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Smooth and creamy, these simple mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish to all your favorite family meals. Basic ingredients come together to create a flavorful, buttery, and creamy mashed potato that everyone will love!

Dish filled with creamy mashed potatoes swirled and topped with melted butter and fresh chives.

All about these Mashed Potatoes…

  • Smooth & Creamy: The use of the sour cream allows us to use less butter, and still end up with epically creamy mashed potatoes. Plus the tang of the sour cream adds to the flavor.
  • Simple: we are using basic ingredients to make a simple mashed potato. These of course can be dressed up with fresh herbs, cheeses, or whatever else you want to add, but this is a great simple, basic mashed potato recipe you can build off of.

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients needed to make perfectly creamy mashed potatoes laid on the counter.

Notes on some ingredients:

  • Potatoes: Either gold or russet potatoes work well with this recipe. Gold potatoes are often a preferred option thanks to their creaminess when mashed and their natural subtle buttery flavoring.
  • Milk: use your milk of preference, you could also use a heavier cream if you prefer.
  • Sour Cream: allows us to use a little less butter, and gives a light tang to the potatoes. Be careful not to add extra sour cream as it can be overpowering.
  • Salt: taste and adjust as needed.

How to Make (step-by-step):

How to make mashed potatoes, chopped potatoes in a large dutch oven before and after boiling.

How to make Homemade Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes. Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Once boiling it can take about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Drain & Dry the potatoes. This is a quick and easy step of just adding the potatoes back into the pot, placing them back over the heat for a brief 2 minutes, letting more of the excess moisture evaporate off. Then mash the potatoes. Use your preferred method of mashing.
  4. Add warm milk, butter and salt, then stir in the sour cream.
How to make mashed potatoes, heating the milk and butter then adding into the mashed up potatoes.

Methods for mashing potatoes:

  • For Rustic: Meaning a mash that still has some chunks, but mostly smooth. Use a handheld masher, like this OXO Stainless steel potato masher (affiliate link)
  • For Epically Smooth and Creamy: these potatoes come out smoother than silk! Use a Potato Ricer, like this OXO Good Grips (affiliate) version.
  • For Whipped Mashed Potatoes: These potatoes come out light and airy. Just be careful not to overmix. Then you will end up with gummy mashed potatoes. Use a hand or a stand mixer. This KitchenAid Hand mixer (affiliate) will get it done.
Pot filled with mashed potatoes and adding in sour cream.

Expert Tips & Tricks:

  • Pick your potatoes wisely– choose either a starchy Russet potato or a waxy Yukon gold. My personal preference is the Yukon Golds which give a creamy, buttery mash.
  • Peel and chop your potatoes before boiling– this allows for quick and even cooking of the potatoes.
  • Salt your water– after you add the potatoes to the pot, cover with cold water, add a generous helping of salt. We will have a chance to salt to taste later on as well when making the final dish.
  • Start with cold water- cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil as opposed to adding potatoes to already boiling water.
  • Don’t over mix- one method of mashing potatoes is to use a hand mixer or stand mixer. If we’re not careful the potatoes can become over mixed which gives them a gummy, almost glue like texture.
  • Warm your milk and butter before adding to the potatoes. This keeps your mashed potatoes nice and warm and helps them to absorb the moisture easier.
  • Adjust to get the right consistency. If your potatoes aren’t creamy enough, add a bit more milk, or stir in a bit more sour cream.
Up close of creamy mashed potatoes topped with butter, fresh chives and cracked pepper.

Mashed Potatoes: FAQS

Should you mash potatoes hot or cold?

Always start boiling the potatoes in cold water, but be sure to mash them while they are still warm.

How many potatoes should I make to feed people?

Since mashed potatoes is one of those recipes that we prepare often for large gatherings and holidays, you might be wanting to make a large batch! To give you an idea, you want to allow about 1/2 pound of raw potato per person. So if you are expecting 15 people you will want to plan to make about 8 pounds of potatoes..always round up!

Why do you put milk in mashed potatoes?

Potatoes absorb liquid extremely well, adding milk allows the potatoes absorb the liquid and become creamy at the same time.

What to serve these potatoes with:

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

4.96 from 47 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Serene
This recipe for the Perfect Mashed Potato comes together with basic ingredients and creates a smooth, creamy, and buttery mashed potato that pairs with all your favorite dishes.
Dish filled with creamy mashed potatoes swirled and topped with melted butter and fresh chives.


  • 3 pounds potatoes russet or gold
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ tsp salt


  • Peel and chop the potatoes. Potatoes should be cut to about 1 inch squares. 
  • Place potatoes in large pot, cover with water, add the minced garlic and sprinkle in some salt. 
  • Heat over medium high heat. Once boiling, allow the potatoes to simmer about 10-15 minutes until they are tender and easily mashed with a fork. 
  • Strain the water out, return the potatoes to the pot, place over low heat and cook while stirring the potatoes for another 1-2 minutes to help dry the potatoes.
  • Mash the potatoes using your desired method. 
  • Pour milk and butter into small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, just until the milk is warm. Do not bring to a boil. 
  • Add the warm milk mixture to the potatoes and stir together. Stir in sour cream and salt (add more salt to taste if needed). 



If potatoes are too thick you can add a bit more milk. Add in small amounts and mix in completely. 
  • Storage: Store the potatoes in a sealed container in the refrigerator. These potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Mashed potatoes can be reheated in the oven or in a large skillet on the stovetop. Simply add a small amount of milk into the potatoes while they are heating or after armed to help get the desired consistency. They will be slightly dried out after refrigerating.
Make Ahead: 
  • Prep the ingredients: Peel and chop the potatoes and chill in a large bowl of ice water for up to 4 hours prior to boiling. Just make sure to keep the water cold.
  • Make up to 3 days ahead of time: Follow the recipe completely. Place the mashed potatoes in a large sealed container, or store in a casserole dish covered. Potatoes can be reheated in the oven in the casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes until heated through.
  • Make earlier in the day: simply keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 16mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first published October 15, 2019 updated October 26, 2022 with new images and information. Recipe is unchanged.

Photography by the talented

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Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m not a huge mashed potato fan, but this recipe is so delicious. It will be my go to recipe going forward.  The garlic gave it great flavor. I used Yukon gold this time. The only alteration is I added fresh ground pepper. 😋

  2. Great recipe! It came out delicious and my guests loved 🙂 I was very impressed by how these minimal ingredients can bring something together so well. I didn’t use garlic this time, but it was not a problem at all. Strongly recommended!