How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Christine Albury

Wondering how to make mashed potatoes? We've got the best method!

Mashed potatoes might be the ultimate comfort food. They’re the perfect side dish for meatloaf, roast, or short ribs.

Heck, they’re even better served under entrées, especially ones with delicious gravy or pan juices.

Are you hungry yet? Let’s get to all the details!

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Photo

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

  1. Peel and quarter Russet or Yukon gold potatoes and give them a rinse to remove any dirt. Keep your peeled potatoes in a bowl of water until you’re ready to cook them, so they won’t discolor.
  2. Add the potatoes to a pot and cover them with cold water, until the water is an inch above the potatoes.
  3. Add a little salt to your water, cover your pot, and heat on high until boiling.
  4. As soon as the water comes to a boil, uncover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer.
  5. Continue cooking the potatoes until you can easily stick a fork in them.
  6. Drain your potatoes and return them to the pot.
  7. Add a generous amount of butter and mash with a potato masher.
  8. Heat a little milk in the microwave and add just enough to the potatoes so they reach your desired consistency.
  9. Season with salt, pepper and stir in more butter, if desired.
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Image

Which Potatoes are Best for Mashing?

Russet or Yukon gold potatoes work best for mashing. They have more starch than red or white potatoes and will produce a fluffier result.

If you use waxy potatoes, like the red ones, they’ll require extra mashing, which could result in gluey potatoes. Yuck!

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Picture

Can Gluey Mashed Potatoes be Fixed?

Gluey mashed potatoes can’t be fixed, but they can be repurposed into a casserole. Place the gluey mashed potatoes in a baking pan, top with bread crumbs, grated cheese and melted butter, and bake until browned and bubbly.

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Image

Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes

  1. Use the right potatoes. Make sure they’re starchy, like Russets or Yukon gold, instead of waxy, like red or white potatoes.
  2. Use salted water for boiling. It will provide flavor and prevent bland mashed potatoes.
  3. Start with cold water, rather than adding your potatoes to boiling water. It will ensure your potatoes cook evenly.
  4. Use room-temperature butter and heated milk. They’ll blend in faster and won’t cool down your potatoes.
  5. Don’t over-mash or mix too vigorously. It will release too much starch, and you’ll end up with gluey potatoes.
  6. For fluffy mashed potatoes, use a masher or ricer, not a mixer.
Garlic Mashed Potato Recipe Photo

Can Mashed Potatoes be Made Ahead of Time?

  • Slow Cooker Method: Mashed potatoes can be made ahead and kept warm for up to four hours on low in the slow cooker. Butter the slow cooker insert, add a little cream to the bottom and place your mashed potatoes on top. Stir every hour and just before serving.
  • Oven Method: Make your mashed potatoes up to 24 hours in advance and place them in a baking pan. Pour ¼ cup milk or cream on top, cover and refrigerate. Reheat the mashed potatoes, uncovered, in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until heated through. Stir before serving.
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Picture

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

You can make your mashed potatoes from start to finish in the slow cooker. It’ll take about four hours for your potatoes to cook before you mash them.

Get the details in this recipe for Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Photo

Storing Mashed Potatoes

You can store leftover mashed potatoes in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to four days. Mashed potatoes freeze well, if made with lots of fat such as butter and cream. Store them in resealable freezer bags, with the air squeezed out.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Pic

How to serve mashed potatoes:

KFC Gravy Recipe Picture

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Christine Albury

About Christine

I'm a mom of 5 and love making healthy baby food with wholesome, natural ingredients. In 2005 I started the Homemade Baby Food Recipes website, sharing recipes for everything from simple fruit purees to gourmet curries for the baby food connoisseur! You'll also find plenty of tried and tested tips to help encourage even the most reluctant diner to enjoy a wide range of nutritious new foods. If you enjoy cooking, then you will LOVE learning to become head chef for a very special little customer!