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These smooth and creamy Buttery Mashed Potatoes are a classic side dish nobody can pass up!

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A white bowl with mashed potatoes; topped with cracked black pepper, parsley and melted butter.

What’s not to love about a bowlful of piping hot mashed potatoes?! It’s one of those side dishes I just love! Growing up, I didn’t even know that instant mashed potatoes were a thing – Mom always makes homemade.

When we were little, my sister and I were always in charge of peeling the potatoes and Mom would take it from there. Though she never follows a specific “recipe,” hers are always the best!!

Ingredients needed to make mashed potatoes - potatoes, milk or cream and butter.

Ingredients Needed

  • Potatoes – I prefer to use Russet potatoes.
  • Butter – I use salted butter.
  • Milk, Half and Half or Heavy Whipping Cream

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Cook the Potatoes

Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Place them in cold water until you’re ready to cook, as this will keep the potatoes from turning brown.

Cubed potatoes in a clear bowl with water.

When ready to cook, add the potatoes to a large pot with cold water with salt. Make sure the water covers all of the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the burner down to medium. Let the potatoes boil for 15 minutes and check to see if they’re done (they should be very tender when poked with a fork).

When the potatoes are done cooking, drain the water.

Potato masher mashing potatoes.

Mash and Add Flavor

You can mash the potatoes using a potato masher or with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. The most important thing to remember is to NOT overmix potatoes. The starches will be overworked and will get goopy and sticky…no thanks!

Pouring warm milk into a saucepan with mashed potatoes.

As soon as the potatoes are mashed, you’ll add the softened butter and warm milk. Lastly, you’ll season with salt to taste and serve warm!

Overhead shot of a bowl of mashed potatoes.
What are the best kind of potatoes for mashed potatoes?

You’ll want a starchy potato that’ll absorb the flavor of the butter and stay light and fluffy. Russet potatoes is my go-to option!

Can I keep mashed potatoes warm in a slow cooker?

If you’ll be waiting more than 30 minutes to enjoy the potatoes, I do recommend putting them in a slow cooker on the “warm” setting.

Do I need to warm the milk before adding?

I highly recommend adding warm milk rather than cold milk. Why? It’ll absorb into the potatoes better and will keep the potatoes hot. Nobody wants cold mashed potatoes!

Bowl of mashed potatoes with melted butter on top.

Mashed Potato Flavor Variations

Creamy Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes – Place several peeled cloves of garlic in a small baking dish and add a tablespoon of oil. Stir to coat the garlic. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and aromatic. Add the garlic when you’re mashing the potatoes.

Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes – Add 1/2 cup of room temperature sour cream when you add the warm milk. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives at the very end.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes – Add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese when you add the warm milk. Top with crumbled bacon and sliced green onions, if desired.

Spoonful of mashed potatoes.

Tips for Making Great Gravy

So now you’ve mastered mashed potatoes, but want the perfect gravy to pour on top. Here are a few tips to make sure you’ve got it down!

  • Warm the drippings.
  • Use cornstarch + cold water as a thickener.
  • Add the thickener a little bit at a time to avoid over-thickening.
  • Use a whisk when adding the thickener and stir frequently to avoid lumps.
  • If you do get lumps, simply use a strainer to remove them.

Other Delicious Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping – This is one of the best sides for any holiday meal! It’s got smooth mashed sweet potatoes on the bottom and a crunchy, buttery pecan topping – yum!!

Cornbread Pudding – This is a creamy side dish with sweet corn mixed into a cornbread-like batter. It’s super easy to throw together and is a must at any holiday gathering!

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots – These are the most delicious side dish! They’re easy to make, full of flavor and have just the right amount of sweetness!

White bowl full of mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
4 servings
These smooth and creamy Buttery Mashed Potatoes are a classic side dish nobody can pass up!


  • 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup hot milk or cream
  • salt to taste


  • Place the peeled and cubed mashed potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
  • Bring the potatoes to a boil, then turn the burner to medium-low heat.
  • Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until very tender with a fork.
  • Drain the potatoes and then place the saucepan back on the warm burner for a couple minutes. This will help the remaining water evaporate, so you don't have watery potatoes.
  • Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  • Add the softened butter and hot milk or cream.
  • Stir well and serve warm.


To Make Gravy
  • In a small bowl, make you thickener by combining 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup cornstarch; set aside.
  • Add 2 cups of warm drippings or broth in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Pour a little bit of the thickener into the broth and whisk.
  • Continue to add a little thickener at a time until the desired consistency is reached.  
  • Serve warm with mashed potatoes.


Calories: 263.81kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.04g | Protein: 5.22g | Fat: 12.55g | Saturated Fat: 7.71g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.53g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.48g | Cholesterol: 34.28mg | Sodium: 28.03mg | Potassium: 845.22mg | Fiber: 3.86g | Sugar: 3.48g | Vitamin A: 388.66IU | Vitamin C: 36.19mg | Calcium: 75.51mg | Iron: 1.49mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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