Creamy, buttery Mashed Potatoes is a must on every table whether it's for the holidays or a weeknight meal. A simple side that goes with just about anything and it can be prepared ahead of time.
The holidays are around the corner and mashed potatoes are a must on the menu. It’s one of those perfect sides that go with just about anything. It’s one of those essential dishes everyone should know how to make. No fancy ingredients needed here as these are perfect using only the basic ingredients - the right potatoes, cream, butter, and salt. That’s it. It’s how it’s prepared that makes these the perfect creamy mashed potatoes.
Want to read a funny story about Mashed Potatoes and gravy? Read my Peruvian Hot Chocolate post!
The trick to making great mashed potatoes is to cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, drained, then added back into the saucepan and stirred to dry them out. This not only removes excess water from the potatoes, as you stir them you break them up making it easier to mash when the cream and butter are added. Less water means more cream and butter are absorbed by the potatoes.
If you over boiled your potatoes, check out my post for How to Fix Over Boiled Potatoes.
I usually cook 5 pounds of potatoes for my family gatherings. I always feel it's better to have a little too much than not enough. Any leftovers can be reheated in a saucepan with some milk or cream. You can also make potato pancakes. My father-in-law would make take out his perfectly seasoned cast iron pan, add some butter, form patties with leftover mashed potatoes, and fry them for a few minutes on each side until browned. They’re crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside and super delicious.
If you’re like me and want to get as many things done before company arrives, here are some tips:
You can peel the potatoes the night before, cut into even slices - about ¾" - and place in a saucepan with cold salted water. Store in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, boil and continue with the recipe.
Peel the potatoes, rinse, slice, and place in a large saucepan with cold salted water and continue with the recipe. After you’re finished whipping and seasoning them, drizzle some cream creating a thin layer to coat the top. Place the pan into a skillet larger than your saucepan and add some hot water. Set the heat to low. Place the cover slightly askew. As long as the water is hot - not boiling - your mashed potatoes will stay hot without burning. I would only recommend this for an hour or two. When ready to serve, stir and plate.
Before serving, top with an additional pad or two of butter just for presentation. I don’t clutter my mashed potatoes with garnishes of chopped herbs just for color. I keep it simple. I don’t need to make it pretty, I’m looking for delicious.
If you have any leftovers, try the potato pancakes. They won’t disappoint.
Here are some of my other delicious sides:
- Rich creamy garlic mashed potatoes
- Silky smooth carrot puree
- Roasted asparagus with mozzarella
- Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon
- Perfect rice pilaf
- Curry roasted cauliflower
- Maple butternut squash
- Roasted spiced acorn squash
- Incredibly Delicious Sweet potato casserole
- Cauliflower mash
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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Perfect Mashed PotatoesPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 pounds potatoes russet or Yukon gold work best
- 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups light cream or half and half
- 1 stick butter sliced into 1" pieces
- Kosher salt to taste
- Peel the potatoes then rinse under cold water. Cut into even sized slices - about ¾" - then place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water with at least 1" above potatoes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to water. Bring to a boil and continue to gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream or half and half in microwave for 30 seconds until warmed. Alternatively, heat cream or half and half in small saucepan until warmed.
- Drain and return potatoes to saucepan over medium heat. Stir with wooden spoon to cook off excess moisture for about a minute. This not only dries potatoes, but starts to break them up for easy mashing.
- Stir in 1 ¼ cups cream and add butter. Mash until smooth. Add remainder of cream for creamier texture.
- Stir in additional kosher salt to your taste.
- Serve with an additional pad or two of butter.