Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

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My husband claims this recipe is HIS but I have made them this way for years . . . shhhhh . . . It’s okay, he’s very proud of his “creation” and who wouldn’t be?! They are creamy but also fluffy. Cream cheese, butter and whole milk are to “blame” for this luxurious creaminess. He can make them for me all the time. I don’t mind! Perfect Mashed Potatoes are an ultimate comfort food for me.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

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I am a self-professed connoisseur of mashed potatoes. I grew up eating them with nearly every meal – Seriously – no joke. My dad made and still makes the best taters. They are nostalgic and the ultimate comfort food for me.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

When I’m not feeling well and even when I was pregnant and constantly sick – it was all I wanted. I am picky about my mashed potatoes because I know what makes them DELISH. I’m sharing my VAST mashed potato knowledge and years of “strenuous” testing with you. Are ya ready!?

What makes the BEST Mashed Potatoes?

The Potato of course!!

Different potatoes have different flavors and textures. Some are sweet, some are nutty. Some have a deep rich, complex flavor and others taste flat and boring like Elmer’s glue. . . some have a drier flesh. Some are naturally more moist. It is important to use a really good potato to get a really good resulting mashed potato.

Here are my favorites for the Perfect Mashed Potato:

Of course living in the NW, the Russet or the “Idaho Potato” is my favorite. Idaho is right next door and might I say they make a mighty fine tater! The Russet is my favorite potato not only for mashed but also baked, roasted and french fried.

The russet is a thick skinned, more starchy tuber that holds up well to mashing. The sturdy, low moisture flesh of the Russet tends to absorb moisture (aka butter, milk) well and become FLUFFY instead of “gummy” and glue-like in texture. They also have an amazing buttery, earthy flavor.

Photo Credit: Jessica Gavin

A Note on TEXTURE & To Peel or Not to Peel?

The “best” potato depends on what you are looking for in the end.

The waxier, thin skinned potatoes tend to be higher in sugars, lower in starch but with rich, buttery flavor. You don’t have to peel them when slicing and roasting, frying or even mashing. The resulting mash will be sweeter, nuttier, less fluffy and more dense and well “waxy” in texture.

When using a waxy skin potato like a Yukon Gold or Red I tend to leave skin on while cooking and mash them more chunky. I like to do this when serving without a gravy. When I desire a smooth mash and a beautiful palette for a rich gravy- it is the RUSSET all the way.

Photo Credit: Jessica Gavin

Do you prefer chunky or smooth mashed potatoes? How about skin on or skin off?

The Perfect Mashed Potatoes for a Dinner or Holiday:

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The best mashed potato for a Holiday or Dinner Party is one that is smooth, fluffy, flavorful, creamy and holds up well to the yummy sauces and gravies. Wouldn’t you agree?

It also has to be a potato that holds over well and can be reheated. This again is the Russet, hands down. The tendency for them to be lower in moisture and fluffy makes them THE potato to make for your Holiday Mashed Potatoes. My recipe also has cream cheese which adds richness but also structure to the potato. Cream cheese helps KEEP them smooth and fluffy even with freezing and reheating.

Tips for making a BETTER Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  1. Try using a 50/50 mix of a waxy potato like a Yukon and more starchy like a Russet. Get the buttery, nutty flavor of the Yukon and the soft fluffy texture of the Russet. Best of both worlds!
  2. Put the potatoes in the water BEFORE bringing them to a boil so the potatoes cook evenly.
  3. DON’T SALT THE COOKING WATER: This is controversial BUT potatoes really absorb water and salt ALOT and a I find that salted water results in a wet, soggy mash. Instead, I recommended adding salt during the mashing process and tasting as you go.
  4. Use WARM milk before adding it to hot cooked potatoes. Cold milk to hot potatoes will shock the potato and make your mash glue-like.
  5. Don’t skimp on the salt. Potatoes really absorb and need salt for them to have flavor. Taste and don’t be afraid to add good quality salt.
  6. Consider using CREAM rather than milk to amp up the richness – Whaaaat!?
  7. Hand mash and don’t over-mix. I like to use my kitchen aide mixer especially when making very large batches but you have to be careful not to over-mix. Hand mashing or using a ricer actually results in a smoother texture. The more you mix the more starch will be released, the more glue-like.
  8. Mash warm NOT HOT potatoes. Cook them until just tender, drain them but then put them right back into the hot pot (off burner) with lid off. Let them stay warm but some moisture will evaporate and prevent wet, sloppy potatoes.

How to Make Ahead & Reheat for the PERFECT Mashed Potatoes

When I make mashed potatoes, I tend to do at least a DOUBLE batch. It isn’t much time or trouble at all to make extra and portion them into a freezer bag or a baking dish to freeze.

Talk about about a smart hack for getting ahead for a Holiday or big dinner party!

For Family Size Servings

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Portion prepared mashed potatoes in a large zip-lok freezer bag and store flat in freezer – OR – Smooth them into a baking pan covered with plastic wrap and foil and pop them in the freezer.

  • Take them out of the freezer the night before you want to make them and put the in the refrigerator. If they are in a zip top bag, transfer thawed potatoes to a baking pan, dollop with butter and place in a 375 degree oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so. You could also microwave them on high for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

For Individual Servings

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

My favorite way to save smaller or single servings of mashed potatoes is to to dollop mounds of potatoes on parchment, wax paper or foil and put them in the freezer for 3-4 hours. When solid enough, pop them in a large zip top freezer bag.

  • When ready to eat just remove the desired amount of potato mound servings and reheat in microwave, stovetop or in a baking dish in the oven.

What you will need for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 lbs Potatoes – peeled and cut into cubes (1/2 Russet, 1/2 Yukon Gold is the best!)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

How to make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Mashed Potatoes
  • Place peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot of water. 
  • Bring pot of potatoes to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender when poked with a fork. 
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
  • Strain potatoes and return to hot pot. Let them sit for a few minutes to cool slightly and let some of the water evaporate.
  • Mash potatoes slightly. Add butter and cream cheese and mash until combined. Don’t over-mix. Hand mashing results in best texture but using a mixer is easier!
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
  • Add half of milk, mash and add more milk until the potatoes are creamy and the consistency you like!
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Don’t skimp on the salt. Potatoes need quite a bit of salt to have good flavor.

GARLIC Mashed Potatoes!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Try making GARLIC mashed potatoes. . .

Simply add whole, peeled cloves of garlic to the poatoes while they are boiling. The garlic will cook and soften with the potatoes and will add amazing flavor to them. Simply mash garlic right along with the potatoes. 

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This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure at homemakingwithoutfear.com. Furthermore as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Hey My Friend!

Thank you so much for stopping by. It is nearly Thanksgiving and I am thinking about dishes that can be made ahead. It’s so much nicer to spend more time with our loved ones and less time in the kitchen. What is your favorite Holiday side?? I hope you can make enjoy these Perfect Mashed Potatoes for your Holiday.

How about making ahead dinner rolls?

Traditional Homemade White Bread| aka “Speedy Roll Dough”

Even though this recipe is super fast anyway, make rolls ahead by putting ingredients together and letting it go through just the first rise. Then just form the dough into final shape, cover them with plastic wrap and freeze them. You could also spread dough balls out on baking sheet, freeze for a couple hours and when solid put them in a large freezer bag. Remove the rolls from freezer the day before you want to bake them. Let them thaw at room temp and bake them the following morning/afternoon.

Here is another FAVORITE from-scratch side dish.

PERFECT Mashed Potatoes

PERFECT Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

My husband claims that this recipe is HIS but I have made them this way for years . . . shhhhh . . . it's okay he's very proud of his "creation" and who wouldn't be?! They are Creamy & Oh so Dreamy. Mashed potatoes are an ultimate comfort food for me and these mashed potatoes are the best I ever had.

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot of water.
  2. Bring pot of potatoes to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender when poked with a fork.
  3. Strain potatoes and return to hot pot.
  4. Mash potatoes slightly. Add butter and cream cheese and mash well.
  5. Add half of milk, mash and add more until the potatoes are creamy and the consistency you like!
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Try making GARLIC mashed potatoes!

Add whole cloves of garlic to the poatoes while they are boiling. They will cook and soften with the potatoes and will add amazing flavor to them. Simply mash garlic along with the potatoes.

Did you make this recipe?

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Perfect Mashed Potatoes

5 thoughts on “Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  1. I also LOVE mashed potatoes, but rarely make them anymore because my husband doesn’t like them. I didn’t know about warming the milk – that’s a great tip. As is boiling garlic in with the potatoes. I’m going to have to try those tips and see if I can’t win my husband back over to mashed potatoes.

    1. Wow – I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like mashed potatoes! Ha. Yes you must try to convert him. . . actually my son doesn’t LOVE them but its more of a texture thing rather than taste. He is 11 and doesn’t like “baby food”
      thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment too.

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