After years of hunting for a classic mashed potato recipe that didn’t call for any special equipment, I finally learned how to make creamy mashed potatoes without a ricer! This simple recipe is a staple for busy weeknights and special occasions.
Things in life that are complicated:
- Wedding cakes.
- Folding a fitted sheet.
Things that should not be complicated.
- Mashed potatoes
For the last several years, I’ve been trying to develop a classic, no-fuss mashed potato recipe. I wanted a recipe I could count on to deliver creamy mashed potatoes in the shortest amount of time possible, without requiring any extra equipment. I needed something I could serve up on weeknights with Panko Crusted Chicken Piccata and on holidays with Red Wine Braised Short Ribs and Amish Chicken and Noodles.
Turns out getting that recipe was more complicated than I anticipated. Almost all the creamy mashed potato recipes I found online called for a ricer. I’m sure these contraptions are amazing for breaking up every tiny lump of potato, but 1) I don’t own one, 2) I have no interest in purchasing another single use tool to clutter my cupboards, and 3) Ain’t nobody got time to push potatoes through a ricer.
Finally, I turned to two of my favorite cookbooks– my “New Edition” Fannie Farmer Cookbook (printed in 1951) and my Amish Community Cookbook. These folks know simplicity, and what I learned from reading through their recipes is that we’re making mashed potatoes way too complicated. If you have a pot and a potato masher (or sturdy whisk…or fork…or electric beater!), you can make creamy mashed potatoes at home right now.
Along the way, I did discover a few tricks to make your mashed potato experience better.
1. Pick the right potato. I personally prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed potato recipe. I like their flavor better than Russets, and I’m fond of their golden color too. According to this Serious Eats article, Yukon Golds tend to yield a creamier mashed potato texture while Russets yield a fluffier texture. That puts me firmly in the creamy camp, but feel free to use Russets if fluffy mashed potatoes are your jam, or be a rebel and use half and half!
2. Peel your potatoes. Everyone has their own opinions about this, but I prefer to roughly peel my potatoes before boiling. A few skins here and there don’t bother me, so I’m not overly precise. Other people prefer to peel after the potatoes are boiled. The skins come off fairly easily at this point, but I find dealing with a piping hot potato more difficult than peeling them in advance.
3. Cut your potatoes into similar sizes. If I have small Yukons, I leave those whole and just cut the bigger ones to a similar size. This helps the potatoes cook faster and more evenly than leaving them whole.
4. Put your potatoes in the pot and cover with cold water, THEN bring the whole pot to a boil. If you add potatoes to already boiling water, the outside will cook too quickly and the inside won’t cook enough.
5. Salt your water. Just like pasta, potatoes soak up liquid so salting your water will add to the flavor of your potatoes.
6. Once the potatoes are soft, drain them, then return them to the pot over very low heat to dry out a bit. This prevents that dreaded soggy, wet texture.
7. Add softened butter followed by very warm milk. The warm milk will incorporate better and prevent the mashed potatoes from cooling down.
I have found a simple potato masher or whisk can yield pretty creamy mashed potatoes, though you’ll still probably have a few small lumps. I personally don’t mind a lump here or there. To me, it makes them feel rustic and homemade. However, if I’m after really creamy potatoes, I whip them up with hand mixers or my stand mixer until they’re extra smooth.
I purposely kept these potatoes as simple as possible, only adding whole milk, butter, and salt. These are ingredients I usually always have on hand, so I know I can make this recipe any night of the week.
However, this is also a great base recipe for experimenting. Feel free to use half and half or cream for extra richness, stir in sour cream if you like a hint of tang, or layer the potatoes in a casserole dish with shredded cheese and bake to melty perfection. Whether you’re enjoying these on a busy weeknight or a holiday dinner, these creamy mashed potatoes won’t disappoint!
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
This simple recipe makes creamy mashed potatoes every time.
- 3 lbs. Yukon gold mashed potatoes
- 3 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh parsley and more butter, for serving
- Rinse and peel the potatoes. I leave small potatoes whole, but chop any larger potatoes to be the same size as your smallest ones.
- Place the potatoes in the bottom of a large pot. Fill with cold water, add 3 teaspoons salt, and then place the pot on the stove over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 18-22 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the potato.
- Drain the potatoes then return the pot to low heat. Add the potatoes back to the pan and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to allow the potatoes dry. Roughly mash the potatoes using a potato masher or two forks, then transfer them to the bowl of an electric mixer or keep the potatoes in the pot and use handheld beaters.
- Heat the milk in another sauce pan or in the microwave until hot, but not boiling.
- Use the whisk attachment to blend the potatoes on medium speed. Scrape the bowl, then add the butter, a few Tablespoons at a time, blending until melted. Add the hot milk and continue to beat on low speed until absorbed. Turn the speed up to medium high and blend until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt. Serve with a pat of butter on top and fresh parsley, if desired.
This recipe will work fine with Russets instead of Yukon Golds, though I prefer the golds both for flavor and creaminess.