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How to make Perfect Mashed Potatoes: Light, fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes can be yours if you follow these simple tips!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes - A Family Feast

Today we’re showing you how to make Perfect Mashed Potatoes – light and fluffy, as well as creamy and lump-free with the perfect seasoning to go along with your Thanksgiving menu!

Making mashed potatoes is really very simple in theory – but so many people (including myself) have struggled to get it right! There’s nothing worse than mashed potatoes that are too dry, too soupy, or too lumpy!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes - A Family Feast

So here are a few tips and tricks:

  • First of all – use either Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes. When cooked, these types of potatoes yield the perfect texture for mashed potatoes.
  • General rule of thumb is 5-6 ounces of raw potato per person.  So, one pound of raw potatoes will make approximately three servings once the final recipe is complete.
  • We recommend using a potato ricer to mash your potatoes. While a potato masher also works, it sometimes leaves larger lumps behind in your mashed potatoes. Using a potato ricer ensures that the mashed potatoes are a uniform size and consistency – and a deliciously light texture.


  • Also – never, ever use an electric mixer to mash your potatoes! The potatoes will turn out the consistency of glue!

More specifics for making perfect mashed potatoes are listed in the recipe below. This perfect mashed potatoes recipe is (admittedly) very rich and very special using lots of fresh garlic, butter and cream so it’s perfect for a special holiday meal indulgence. You can lighten this recipe up by swapping in milk and using less butter if desired.

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Perfect Mashed Potatoes - A Family Feast

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings


Another thing to note: This recipe is written for a busy home cook who is trying to serve their Thanksgiving menu foods on the table at the same time. We share our tips in the recipe for keeping the mashed potatoes hot – but not overcooked – while the last-minute foods for your meal are cooked.


  • 4 pounds russet potatoes (about five large potatoes)
  • 1 head of garlic (or about 8 large cloves)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chives for garnish


  1. Fit a medium to large pot with a steamer basket and bring water up to the bottom of the basket. Set aside.
  2. Have a large stainless steel bowl standing by that will fit in the pot once the steamer basket is out. The bowl should be large enough to hold onto the rim of the pot without touching the bottom. That bowl will be used twice, see next step.
  3. Fill the stainless steel bowl half filled with water and set on your counter.
  4. Place a cutting board near the bowl half filled with water.
  5. Begin peeling and cutting the potatoes one at a time, placing pieces into the bowl of water. Cut each potato in half the long way then each half in half the long way again. Then cut each of these quarters into thirds giving you twelve 2” sizes pieces. Repeat for the other potatoes placing in the water as you cut.
  6. Peel the garlic and cut each clove in half from top to bottom and lay them in the steamer basket. Drain the potatoes and place on top of the garlic. Cover and bring the pot to a boil then reduce to medium simmer and simmer 25 minutes covered or until the potatoes are fork tender. Check after 20 minutes.
  7. While the potatoes are steaming, heat half the cream and butter in a sauce pan just until the butter melts.
  8. When the potatoes are done, use a potato ricer with the insert with largest holes and push the cooked potatoes and cooked garlic through the ricer into the same stainless steel bowl used before. Alternatively if you do not own a ricer, use a hand potato masher and mash in the same bowl. Using the large holes on the ricer will make the potatoes a tiny bit lumpy which is what we want here. Add the hot cream and butter to the potatoes and mix vigorously with a firm wooden spoon. If your family likes mashed potatoes with no lumps, take the mashed potatoes that you just added half the cream and butter to and with a spatula, press the mixture through a fine sieve. This step is not necessary unless you like them really finely mashed.
  9. Take the pot that the potatoes were cooked in and fill with water just high enough to reach the bottom of the stainless steel bowl bottom and bring to a boil. Place the bowl of mashed potatoes over the hot water and lower the heat and cover until ready to serve.
  10. Heat the remaining cream and butter with the salt in the same sauce pan as before.
  11. When your dinner is ready and you are ready to serve, add the remaining hot cream and butter to the warm potatoes and whip or beat, adjust seasoning and serve in serving bowls garnished with chopped chives.
  12. If you are making this all in one step, heat all of the cream, butter and salt and add to the potatoes that you mashed. Adjust seasoning and serve with chives for garnish.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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  • Laura Kane wrote:

    Hi Martha, in this mashed potato recipe, it calls for 3 sticks of butter. somehow that does not seem right for 4lb of potatoes. could you check that please. …………. Thank You!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Laura! I’ll dig out our old recipe notes to confirm/correct – but in the meantime, feel free to adjust down. Thank you!

    • Jack wrote:

      This is Jack…I confirmed that I did use three sticks of butter, but feel free to use less.

  • Linda wrote:

    Excellent recipe and excellent advice. I’ve done this several times and have past this on to others.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Linda!

  • Vicky wrote:

    I always use my mixer for mashed potatoes, and they are perfect! I would never consider ricing potatoes for 16 holiday dinner guests.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for sharing your feedback Vicky!

    • Betty wrote:

      I agree, Vicky, using a mixer is so much easier! No lumps and also no need for 3 sticks of butter or heavy cream! I use 2% milk and a hand mixer and my mashed potatoes are always light and fluffy. Everyone always has seconds, too. I usually do 10 lbs of potatoes for our extended family of 16 – one stick of butter is plenty for that much. There’s rarely any left! As Todd said above, they only become gluey if you over-mix.

  • Lisa wrote:

    I always use a hand electric mixer for my mashed potatoes and they have NEVER come out like glue. My whole family always requests my mashed potatoes and I have a chef in the family who says they are the best he’s ever had.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for sharing Lisa!

      • Lori wrote:

        I agree, Lisa. I only had them turn out like glue once in my life, but I had used a different kind of potato and was told it was because of the type of potato I used. I’ve used russets for mashed from that point on, with an electric beater and they turn out perfectly every time. I do mash them quite a bit before hand with either the beaters or, if I’m having company and do not want lumps, I mash them with a fine potato masher before whipping them.

    • Todd Edington wrote:

      The use of an electric mixer is fine, you just need to be sure not to over mix. You also need to be careful with the amount of liquids that you add in. I’ve used mine with excellent results.

      • Martha wrote:

        Thanks Todd!

  • These look Heavenly! I love your photography! Pinned!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Amy!

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