My make-ahead mashed potatoes are creamy and so delicious that you’ll never want to try another recipe again! And with the holidays just around the corner, my best Thanksgiving mashed potato recipe is guaranteed to impress.
There’s nothing in this world that can’t be solved with a big bowl of mashed potatoes. I have tried every easy mashed potato recipe under the sun, using every kind of potato you can think of. So, you can be sure my homemade mashed potatoes aren’t just the best – they’re an unbeatable side dish you can make in a pinch.
And mash potatoes aren’t just reserved for everyday dinners. These are the best mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner – not a potato puree or a lumpy mess, but perfectly whipped potatoes made with the best of the season. Plus, they’re the easiest comfort food to make – just mash potatoes, stir in a little love (and cream) and you’ve got a delicious winter treat.
Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
- Potatoes: I like to make my mashed potatos with russet potatoes or Yukon gold. You want a waxier potato that is easier to mash up. You can substitute with sweet potato if you prefer to make a sweet potato mash.
- Water & salt: For boiling the potatoes.
- Double cream: otherwise known as heavy cream. You can also use cream cheese to mash potatoes for a low-fat option or use milk, dairy-free milk, sour cream, or even mayonnaise for added flavor.
- Butter: Make sure it’s softened and at room temp before using.
What Are the Best Potatoes for Mashing
For a creamy homemade mashed potatoes recipe, you want potatoes with low starch levels so they absorb more liquid. Starch absorbs liquid and can make your mash potatoes gluey and not very nice to eat.
I like using Yukon Gold for mashed potatoes because of their lower starch content, or a Russet potato, which will produce a similar texture.
Whichever potato you decide to use for this creamy mashed potatoes recipe will depend on the country you’re in. In the UK, for example, Maris piper is the best option for whipped mashed potatoes.
How to Make Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Here’s how to make the best mashed potatoes in just a few simple steps:
Peel or Not Peel Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes
Well, it depends on who you ask.
Experts who believe they have the best mashed potatoes recipe will recommend boiling potatoes with the skin on because:
- When peeled, the potatoes soak up too much water and turn creamy mashed potatoes into a watery, gluey mess (and won’t absorb the cream and butter, so its richness will decrease).
- More nutrients are kept inside potatoes with skins on – meaning a richer flavor.
The potatoes you use for Yukon mashed potatoes can be peeled after boiling or left entirely unpeeled for a more rustic feel.
I don’t peel the potatoes. This is an easy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes recipe – so simply clean the potatoes and put them on to boil.
If preferred, you can peel and chop them before boiling them. Bear in mind the cooking time is different – they will cook about 10-15 minutes faster but might be waterier.
How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes
Place your potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 40-45 minutes. For smaller or chopped potatoes, check them after 15-20 minutes. They should be fork tender.
For more tips, check my post How to Boil Potatoes That Are Whole or Cubed.
Peel, Mash, and Prep
The next stage of this creamy mashed potatoes recipe is prepping your now-boiled potatoes. If preferred, peel your potatoes – the skin should slip off easily. Use a towel to hold the hot potatoes and a paring knife to help you peel.
Then, mash the potatoes. A potato ricer will get the best results, but you can also use a handheld potato masher or a food mill.
Place the mashed potatoes in a large pot over low heat. Add about half or a third of the butter, then stir to incorporate. Then add about 1/2 or 1/3 of the cream and incorporate. Repeat.
Taste and adjust with any of the seasonings as you prefer.
Serve with a drizzle of melted butter or flavored oil and top with chopped parsley, thyme, or any of your favorite herbs. You can also sprinkle some pepper or chili flakes if wanted.
How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
The addition of the fat in the cream and butter makes it easier for the potatoes to freeze. I like to keep mine in airtight silicone bags or freezer-safe containers and freeze them for up to three months.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered. Reheat the potatoes in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk/cream to make it creamy again, if required.
What to Eat with Mashed Potatoes
There are tons of ways to serve and enjoy mashed potatoes. Here are just a few options you may enjoy.
- Serve alongside a Sunday roast, a Roast Turkey, Roast Chicken, or Meatloaf.
- At the holiday table (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) alongside Creamed Spinach, Green Beans, and candied yams.
- Serve with sausages for bangers and mash.
- Serve with stews – like this Green Bean Stew (Braised Green Beans) or thicker stews and casseroles.
- Use as a bed for meatballs and gravy, for a simple, delicious mid-week meal.
- Use leftovers with veg to make a quick pan-fried bubble & squeak.
Essential Tips for the Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes
These tips are especially great when your mashed potatoes recipe is at the heart of the meal – and will stop your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes from turning into a nightmare:
- Use Yukon Gold potatoes – these will make creamy mashed potatoes rich and full of flavor.
- Boil potatoes whole.
- Start boiling your potatoes in cold water rather than dropping them into hot water.
- Mash your potatoes hot – don’t wait until they’re cool, they won’t absorb the cream and butter as easily as when warm.
- Don’t add the cream and butter all at once.
- Make sure your butter is softened, NOT melted – you want it to melt and absorb as it’s cooking, rather than before.
For the fluffiest mashed potatoes, it’s all about how you mash them. Creamy mashed potatoes do best with a food mill, ricer, or handheld masher – not a blender or food processor.
Serve this creamy mashed potatoes recipe immediately for warmth. To keep them creamy over time, you can add a little milk when reheating to soften the potato.
Only if you’re using a high starch potato – cut and soaked overnight will remove excess starch. If using low-starch potatoes, you don’t need to soak them before boiling.
Other Potato Recipes
If you try this creamy mashed potato recipe, then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Potato ricer or potato masher
Boil the potatoes
- Wash the potatoes (use a vegetable brush if needed) and then either leave them whole – as I do- or optionally peel and chop them into 1-inch pieces.If you have the time, I highly recommend boiling them whole and unpeeled, as chopped potato can lead to more watery mash.
- Add the potatoes to a large saucepan and cover them with 1-2 inches of cold water. Add the salt and then bring the potatoes to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer (medium-low), and cook the potatoes until knife or fork tender. For whole potatoes, that's about 40-45 minutes, for cubed potatoes it's about 15-20 minutes.
Mash the potatoes
- Thoroughly drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool until you're able to handle them before removing the peel. It should slip off easily (you can skip this step, though, if using a potato ricer to mash).Use a kitchen towel to hold the potatoes, if needed. If you’re using chopped potatoes, add them back to the pan so the residual heat can steam out any excess water while you mash.
- Either in the saucepan or in a large dish with plenty of flat surface area, use a potato masher, food mill/potato ricer (for super fluffy and smooth mash), or a sturdy fork (for thicker, chunkier mash) to mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.While it's possible to use a mixer over low speed, there's a higher chance of the potatoes becoming gummy.
Season and serve
- Slowly incorporate the butter and cream into the mashed potatoes, first the butter then cream, stirring between every addition until it's reached your desired flavor and consistency.
- Also, taste and add more salt if preferred before finally serving the creamy mashed potatoes with an optional drizzle of melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle of parsley, chives, green onions, or rosemary. Enjoy!
- Bay leaf: Add to the potatoes while they boil for more savory depth.
- Sour cream: Replace some cream with sour cream for added tang.
- Garlic: Make delicious garlic mashed potatoes using about 1 clove per lb. of potatoes OR more roasted garlic, or some garlic powder – added to taste.
- Fresh herbs: Chives, scallions, parsley, etc. Stir in or use to garnish.
- Herb-infused cream: Add the herbs (rosemary, sage, or thyme) to a saucepan with the cream (or milk) and simmer for 5 minutes. Then leave to infuse, off-heat, for 20-30 minutes while the potatoes cook.
- Cheesy mashed potatoes: Add creamy, cheesy flavor with your favorite cream cheese (dairy or dairy-free, plain or flavored like Boursin) and/or about ½ cup of shredded cheese like a sharp cheddar or parmesan.
- Fully loaded mashed potatoes: Add cheddar, green onions, and crispy bacon.
- Smoked paprika: For a subtle smoky flavor.
- Truffle oil: Make a decadent truffle mash by replacing 1 tablespoon butter with the oil.
- Veggies: Broccoli, peas, corn, or spinach for nutrients, color, and texture.