How to Make Mashed Potatoes

  • 01 of 06

    How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

    Close up of mashed potatoes and rosemary
    JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

     If you had to make a list of the most universally loved comfort foods, mashed potatoes would likely be near the top of the list. 

    Any potato can be used in mashed potatoes, though textures will vary. High starch baking potatoes —russets or Idaho — will produce the lightest and fluffiest mashed potatoes. Low to medium starch potatoes — Yukon gold, purple, long whites, red-skinned, and round white — might offer more flavor but will be creamier and denser. It's a matter of what you like and...MORE what you have on hand,

    Leave the skins on red potatoes for extra texture and color. Cut them into cubes before you cook them so the skin can be easily mashed with the potatoes. 

    Make a double batch of mashed potatoes and use leftovers for morning fried potatoes, topping for meatloaf and casseroles, or use them as an ingredient in meatloaf and stuffing recipes. Or use them in your homemade potato rolls.

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  • 02 of 06

    Prepare the Potatoes

    Potatoes in the pan
    Diana Rattray

    Peel about 2 pounds of baking potatoes, put them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart of water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan, and boil gently for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

    Drain the potatoes and discard the cooking water.


    Boil 2 to 3 cloves of peeled garlic with the potatoes and then mash the garlic along with the potatoes. 

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  • 03 of 06

    Mash Potatoes With Butter

    mashing potatoes
    Diana Rattray

    For lump-free potatoes, put the hot potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl; add 4 tablespoons of butter to the hot potatoes. 

    Add 3/4 cup half-and-half or milk to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.


    Replace the butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

    Use half chicken broth with the milk or cream for lighter potatoes.

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  • 04 of 06

    Beat or Mash Potatoes With Milk

    mashing potatoes
    Diana Rattray

    Using a potato masher or an electric mixer on the lowest speed, beat or mash the potatoes. Do not overbeat.

    Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk or half-and-half while slowly beating or mashing. Add more in small amounts until you have a smooth and fluffy consistency.

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  • 05 of 06

    Season the Mashed Potatoes

    mashed potatoes
    Diana Rattray

    Stir salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes, to taste. 


    Add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup or more of cheddar, smoked cheddar, or Gruyere to the hot potatoes along with the seasonings.

    Stir in a few tablespoons of snipped chives or thinly sliced green onion tops.

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  • 06 of 06