Best Mashed Potatoes

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
November 14, 2023 | Updated on December 13, 2023

These are the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever have. Learn how to make rich, creamy mashed potatoes infused with garlic and thyme. This recipe is a family favorite and a classic holiday side dish.

For more delicious potato recipes, try these Fondant Potatoes, Herbed Mashed Potatoes, Potatoes Au Gratin Gruyere, and Crispy Parmesan Potatoes next.

close up view of mashed potatoes with a spoon inserted

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When I think of the best side dishes, mashed potatoes are always at the top of the list; they’re easy to make, indulgent, and pair well with just about anything.

Yukon gold potatoes are baked to tender perfection and then blended to buttery bliss by hand. The thick, melt-in-your-mouth quality makes them irresistible. It’s a delicious labor of love!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Stores & Reheats Well – This recipe is great for make ahead mashed potatoes. So if you have a busy lineup for the stove and oven on Thanksgiving Day or gathering, make this in advance.
  • Ultimate Comfort Food – Potatoes are hearty and when baked, super tender. Add cream, garlic, fresh herbs, and seasoning and it’s a warm bowl of indulgence.
  • Versatile Top with rich gravy, melted butter, chives, or freshly cracked pepper. Serve them with pork chops, meatloaf, roasted turkey, whatever! Because this is one of those dishes you can serve with anything.
a bowl of the best mashed potatoes topped with chives

Tools You’ll Need

What Potatoes are Best for Mashed Potatoes?

The best potatoes for mashing depend on your personal preferences. But these potatoes are top choices.

  • Yukon gold potatoes – These potatoes have a naturally buttery flavor and yield thick, smooth mashed potatoes. They’re not as starchy as Russet or Idaho potatoes, but still a fantastic choice.
  • Russet potatoes – Pick these starchy potatoes for light and fluffy mashed potatoes. If you use these, don’t mix and mash for too long or the potatoes will become gluey.
  • Idaho potatoes Idaho-grown potatoes, specifically Russet Burbank potatoes, are known for their excellent mashing qualities. They produce fluffy mashed potatoes with a light and airy texture.

Bonus Tip – You can use a mixture of potatoes if you’d like. Russets and yukon gold are a great combo.

side by side images of 4 yukon gold potatoes before and after roasting in the oven

Ingredients You Will Need for Mashed Potatoes

The butter and cream mixture is the essence of this mashed potatoes recipe. Milk, cream, and butter are infused with fresh herbs and garlic, for deep flavor, silky smooth consistency, and aromatic flair.

  • Yukon gold potatoes – Ensure they are similar in size for the even baking.
  • Water & Kosher salt – Salt does more than season the potatoes. Use it to draw out moisture as the potatoes bake. The result is light, fluffy, and flavorful potatoes.
  • Avocado oil – Coat the potatoes in oil for a crispy exterior.

Butter and Cream

  • Milk – Use a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. We want lush, creamy potatoes.
  • Head of garlic – If you’re a garlic lover, then you’ll absolutely love this. Just remove ¼ off the top so the flavor infuses into the milk. Add more to your heart’s desire!
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme – This fresh herb provides an earthy flavor that balances with the garlic and cream.
  • Seasoning – Use whole black peppercorn and kosher salt (Diamond Crystal).
  • Salted butter – Melted butter enriches flavor of the potatoes and also coast the potato starch in fat, to keep it from getting gummy when the cream mixture is added.

Garnish

  • Chives
  • Butter
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
cream mixture for garlic mashed potatoes

How To Make Mashed Potatoes

This easy mashed potatoes recipe begins with baking the potatoes. Baking potatoes instead of boiling potatoes draws moisture from the potato, resulting in a dry, fluffy potato. Ideal for mashed potatoes!

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place 1½ cups kosher salt and ⅓ cup water in a bowl and mix until salt resembles wet sand texture. Pour salt into baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  3. Poke 5-6 holes around the sides and top of potatoes. Coat in avocado oil and salt. Nestle potatoes on top of salt in the baking sheet leaving space between them.
baked potatoes on a salt filled sheet pan slit down the center to release steam

4. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

5. Meanwhile, make the garlic-thyme cream mixture. Add whole milk, cream, garlic, thyme, and black peppercorns to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Drop the heat to low, cover the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes.

6. Once potatoes are cooked, use a spoon to scoop out potatoes into a ricer. Rice potatoes into a large mixing bowl.

riced potatoes in a bowl

Pour half of the warm melted butter into the potatoes and mix with a spatula until incorporated. Repeat until all of the butter is added.

7. Strain the milk mixture into a fine mesh sieve and into a measuring cup. Pout half of the milk mixture along with kosher salt. Mix until liquid is fully incorporated. Repeat with with remaining milk.

8. Transfer mashed potatoes to a bowl and garnish with chives, more butter and a few grinds of black pepper. Finally, enjoy.

mashed potatoes and warm melted butter in a clear mixing bowl

How to Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time

Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Allow potatoes to come to room temperature, cover, and chill. Reheat over medium heat and add more milk to thin out, if needed.

What Goes with Mashed Potatoes?

mixing liquid into a potato mixture for mashed potatoes

Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes

  • Mash potatoes with a ricer. I swear by this tool and only use this technique to make mashed potatoes. The results are always silky potatoes, free of clumps. Using a hand mixer can overmix the potatoes and lead to a gummy texture and a hand masher just won’t cut it.. Alternatively you can pass the potatoes through a sieve, but be prepared for an arm workout.
  • Ensure the milk mixture is warm when combined with the potatoes. The potatoes will absorb the liquid better. If you don’t the potatoes will become a sticky mess. Add butter and cream in batches, never all at once.
  • Do not use cold butter. It’s crucial to keep the potatoes warm when adding the butter and cream. You can use room-temperature butter, but warm, melted better is preferred.
  • It’s generally recommended to avoid using waxy potatoes, such as new or red potatoes, for mashed potatoes. Waxy potatoes have a lower starch content and a waxier texture, which can result in a gluey consistency.
  • Do not overwork potatoes. This can cause the starch granules to become sticky. With each addition of butter and cream, fold or mix into the potatoes with a spatula.

Variations

  • Mashed Cheesy Potatoes – An easy way to make these even more indulgent is to stir in some parmesan.
  • Add-Ins – If you want a tangy twist, consider adding sour cream, cream cheese.
  • Toppings – You can add crispy bacon bits, gravy or sliced jalapeños.
a bowl of the best garlic mashed potatoes

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze mashed potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze them for up to 1 month. Store leftovers in a large freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer.

How long do you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

It takes about 20 minutes to boil potatoes for mashed potatoes. Before boiling, they are peeled and chopped into evenly sized-chunks.

How long are mashed potatoes good for?

Three to four days in the refrigerator. When reheating and milk to thin out the mixture.

What can I add to my mashed potatoes?

Enhance them by adding cheese, fresh herbs, bacon bits, or sour cream.

Are mashed potatoes gluten-free?

Depending on the recipe. Milk, potatoes, butter, and cream do not contain gluten, so, yes, this mashed potatoes recipe is gluten-free.

close up view of garlic mashed potatoes with a spoon inserted

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close up view of mashed potatoes with a spoon inserted

Best Mashed Potatoes

These are the best mashed potatoes you'll ever have. Learn how to make rich, creamy mashed potatoes infused with garlicky flavor. This recipe is a family favorite and a classic holiday side dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Potato Ricer
  • Spatula
  • Mixing bowl
  • ¼ baking sheet,
  • Measuring Cup
  • Fine Mesh Sieve

Ingredients

Potatoes

  • 2 pounds organic yukon gold potatoes, medium and similar size
  • cups kosher salt, divided, Diamond Crystal
  • cup water
  • avocado oil

Butter and Cream

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 head garlic, ¼ top removed
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme,
  • 7 whole black peppercorn
  • 1 – 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal
  • ½ cup salted butter, melted, kept warm

Garnish

  • tablespoons chives, chopped
  • tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • black pepper, freshly cracked

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place 1½ cups kosher salt and ⅓ cup water in a bowl and mix until salt resembles wet sand texture. Pour salt into baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  • Use a fork to poke holes around the sides and top of clean potatoes. Rub avocado oil, all over potatoes then use the remaining kosher salt to cover the potatoes. Nestle potatoes on top of salt in the baking sheet, then push the salt towards the base of the potato to keep it in place. Make sure there is space between each potato and they are not touching.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes or until potatoes are very tender, checking doneness at the 60-minute mark. Try the toothpick test, Insert a toothpick, if it feels tender upon inserting and comes out clean, potatoes are ready. While the potatoes bake, make the garlic-thyme infused cream.
  • About 30 minutes before potatoes are finished cooking, add whole milk, cream, garlic (cut side faced down), thyme, and black peppercorns to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Drop the heat to low, cover the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered; mixture will continue to steep. (Just before adding the milk mixture to the potatoes, make sure the mixture is warm, reheat if needed.)
  • It's important to do the next step quickly and while potatoes are hot. Doing this with cold potatoes will potentially result in gummy mash. Where over mitts to protect your hands while handling hot potatoes.
    Once potatoes are cooked, wear oven mitts and wipe the skin of any salt. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out potatoes into a ricer. Be sure to scoop out as much potato from the skin. You can either eat the skins or discard.
    Rice potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour half of the warm, melted butter into the potatoes and mix with a spatula until incorporated. Repeat until all of the butter is added.
  • Strain the milk mixture into a fine mesh sieve and into a measuring cup. Pour half of the cream mixture and start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix until liquid is fully incorporated and smooth before adding more. Repeat with with remaining cream. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.
  • Transfer mashed potatoes to a bowl and garnish with chives, more melted butter and a few grinds of black pepper. Enjoy.
  • Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Allow potatoes to come to room temperature, cover and chill. Reheat over medium heat and add more milk to thin out, if needed.
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close up view of mashed potatoes with a spoon inserted

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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