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The BEST Classic Mashed Potatoes

A Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe that is the star side dish of any holiday, dinner party, or comfort meal! Keeping it simple with potatoes and classic ingredients like milk and butter this recipe can be made on the Stovetop or Instant Pot keeping you in control of your kitchen!

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White bowl full of fluffy mashed potatoes dripping with melted butter and garnished with fresh parsley.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes the epitome of comfort and holiday food. Not a Thanksgiving could go by without them right? Not to mention the best comfort food like Roast Chicken or a Pot Roast is always better with a side of mashed potatoes!

So here I am sharing my best classic mashed potatoes recipe which can easily be done on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker!

If you are looking for a mashed potatoes recipe with more add-ins and flavor I would suggest my Pressure Cooker Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes or for a Low-Carb Option my Garlic Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower THIS one today is all about keeping it classic so if that is what you are looking for let’s dive in!

Side view of a bowl of fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes.

Ingredients & Substitues

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes – Yukon Gold potatoes are most commonly considered to be the best potatoes for mashed potatoes, they have a very smooth texture as well as a mild flavor, they cook beautifully and mashed nicely. Some grocery stores I have noticed they call Yukon Golds just ‘yellow’ or ‘gold’ potatoes, either way you are looking for a potatoes with a yellow smooth almost wax like skin. I will note if you want to substitute for a different potato I recommend using russet potatoes, I have made mashed potatoes with russet potatoes many times and it always comes out good!
  • Garlic – I wanted to make sure these potatoes did have some flavor! While 1 tablespoon of minced garlic sounds like a lot at first this recipe does make 5 pounds of potatoes so the garlic flavor definitely isn’t overwhelming.
  • Kosher Salt – You will use salt when cooking the potatoes and more towards the end to finish flavoring the mashed potatoes. I prefer using kosher salt when cooking, if you are using table salt use half the amount and then taste before deciding if you need to add more or not.
  • Unsalted Butter – Using unsalted butter let’s you be in full control of the salt in the mashed potatoes, especially because different brands of butter will put different amounts of salt in there butter, it is safe to get unsalted and just add more salt if you see fit.
  • Sour Cream – I found a good size dollop of sour cream in the potatoes helps even out the richness slightly while still maintaining maximum creaminess. If you are looking for a substitute for this I have used Greek Yogurt in my mashed potatoes with much success!
  • Whole Milk – For flavor alone I suggest using whole milk, it will help keep the silky and creaminess without being overly rich like an actual cream will. If using a skim or 2% milk you might lose some of that flavor BUT at the end of the day that is what you have it will work.
  • Cream Cheese – And this is my sneaky little addition to most classic mashed potatoes recipes! It seriously adds maximum creaminess and smoothness!

For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.

Ingredients for classic mashed potatoes laid out on a tabletop.

Instructions for Classic Mashed Potatoes

Stovetop

Peel and quarter cut the potatoes, making the cut pieces about the same size. Add to a large pot and cover with cool water. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and place over high heat. Cook 35 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender and easily poked with a fork. 

Collage showing peeled and quartered potatoes in a pot covered with water and then cooked potatoes in a colander.

Drain the potatoes into a collander. Bring the pot back to the stovetop bringing the heat down to medium. Add garlic, remaining salt, butter, sour cream, milk, and cream cheese to the pot. Stir the milk mixture letting the butter and cream cheese melt. As the mixture warms up keeps stiring to make sure everyething melts together. Once everything has come together and the milk mixture is hot and starting to steam remove from heat, do not let the mixture start to boil. 

Collage showing the dairy, salt, and garlic measured out in a bowl and then being warmed up in a large pot.

Add the drained potatoes back to the pot and mash with a potato masher or for smoother potatoes you can use an immersion blender. 

Collage showing potatoes and milk mixture in a pot and then being mashed with a potato masher.

Instant Pot

Peel and quarter cut the potatoes, making the cut pieces about the same size. For convience add a basket to the bottom of the pressure cooker pot, if you don’t have one it is okay. Add the potatoes to the pot and cover with cool water making sure not to go above the max fill line (if a little bit of the potatoes are sticking out it is okay). Add in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and seal lid, turn steam vent to sealing, and select manual/pressure cook. Set to high pressure for 15 minutes. With the large amount of water the pressure cooker will take between 20-30 minutes to preheat before cooking depending on the model. 

When the timer goes off quick realease the steam vent carefully. Once the float has dropped carefully open the lid. If you added the basket you can carefully lift the potatoes out and let them drain in the sink then lifting out the pot and pour out all the water OR carefully lift out the whole pot and draining the potatoes into a collander.

Replace the pot into the instant pot and set to sauté. Add garlic, remaining salt, butter, sour cream, milk, and cream cheese to the pot. Stir the milk mixture letting the butter and cream cheese melt. As the mixture warms up keeps stiring to make sure everyething melts together. Once everything has come together and the milk mixture is hot and starting to steam turn off the sauté mode to stop the heat, do not let the mixture start to boil. 

Add the drained potatoes back to the pot and mash with a potato masher or for smoother potatoes you can use an immersion blender. 

White bowl on a blue striped towel filled with mashed potatoes and topped with melting butter and garnished with fresh parsley.

Tips, Tricks, & Questions

  • If you like your mashed potatoes less thick feel free to add more milk, start by adding another 1/4 cup and then go up from there is you feel its needed. 
  • Don’t skip the step where you warm the rest of the ingredients up! Skipping this step will first result in making it difficult to mash, secondly it can cause the mashed potatoes to get gluey instead of creamy! So it is worth the few extra minutes!
  • If you make the mashed potatoes with time to spare you can keeping them on ‘warm’ in a crockpot or your instant pot if you wish.

Prepping Mashed Potatoes Ahead

All the prep work can be done the day before in this recipe!

  • Peel and quarter cut the potatoes add them to a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover with a lid and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  • Prep the remaining ingredients by measuring them all out and adding them together in a container with a lid. Once it is time simply empty the container into the pot to warm up.

Looking for how to make some gravy! Check out my Turkey Gravy from Pan Drippings! (This same method can be used for roast chicken too)

And let’s not forget the leftovers! If you happen to have some left the next day make sure you check out my Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes Recipe (coming soon)!

Overhead view of a large bowl of classic mashed potatoes top with a slab of butter and garnished with fresh parsley.

If you like this Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe you might like some of my other side dishes:

Overhead view of a large bowl of classic mashed potatoes top with a slab of butter and garnished with fresh parsley.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A Classic Mashed Potatoes Recipe that is the star side dish of any holiday, dinner party, or comfort meal! Keeping it simple with potatoes and classic ingredients like milk and butter this recipe can be made on the Stovetop or Instant Pot keeping you in control of your kitchen!

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Gold Yukon Potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese

Instructions

Stovetop

  1. Peel and quarter cut the potatoes, making the pieces about the same size. Add to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add in ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cover and place over high heat. Cook 35 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender and easily poked with a fork.
  2. Drain the potatoes into a collander. Bring the empty pot back to the stovetop bringing the heat down to medium. Add garlic, remaining salt, butter, sour cream, milk, and cream cheese to the pot. Stir the milk mixture letting the butter and cream cheese melt. As the mixture warms up keep stiring to make sure everyething melts together. Once everything has come together and the milk mixture is hot and starting to steam remove from heat, do not let the mixture start to boil.
  3. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot and mash with a potato masher or for smoother potatoes you can use an immersion blender.

Instant Pot

  1. Peel and quarter cut the potatoes, making the cut pieces about the same size. For convience add a basket to the bottom of the pressure cooker pot, if you don't have one it is okay. Add the potatoes to the pot and cover with cold water making sure not to go above the max fill line (if a little bit of the potatoes are sticking out of the water it is okay). Add in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and seal lid, turn steam vent to sealing, and select manual/pressure cook. Set to high pressure for 15 minutes. With the large amount of water the pressure cooker will take between 20-30 minutes to preheat before cooking depending on the model.
  2. When the timer goes off quick realease the steam vent carefully. Once the float has dropped carefully open the lid. If you added the basket you can carefully lift the potatoes out and let them drain in the sink then lifting out the pot and pour out all the water OR carefully lift out the whole pot and drain the potatoes into a collander.
  3. Replace the pot into the instant pot and set to sauté. Add garlic, remaining salt, butter, sour cream, milk, and cream cheese to the pot. Stir the milk mixture letting the butter and cream cheese melt. As the mixture warms up keeps stiring to make sure everyething melts together. Once everything has come together and the milk mixture is hot and starting to steam turn off the sauté mode to stop the heat, do not let the mixture start to boil.
  4. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot and mash with a potato masher or for smoother potatoes you can use an immersion blender.

Notes

More info about prepping this dish ahead is above in the article but I want to note I find it most conveient to measure out everything for the milk mixturte ahead of time or while the potatoes are cooking so when it is time to add those ingredients it is a quick add to the pot.

I have seen gold yukon potatoes also labled as 'yellow' potatoes at some grocery stores, what you are looking for is a potato with a thin yellow smooth skin.

If you like you mashed potatoes less thick feel free to add more milk, start by adding another 1/4 cup and then go up from there is you feel its needed.

I like to use whole milk for flavor and consistency, it is going to add more to the mashed potatoes than if you use skim or 2%.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

Did you make this recipe?

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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