Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Variations

Mashed potatoes
The Spruce
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
262 Calories
9g Fat
41g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 262
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 738mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 18mg 91%
Calcium 66mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 1055mg 22%
*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.)

The key to the best homemade mashed potatoes is not in the butter, milk, or seasonings. It's all about the potatoes you choose and the way you mash them. 

Russet potatoes are starchy with a somewhat dry flesh, making them an excellent choice for mashed potatoes. Waxy, low starch potatoes—like the red-skinned varieties and new potatoes—can make delicious mashed potatoes​ but take care not to overmix, or they could become gummy. A potato ricer is not essential, but it will ensure smooth, lump-free mashed potatoes. 

But don't fear. Perfect, creamy mashed potatoes are possible with this recipe and helpful tips. If you're looking for something a little different or lighter, take a look at the tips and variations below the recipe.


Watch Now: Everything You Need to Know About Perfect Mashed Potatoes


  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste

  • 3/4 cup whole milk, more as needed

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Mashed potatoes recipe ingredients
    Gather the ingredients for homemade mashed potatoes.  The Spruce
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2-inch cubes. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. 

    Mashed Potatoes recipe
    Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2-inch cubes.  The Spruce
  3. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Continue cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

    Mashed Potatoes recipe
    Bring potatoes to a boil.  The Spruce
  4. Meanwhile, just before the potatoes are done, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Set aside.

  5. Drain the potatoes and place the pan over the heat for about 20 to 30 seconds longer, or just long enough to dry the potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the heat.

    Drained potatoes
    Drain the potatoes. The Spruce
  6. Break the potatoes up with a potato masher. Alternatively, for a smoother texture, put them through a potato ricer first. 

    Mashed potatoes recipe
    Use potato masher.  The Spruce
  7. Add the warmed milk, melted butter, and black pepper.

    Mashed Potatoes recipe
    Combine warm milk, melted butter, and black pepper.  The Spruce
  8. Continue mashing until smooth, adding salt, to taste, and more milk, as needed.

    Mashed Potatoes recipe
    Mash potatoes until they are smooth.  The Spruce
  9. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

    Mashed potatoes recipe
    Homemade mashed potatoes.  The Spruce


  • If the potatoes can't be served immediately, keep them warm in a buttered slow cooker on the low or warm setting. Alternatively, cover the pan and keep them warm in a preheated 200 F oven. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl just before serving.
  • If using red-skinned potatoes, leave the skins on for the extra color and rustic texture.
  • Don't use a food processor or blender to mix the potatoes or you could end up with a gluey mess. A stand mixer with paddle beater attachment may be used, but avoid overmixing.

Recipe Variations

  • A dash of nutmeg can add extra flavor to mashed potatoes.
  • Replace whole milk with skim milk, or use part stock.
  • Replace the butter with olive oil.
  • Brown the butter before adding it to the potatoes.
  • Use part or all sour cream instead of milk.
  • Add some shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, or crumbled blue cheese to the potatoes along with the milk and melted butter.
  • Replace about half of the potatoes with rutabaga. Cubed rutabaga will take about 10 minutes longer to cook, so cook it separately or boil it in a large pot of water for 10 minutes before adding the potatoes.
  • Cutting carbs? Replace one-third to half of the potatoes with steamed, well-drained cauliflower.
  • Cook about 3 to 4 peeled, roughly chopped cloves of garlic along with the potatoes and mash as directed.
  • Garnish the potatoes with fresh chopped parsley.
  • If the stovetop is full, consider using a pressure cooker to cook the mashed potatoes.
  • Duchess Mashed Potatoes: Reduce the milk to 1/2 cup and add 2 beaten egg yolks to the seasoned mashed potato mixture. Pipe the mashed potatoes onto baking sheets, making serving-size mounds. Whisk an egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush over the mounds of potatoes. Bake in a preheated 425 F oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • For a version to make in the microwave, try this Easy Microwave Mashed Potatoes recipe.