Creamy mashed potatoes are usually the first side people reach for on Thanksgiving. My wife fancies herself as a mashed potato expert and sets a pretty high bar for mashed potatoes. We like them smooth enough that they are creamy, but firm enough that it holds all the gravy you want.
My secret to getting the perfect texture of creamy mashed potatoes involves using a mix of potatoes and full fat cream and butter. Of all the places to cut calories, mashed potatoes is not one of them. Live a little and enjoy the real deal creamy mashed potatoes.
What's the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?
I am a big fan of using more than one potato in mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are a classic, starchy potato, but Yukon gold potatoes are naturally creamy and velvety in texture. Another point for Yukon Gold potatoes is that you don't need to peel them.
If I am making 5lbs of potatoes, I go an even split of Russet and Yukon Gold. If I am doing ten pounds of potatoes, I try to go with the ratio of 2 parts Russet, 2 parts Yukon, and 1 part Red potato. The addition of red potatoes offers more structure and slightly chunkier mashed potatoes. I love slightly chunky mashed, but my wife prefers smoother.
You don't need to peel your Russet Potatoes or Yukon Gold Potatoes, but Russet Potato skins aren't for everybody. If you are saving time or adding a little bit of texture, go with the Yukon Gold with skin on (or even half of them peeled).
How to make mashed potatoes creamy
Mashed potatoes are all about the magic ratio of potato + cream + butter. For every five pounds of potato, you want 1.5 sticks of butter and 2/3 cups of cream. I always go with heavy cream for the holidays, but you can use whole milk. Don't you dare go below 2%.
Each family is different when it comes to the texture of mashed potatoes. This formula errs on the side of stiffer potatoes rather than loose potatoes. You can always add more creamy, but it is hard to rescue potatoes that are too wet. The same goes for salt. I don't salt until the very end after tasting because this is so specific per family. I do about 3 tsp or more per five pounds.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs. potatoes (I prefer a mix of Russet and Yukon Gold)
- 1.5 sticks of salted butter (12 tbsp.)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (or whole milk or half and half)
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Peel and cut potatoes. Try your best to be consistent in the potato size.
- Place potatoes in a pot of water with a big pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 25-35 minutes.
- When potatoes are fork tender (a piece of potato can be mashed with a fork with ease), drain potatoes.
- If using a potato masher or handheld mixer, return potatoes to the pot and mash directly in pot. Add butter, cream, and salt after already mashed.
- If using stand mixer, combine and mix together.