How to Make Mashed Potatoes: A Step-By-Step Guide


Asensio, who doesn’t love the creamy and flavorful goodness of mashed potatoes? This classic dish is a staple at holiday dinners and casual weeknight meals alike. But have you ever struggled to get your mashed potatoes just right? Perhaps they came out too lumpy or watery, or maybe they lacked flavor. Fear not, because in this article, we’ll show you how to make mashed potatoes that are perfect every time.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything from selecting the right potatoes to adding the perfect seasonings. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make mashed potatoes that are so delicious you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with boxed versions.

So, without further ado, let’s get started on our journey to mashed potato perfection.

Step 1: Choose Your Potatoes

The first step in making mashed potatoes is selecting the right potatoes. Not all potatoes are created equal when it comes to mashing – you’ll want to choose a variety that is high in starch and low in moisture. The best options for mashed potatoes are russet or Yukon Gold potatoes.

Russet potatoes have a high starch content and a low moisture content, which makes them ideal for mashing. They’re also great for baking and frying, so if you have any leftovers, you can use them in other dishes.

Yukon Gold potatoes are a close second in terms of mashing potential. They have a slightly lower starch content than russets but are still great for making creamy mashed potatoes. They also have a buttery flavor, so they don’t need as much added fat to taste delicious.

Step 2: Prep Your Potatoes

Once you’ve chosen your potatoes, it’s time to prep them for cooking. Start by peeling your potatoes (unless you prefer mashed potatoes with the skins on), and then cut them into evenly sized pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly and make mashing easier.

Once your potatoes are cut, place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Make sure there’s enough water to completely cover the potatoes, with about an inch of water on top. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water to enhance the flavor of your potatoes.

Step 3: Cook Your Potatoes

Bring your pot of potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. You can test the potatoes by sticking a fork into one of the pieces – if it slides off easily, they’re done.

Be careful not to overcook your potatoes, or they’ll become too mushy and won’t hold their shape when mashed.

Step 4: Drain and Dry Your Potatoes

Once your potatoes are cooked, it’s time to drain them. Carefully pour the contents of the pot into a colander and let the water drain away. Then, return the potatoes to the pot and place them back on the stovetop over low heat. Shake the pot gently for a minute or two to dry out any excess moisture.

Drying your potatoes is an important step in making mashed potatoes that aren’t too watery. If your potatoes are too wet, your mashed potatoes will be soupy and unappetizing.

Step 5: Add Your Fat and Liquid

Now it’s time to add the fat and liquid to your mashed potatoes. The classic option is to add butter and milk, but you can use any fat or liquid that you prefer. Some other options include cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and chicken or vegetable broth.

Start by adding a few tablespoons of your chosen fat to the potatoes, along with a splash of liquid. Use a potato masher or a fork to mash the potatoes until they’re mostly broken down, then add more fat and liquid as needed to achieve your desired consistency.

Step 6: Season Your Potatoes

Once your potatoes are mashed to your liking, it’s time to add some flavor. Start with salt and pepper, then experiment with other seasonings that you enjoy. Some popular options include garlic powder, onion powder, chives, parsley, and thyme.

Remember to taste your potatoes as you add seasonings so that you don’t overdo it. You can always add more, but you can’t take away!

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy!

Your mashed potatoes are now ready to serve. Spoon them into a serving dish, and garnish with additional herbs or butter if desired. Serve alongside your favorite main course, and enjoy!


1. Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time?

Yes, you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time. Simply prepare them up to the point of adding the butter and liquid, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the potatoes in the microwave or on the stovetop, then add your butter and liquid and mash as usual.

2. Why did my mashed potatoes turn out gluey?

If your mashed potatoes turned out gluey, it’s likely because you overworked them. When you mash potatoes too much, the starches break down and release too much starch, resulting in a gummy texture. To avoid this, mash your potatoes just until they’re smooth and no more.

3. Can I use a blender or food processor to mash my potatoes?

You can use a blender or food processor to mash your potatoes, but be careful not to overwork them or they will become gluey. It’s best to stick with a potato masher or fork for best results.

4. Can I use sweet potatoes to make mashed potatoes?

Yes, you can use sweet potatoes to make mashed potatoes. They’ll have a slightly different flavor and texture than traditional mashed potatoes, but they’re just as delicious.

5. How can I make my mashed potatoes healthier?

To make your mashed potatoes healthier, try using low-fat milk or broth instead of cream, and swap out some of the butter for a healthier fat like olive oil or avocado oil. You can also add veggies like cauliflower or carrots to your mashed potatoes for an extra boost of nutrition.

6. Do I have to peel my potatoes?

You don’t have to peel your potatoes if you prefer mashed potatoes with the skins on. Just make sure to give them a good scrubbing before cooking.

7. Can I freeze mashed potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze mashed potatoes. Simply prepare them as usual, then spoon them into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the potatoes in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding butter and liquid as needed.

8. How many potatoes do I need to make mashed potatoes?

The number of potatoes you’ll need depends on how many servings you’re making. As a general rule, plan on using one medium potato per serving. So, if you’re making mashed potatoes for four people, you’ll need about four medium potatoes.

9. Can I use leftover mashed potatoes in other recipes?

Yes, you can use leftover mashed potatoes in other recipes. They’re great for making potato pancakes, shepherd’s pie, or even adding to soups and stews.

10. Should I add salt to the water when boiling potatoes?

Yes, adding salt to the water when boiling potatoes will enhance their flavor. Just be careful not to add too much, or your potatoes will be overly salted.

11. How long should I boil the potatoes?

You should boil the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, or until they’re fork-tender. Be careful not to overcook them, or they’ll become too mushy.

12. Can I make mashed potatoes without milk or cream?

Yes, you can make mashed potatoes without milk or cream. You can use chicken or vegetable broth, sour cream, cream cheese, or even plain yogurt instead.

13. Can I add cheese to my mashed potatoes?

Yes, you can add cheese to your mashed potatoes for an extra boost of flavor. Cheddar, Parmesan, and Gouda are all great options.


And there you have it – the ultimate guide to making mashed potatoes that are creamy, flavorful, and perfect every time. By following these simple steps and taking the time to prep your potatoes properly, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of mashed potatoes that will impress even the most discerning guests.

Don’t forget to experiment with different seasonings and flavorings to make your mashed potatoes your own. And if you have any leftovers, try using them in other recipes or freezing them for later.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start mashing!

Closing Statement with Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the information in this article, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional culinary advice. This article is for informational purposes only, and we cannot be held responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of this information. Always consult with a qualified culinary professional before attempting any new recipes or techniques.