Easy Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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These Easy Creamy Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish to serve up at your next holiday gathering or just any night when you’re craving a little bit of comfort!

top view of a bowl of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes with a serving spoon sitting on a marble surface

Mashed potatoes. I feel like that’s all I need to say…I mean, who doesn’t LOVE mashed potatoes?! I need absolutely zero convincing to load up on the mashed taters, and (at least) a third of my typical holiday plate is made up of this fluffy, creamy variation of my long-time favorite starchy veggie! 

Mashed potatoes don’t have to be reserved for holidays only, though, and this recipe totally proves that. Mashed potatoes are my favorite way to add a healthy starch to ANY meal, and these mashed taters are equal parts easy, creamy, and delicious, and deserve a spot on your table year-round!

top view of mashed potato ingredients - potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, and milk/cream

Creamy Mashed Potato Ingredients

Not much is needed for this family favorite side dish, and I’d be willing to bet that you’ve got at least 3 of these ingredients on hand already (assuming that we’re counting salt + pepper in the ingredients list!), if not 4! Here’s what you’ll need to add to your grocery list:

  • Potatoes – to make mashed potatoes, you’ll (of course) need potatoes! 2 pounds of peeled and chopped Yukon gold or russet potatoes (these varieties make for the creamiest potatoes) will do here. 
  • Sea Salt + Pepper – to season the mashed potatoes, we’ll use about 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt and ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper.
  • Milk or Heavy Cream – to up the creaminess factor, we’ll also add about 1/3 cup of heavy cream to our taters! While you can totally use milk, we think that heavy cream is the way to go – it’s thicker and makes for thicker (less watery) mashed potatoes!
  • Butter – mashed potatoes without butter is something I want no part of! This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of butter, and we think it’s a must for creamy, delicious mashed potatoes!

What are the best potatoes to use for mashed potatoes? 

When it comes to which type of potatoes to use for mashing, our first preference is Yukon gold potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes make for the best mashed potatoes because they are equal parts waxy and starchy, and when mashed, they have an uber creamy texture and are fluffy and light. Oftentimes, mashed potatoes can turn out grainy or watery, but we’ve found that these less than ideal qualities are easily avoided when Yukon gold potatoes are used.

If you can’t find Yukon gold potatoes, don’t worry! Russet potatoes will work just fine! Russet potatoes are starchier than Yukon gold potatoes and tend to absorb more water than the gold variety. Because of this, it’s super important to get out EVERY bit of water during the straining step (before mashing) – this should help you to avoid a watery mash!

How many pounds of potatoes do you need per person?

Great question! The most common answer to this question is that a ⅓ to ½ pound of raw potatoes is enough for one good serving. So, if you’re cooking for two people, you’ll need ⅔ (about 10.5 ounces) to 1 pound of potatoes, if you’re cooking for 4 people, you’ll need 1⅓ (about 21 ounces) to 2 pounds of raw potatoes, and if you’re cooking for 8 people, you’ll need 2⅔ (about 42.5 ounces) to 4 pounds of potatoes. 

top view of mashed potato ingredients - chopped potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, and milk/cream
chopped and boiled potatoes in a strainer on a marble surface
just mashed potatoes sitting in a pot on a marble surface
top view of a pot of water with chopped potatoes in it sitting on a marble surface
potatoes being mashed with a potato masher in a pot sitting on a marble surface
top view of a pot of mashed potatoes with a stick of butter melting on top of the mashed potatoes sitting on a marble surface

How to Make the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Y’all…these homemade mashed potatoes are EASY! In fact, they’re SO EASY that there’s no reason to save these for holiday-only dinner spreads! We say that mashed potatoes are a perfectly acceptable year-round side. Here’s how you’ll whip these bad boys up:

  1. Add the Potatoes + Salt to the Pot – first, add the potatoes and salt to a large pot, then fill the pot up with water to cover an inch over the potatoes and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Adding plenty of salt to the boiling water is the best way to make sure your potatoes are flavorful!
  2. Boil the Potatoes – let the potatoes come to a low boil, then cook for 15 minutes, until the potato chunks can be easily pierced with a fork. When making mashed potatoes, the most important thing is to not overcook your potatoes, so keep a close eye on them and pull them off the heat to drain as soon as they’re fork-tender (can be easily broken apart with a fork, but not mushy).
  3. Strain the Potatoes – strain the excess water from the cooked potatoes. To avoid watery potatoes, be sure to get ALL of the liquid out here. 
  4. Mash the Potatoes – once strained, return potatoes to the pot, and mash them with a potato masher (or hand mixer). Once mashed, stir in the cream, butter, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.
  5. Serve + Enjoy!

What is the best way to mash potatoes? 

There are a few different ways to mash your potatoes, and the way that you choose to mash will totally depend on your preference and the tools that you have in your kitchen. First, you can mash your potatoes by hand with either a fork or a potato masher (we like THIS masher because it has holes, which creates the perfect texture!). If you’d rather not mash your potatoes by hand, you can use a hand mixer to mash your potatoes for 30 seconds. If you choose to go the electric hand mixer route, though, be careful not to over mash your potatoes, as over mashing tends to result in a gluey, gloppy end product!

side view of a bowl of mashed potatoes sitting on a marble surface

Mashed Potato Variations

While this easy recipe is a totally crave-worthy side, feel free to jazz up your mashed potatoes however you’d like! Here are a few variations that we think would be especially yummy:

  • Cheater Garlic Mashed Potatoes – for this yummy variation, you’ll just need to add a teaspoon of garlic powder to your mashed potatoes!
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes – for this decadent take on the classic, simply replace the heavy cream with sour cream, add a ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese + 1 tablespoon of chopped chives, and top with 4 strips of crumbled bacon…YUM!
  • Dairy-Free – to make dairy-free mashed potatoes, just use full-fat coconut milk in place of the heavy cream and your favorite vegan butter substitute (or olive oil) in place of the butter.

We hope that these Easy Creamy Mashed Potatoes make an appearance at your holiday table (whether you’re cooking for 2 or 20!) and continue to be enjoyed all year long!

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Easy Creamy Mashed Potatoes

top view of a bowl of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes with a serving spoon sitting on a marble surface

These creamy mashed potatoes are delicious enough to be a part of your holiday spread, but easy enough for a weeknight dinner!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

2 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

1. Add the potatoes and salt to a large pot, then fill the pot up with water to cover an inch over the potatoes and place over medium-high heat.
2. Let the potatoes come to a low boil, then cook for 15 minutes, until they can be easily pierced with a fork.
3. Strain the excess water from the potatoes, then return to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, then stir in the cream, butter, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed, then serve.

Notes

  • For dairy-free: substitute full-fat coconut milk for the cream, and your favorite vegan butter or olive oil for the butter.
  • For Whole30: substitute full-fat coconut milk for the cream, and ghee for the butter.

Keywords: mashed potatoes, potatoes, side dish

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