From the Kitchen

The Best Mashed Potatoes You’ll Ever Make

Think that’s a bold claim? The best mashed potatoes? You’ll have to give this recipe a try and see if I’m right. It’s simple ingredients and a perfect method that give these mashed potatoes their flavor!

The Best Mashed Potatoes You'll Ever Make

The Best Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is next week. Millions of families will be serving mashed potatoes slathered in gravy. There is nothing worse than having subpar mashed potatoes. Gravy, my friends, does not cover up all mashed potato sins. It is not a miracle worker. (That could be a separate post, as could one about making awesome gravy.)

There is nothing worse (for me) than to have a pile of bad mashed potatoes on my plate–be they gluey, dry, or runny. Mashed potatoes are an integral part of your Thanksgiving meal. They are more than just a vehicle for the aforementioned gravy. (Again, that could be a separate post.) You want them to be perfect with or without the gravy.

The Best Mashed Potatoes

After hearing how my favorite restaurant makes their heavenly mashed potatoes, we started recreating them at home.The secret? Simmering the potatoes in whole milk and treating them with care.

Gluey mashed potatoes can happen to anyone. But they don’t have to. Start with these tips and you won’t go astray!

Tips: Best Mashed Potatoes

  • Use a floury or all-purpose potato, such as Russet or Yukon Gold. Red potatoes are waxy and will give you heavy, gluey mashed potatoes.
  • Use a potato ricer or a good old fashioned masher. Using an electric mixer or food processor may take you into the realm of gluey mashed potatoes from which there is no return or rescue. (Potatoes are full of starch and mechanical mashing rips apart those delicate cells and the starch leaks out causing gluiness.  Some people have luck with this, but I never have.)
  • Don’t add too much liquid.  Before I started making mashed potatoes this way, I would boil whole, unpeeled potatoes in water.  This helped prevent the potatoes from absorbing too much water and becoming gluey when I mashed them.  Simmering the peeled potatoes in milk might seem contrary to this idea, but because of the fat content in the milk, it seems to prevent gluiness.  Plus you use only enough milk to cover the potatoes.
  • Only cook the potatoes until tender.  Over or undercooking is a no-no.
  • These potatoes also require a little extra care so the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.  I’ve only had it happen once and the outcome wasn’t terrible.  Make sure you keep the heat on low and you shouldn’t have any trouble.

The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe


2 lbs. (about 5 large) Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2″ chunks
scant 2 cups whole milk (don’t use low-fat or skim)
1 tsp. sea salt
Butter (2-4 Tbsp. is good)
a little chopped parsley (optional)


Place the peeled potato cubes in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add salt and pour the whole milk into the pan, just to barely cover the potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain off and reserve the milk. Mash the potatoes with a masher or whisk. Add the reserved milk a little at a time until they are the desired consistency. (If you make the potatoes ahead of time, save any extra reserved milk to add before serving if they are too dry.)

Top with pats of butter and chopped parsley. Makes enough for 4-6 people.


I saw a recipe from Tyler Florence recently that uses cream and milk, and grainy mustard. Holy mashed potato! They sound delicious.

Add fresh chopped herbs or roasted garlic. Add some chevre (fresh goat cheese), blue cheese, gruyere, white cheddar, or cream cheese. Toss in a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon, or sprinkle it on top. Instead of butter, drizzle with a bit of best-quality extra virgin olive oil or white truffle oil. The possibilities are endless!

Mashing The Best Mashed Potatoes


  1. @Rina – If your potatoes came out ‘crunchy’ Rina it sounds like you just under cooked them (under boiled them).

    @Cale – Yes, baking your potatoes instead of boiling is a good option (provided you bake them properly), but if you are not preparing ahead of time, and doing mashed potatoes for a holiday meal (like Thanksgiving or Christmas, etc.), your oven may be occupied by a turkey or a ham, or other main course – so having a good boiling technique is essential.

    RenalDiet – I will add for those on a ‘renal’ diet (low potassium) that you could still use this technique by starting with a multiple rinse of the cut potatoes in cold water, followed by a cold water soak (a few hours in the ‘fridge), then change the water and bring them to a boil, drain and then follow the rest of this recipe using milk to finish cooking, etc.
    You will not be reducing potassium quite as much, unless you ‘throw away’ the milk used in cooking, and use ‘fresh’ milk (or at this point reduced fat milk, skim milk, no fat 1/2 and 1/2, etc.) to gain desired consistency. If you really want to make it healthier in addition to using a lower fat milk / cream also use the same type of choice for the ‘butter’, maybe an olive oil based spread, or other healthier alternative to butter like yogurt…
    (My daughter is a nutritionist, my wife had kidney disease)

  2. I’m sorry but I hardly think this is the best way to prepare the “best”mash.
    I disagree with boiling the potatoes. Bake them whole instead. This will help eliminate moisture from the potato. Which means later you can add more in I.e cream and butter. Also I’d recommend melting your butter in cream. While doing that put garlic in that mixture and let those flavors marry before adding it to you dry potatoes. Mash them up with or with out those awesome poached cloves. Thats more like it!

  3. If you want to add some spice to the mix, try adding some garlic, chilli and a little dash of cumin to the water you boil the potatoes in. It will infuse them with a very light flavour.

  4. I like to toss in large amounts of sour cream and a decent amount of butter (or an olive oil spread – I know, I know…but my cholesterol!) and fresh garlic – then I put in just a dash of basil or fresh garden rosemary that I’ve recently pounded to death with a mortar and pestle. Finally, fresh ground pepper. Maybe a sprinkle of parmesan. Delicious!

    I also just leave the skins on. Sure, its not pretty – but we may as well leave some of those nutrients in there….

  5. Oh, I am a mashed potato nut and always looking to perfect my potatoes. This is awesome! I’ll have to try it!
    The secret ingredients to my potatoes are sour cream, cream cheese, and garlic salt. I know, what’s left of the potato?! But they are so delicious, especially when topped with brown butter.

  6. My family does a pot-luck-esque holiday (but with assigned dishes. Main dish always being the hostess’). Last year we discovered the secret to AMAZING reheated mashed potatoes. CREAM CHEESE. They are creamy, not at all dry, and don’t have that odd taste that reheated potatoes sometimes get. The cream cheese flavor is light enough that it isn’t noticeable.
    You prepare the potatoes as normal, adding milk, and then add about 4oz of cream cheese to 2lbs of potatoes and throw them in a crock pot for taking.
    (Last year they were made a day ahead of time and traveled 3 hours. They were still DELICIOUS)

  7. These DO sounds delicious… and the Tyler recipe would probably be fab too. LOVE his cookbook that I have! :)

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