5 Tips for Making the Best Mashed Potatoes

With my 5 Tips for Making the Best Mashed Potatoes, it’s surprisingly easy to elevate mashed potatoes into the spotlight for your next family meal or holiday celebration!

If there’s one thing I know a lot about, that’s comfort food. I know it may not seem so, with my voice primarily being in the “health and wellness” area and recently dedicated to keto and low carb recipes … but you can probably notice a trend that the majority of my recipes are super delicious and totally savory.

If you are keto or eating low-carb, don’t worry! My Best Ever Mashed Cauliflower Recipe will become your new favorite comfort food side dish!

I’m know in real life for cooking like a grandma. Cooking with depth and flavors that most people forgot how to embrace in this glorified-busy lifestyle many have adapted to.

I am still in disbelief that anyone would serve instant mashed potatoes instead of making them from scratch. OMG, never.

It’s not that I’m gourmet in any way, I just believe that food should be prepared in a manner that is truly celebrated, no matter how mundane the dish may be.

Like mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes should be one of the most important parts to your meal. And it’s surprisingly easy to elevate them to being a stand out on their own!

Before we get to my 5 tips for making the best mashed potatoes there’s one other topic we need to discuss…

What potatoes are best for making mashed potatoes?

Choosing higher starch potatoes like Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are widely suggested for the fluffiest, smoothest and most flavor-packed mashed potatoes. Russet varieties mash up light and fluffy, while yellow-fleshed potatoes like Yukon Gold have a naturally buttery flavor and creamy, dense consistency. I personally suggest using a combination of both russet and golden potatoes together.

Red potatoes are generally considered too waxy and won’t yield as luxurious of a mashed potato dish.

How many potatoes do I need per person?

As a general rule 1 pound of potatoes will yield roughly 2 small servings of mashed potatoes but let’s be honest about servings… most of us tend to have a heavier hand at serving sizes, especially indigently at holiday celebrations.

I recommend 3/4 pounds of potatoes per person to make sure that you’ll have plenty to go around. And I never make less than 2 pounds of potatoes for mashed potatoes, even if it’s just Ray & I for dinner. Mashed potatoes are wonderful as leftovers and can easily be frozen for later.

  • 2 servings, make 1.5-2 pounds of potatoes
  • 4 servings, make 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 6 servings, make 4.5-5 pounds of potatoes
  • 8 servings, make 6 pounds of potatoes
  • 10 servings, make 7-8 pounds of potatoes
  • 12 servings, make 9-10 pounds of potatoes

5 Tips for making the Best Mashed Potatoes

Adopting these 5 simple tips for making the best mashed potatoes will radically change your next holiday table. Taking potatoes from a side dish to the start of the celebration.

Because, let’s be honest they deserve to be celebrated. Mashed potatoes are so delicious, right??

Tip 1: Generously season your Mashed Potatoes

This first tip for the best mashed potatoes is honestly one of the most important things you can embrace in your kitchen to be a better cook.

Generously seasoning your mashed potatoes, starting with the cooking water and using your taste buds to guide you all the way to the table, is the only way to ensure those potatoes will be everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

To start, I toss a generous tablespoon or 2 into my cooking water with my potatoes. This starts the flavor building process right from the start. Potatoes without salt aren’t so amazing, salt makes them magical.

No, I don’t measure but I just scoop a bunch of sea salt into my hand and toss it in. My “expert” opinion is that it’s always a tablespoon or more, depending on how many potatoes I’m making.

Seasoning your potatoes doesn’t stop at salt, ground black pepper is also an essential ingredient for making the best mashed potatoes.

How much pepper do you need to add to your mashed potatoes? A big pinch and then some… I have a very heavy hand with black pepper and I’ve never added too much!

Another way to impart extra flavor into your mashed potatoes is to use chicken broth to cook your potatoes. You can even add in a scoop of chicken base, if desired.

Tip 2: Always use a Ricer, not a mixer or masher to make mashed potatoes

Way back in 2000, right after Ray and I moved into our house, I was shopping at a kitchen store with my mom and grandmother. My grandmother told me to pick out a couple things for Christmas.

Gram Elsie was a passionate foodie like me but she scoffed at the Potato Ricer that I wanted. I remember reading an article in a cooking magazine about the wonders of using a potato ricer and I’ve been hooked ever since.

A potato ricer essentially is a large garlic press. Cook your potatoes until they are tender, drain well then working in small batches you press them through your potato ricer. The potatoes squeeze out playdough style rice sized strings.

Using a potato ricer eliminates large lumps, yielding a smoother more fluffy mashed potato with less effort.

Tip 3: Never use milk for Mashed Potatoes, always use heavy cream

Put down the milk and back away.

Potatoes love fat and they need that extra creaminess that comes from heavy cream. I’ve also used sour cream, cream fraiche and cream cheese with success. But nothing is as delectable as heavy cream.

While we on the subject of fatty dairy products (which BTW are my favorite food group) REAL BUTTER is also an essential.

And Please don’t even try to tell me that you prefer fat free or reduced fat anything for your potatoes, I’m going to straight out tell you to stop lying to yourself, our bodies and taste buds all crave essential healthy fats!

One last thing, using high quality, full fat dairy products along with the carb-laden potatoes will actually help your body process the starch in a more healthy way!

The best sources of healthy, high quality dairy include farm fresh organic products made from grass fed cows. The less processed the better.

After I drain my potatoes, I add some heavy cream to the still-warm-pot along with some butter, sea salt and pepper. This is just enough to get me started then I adjust, for taste and consistency after ricing the potatoes and mixing them in.

Tip 4: Don’t overmix your mashed potatoes

The beauty of using a potato ricer (see tip 2) is that all the big lumps and bumps are instantly gone. So you can toss that masher and there’s no need to dirty your mixer.

Your riced potatoes are so fluffy already that all you need to do is gently fold in your cream, butter, sea salt and pepper.

The more time you spend mixing your potatoes the starchier they will get. Nobody wants a starchy, gummy side of mashed potatoes!

Less is more when it comes to mixing your mashed potatoes!

Tip 5: Make your mashed potatoes ahead of time

Making your mashed potatoes ahead of time is not only a great way to save time when there’s always a bunch of dishes competing for your attention when it’s almost time to eat but it also gives you more patience to make the best mashed potatoes and not cut corners.

Mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time, placed in an oven proof dish topped with extra butter (because butter is amazing) then kept warm in the oven or reheated just before serving.

If I’ve specifically planned to make my mashed potatoes ahead of time, I will make them just slightly looser than if I was serving them immediately to account for some of the cream getting absorbed by the starchy potatoes while they sit.

Even if your oven is a little too hot (which can easily happen with a crowded oven during holidays) and your potatoes get a little brown on top, don’t worry they are even extra delicious!

Now that you are a mashed potato pro, I bet you can’t wait to whip up a batch of the Best Mashed Potatoes!?!

But not really “whip” because remember tip 3! Always use a potato ricer!

Serve these delicious mashed potatoes with my {Gluten-Free} Paleo Chicken or Turkey Gravy or learn how to Make the Best Keto Gravy (recipe coming soon).

Mashed potatoes aren’t just for holidays! They are the prefect side dish to these other recipes:

I’d love to know what are you favorite tips for making the best mashed potatoes for your family? Please comment with your tips and tricks!

Yours in Health,

Hayley Ryczek
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