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A rich and creamy mashed potatoes recipe with tips and tricks on how to make the BEST mashed potatoes.
Last year my sister and I went on a mission to find the very best mashed potatoes. We tried no short of a dozen different recipes and conducted blind taste tests. It was very official 😉 Mashed potatoes have always been one of my favorite side dishes (am I boring?!) for holidays so it was time to combine all our favorite aspects and develop the best mashed potatoes.
Of course the “best” mashed potatoes vary from person to person depending on personal preferences, but this recipe is our creation based on our favorite recipes and techniques.
This mashed potatoes recipe is anything but bland — smooth, creamy, and packed with flavor!
How to make mashed potatoes
- Prepare the potatoes: thoroughly wash, peel, and then cube the potatoes. After rinsing the potatoes, add to a pot with salt and a bay leaf. Boil then simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and allow the potatoes to dry.
- Infuse the butter/cream with flavor: Meanwhile, melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add the bay leaf and garlic. Once the butter is infused with delicious garlic flavor, add in the heavy cream and sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Finishing the potatoes: while the drained potatoes are still hot, put them through a ricer and add them back into the pot you cooked them in. Pour the butter mixture over the riced potatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth (you don’t even need to blend, beat, or mash the potatoes!). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.
- Rinse your potatoes well – Potatoes are roots! They grow in the ground and by the time they make it to your kitchen table, they’re likely to still have some dirt on them. To avoid dirt in your mashed potatoes, I recommend washing and scrubbing your potatoes before peeling them. Then, you’ll want to wash them again after they are peeled to remove excess starch. This will improve the texture and taste of your final mashed potatoes.
- Remove ALL extra moisture – Nobody likes watery mashed potatoes! Be sure to remove all extra moisture from the potatoes before mashing them. I recommend straining the potatoes well and letting them dry for at least five minutes. You could also consider putting them back into the pot and stirring them on low heat for a few of minutes to ensure all excess moisture is removed.
- Don’t forget salt and pepper: these two unassuming ingredients make all the difference in your potatoes. Taste the potatoes a few times before serving and make sure to adjust the salt and pepper to perfection.
- The potatoes you use matter! For fluffy potatoes, use starchy potatoes, like Russets or Yukon Golds. Or best option: use a combination of both!
- Use high quality unsalted butter: a good brand of butter goes a long way for these potatoes! I also recommend using unsalted butter which will allow you to ultimately decide how much salt goes into the potatoes.
Using a potato ricer
Simply mashing the potatoes can cause the texture to be gluey. To get the fluffy potatoes that everybody loves, you will need a potato ricer. I highly recommend adding a potato ricer to your cooking arsenal – click for the potato ricer (affiliate link) I use and love. Beyond its ability to make the PERFECT potatoes, using this ricer is also a lot of fun – it’s like adult play-dough. 🙂
How many mashed potatoes should I make?
- The typical suggestion is between 1/3 to 1/2 pound of potatoes per a person. Here are some more details on how much to prepare.
- Since these mashed potatoes are SO good that they can be a little addictive, I would recommend erring on the side of over-preparing rather than under-preparing. If you make too many potatoes and end up with leftovers, consider using them in this shepherd’s pie recipe.
What other sides should accompany mashed potatoes?
Whether you’re preparing these mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a big family meal, here are few other side dishes you may want to include on your table:
- Candied Pecan, Pear, & Pomegranate Salad
- Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Almonds
- Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Wild Rice Salad
A rich and creamy mashed potatoes recipe with tips and tricks on how to make mashed potatoes the BEST.
- 3 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes (or a mix of the two!), peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2 bay leaves, separated
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 10 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, separated
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Freshly cracked pepper and additional fine sea salt
- Optional: fresh chives
Thoroughly wash and then peel your potatoes. Cube the potatoes into golf-ball sized pieces.
Place in a strainer and rinse under cold water until the water rinsing through comes out clear. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon fine sea salt and 1 bay leaf, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender; about 15-20 minutes. When a potato can easily be pierced, drain the potatoes and make sure you get rid of ALL the extra moisture. Let them dry for about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
While potatoes are still hot, put them through a ricer and add back into the pot you cooked them in.
Meanwhile, melt 8 tablespoons butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add the bay leaf, and 2 cloves of garlic (mashed) if desired. Add in the heavy cream and sour cream. Once the mixture is combined and smooth, remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf and garlic. OR you can mince the garlic and add it to the final potatoes for extra garlicky potatoes. (We like a barely garlic infused mashed potato, so we discard here.) Pour the butter mixture over the riced potatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If desired, add fresh chives to the top and the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Serve hot.