How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes Are Always A Family Favorite And The Preferred Side Dish At Family Dinner Or Holiday Gathering! These Mashed Potatoes Are Creamy, Buttery, Full of Flavor And Practically Fool Proof!

They’re everyone’s favorite side dish and how they could not be?! Baked potatoes, potato casserole and even twice baked potatoes are all delicious, but sometimes you just can’t beat a side of mashed potatoes!!

Mashed potatoes with chives in bowl

A Thanksgiving Must-Have

On Sundays or holidays like Thanksgiving, our family likes to gather for dinner! Each person is given a food assignment so that one person doesn’t have to do all the cooking!

Some of the assigned foods might include turkey, dinner rolls, a green bean casserole and of course mashed potatoes! But when it comes to the mashed potatoes, the recipe and execution are crucial, because they are everyone’s favorite! 

The mashed potatoes must be, creamy, smooth, buttery, with a hint of garlic and salted to perfection! 

Choosing Your Potato

The first, but very important step is to pick out your variety of potatoes! Each will give you different flavors and textures!

  • Russet Potato: they are high in starch which is perfect for mashing! They have great texture and absorb the butter and cream the best!
  • Yukon Potato: they are not as starchy as russet but still have a good texture when mashed and have a natural buttery flavor
    • Pro-Tip: Try mixing russet and Yukon (50/50) to get the perfect blend of texture and flavor! 
  • Red Potato: they are waxier in their texture and will take a little more effort to mash, but still yummy, especially with some of their skin left on!
  • Sweet Potato: great fluffy texture and a naturally sweet flavor

Potatoes, peeled and quartered in pot

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

There are so many ways to make mashed potatoes, but here is our tried and true STEP by STEP.

  1. PREP: Wash, peel and dice your potatoes into small chunks (cutting them up helps them cook evenly). You can prep your potatoes early and store them in a large pot of cold water for up to 4 hours prior to cooking them! 
  2. BOIL: Put potatoes into a pot of water then bring to boil. Boil for 20-25 mins or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. *Make sure to not overcook or your potatoes will be too mushy/watery
  3. DRAIN + MASH: very important that you drain all the water from your boiled potatoes. After all the water is drained, either mash by hand using a potato masher or use your stand mixer, but make sure to mix on the lowest setting. You don’t want to over mix or they can turn into a gummy texture.
  4. ADD FLAVOR: while mixing the potatoes on low, slowly add the heated milk, room temperature butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once all blended together, increase your mixer to medium speed for a quick 10 seconds to fluff your potatoes!


Instant Pot: You can also make creamy mashed potatoes using your Instant Pot! Follow step #1 but for step #2 place the cut-up potatoes in the Instant Pot and cover with water. Seal and cook on high for 8 minutes. Quick-release and then follow steps #3 and #4. 

Slow Cooker: Follow step #1 but on step #2 place the cut-up potatoes in a greased slow cooker. Add one cup of water and salt and pepper. Cook on high for 4 hours then turn it down to warm. Then follow step #3 and #4.

Whipped Mashed Potatoes


Feel free to add additional ingredients to achieve your desired flavors! You may want to add one or more of the following:

  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves would give a nice mild flavor 
  • Cheese – cream cheese (softened), cheddar cheese, and/or parmesan cheese (mix in when mixing in the rest of the seasonings)
  • Cream – sour cream or heavy whipping cream, adds an extra creamy flavor 
  • Buttermilk – substitute the whole milk for buttermilk for a creamier flavor
  • Rosemary – try simmering your chopped rosemary in the butter on the stove before adding to your drained potatoes for an extra punch of flavor! 
  • Ranch – add in a ranch seasoning packet when adding the butter and seasonings because everything tastes better with ranch!


Low Carb/Keto: Try using cauliflower instead of potatoes. Cauliflower can blend easily and can be just as smooth and creamy as potatoes

Vegan: instead of butter use a 50/50 blend of coconut oil and olive oil. Use the potato water to thin your potatoes or use soy milk. And use lots of sauteed garlic to add a lot of flavor! Check out this easy recipe for inspiration!

Chicken Broth: instead of boiling your potatoes in water, try boiling them in chicken broth to make your mashed potatoes extra-flavorful!

Gravy: And don’t forget, you can always top your mashed potatoes with gravy! 

Mashed potatoes recipe with melted butter on top

Storing Tips +Tricks

Refrigerate: Feel free to make your potatoes ahead of time and then reheat. Just put your mashed potatoes in an airtight container (leave a little bit of space between the potatoes and the lid). Keep in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Freeze: put into freezer-safe Ziploc and lay them flat for easier storing and defrosting.

Reheat: Have frozen potatoes defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat using:

  • Microwave: Place in a covered microwave-safe dish and microwave on half power for 4-5 mins. Stirring frequently
  • Stovetop: Place in a large pot on the stove on low-medium heat, stir frequently
  • Crockpot: Cook on low for 2-4 hours


Oops, made to much? Wondering what to do with your leftovers then check out these 35 ways to use leftover mashed potatoes because leftover mashed potatoes can be used for delicious rolls, pancakes, potato cakes, soups, casseroles, etc.

How to make mashed potatoes process pictures

The final step is to serve with a nice pad of butter or maybe your favorite gravy! Enjoy your creamy mashed potatoes at your next family meal! 

More potato recipes:

How to Make Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed Potatoes Are Always A Family Favorite And The Preferred Side Dish At Family Dinner Or Holiday Gathering! These Mashed Potatoes Are Creamy, Buttery, Full Of Flavor And Practically Fool Proof!
5 from 12 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 8
Calories: 237kcal
Author: Andrea
Print Recipe


  • 6 russet potatoes - large, peeled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk - hot*
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped chives (optional)


  • Place quartered potatoes in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Fill with water just enough that the potatoes are completely covered. Set over high heat, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to medium heat, slightly cover, and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • Drain potatoes really well to ensure no water is left. Transfer potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mash the potatoes gently, them place on stand with the whisk attached.
  • With mixing speed on low, slowly pour in milk, then add butter one tablespoon at a time. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Increase speed to medium and whip for 10 seconds.
  • Top with fresh chives, if desired. Serve immediately.


*I like to microwave mine in a glass measuring cup for ease.
This recipe can be easily doubled!
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Serving Size
1 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Take a picture and tag @lmadesimple on Instagram or tag #LMSBakes! We can't wait to see your version!

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About the Author


Hi I'm Andrea!

Hotelier turned Food Blogger to help make your life simple, one recipe at a time.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is so perfect with Thanksgiving coming up! And thanks for including all the different ways that we can make it too!