Creamy mashed potatoes are everything you want in a classic mashed potato recipe. These potatoes are filled with butter, heavy cream, and just a touch of salt and pepper. Incredibly simple, made from scratch, and a must for your next holiday meal or family dinner.
Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side dish to serve at your next holiday gathering. They're also easy to make for a quick weeknight family dinner.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Potatoes - For this recipe, I recommend using russet potatoes or yukon gold potatoes (more information on why below).
- Heavy cream - If you don't have heavy cream on hand, whole milk or half & half can be substituted. However, heavy cream will make your potatoes creamy and rich, and I highly recommend giving it a try.
- Unsalted butter - Can be substituted with salted butter if needed. You may want to cut the listed salt in half if you're sensitive to salty foods.
- Salt, pepper, & parsley - Adds flavor to your potatoes. Feel free to adjust and add more to taste.
Best potatoes for mashing
Potatoes range from starchy to waxy, and yukon gold potatoes fall right in the middle. If you can only buy one all-purpose potato at the store, I'd recommend yukon gold. They're great for mashing, roasting, or baking.
Russet potatoes are a starchy potato and work well for mashing because they break down easily. However, they can become gluey when overworked, so take care not to mash your russets too much. This is especially important when using a hand or stand mixer to blend your potatoes.
For more information about potatoes: Starchy, Waxy, and All-Purpose: Potato Types, Explained
Leave your potatoes whole or halved when boiling. Smaller potato pieces tend to fall apart and become watery when boiled, so you'll get better results from boiling larger potato pieces.
They'll take a few more minutes to cook, but your mashed potatoes will turn out with a better texture in the end.
If your potatoes are cooked all the way through, with blemishes removed before cooking, they should mash easily and evenly with a simple handheld potato masher.
If you're in a bind and don't have a potato masher on hand, try one of these other kitchen tools or appliances: food processor, potato ricer/food mill, stand mixer, hand mixer, or a sturdy metal whisk.
In an emergency, use a fork or the bottom of a sturdy mug to mash your potatoes. While time consuming, it will get the job done in a pinch.
Tips and tricks
For the creamiest, smoothest mashed potatoes, here are my favorite tricks:
- Remove blemishes from your potatoes while peeling. Blemishes turn into lumps in your mashed potatoes later on.
- Leave your potatoes whole or halved. Small potato pieces tend to fall apart and get watery when boiling. They'll take a few minutes longer to cook but the texture turns out much better.
- Don't skimp on the heavy cream and butter - this is what gives your mashed potatoes that creamy texture.
- Room temperature butter is velvety smooth and incorporates easily into mashed potatoes. Set your butter out on the countertop to warm up while the potatoes boil.
- Make sure your potatoes are cooked all the way through before draining. Undercooked potatoes turn out lumpy when mashed.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, or russet potatoes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, or chives, chopped (optional)
- Peel potatoes and remove blemishes. Leave whole or cut in half as needed for a uniform size throughout.
- Place in a large pot and cover with water. Over medium-high heat, bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork (time depends on the size of your potatoes). Drain well.
- Add heavy cream and potatoes back to the pot. Using a potato masher or an electric mixer, slowly mash/blend potatoes and heavy cream together until incorporated and no lumps remain. Add butter and salt and pepper, mixing until incorporated.
- Optionally, top with fresh chopped parsley or chives before serving.
- Heavy cream can be substituted with whole milk or half & half, but will produce a less creamy mashed potato.
- If using russet potatoes, take care not to over-mix your potatoes - russet potatoes have a tendency to get gluey if overworked.
- When preparing potatoes for a crowd, make a half pound of potatoes for each guest. Tap the servings at the top of the recipe card and use the sliding bar to adjust your servings.