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How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Created January 23, 2017
With a little help from butter and cream cheese—and Betty Crocker—you’ll have rave-worthy potatoes on your table in no time.


How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Nothing beats a warm bowl of homemade mashed potatoes—it’s one of our favorite comfort foods to make for ourselves and others. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a ton of time in the kitchen to whip up a bowl of velvety, butter-topped mashed potatoes tonight! Our recipe is as easy as cut, peel, boil and mash—and our secret ingredient (a little bit of cream cheese) makes these spuds extra rich, creamy and drool-worthy.

To make mashed potatoes, you’ll only need a few other pantry staples besides your spuds. We also recommend a potato masher; if you don’t have one, you can use a pastry cutter or fork, but using a potato masher is definitely the easiest way. They are in expensive and are easy to find anywhere that sells cookware.

Health Benefits of Potatoes

It may surprise you to learn that the humble spud is actually a source of many vitamins and minerals. Homemade mashed potatoes are a quality source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and potassium.

They’re also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. So while a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes may not earn a spot at every dinner, a homemade batch every once in a while is a comforting indulgence we’re happy to prepare.

Which Types of Potatoes Are Best for Making Mashed Potatoes?

How to Choose Potatoes

When you’re craving homemade mashed potatoes, which type of potato do you pick? With so many varieties to choose from it’s hard to know, so we’re breaking down which type is best for your specific cooking needs.

Each variety of potato has a different starch level. High-starch potatoes are ideal for making mashed potatoes because they absorb more water, meaning they fall apart and lose their shape when boiled—which is what you want to happen when mashing potatoes. Lower-starch potatoes are better for potato salads or roasting because they hold their shape better. There are also medium-starch potatoes which are ideal for making gratins.

Russet: These are the most widely used potato in the US. These high starch potatoes are ideal for making mashed potatoes, as well as frying or roasting potatoes.

Red: With a creamy white interior, red potatoes have a smooth texture that makes them perfect for potato salads. They are lower in starch and hold up well in recipes that call for steaming, too.

Yellow Finns: These flavorful, medium starch potatoes have a creamier texture and are ideal for making gratins or for roasting.

Purple: Purple potatoes are not only beautiful but make for yummy potato salads. They have a slightly nutty flavor and can vary in color from indigo to pale purple. As a medium-starch variety, they are good in salads and side dishes, as well as for French fries.

White: White potatoes are typically lower starch and have a higher moisture content. They are commonly regarded as an “all-purpose” potato that can be used in any kind of preparation.

Yukon Gold: The Yukon Gold is one of our top picks for mashing due to their low starch quality, they also hold up to boiling well and don’t absorb much water.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a different breed entirely and are delicious on their own or baked into side dishes and even desserts. While we love Make-Ahead Baked Sweet Potatoes or Granola Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes, you can also mash them! Be sure to learn How to Cook Sweet Potatoes and check out our favorite ways to prepare mashed sweet potatoes:

How to Prepare Potatoes

Now that you’ve found the perfect potato variety for you, it’s time to properly prepare your spuds to be mashed!

First, wash your potatoes thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Rinse them in cold water and be sure to scrub off all the dirt—potatoes come from the ground, after all, so they don’t arrive at your grocer squeaky clean.

Next, peel and slice your potatoes into large slices, about 1 ½ inches thick. We recommend using a pairing knife or even an apple slicer to slice your potatoes.

When you’re ready, add your potatoes to your pot of water. It will help your potatoes cook faster if you pre-salt the water—just like you would pasta.

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

What you’ll need:

  • Ingredients for Velvet Mashed Potatoes
  • Knife Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Potato masher

How to:

1. Add 12 potatoes, cut and peeled, to boiling water. Cook 20-25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Shake pan with potatoes over low heat to dry.


2. Mash potatoes in a bowl.


3. Beat in milk in small amounts, beating after each addition.


4. Add cream cheese cubes, butter, and salt and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy.


Serving Mashed Potatoes


Once your potatoes are mashed, the fun has just begun! Top your potatoes with a range of cheeses, veggies, or gravy to make ultra-delicious spuds your family will devour. Here are just some of the toppers we like to include on our potatoes:

  • Foolproof Turkey Gravy
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • Extra butter
  • A dollop of sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Bacon bits
  • Chives

Be sure to check out some of our favorite mashed potato recipes:

What Do I Do With Leftover Mashed Potatoes?

Leftover mashed potatoes are easy to store and reheat for later. Refrigerate in a covered, airtight container and they should keep for up to five days. If you don’t plan on eating them anytime soon, you can also freeze them for up to three months in your freezer.

When it’s time to reheat your mashed potatoes, use some extra butter to re-moisten them before popping them in the microwave or reheating in a double broiler on the stove. You can also add a tablespoon of olive oil instead of butter to remoisten your spuds.

What’s your favorite way to make mashed potatoes? Do you have a favorite family recipe you turn to again and again? Let us know in the comments section below!