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4.82 from 16 votes

Basic Mashed Potatoes

Basic mashed potatoes are a must with turkey and roast beef or just about anything with gravy. These are light, fluffy, creamy and sensational. No peeling necessary. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4 (or 6 smaller servings)
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 1/2 pounds (0.68 kg) Yukon gold potatoes Russet ok too
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoon (56 g) softened butter (or 4 tbsp for extra richness)
  • salt and black pepper to taste (2-3 tsp to salt the water for boiling)


  • PREPARE POTATOES: Wash and peel potatoes if desired. (I leave the thin skins on Yukon gold potatoes - extra nutrients and less peeling). Cut into even size chunks - the smaller they are, the quicker they will cook. 1 inch/2.5 cm is good. Place potatoes into pot with just enough cold water to cover them. Add 2-3 tsp salt. NOTE: Potatoes can sit in cold water for several hours before boiling - so this can be done ahead.
  • BOIL POTATOES: Bring to boil on high heat, then lower heat to medium and boil gently for about 15-20 minutes, depending on size of pieces. Potatoes should be fork tender and easy to pierce with a knife but not disintegrating.
  • DRAIN: potatoes in a colander. Place back in pot and shake over medium-low heat for a minute or two to dry them out and evaporate any remaining water (this will make them fluffy, not gluey). Stir in milk (or cream) and butter. Turn off heat.
  • MASH AND SERVE: Use an electric hand mixer (not a food processor or immersion blender) to whip potatoes, butter and milk for 30-60 seconds. Don't over beat. Taste and add salt, pepper, more butter or milk as needed. You can also just mix well with a potato masher or fork (they won't be as smooth). Serve immediately or keep warm. Note 4.


  1. How much per serving?
    • 1 pound (0.45kg) of potatoes makes 2 cups mashed or 3-4 servings.
    • Raw potatoes needed: Figure about 1/4-1/3 pound (113-151 grams) of raw potatoes per person 
    • Mashed potatoes needed: Figure about 1/2 - 3/4 cup (125-250g) mashed potatoes per person. 
  2. Substitutes:
    • If preferred, used olive oil instead of butter.
    • Use milk or cream 0%-35% depending on how rich you want the dish. I use 2% milk and a splash of 10% cream.
    • Milk can be substituted with broth or sour cream or Greek yogurt (fat free is fine).  
  3. Optional add-ins: caramelized onions, chopped fresh chives, fresh herbs, grated cheese or Parmesan cheese
  4. To keep mashed warm/reheat: If you have a warming ring on your stove, set to medium, place pot on ring, add a bit of milk to sit on top of potatoes, cover and let them sit on the stove for up to an hour. Mix in milk to re-fluff potatoes and serve. If you have a crock pot, transfer potatoes, set on low for up to 4 hours. Potatoes can also be warmed in a microwave on high with a bit of extra milk/cream, 30 -60 seconds at a time (keep checking and stirring).
  5. To freeze: Mashed potatoes can be frozen in a sealed container for several months. 
Nutrition values are estimates and depend on how much extra butter and milk or cream you add. 
Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 312IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg