All the secrets to making super fluffy, buttery, smooth mashed potatoes.

I’ve eaten a lot of mashed potatoes in my time – from the ultra luxe and expensive to down home cafeteria mash. Mashed potatoes are classic for a reason. They’re comforting, warm, filling, and the perfect accompaniment (or main dish, in my case). I have made countless pots of mashed potatoes and these are my perfect mash.

I definitely am known in my circle of friends as the best mashed potato maker. People always ask for my recipe and for a while, I didn’t understand it. Mashed potatoes, to me, are as simple as boiling water. But then, after a long discussion with a friend on how they make their mash, I realized, I have mashed potato mastery!?

Other recipes rely on cheese or toppings, but this is a perfect mashed potato: no gimmicks, no fancy add-ins, just pure potato goodness.

mashed potatoes |

How to make mashed potatoes extra fluffy and creamy

  1. Scrub and peel (or leave the skins on if you’re into that) the potatoes and cut into even pieces.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-high once the potatoes hit a rapid boil, making sure that the potatoes are still at a simmer. Cook until fork tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes. Use a slotted spoon or colander and drain the potatoes well.
  5. Mash! Push the potatoes through fine mesh sieve for the smoothest, fluffiest mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat.
  6. Stir in the butter and milk. Add the butter and milk, gently stirring until the potatoes reach your desired consistency. Taste and season generously.
  7. Enjoy!

mashed potatoes |

Classic mashed potato ingredients

  • Potatoes: I always use either Yukon golds or Russet potatoes, more on potato choice below. Either are a solid choice and if you like you can even mix them for the best of both worlds.
  • Garlic: Who doesn’t love garlic mashed potatoes? Garlic gives these potatoes a warm  and mellow garlicky flavor. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of cloves used.
  • Butter: Butter is essential so use a good one – we love grass-fed butter.
  • Milk or cream: I almost always use whole milk for my mash, but if you want an extra indulgent potato, use half and half or heavy cream.
  • Salt: Don’t forget to season!
  • Toppings: I keep it pure with just a butter pool, but chopped chives or sliced scallions look pretty and add some color and herbaceous. Cracked black pepper is always good. You can always customize as you wish and top it off with cheese, sour cream, crunchy nubbins of pancetta, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Secrets to the best mashed potatoes:

Water is the enemy

Waterlogged potatoes mean gluey mashed potatoes. To avoid this, make sure you drain your potatoes really well. I like to use a giant slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes out of the water. It’s a lot easier than lifting a heavy pot of hot water.

Start potatoes in cold water

Starting the potatoes in cold water makes sure that the potatoes are par cooked through evenly.

Season twice

Salt the water when you’re cooking the potatoes (just like pasta) so the potatoes are seasoned. After they’re mashed, finish them with salt when you add in the butter and milk so you have layers of flavor.

How you mash matters.

I love the way mashed potatoes taste when you push the potatoes through a fine mesh sieve. It gives you the smoothest, most luscious mashed potatoes you’ve ever eaten. But, if you like a slightly chunkier mash, use a potato masher. There are even different kinds of mashers: smooth mashers or chunky mashers depending on how you like your potatoes.

Don’t over mix.

Once your potatoes are mashed, you want to just stir in the liquids (butter and milk or cream) without over mixing, which can lead to gummy potatoes.

mashing potatoes with a sieve |

The best potatoes for mashed potatoes

There are only two kinds of potatoes that are perfect for mashed potatoes: Yukon golds (my absolute favorite) and Russets.

Yukon golds: dense, buttery, rich, more potato flavor
Russets: light, delicate, fluffy, mild potato flavor

Yukon golds are perfect for mashing because they’re starchy, beautifully yellow, and have a rich buttery potato taste. They’re also a more dense potato with a thin skin, and when you use them, you get a more luxurious mash.

Russets (or Idaho) potatoes are those big potatoes with the dusty skin that most people use for baked potatoes. These are also excellent for mashed: fluffy, dry, and starchy, when cooked right. Russets are the more mild potato of the two potatoes I recommend and if you’re a fan of lighter potatoes, they make a mash with a more delicate texture.

If you want the best of both worlds, use a mix!

drained potatoes |

Skin on or skin off for mashed potatoes?

Because I’m in the smooth mash camp, I don’t think potato skin belongs in mashed potatoes. But some people love that texture contrast. And for those people, I say, feel free to leave the skins on!

Can you mash potatoes in an Instant Pot?

Yes, check out our recipe for instant pot mashed potatoes!

Best dishes to serve with mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes recipe |

The Best Mashed Potato Recipe

Super fluffy, buttery, smooth mashed potatoes.
Serves 4
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 lbs potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter or to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Special Equipment

  • fine mesh sieve


  • Peel the potatoes and then cut in even chunks. Place in a large pot, along with the garlic, and a large pinch of salt. Add cold water to the pot, making sure cover the potatoes by 1 inch.
    boiling potatoes |
  • Place the pot on the store and bring to a hard boil over high heat. When the water hits a rapid boil, turn the heat to medium or medium-high, being sure to maintain a boil, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain very well.
    drained potatoes |
  • Remove the potatoes from the liquid and mash or push through a ricer or a sieve.
    mashing potatoes with a sieve |
  • Stir in the butter and add the milk, stirring, until your desired consistency. Taste and season generously.
    mashed potatoes |

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Best Mashed Potato Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 112
% Daily Value*
Fat 12.4g19%
Saturated Fat 7.7g48%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 30mg1%
Potassium 953mg27%
Carbohydrates 37.9g13%
Fiber 5.5g23%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 5.1g10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Asma Sheikh says:

    5 stars
    I always love to try new potatoes recipe and my daughter also love potatoes a lot. This looks unique and yummy. Going to take the taste soon.

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