The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Wondering how to make mashed potatoes from scratch? My Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe is a staple recipe everyone needs! Perfect for family dinners, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more!

mashed potatoes in serving dish

My Favorite Mashed Potatoes Recipe

With the holidays right around the corner I thought it would be nice to have a mashed potato recipe that you can either leave how it is written here, or use to add your favorite mix-ins. This is hands down one of my favorite recipes I use over and over again. Once you master the classic recipe, you can do all kinds of variations that work for so many occasions.

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russet potatoes on cutting board

What You’ll Need

  • Russet Potatoes– I’ve always had best results with Russett Potatoes for my mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold works if you’d like as well.
  • Salted Butter– I use salted butter for my cooking and baking, but unsalted works fine too.
  • Milk– Use a high fat milk, 2% is great.
  • Sour Cream– Use full fat sour cream as well.
  • Kosher Salt– Kosher salt is a course salt. I prefer using it in my cooking and baking.
  • Black Pepper– Freshly cracked black pepper is best.
  • Garlic Salt– Lawry’s garlic salt is my preferred brand.

What Kind Of Potatoes Should I Use?

When I am making mashed potatoes I get the good ol’ Russet Potatoes. I like how they turn out every time. Doesn’t mean you can experiment with other varieties, but for my recipe, use Russet.

peeled russet potatoes

How To Make The BEST Mashed Potatoes

Peel Potatoes. Give the poatoes a good rinse in the sink and start peeling with a vegetable peeler. You can leave some of the skin on if you’d like.

cubed potatoes going into pot of water

Cube Potatoes. Cut each half in half again then cube into about 1 inch pieces. Your goal is to cut the potatoes the same size so they finish cooking the same time.

Add Potatoes To Pot Of Water. Place cubed poatoes into pot of water. I start the water at room temperature. Make sure you have enough water in the pot that covers all potatoes.

cubed potatoes boiling for best mashed potatoes

Cook Potatoes. Turn up the heat to high and when it starts boiling, reduce heat slightly and set your timer. I like to start with 8 minutes so I can check from there. Use a fork and if the fork pierces easily into the potatoes, they’re done.

How do you know when your potatoes are cooked?

You’ll know when your potatoes are done when your fork pierces through with slight pressure. If the fork goes in too easy, chances are you’ve over cooked your batch. That’s why I like to check my potatoes on the early side so I don’t over cook them. You want fork tender with a little pressure. If it takes no pressure to pierce your fork though, then…..oops 🙂  Better to check your potatoes early than too late.

spices for best mashed potatoes

Get Mashed Potato Ingredients Ready. Here are my classic mashed potatoes MUST HAVE ingredients. I use butter, warm milk, salt, pepper, garlic salt and sour cream. We’ll talk about add-ins below.

mashing potatoes for best mashed potatoes

Mash Potatoes. There are a number of ways you can mash your potatoes. Some use the good ol’ fashioned potato masher in a large bowl. Totally fine if that’s your thing. I find it easiest to do my potatoes in a stand mixer. Add your butter (at the bottom of the bowl here), your salt, pepper and garlic salt. Give a very gentle mix.

Combine Ingredients. For the first few mixes, carefully place your hands over the bowl so you don’t have any potatoes fly out. Once you get some of the potatoes mashed, slowly add in your sour cream and warm milk.

Don’t Over Mix. You want to make sure your ingredients are well combined without over mixing. If you’ve ever had grainy, weird textured mashed potatoes, chances are they were way over mixed. Just use your good judgement, when you see everything is well combined, then you stop.

mashed potatoes

Serve. Once my potatoes are done, I generally place them into a dutch oven over low heat until ready to serve. Note that often times your potatoes get thick as they are left out. Simply stir in small batches of milk until desired consistency. I do this all of the time.

Mashed Potato Flavor Variations

Ok, let’s talk about what you can do from this stage of the classic mashed potatoes recipe. Here’s where it gets fun experimenting.

  • Cream Cheese– For best results use softened cream cheese before adding to potatoes.
  • Parmesan– Freshly grated Parmesan works best.
  • Cheddar– Shredded cheddar cheese is a great addition to mashed potatoes.
  • Blue Cheese– Not everyone will love blue cheese in their potatoes, but it’s delicious if you are a fan.
  • Feta Cheese- Feta cheese adds a nice salty bite.
  • Bacon Crumbles– Bacon crumbles are probably the most popular topping to potatoes. Delicious!
  • Green Onion– Sliced green onion is another great addition.
  • Hot Sauce– A couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce is delicious over mashed potatoes.

Recipe Tips For Success

  • Cube Potatoes Same Size. When cubing your potatoes, cube them as close to the same size as you can. This will help the potatoes cook the same time.
  • Warm Your Milk. Warm your milk before adding to the mashed potatoes for best results.
  • Careful To Not Overmix. One of the worst mistakes that can be made is over mixing mashed potatoes. This will give a grainy gooey texture that you want to avoid. Mix until ingredients are just combined for best results.
  • Add Toppings! Play around with the topping suggestions for fun variations.
mashed potatoes in serving dish

Homemade mashed potatoes are a must during the Holidays and any occasion if you ask me. With my simple recipe, you are on your way to making the best mashed potatoes!

How To Serve

Serve mashed potatoes alongside your favorite protein. These make the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, Christmas Dinner side dish or they’re perfect for any of your entertaining needs.

How To Store Leftovers

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating Instructions

Place mashed potatoes into a heat proof mixing bowl loosely covered. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, until hot. Add a few splashes of broth or milk to thin if potatoes become thick from refrigeration.

Try More Recipes That Are Great For Holidays

The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Wondering how to make mashed potatoes from scratch? My Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe is a staple recipe everyone needs! Perfect for family dinners, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 212kcal
Cost: $20
Print Pin Rate


  • Stove
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • stand mixer
  • fork to test doneness of potatoes


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cubed, 1 inch pieces
  • 1 stick salted butter softened
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt


  • Place cubed potatoes into a large dutch oven filled with water. Make sure water is covering all potatoes. Turn heat to high and when water starts boiling, set timer for 8 minutes. Check to see if potatoes are fork tender, meaning fork is easily pierced into potatoes. When fork tender, drain potatoes.
  • Place butter into a stand mixer bowl. Transfer potatoes into mixer and carefully start mixing on lowest speed to prevent potatoes flying out of bowl (I’ve learned from experience, lol!) Once potatoes start to mash slightl, slowly add warm milk, sour cream, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Mix until well combined, without over mixing. I like to leave a few chunky pieces. Over mixing your potatoes will ruin the texture, so be sure to just mix until desired consistency. At this step, your classic mashed potatoes are done! I like to transfer them to a large dutch oven and keep on low until serving. I usually end up adding 1/2 cup more milk to my potatoes if I’m not serving right away, just helps thin out if too thick. Use your judgement.
  • Classic mashed potatoes are fantastic, but you can add so many great ingredients for more variations. To this recipe I’ve also added 4 ounces of cream cheese for an even creamier mashed potato. Shredded cheeses are fantastic added in as well. Really anything you like is great. I’ve done Asiago, Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella. Play around with it, see what you enjoy. You can add bacon pieces, green onion, green chilies….you get where I’m going? Once you’ve mastered the classic mashed potatoes, you can try lots of fun variations. Hope you enjoy!!


Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 873mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Keywords: best mashed potatoes, easy mashed potatoes recipe, how to make mashed potatoes, thanksgiving mashed potatoes

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photo collage of mashed potatoes


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11 Responses
  1. Kassi Chapman

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I feel like every time I make make mashed potatoes I mess it up and think, “How can I mess up mashed potatoes? It’s like the easiest thing, right?” Yes! Will definitely try this!

  2. Linda

    I had to write a girl the instructions for mashed potatoes. I couldn’t believe she had never made nor had them to eat. She was an adult with 2 boys! She is definitely not a “foodie”. I wish I had this post then to share with her.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  3. shelly (cookies and cups)

    How I have never put my potatoes in the stand mixer? HELLO OBVIOUS! I always struggle with a hand mixer or masher. I’ve been doing it all wrong!

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