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
For this recipe, I recommend using russet potatoes or yukon gold potatoes (more information on why below).
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.
What type of potatoes are best for mashing
Potatoes range from starchy to waxy, and yukon gold potatoes fall right into 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 they work well for mashing because they break down easily. However, they can become gluey when overworked, so take care not to mash your potatoes 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
Boiling your potatoes
Leave your potatoes whole or halved when boiling. I find that smaller potato pieces tend to fall apart or become watery when cooking, and I get better results from whole or halved potatoes.
They'll take a few more minutes to cook, but your mashed potatoes will turn out much better in the end.
Mashing your potatoes
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.
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. Cut in half as needed to get 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 15-20 minutes or until potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork. Drain well.
- Add heavy cream and potatoes back to pot. Using a potato masher or an electric mixer, slowly 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 especially, 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.