garlic ran through a garlic press
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Add freshly cracked black peppercorns to taste.
- Add sea salt or Kosher salt to taste.
- Wash, scrub, and quarter the potatoes.
- Place potatoes into a large stockpot and fill with water until the potatoes are just covered.
- Add a tablespoon of salt and place the stockpot over medium-high heat. Boil the potatoes 12-15 minutes until they are fork-tender.
- While the potatoes are boiling, place a small skillet over low heat, add the 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, the minced garlic, and sprigs of fresh thyme. Keep the butter warm and allow the garlic and thyme to infuse the butter with lots of savory flavors.
- Using a colander, drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, mash them, or run the potatoes through a potato ricer for smoother no-lump potatoes.
- Add half and half, sour cream, two sticks of butter, and use a potato masher to mix all of the ingredients; continue to mash until the potatoes are smooth. Remove the fresh thyme from the melted butter and discard.
- Add the remaining butter to the potatoes and continue to mash. Season the mashed potatoes with freshly cracked black peppercorns and salt to taste.
How long will mashed potatoes last in the freezer?
Mashed potatoes made with plenty of fat like quality butter and cream will keep 6-12 months when they are kept at 0°F or below. If the mashed potatoes are vacuum-sealed, they can last 12-24 months as long as a 0°F temperature is maintained.
Best potatoes to use for mashed potatoes
When it comes to making mashed potatoes, it comes down to two choices, russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Russet potatoes don’t contain a lot of water, and when boiled and mashed, the potatoes have a billowy texture. Yukon Gold potatoes are a bit different. Yukon Gold potatoes are a bit sweeter and have a smooth, waxy texture. You can use russet or Yukon Gold instead of both, and no worries because either one makes excellent mashed potatoes, but using both, well, I can’t lie, is very satisfying!
Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time?
Yes, you can make mashed potatoes 1-2 days before using them. They can last in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also make them ahead of time and freeze.
How long can you store mashed potatoes?
If you are storing them in the fridge, mashed potatoes will last 3-5 days, but they will not keep very long in the refrigerator because of the high dairy ingredients like butter and cream.
Can you freeze potatoes?
Absolutely! Two ingredients make freezing mashed potatoes ideal, and that is butter and cream. The more fat in your mashed potatoes, the more freezer stable they will be. I prefer freezing portioned mashed potatoes. After making the potatoes allow them to cool down completely, then make single-cup portions and place them on a sheet pan (OXO) lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, like this one (Silpat) or this one (OXO), then place the portions in a freezer-safe resealable bag. If you have a vacuum sealer even better. You can also freeze the mashed potatoes in large portions too. Place the cooked potatoes into gallon size freezer bags and wrap them in aluminum foil. Make to date each bag so first in, first out.
What recipes pair well with mashed potatoes?
Mashed potatoes pair with many foods like chicken, turkey, fish, red meat, lamb, venison, and especially pot roast, steak, and meatloaf. As well as spinach, kale, broccoli, root vegetables like carrots, Brussel sprouts, etc. I enjoy caramelized onions and brown gravy over mashed potatoes. 100% comfort food! Check out some of the ways we enjoy making mashed potatoes: Smashed Cheesy Sweet Potatoes, Baked Butternut Squash Potatoes, Spinach & Bacon Smashed Potatoes.
What makes mashed potatoes so creamy?
When it comes to creamy mashed potatoes, it is all about the butter and heavy cream. Top chefs recommend a 60/40 ratio of potatoes and butter. For other ingredients that make creamy potatoes, try half and half and cream cheese. See how we make our creamy potatoes with alfredo sauce.
What about vegan mashed potatoes?
The best vegan mashed potatoes are made with quality ingredients. If you want to make super delicious and, creamy vegan mashed potatoes use a 50/50 ratio of unsweetened almond milk and organic coconut milk. And vegan butter is a must. We love these two vegan buttery spreads (Miyoko’s Creamery or Earth Balance Original). Melt 3-6 tablespoons of vegan butter and drizzle over the vegan mashed potatoes just before serving. Adjust sea salt or Kosher salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns to your taste, and it’s done!
Now that you have our Easy Mashed Potatoes recipe, you have added another dependable dish to your growing collection of go-to recipes. And as always, if you any questions, leave them in the comments section down below. Oh, and I highly recommend getting a potato ricer. But if you like those lumps (I don’t mind them at all) in your potatoes, then use a potato masher and call it a day.