Perfect Mashed Potatoes

*This recipe was updated on Nov. 13, 2016

These mashed potatoes truly are perfect.  They are light and fluffy and buttery, and the perfect side dish for turkey and gravy or roasted beef or pork.


Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed potatoes can be tricky. They can easily get too thin or too whipped, too chunky or not chunky enough… and it really depends on your taste! In my opinion, my Mom makes perfect mashed potatoes. They are thick, but smooth… dense but not dry. Always perfect every time… and this is her recipe.


I remember so many Sundays spent at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes for Sunday dinner, usually two of us were assigned to the peeling.  No matter how many potatoes that we peeled there never seemed to be enough, they would always get completely polished off.  I think the mashed potatoes were everyone’s favorite dish of the whole meal.  When my brother was a teenager he would create a mashed potato mountain on his plate, I wish I had a picture to show you how many mashed potatoes he could put down in one sitting.  It was unreal. Haha!


I really had to think about this recipe because every time I make these potatoes, I usually just eyeball everything (just like my Mom taught me). I thought it would be tough getting the exact measurements to put into a recipe because we have never measured it out before but with my mom’s help, we figured it out. These potatoes are so good on their own.. BUT… they are my FAVORITE with my Mom’s turkey gravy. Seriously, her gravy is to die for and I am FINALLY going to share it with you… you can get the recipe HERE! I hope you love it as much as we all do.


Recipes that are great with Mashed Potatoes:

Our favorite recipes to eat with mashed potatoes are definitely roasted meats with yummy gravy.  We always make them for Thanksgiving with our Mom’s Famous Turkey and Gravy.  They are also perfect with our Slow Cooker Roast Beef our tangy Italian Beef Roast and our Slow Cooker Pork Roast.


Other Yummy Potato Recipes:

We are big fans of all kinds of potato dishes.  It’s kind of a requirement if you live in Idaho. 🙂  Here are some of our other favorite potato side dishes that go great with any meal.  Find them all in our Potato Recipe Roundup HERE!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

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  • 3-4 Lbs. Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  • Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water, add salt (about 1-2 tsp.) and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
  • Combine milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave for about 40 seconds or until butter is melted (this makes it so the milk doesn't cool off your potatoes when you add it).
  • Drain potatoes and mash with a potato masher or mix in a stand mixer with whisk attachment (if you do a stand mixer, make sure to keep it on low to medium speed.. unless you want them whipped up).
  • Slowly add milk/butter mixture until you reach your desired consistency (adding more milk if you want the potatoes to be thinner). Mash in sour cream and salt & pepper. Serve immediately.
  • *If you can't serve it right away-- keep potatoes warm in an oven safe dish covered with tin foil and place in the oven to keep warm-- about 300-degrees.


  1. Natalie says:

    My mom taught me a few tricks just on Sunday. I could never get my potatoes like hers. First…like you said, quarter the potatoes. If you cut them up to small for some reason they just don’t turn out as well….too mushy or something. Also…drain well. My mom puts them in a strainer and lets them sit while getting the other ingredients ready. This ensures all the water is off of them. They whip up so nicely and are not gluey like some I’ve made in the past. Sounds like your mom and my mom were taught the same way.

    • Erica says:

      Good point about draining well.
      My mom does that too.. I just didn’t think it made a difference! Guess it does!

  2. Brittney says:

    How much does this make?

    • Erica says:

      About 6-8 servings

  3. Mary says:

    You can also make these ahead and freeze them….or make a double batch and freeze half. They are just as good thawed. My mom made these all the time for my youngest niece and nephew and called them Lollypop Potatoes…the kids would fill up their spoon and lick the potatoes off the spoon like they were licking a lollypop! For extra decadence, add 8 oz of cream cheese!

    • melissa says:

      do you think I can make these a day ahead? if so how long do you think I need to heat them up ?

  4. Maria B says:

    Thanks so much for this great recipe, I have featured it in my Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up over at Krafty Cards etc.

    • Emily says:

      Thanks! And you’re welcome! 🙂

  5. melissa says:

    how do you think they would fare if I made them a day ahead?

    • Erica says:

      Yes.. you can. Just put them in a 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350-degrees until heated through and whip them up with a fork again before serving.

      • melissa says:

        thanks! I made them and there are delicious!!!

  6. star says:

    Can i use heavy cream instead of milk?

    • Erica says:

      Sure! I bet it would make them extra rich and yummy!

      • Judy says:

        I reserve some of the salted potato- water and use with heavy cream and of course, real butter. What makes them so special is the potato-peeling contest we have with our kids and grandkids. Our little tradition with those we are most Thankful for. They laugh and are helping all at the same time

  7. Steffani says:

    This recipe is amazing! I used peeled red potatoes, boiled the potatoes in chicken broth, drained and followed the rest of it. It was a huge hit!

  8. angelle says:

    what if i dont have sour cream? what does
    it do? i have yogut….lol thanks

    • Emily says:

      You could do plain yogurt. It will taste a little different. Or you can just leave it out.

    • Nora says:

      My mom used Hellman’s mayonnaise in hers, where they call for sour cream here.

      • Debby says:

        My mom always used Hellman’s mayo as well and I still swear by it. I like to put some garlic in there while the potatoes boil too.

        • Echo says:

          I never thought of adding mayo to mashed potatoes. I am going to try it next time I make these potatoes which will be in a couple of days for Thanksgiving. I have added garlic and I love it!

          • Laura Knighten says:

            You can also use 1/2 the milk and then use chicken stock tastes great ! But the source cream is a must

          • Echo says:

            I agree! Good idea to use chicken stock. Thank you!

  9. Laura says:

    I agree, mashed potatoes made with sour cream are good. Even better is cream cheese. Pioneer woman gave me the very very best of recipes and I haven’t gone back. 🙂 5 lbs potatoes, 1/2 c butter, 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 c half and half or more for desired consistency (more for fluffier potatoes) and kosher salt to taste. PW says seasoned salt, I say kosher. 😉

  10. anon1234 says:

    Another point is to use the right potato. Russet are good for baking not so much for mashed potatoes. I find them too sandy and grainy. I use golden or yellow potatoes which have a creamy texture. I’ve also had success with red potatoes.

    • Sandra says:

      Golden or yellow potatoes is what I thought of using, but do you still add butter?

  11. Britsmom says:

    These were so yummy and super creamy! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Erica says:

      So glad you liked them! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  12. Cindy says:

    All of these sound so great!!!!

    • Lynn says:

      I use the potato water to make tbe gravy.

      • Echo says:

        Great idea! I’ve done that before too. The starch in the potato water helps thicken the gravy. Thank you for sharing!

  13. KIM says:

    Has anyone tried leaving the skins on? I like them that way but dont want to mess these up. thanks!

    • Echo says:

      You can definitely leave the skins on if you prefer it that way. It won’t mess anything up. Thank you for asking!

  14. Edith says:

    If I want to do less potatoes do I still go my the same portions will the measurements still be the same or would they be less ?

    • Echo says:

      You will definitely want to decrease the other measurements by the percentage you decrease the potatoes. For example, if you only use 2 lbs potatoes, you will cut the rest of the ingredients in half and use 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 cup butter, and 1/4 cup sour cream. If the potatoes seem to thick, add a little more milk. Thanks for asking!

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