This is our favorite homemade mashed potatoes recipe (skin-on or peeled). Learn which potatoes to use and how to cook them so that they are creamy and delicious. Jump to the Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe or watch our quick video below to see how we make them in our kitchen.
We adore mashed potatoes and make them often. Since we make a batch almost every week, we wanted to share how we do it. The recipe varies slightly depending on who makes it. Adam likes to keep the potatoes unpeeled and I usually peel. Sometimes we use milk, sometimes we add a splash of chicken stock. And, when we’re feeling feisty, we add a splash of cream.
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How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes with Skin-On or Peeled Potatoes
Our recipe is pretty simple. Think of it as an everyday recipe – one that you can adapt based on what you have in the fridge (or whoever is making it). Nothing is overly decadent. Although, you could easily turn them into something that is.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Our Creamy 20-Minute Mashed Cauliflower Recipe. It’s a great, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
What are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
We use waxy and thin-skinned potatoes. Small yellow, white, or red potatoes are perfect. They are quick to cook and make the best skin-on mashed potatoes! We are usually short on time, so the smaller potatoes allow us to skip peeling and just slice in half or quarters. They are also creamier than more starchy potatoes, like russet potatoes. So if you love creamy mashed potatoes, choose one of the small, thin-skinned varieties.
You can still use russet (baking) potatoes — we do if they are all we have. The mashed potatoes won’t be as creamy, but they will still taste great.
How to Cook the Potatoes
Adam and I go back and forth about peeling potatoes. Adam loves keeping the skins on and I prefer when the potatoes are peeled. It’s safe to say that whether or not our potatoes are peeled depends on who’s making them. We don’t disagree when it comes to cooking the potatoes, though. No matter what potato you choose to cook, don’t forget the salt. We cover the potatoes with an inch or so of water then generously salt the water. A tablespoon of salt should do it.
By salting the water, the flavor of the potatoes really comes out. They won’t taste salty, only like awesome potatoes.
Once your potatoes are done, drain them, return them to the saucepan and cover with a clean dishtowel for about 5 minutes. This helps the potatoes absorb excess steam that can make mashed potatoes watery. Another option is to tumble the cooked potatoes onto a baking sheet and set aside for 5 minutes.
From there, we add some liquid and melted butter to make the potatoes extra creamy. For the liquid, we usually add equal parts of milk and chicken stock. You could add all milk or all chicken stock. You could even add a splash (or two) of cream to the potatoes to make them really creamy. A tablespoon or two of cream cheese wouldn’t hurt, either.
We stick to 1 cup of liquid for 2 pounds of cooked potatoes. For stiffer mashed potatoes, reduce the amount of liquid to 3/4 cup from 1 cup.
Most of the time, we use our handy potato masher, but for extra fluffy potatoes, use a food mill. Pass cooked potatoes through the smallest disk of a food mill then stir in milk or chicken stock and butter. (It’s best the potatoes are peeled for this). And that’s it. Perfectly, creamy mashed potatoes.
You May Also Like These Simple Sides
- Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe — one of our most popular recipes!
- Simple Potato Salad Recipe — see all of our tips for making it best.
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes — the recipe is similar to this one, but we show you how to roast garlic and add them to the potatoes.
Recipe updated, originally posted November 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Our Favorite Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Think of this as an everyday recipe – one that you can adapt based on what you have in the fridge. Nothing is overly decadent, although, you could easily turn them into something that is. We call for 1 cup of liquid to be added to the potatoes. At home, we usually use equal parts milk to chicken stock. You could use all milk or all chicken stock. Or, replace some milk with heavy cream for extra decadent potatoes. A tablespoon or two of cream cheese wouldn’t hurt, either. The trick to great mashed potatoes is seasoning up front. Adding a hearty amount of salt to the water seasons the potatoes while they cook – we use at least 1 tablespoon. This is similar to salting pasta water.
You Will Need
2 pounds yellow, red, or white potatoes
Salt, plus more to taste
1 cup milk, chicken stock or a combination, see our homemade chicken stock recipe
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Splash cream, optional
- Prepare Potatoes
- To Finish
Scrub then dice potatoes, making sure they are similar in size. (We often leave the skin on the potatoes, but it is completely up to you). Drop potatoes in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of salt and cover with water.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until the potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat the milk or chicken stock, and the butter until warm and the butter has melted.
Drain then return the potatoes to the saucepan and cover with a clean dishtowel. Leave them for about 5 minutes to absorb excess steam that can make mashed potatoes watery.
Pour in the warm butter mixture then mash the potatoes until creamy. (Don’t worry if the potatoes seem a bit thin at first, they absorb the liquid after a minute or two). Stir in the pepper and splash of cream (if using). Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes so that the potatoes thicken, and then serve.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- You can use russet (baking) potatoes — we do if they are all we have. The mashed potatoes won’t be as creamy, but they will still taste great.
- For stiffer mashed potatoes, reduce the amount of liquid called for in the recipe to 3/4 cup from 1 cup.
- For extra fluffy potatoes, use a food mill. Pass the cooked potatoes through the smallest disk of a food mill then stir in milk or chicken stock and butter. (It’s best the potatoes are peeled for this).
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We have omitted salt since you will need to add to your tastes. We assumed 1/2 milk to 1/2 stock and added a splash of cream.