Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes with a pat of butter in a bowl.

The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
425 Calories
23g Fat
49g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 425
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 15g 74%
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 529mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 22mg 109%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 1262mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A bowl of hot, buttery, perfectly mashed potatoes is one of those dishes that will never go out of favor. They are the backbone of both British and Irish cuisine and a must-have at the American holiday dinner table.

Although we've probably all had our fair share of lumpy potatoes, perfect creamy mashed potatoes are actually quick and easy to make—all you need is a pan, water, potatoes, a masher, butter, milk, and about 25 minutes of your time. Just cut the potatoes into quarters (this helps them cook faster) and put them into a pot of cold water. Most of the time spent making mashed potatoes is hands-off.

Mashed potatoes are an ideal accompaniment to roast turkey and chicken, sausages, and roast meats, and are a key part of certain British and Irish dishes, especially the classic bangers and mash and bubble and squeak. You can also double this recipe easily—a good rule of thumb is that you want about half a pound of potatoes per person.

"This recipe is exactly what you need to make fresh, homestyle mashed potatoes! Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, perfect side dish for a festive meal, or great way to make a weeknight meal feel special. This recipe breaks down all the steps you need to make creamy, delicious potatoes." —Tracy Wilk

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make perfect mashed potato recipe.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  2. Put the quartered potatoes into a pot of cold water, covering by an inch. Add the teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.

    Cut potatoes cooking in water.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  3. Once boiling, lower the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and soft when pierced with a sharp knife.

    Cooked potatoes in a saucepan.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set aside.

    Cooked potatoes in a colander.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  5. Place the butter and milk in the pan used to boil the potatoes and return the pan to the heat.

    Butter melting in a pan with milk.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  6. Warm gently until the butter has melted into the milk. Turn off the heat.

    Melted butter and milk in a saucepan.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  7. Add the drained potatoes and mash using either a potato masher, a fork, a food mill, or a potato ricer.

    Riced potatoes in a pan with milk and butter.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

  8. Whip the mashed potato lightly with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Mashed potatoes in a saucepan.

    The Spruce Eats/Diana Chistruga

How to Store

Leftover mashed potatoes should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash or two of milk if needed.


  • If you like chunks of peel in your mashed potatoes, skip peeling them before cooking.
  • If you'd like to peel and cut your potatoes ahead of cooking (or if you get distracted mid-recipe), store the cut, uncooked potatoes in cool water for up to an hour to keep them from turning grey.
  • Don't use a food processor or blender to make mashed potatoes—it turns the mixture gluey rather than fluffy.

Recipe Variations

  • To add flavor to your mashed potatoes, toss in several mashed roasted garlic cloves, add chopped fresh chives or herbs, or use seasoned salt. You can even fold grated cheese into the hot spuds.
  • If you need to make these potatoes vegan and dairy-free, just substitute non-dairy milk for the milk and use a vegan butter substitute instead.

Which Potato Is Best for Mashed Potatoes?

Yukon Gold potatoes, a yellow variety, make for ideal mashed potatoes. They have dense, uniform flesh and a medium level of starch as well as a natural buttery flavor. When cooked, Yukons don't become grainy, mushy, or watery like other potato varieties can. Although many reach for russets when making mashed potatoes, this spud has a high starch content which means it will absorb water when boiled. If you'd like to use russets, you can use a mixture of half russet and half Yukon Gold.

Should I Cut Potatoes Before Boiling for Mashed Potatoes?

While you can boil potatoes whole for mashed potatoes, cutting them into smaller, equal pieces will ensure they cook evenly without drying out. They will also cook faster when cut than when whole.

How Many Potatoes Should You Make Per Person for Mashed Potatoes?

In general, plan to serve about half a pound of potatoes per person. If you're feeding four people then use two pounds of potatoes. This will ensure you have four generous servings of mashed potatoes without too much leftover.