If you’re wondering how to make perfect homemade mashed potatoes, you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite holiday side dishes. Every Thanksgiving I’m in charge of making this fluffy, buttery, traditional classic. My family feels that after years of preparing it for our holiday dinners, I have this essential Thanksgiving recipe on lock down. So I can promise you one thing – if you follow this homemade mashed potatoes recipe exactly as written you’ll get the same scrumptious results you see here. A beautiful texture, heavenly aroma, and mouth-watering taste. Mmmm…let’s get started whipping up a batch right now!
How to Make Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Making perfect homemade mashed potatoes starts with selecting the right type of potato that’ll make this side dish the best it can possibly be. I highly recommend Russet baking potatoes. Their white flesh is what you typically think of when visualizing a bowl of traditional mashed potatoes on an elegant Thanksgiving table. They’re the ideal choice for mashing because of their creamy, soft, fluffy texture. They’re also known for absorbing butter and cream very well. When mashed, Russet potatoes have a fantastic consistency. And for make-ahead mashed potatoes, hands down, Russets are the best choice!
My second potato choice for this homemade mashed potatoes recipe is Yukon Gold. Their flesh is light-yellow, they’re slight sweet, waxy, and just a basic all-purpose potato. But if you over-process Yukon Gold potatoes they can develop a gummy, gluey texture pretty darn quickly. So if you’re making and serving your mashed potatoes the same day – they’re absolutely wonderful. They have a beautiful flavor. But when prepping make-ahead mashed potatoes, it’s just too risky. They can turn out gunky and a bit odd tasting when rewarmed. So I highly recommend just sticking with the Russets.
How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes
After scrubbing and peeling the potatoes you’re ready to begin. When making homemade mashed potatoes it’s important that they’re all done and ready at the same time. Because potatoes are of various sizes and thicknesses, the trick is simple. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and add them to a pot of heavily salted cold water. Not only will this same-size method ensure your potatoes cook evenly, but they will also cook a whole lot quicker than if you were to boil them whole or halved. After the cubed potatoes have been added to the pot, and the water level is above the potatoes, bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the potatoes to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until you can stick a knife all the way through them with no resistance. Potatoes like this are also referred to as “fork tender.”
Perfect Homemade Mashed Potatoes
While the potatoes are boiling, add the milk and butter to a small saucepan with a pour spout. Place the saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted – but do not allow the liquid to boil! Once your potatoes reach a fall-apart consistency, drain the potatoes into a colander and lightly shake it so all excess water is removed. Add the potatoes back to the same hot pot and place it over medium-low heat. Drizzle the milk/butter mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. With a potato masher, mash and mix the potatoes until they reach the desired consistency. Take care not to over-process the potatoes. You want them to be light and fluffy, not heavy and dense. Transfer your homemade mashed potatoes to a lovely serving bowl. Enjoy them with yummy homemade gravy.
How to Make Whipped Mashed Potatoes
If you own a Kitchenaid stand mixer, add the mashed potatoes to the bowl of the stand mixer. Using the metal whip attachment, whip the potatoes just briefly – one to two minutes – until they look like the perfect homemade mashed potatoes you’ve been dreaming of!
Easy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
If you’re looking for an easy make ahead mashed potatoes recipe – this one’s perfect for that too! Here’s how to do it: After mashing or whipping the mashed potatoes, transfer them to a heavily-buttered casserole dish. Place several generous-sized pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and then cover the dish. Refrigerate your make ahead mashed potatoes until an hour and 45 minutes before you want to serve them. Remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator and place it on your countertop for an hour to allow the potatoes to come to room temperature. Tent the dish with foil. Warm the potatoes in a 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes or until your homemade mashed potatoes are completely warm all the way through.
Mmmm…Here’s one last view of these perfect homemade mashed potatoes! I wish there was a magical way I could hand a spoonful of this scrumptiousness to you right through this screen! For a new spin on this classic recipe, try my fabulous sour cream mashed potatoes.
Kitchen Tools to Make Homemade Mashed Potatoes > SHOP THIS POST
Below are a few basic kitchen tools for making perfect homemade mashed potatoes. You can easily elevate the look of this finished recipe with a gorgeous serving dish. I love Polish pottery and their beautiful designs. When I’m planning to do make-ahead mashed potatoes I use a lovely casserole dish that can go from refrigerator to oven to table. When preparing for the holidays I make an effort not to match up my serving dishes and platters. I crave the warm and stylish farmhouse look of a variety of lovely serveware on my holiday table.
Perfect Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- 4 pounds Russet potatoes
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- Optional garnishes: chives and additional pats of butter on top
- Scrub, peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. As you cube the potatoes add them to a stockpot filled with heavily salted cold water. The water level should be above the potatoes.
- Place the pot of potatoes and water on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the potatoes to simmer uncovered for about 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender and flaky. A knife should be able to slide right through the potatoes with zero resistance.
- While the potatoes are boiling, add the milk and butter to a small saucepan with a pour spout. Place the saucepot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted (do not allow the liquid to boil!) or almost melted, remove the saucepan from heat.
- As soon as the potatoes are fork tender, transfer the potatoes to a colander and shake lightly to remove excess water. Transfer the drained potatoes back to the same hot pot. Drizzle 1/2 of the butter/milk mixture over the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. With a potato masher, mash and gently mix the potatoes to distribute the buttery liquid and spices. If the potatoes need more liquid, slowly add the rest of the butter/milk mixture. You want to make sure the potatoes are not dry, but you don't want them soupy either!
- OPTIONAL: Garnish with snipped chives and additional pats of butter on top.
WHIPPED MASHED POTATOES
For whipped mashed potatoes, transfer the mashed potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip the potatoes just briefly, for about 1-2 minutes max. Don't over-process your homemade mashed potatoes or you can end up with a texture that's gummy and gluey. You want a consistency that's light and fluffy!
MAKE AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
For make ahead mashed potatoes, transfer your mashed potatoes to a generously-buttered casserole dish. Place pats of butter on top of the mashed potatoes. Cover and refrigerate. About one hour, 45 minutes before serving time, remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator. Allow the mashed potatoes to shed off the cold for about one hour. Tent the casserole dish with foil. Warm the room temperature mashed potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely warmed all the way through.
Courses lunch, dinner, holiday
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EASY HOMEMADE MASHED POTATOES > YOUR THOUGHTS
What is your favorite holiday side dish? Who in your family makes the best homemade mashed potatoes? Do you like this easy make-ahead mashed potato recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!