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Easy Homemade Mashed Potatoes

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  • Prep 25 min
  • Total 45 min
  • Ingredients 5
  • Servings 10
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Everyone loves smoothy, creamy mashed potatoes! No wonder they always get picked for second helpings at every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter meal. The ultimate comfort food, mashed potatoes are the perfect side not only for any holiday spread, but go so well with many other favorites, as well!
The simplicity of making mashed potatoes means you can enjoy them all year round. Spoon up a generous serving next to your favorite beef roast, roast chicken, or pork chop recipe. Use them as a bed for your favorite chili, to top a Shepard’s pie. They instantly elevate the meal’s status.

You may think it’s difficult to get fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes, but it’s not. With our terrific tips and tricks, you can have restaurant-worthy spuds any time you crave them!
Updated Mar 8, 2024
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How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Anyone can make great-tasting homemade mashed potatoes once they know the simple tips and tricks!
Peel and cut the potatoes: Cutting them into the same-size chunks will help ensure they are lump-free when they are finished.

Cook and drain the potatoes: Cook them long enough that they begin to fall apart.

Remove excess moisture: This step is one of the best-kept secrets to the fluffiest potatoes possible.

Mash—then add the good stuff: Mash the potatoes before adding the butter and seasonings. Mash a second time while adding milk, to make them smooth and creamy.

Fair warning—this may become your most-requested dish! Be sure to look at the recipe for exactly how to make mashed potatoes, with our step-by-step directions. Also read all the spud-tastic tips we’ve included here, so that you can make the best mashed potatoes, ever.

What Should I Serve with Mashed Potatoes?

Our highly rated, best mashed potato recipe is worthy of an appearance on every holiday table! Pair it with this delicious Honey Ham or Best Roast Turkey. But this classic comforting side dish is as equally perfect alongside favorites like Easy Turkey Meatballs or Meat Loaf.
When this delicious side dish is on the table, your family will want to dive right in! Check out these delectable dinners you could serve with it, to shake up your routine, or shake up your routine by pairing it with your favorite main dishes on your dinner rotation!

And do not forget gravy for mashed potatoes! What could be more satisfying than pooling a silky, savory gravy in and over luscious, creamy mashed potatoes? Mushroom Gravy, Brown Gravy, White or Savory Turkey Gravy would all be equally delicious over your amazing mashed potatoes.

What Can I Do with Leftover Mashed Potatoes?

Leftover mashed potatoes can be a jump start on your next meal…or even the beginnings of a very delish snack! Add them to a few ingredients in your fridge, to thicken soups or use them in place of refrigerated mashed potatoes in your recipes.
About 2 1/2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes = 24 oz container of refrigerated mashed potatoes.

Quick Snacks: Spoon leftover mashed potatoes into a microwavable bowl; stir in leftover bite-size cooked veggies and shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and microwave on Medium-High (70%) until heated through.

Soup Thickener: Stir leftover mashed potatoes into brothy soups while heating them, to thicken the soup without flour or cornstarch.

Mashed Potato Appetizers: Use your leftover mashed potatoes instead of the refrigerated potatoes called for, to make Loaded Mashed Potato Bombs or Spinach-Potato-Crescent Cups.

Shepherd’s Pie: Use your leftover mashed potatoes instead of the refrigerated potatoes called for, to make a delicious Shepherd’s Pie.

What are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?

If you want fluffy mashed potatoes that are the smoothest they can be with a creamy luscious quality, the best potatoes for mashed potatoes to choose are russet or Idaho potatoes. These potatoes have a starchy interior, which makes them a top choice for either mashed or baked potatoes, because the starch contributes to a fluffy texture. They easily fall apart when cooked, so it is easy to mash them and get the smoothest possible consistency. All-purpose potatoes, including purple (the color fades when cooked) or yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold potatoes or sweet potatoes can also work well in mashed potatoes, but the texture of your mash will not be quite as fluffy and smooth as with the starchy baking potatoes. We would not recommend using red, fingerling or new potatoes when making mashed potatoes. Their waxy interiors are sturdier when cooked, hold their shape after cooking. This makes them a better option for boiled, pan-fried, and roasted potato dishes.

How to store homemade mashed potatoes

Homemade mashed potatoes make great leftovers! We will show you how to reheat mashed potatoes and answer that great question, “can you freeze mashed potatoes?”
Refrigerated mashed potatoes: Store cooled mashed potatoes in microwavable food storage containers with tight lids in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat refrigerated mashed potatoes: remove lid, cover with plastic wrap. For 1 to 2 cups of mashed potatoes, microwave on High 2 to 4 minutes, stopping to stir occasionally, or until heated through. Let stand for 1 minute before serving. (Larger quantities of mashed potatoes will take longer, so start with the minimum time, adding additional time as needed.)

Frozen mashed potatoes: Keep frozen mashed potatoes on hand for a quick side-dish on a busy night. Store leftover mashed potatoes in freezer-safe microwavable food storage containers for up to 1 month. To reheat frozen mashed potatoes: remove lid, cover with plastic wrap. For 1 to 2 cups of mashed potatoes, microwave on High 4 to 7 minutes, stopping to stir occasionally, or until heated through. Let stand for 1 minute before serving. (Larger quantities of mashed potatoes will take longer, so start with the minimum time, adding additional time as needed.)


  • 8 to 10 medium russet potatoes (about 3 lb.), peeled, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, if desired
  • Dash pepper
  • 1/4 cup hot milk


  • 1
    Place potatoes in large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover loosely and boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes break apart easily when pierced with fork. Drain well.
  • 2
    Return potatoes to saucepan; shake saucepan gently over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to evaporate any excess moisture.
  • 3
    Mash potatoes with potato masher until no lumps remain. Add butter, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; continue mashing, gradually adding enough milk to make potatoes smooth and creamy.

Tips from the Pillsbury Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Add fresh thyme leaves, flaky salt and lots of freshly ground pepper to these easy mashed potatoes before serving.
  • tip 2
    Already know how to make mashed potatoes? Switch it up with these 2-ingredient Easy Slow-Cooker Mashed Potatoes that save room on the stovetop.
  • tip 3
    When cutting your potatoes, try to keep the pieces all about the same size. This will help the potatoes cook evenly and in the same amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

To be sure the potatoes are tender enough for mashing, start by cutting them all into pieces approximately the same size. Start by boiling them for the minimum time. Test several potatoes (particularly any larger pieces) with a fork to see if the fork goes in easily and the potatoes start to fall apart. If not, add a few more minutes of additional time and test with the fork again. Be sure that all the potato pieces you test are done, or you can end up with lumps of undercooked potatoes when you mash them.
Once they are done, drain the potatoes well…and then this is the tip that many people do not know about…put them back on the stove over low heat. This will draw out even more moisture from the cut surfaces of the potatoes, which will set you up for the fluffiest mashed potatoes possible!

What are the tips for how to make the best mashed potatoes?

This fluffy mashed potato recipe will make the best mashed potatoes when you do just a few steps in the right order.
Dry the Potatoes: Do not skip Step 2. This is how you remove excess moisture after cooking the potatoes, which will make them mash up at their fluffiest best.

Mash Well: Before adding any of the remaining ingredients, be sure to mash the potatoes well. Stir them up from the bottom of the pot once or twice, to get those potato pieces that like to hide. Mashing before adding other ingredients will help ensure you get the fluffiest mashed potatoes and keep them from getting sticky or gummy.

Gradually Add Milk: Continue to mash the potatoes while gradually adding just enough milk (rather than stirring it in) to make them smooth and creamy without being gummy or sticky.

What are the best mashed potato seasonings?

For classic mashed potatoes that go with about any main dish, keep the mashed potatoes seasonings simple—butter, salt, and pepper! You cannot go wrong with these basics…but you can always up your spuds game with additional flavor. Taste them before you decide more is better…but adding a little additional butter or salt and pepper would not be out of the question.
Stir in a little sour cream or stir cubes of softened cream cheese into the hot mashed potatoes until melted. Or, you can stir in chopped fresh green onions, chives or chopped basil or parsley leaves, for a fresh look and flavor that keeps this dish within the basic, classic flavor to go with any main dish, no matter what seasonings it has. It will not matter if your pork chops are blackened, or your meat loaf is Asian-flavored…they will still go amazingly well with your classic mashed potatoes! If you want to add a flavor twist, try any of the Ingredients to add to mashed potatoes below.

What is the best gravy for mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes just beg for gravy, and do we have several mouth-watering recipes to make, depending on your preferences and what main dish you are serving with the potatoes.
See What Should I Serve with Mashed Potatoes? Above, for a dazzling assortment of delectable gravy recipes to choose from.

Whatever gravy you choose, serve it on the side, so everyone can add as much or as little as they like. If you have a gravy boat, here is a wonderful time to bring it out! Reheat the gravy just before serving, so it’s piping hot when it goes on the table…and make it the last food you place on the table before you start eating. Cold gravy is just not the same!

When serving the mashed potatoes, spoon them onto each plate, make a well with the back of the spoon, so there is a terrific resting spot for a pool of gravy. Then your guests can dive right in!

Ingredients to add to mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes can make any meal special! Give them a flavor twist or turn them into the most comforting main dish you can make in 5 minutes, with these tasty ideas:
Spicy Spuds: Stir drained, chopped green chiles, chopped canned pickled jalapeños, red pepper flakes or your favorite hot sauce into the mashed potatoes and perk up the flavor.

Homey Bowls: Stir leftover bite-size pieces of cooked chicken, pork chops, steak, bacon or crumbled cooked sausage into mashed potatoes, with cooked frozen mixed vegetables and your favorite shredded cheese. Cover and microwave on High until heated through.

Add a Sprinkle: Top your mashed potatoes with sliced green onions, crumbled cooked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, thin slices of fresh basil leaves or crispy fried onions, as a delicious garnish.

Nutrition Information

140 Calories, 3g Total Fat, 3g Protein, 25g Total Carbohydrate, 1g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/10 of Recipe
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fat;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Can you ever eat too many mashed potatoes? We think not! The silky smooth, creamy texture really is the ultimate comfort food. For more amazing potato recipes, try our Mashed Potato Casserole or the ever popular Cheesy Potatoes recipe next. Or check out this collection of even more spud-tastic potato dishes with your next meal.
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