How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Publish Date October 6, 2023 3 Minute Read

Whether you’re hosting a big event or simply bringing a side dish, making homemade mashed potatoes is a tasty way to impress your best spuds, and we’ve got you covered. Learn which potatoes are best for mashing and how to make them with our step-by-step guide.

Best Potatoes for Mashing

While all potatoes are versatile and delicious, there are many varieties to choose from, with textures ranging from waxy and creamy to starchy and fluffy. For the best mashed potatoes, you’ll want to choose one of the following varieties:

Russet Potatoes

Russet potatoes are the classic brown tubers most people picture when ordering a baked potato. They’re large and brown with a rough skin and starchy white flesh that serves as a perfect blank canvas for a wide variety of flavors. While you may be used to enjoying this variety baked, buttered and loaded, their fluffy texture makes them an excellent choice when making mashed potatoes. You can elevate your mashed russet potatoes with butter, garlic or aromatic additions like rosemary, sage or thyme.

Yukon Gold and Other Yellow Varieties

Known for their distinct golden skins and yellow, buttery flesh, yellow varieties are naturally creamy with a subtle, nutty flavor. If you’re following a classic mashed potato recipe, yellow potatoes are a great choice, since their natural flavor can be enhanced with just a pinch of salt and a splash of broth or stock.

Red Potatoes

Red potatoes have a thin red or pink skin and a naturally creamy flesh. While they may not be the best choice for light and fluffy mashed potatoes, they’re an excellent choice if you enjoy rich and savory mashed potatoes, or if you want to achieve this texture without using butter and cream. Try this delicious mashed red potatoes recipe for a fun spin on this classic.

Sweet Potatoes

We know, we know. They’re not technically potatoes. Still, these delicious root vegetables are a Thanksgiving staple - starchy, fluffy and perfect for mashing. Their mild, earthy flavor works well for sweet or savory versions of this classic side dish. Check out our sweet potato guide to learn how to make mashed sweet potatoes.

Want to learn more about potato varieties and their uses? Check out our guide to potatoes.

How Many Potatoes Will You Need?

Wondering how many potatoes to mash? Depending on the size of your potatoes, it’s safe to assume that each guest will eat 1-2 of them, but that can give you quite a large margin. While you don’t want to leave your guests hungry for more, doubling your recipe can leave you with uneaten leftovers. Luckily, our handy potato calculator is here to make sure you’ve got it just right.

Simple Steps for Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Ready to make fluffy mashed potatoes? Follow these simple steps to perfect this classic comfort dish:

  1. Wash, peel and cut your potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.
  2. Boil over high heat for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water and use a potato masher or hand mixer to mash the hot potatoes. You can use a stand mixer instead, depending on your desired consistency. For lumpier potatoes, a masher is best, while a stand mixer will give you a smooth and creamy puréed texture. Use a hand mixer if you like them somewhere in the middle.
  3. Once your potatoes are mostly mashed, add 2 cups of chicken broth. This will add moisture and flavor to your potatoes without weighing them down. Continue to mash until they’re just right.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mashed potatoes can be kept covered over low heat for up to 30 minutes before serving. Serve with melted butter for extra richness, and chives or scallions for a burst of fresh flavor.

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