Easy Microwave Mashed Potatoes

Microwave mashed potatoes

The Spruce 

Prep: 9 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 24 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yields: 5 1/2 cups

Believe it or not, it's totally possible to cook potatoes in the microwave. It happens to be a great way to make mashed potatoes fast from scratch.

Food cravings aren't always convenient, and sometimes when the hankering for this ultimate comfort food hits, there isn't enough time to prep them. Or maybe you are concerned you don't have the right potato choice. But with this recipe, the advantages are many. First, the potatoes are simple to prepare and cook: they're basically steamed in the microwave and then mashed with milk, butter, and seasonings. It's flexible; you can use any kind of potato you like, whether it's peeled russets or Yukon gold, or even unpeeled red potatoes. With the microwave, one of the most versatile side dishes—mashed potatoes from scratch—can be ready in less than 20 minutes, while you're prepping the main course.

Another speedy option for potatoes is this recipe for mashed potatoes using the Instant Pot or an electric pressure cooker. And many people swear by using a ricer for the potatoes to achieve the most fluffy and light mashed potatoes, with no lumps.


  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes (peeled and cut into small chunks, about 3/4-inch pieces)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk (or light cream)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter (or to taste; cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Microwave mashed potato ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Rinse the peeled potato chunks and put them in a large, microwave-safe bowl or a casserole dish. 

    Cut potatoes in a bowl ready for the microwave
    The Spruce 
  3. Cover the dish or bowl with plastic wrap and cut a small vent in the top for steam to escape.

    Bowl of potatoes covered with plastic ready for the microwave
    The Spruce
  4. Microwave on high for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be gently poked through with a fork. 

    Bowl of potatoes in a microwave
    The Spruce
  5. With pot holders or oven mitts, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. If necessary, transfer to a larger bowl for mashing.

    Steamed potatoes in a bowl with a fork
    The Spruce
  6. Warm 3/4 cup of milk with 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave until the butter is melted or nearly melted. 

    Warmed butter and milk mixture for mashed potatoes
    The Spruce
  7. If desired, put the potatoes through a ricer before mashing. 

    Potatoes being put through a ricer for mashing
    The Spruce
  8. Add the milk mixture to the hot potatoes and mash with a hand masher or small electric hand mixer. If using an electric mixer, don't overmix or they may become gummy. Add more milk and butter as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

    Potatoes being mashed
    The Spruce 
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper. Blend well. Serve alongside your favorite entrée. Enjoy!

    Mashed potatoes in bowl
    The Spruce

Recipe Variations

Potatoes are a blank slate and take well to many different kinds of additions. Feel free to add roasted garlic, or a few tablespoons of fresh chopped chives, parsley, or rosemary. Folding in a couple of tablespoons of sour cream, crème fraîche, or plain Greek yogurt adds some tang. Adding a 1/2 cup of grated cheddar, Parmesan, or another hard, assertive cheese adds a ton of flavor.

You can make these potatoes vegan by using non-dairy milk such as soy, almond, or oat, a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil, and/or a non-dairy plant-based butter substitute.

How to Store and Freeze Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 to 5 days.

They can be frozen for up to 6 months. Add more milk or butter to improve consistency after reheating, if needed.

  • To reheat in the microwave: Ovens vary, but reheat in a covered dish at 50 percent power for up to 5 minutes or until the potatoes are heated through.
  • To reheat on the stovetop: Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • To reheat in the oven: Cover the potatoes and place in a 350 F degree oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through.