Buttery Mashed Potatoes

5 from 45 votes

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 This Mashed Potatoes Recipe is smooth, silky and buttery! Mashed potatoes are delicious on their own or are a perfect addition to any dinner. This recipe is fancy enough for Thanksgiving to be paired with your Roasted Turkey and Gravy and yet, simple enough for any busy weeknight to go with my favorite beef stew. So so good!

Mashed Potatoes in bowl with melted butter

Mashed Potatoes | My Favorite Carb

Mashed Potatoes are tasty little devils. After spending a good portion of my adult life in Idaho, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of a spud. When made right, mashed potatoes can stand alone (because they’re that good) OR be enjoyed with soups, stews and roasted meats. Plus they are so simple and inexpensive to make.Today I’m sharing my ultimate mashed potatoes recipe, complete with my secret ingredient! This is my go-to, fail-proof, perfect for any holiday or regular dinner mashed potato recipe! I promise these will not let you down. So, let’s make some taters!

Main Ingredients Needed

This recipe requires only 5 ingredients, one of which takes these potatoes over the top. So gather up these ingredients to make the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted.

  • Potatoes – I used Idaho Russet potatoes in this recipe because they are starchy, mash smooth and readily available in most grocery stores. Other potatoes can definitely be used in place of the Russets, Yukon Golds being the preferred alternate.
  • Salted Butter – mashed potatoes are meant to be buttery and delicious. You can use unsalted butter if you’d like, just make sure to season your potatoes accordingly.
  • Cream Cheese – **this is my secret ingredient! Cream cheese adds creaminess and tang. Similar to how sour cream would, but adds a silky texture you can only get from cream cheese.
  • Whole Milk – Since we’re already using butter and cream cheese, whole milk is the perfect addition to make these a little extra buttery without feeling heavy (like heavy cream would do). Buuuuuut, you are more than welcome to add half and half or heavy cream if that is your thing!
  • Salt and Pepper – season as you go. Go heavier on the salt than the pepper.
potatoes, butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, pepper on counter

How to Make Mashed Potatoes | Directions

There aren’t too many pitfalls when it comes to making buttery and delicious Mashed Potatoes. Honestly, it’s a super simple method used. I’ve highlighted the most important notes below so you can make your potatoes look and taste just as good as mine.

Step 1: Prep Your Potatoes

I wash and peel my potatoes with a sharp vegetable peeler. (This is the one I have and it works great!) After they are washed and rinsed, cut them into large, evenly sized pieces.

Step 2: Boil Your Potatoes

Add your cubed potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until fork tender. My only note here is to be sure to not overcook your potatoes! Overcooking will water log your potatoes and give you a bit of a grainy texture that mashing won’t correct. As soon as they are fork-tender, drain them!

Step 3: Dry Potatoes Before Mashing

In my recipe card instructions below, it says to return the potatoes to the hot pan right after draining. Don’t skip this step! Doing this helps “steam” the potatoes and remove any extra moisture. We don’t want to taste that starchy cooking liquid, so evaporating as much of it as possible really helps taste (and overall texture).

Step 4: Mash Your Potatoes!

This is a personal preference thing. I like mashing my potatoes by hand (my favorite masher here), but some choose to use a hand mixer or even a stand mixer! My only caution is don’t over mix! You can go from fluffy delicious potatoes to a gloopy, starchy mess in a hurry, especially when using an electric mixer. You should be fine if mashing by hand.

Peeled potatoes on cutting board


Since this is such a simple recipe, you can easily add different ingredients to fit your dinner style. Feel free to customize this recipe to your liking! Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

  • Garlic – for the garlic lovers and for the Italian style dishes. Try roasting your garlic beforehand for an extra-strong flavor. Or use my Garlic Mashed Potato Recipe found here.
  • Sweet Potatoes – sweet potatoes are a seriously delicious alternative to Idaho potatoes and are still perfect for the holidays.
  • Cajun Seasoning – this is a great way to spice up your potatoes. Add as much or as little as you want.
  • Loaded Potatoes – I already have a recipe for this! Check it out here: Loaded Smashed Potatoes.
Boiling chopped potatoes

Making Mashed Potatoes Ahead

Storing 1-2 Hours Ahead

If you’ve made your mashed potatoes and you have to keep them warm until dinner, this is my favorite trick! Transfer the potatoes into a large, heatproof bowl and keep them over a pot of simmering water. Stir them occasionally and add in milk to keep them at the desired consistency you want. Top them with a pat or two of butter and some foil to keep the top from drying out and serve hot when you’re ready.

Storing 1-3 Days Ahead

So, you have your mashed potatoes ready and waiting in an airtight container in the refrigerator. What is the best way to reheat them? I like to transfer the mashed potatoes into a large bowl and microwave until warm. Every 30 seconds to 1 minute, stir and add splashes of milk where necessary. Once they are hot and to your desired texture, transfer them to a serving bowl, top with a few pats of butter and serve.

Freezing 1-2 Months Ahead

The trick to freezing mashed potatoes is to eliminate as much air as possible. Transfer completely cooled mashed potatoes into a freezer bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Store in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat using the microwave method as outlined above.

mashed potatoes in pot with potato masher

Other Family-Favorite Potato Recipes:

Mashed Potatoes in red bowl

Whether you are celebrating a holiday or just making these because you have a hankering for some seriously buttery mashed potatoes, I hope you love this recipe! Be sure to bookmark/save/print/pin/share because after you make these once, you won’t want to make another mashed potato recipe ever.

Have a great day, friends!

5 from 45 votes

Mashed Potatoes

This Mashed Potatoes Recipe is smooth, silky and so creamy! Mashed potatoes are delicious on their own or are a perfect side dish for dinner.
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins


  • 2 pounds Idaho Potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Peel potatoes and rinse them. Cut into even-sized pieces and place them into a large pot.
  • Cover with water and add a dash of salt. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain completely and place potatoes back into the hot pot.
  • Mash potatoes with butter, cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper until desired consistency has been reached. Serve warm with gravy.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 684mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
Keyword: how to make mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes recipe

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Recipe Rating

120 Responses
  1. Jen

    5 stars
    Can you believe I’ve never made mashed potatoes (and I’m 40)! I am going to attempt this recipe for my family’s Christmas Eve lunch (sans the gravy … not a fan of gravy on anything but biscuits). Thanks for the confidence boost … I got this!

  2. danite easley

    5 stars
    I was looking for a mashed potatoes dish for a meeting at my church. I know how to make them but I want something to wow them with. So i used your recipe and they was off the change. Thanks so much for all your recipes.

  3. Stephanie

    5 stars
    I used your recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I always seem to make “sticky” mashed potatoes and your post helped fix that!

  4. Debbie Woods

    Hi Lauren! We were just plannng Christmas dinner last night and my husband asked if we should just do pre-made potatoes. Aack!! So, of course, I turn to Lauren’s Latest to find the perfect recipe! can’t wait to try these tangy suckers!! Merry Christmas!!????????

  5. Susan

    5 stars
    Lauren your blog is my go to site for recipes for any occasion. Thank you for sharing such easy and delicious recipes. I am making these potatoes for Christmas dinner. Yum!!

  6. Katrina

    Butter and cream cheese are the ONLY way to make perfect mashed potatoes. You a right, gotta leave a couple chunks. My hubby hates them completely disintegrated! 🙂

  7. Chris Montgomery

    sour cream and cream cheese with garlic salt on top to lightly brown when you bake it all in the oven…….party potatoes!

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  10. Katie Lynn

    5 stars
    I’ve done this for the past several years. Works great, especially if you make them ahead of time. Usually reheated mashed potatoes are super gross, but with the cream cheese they taste like they were just made! I make mine the night before, stick them in a crock pot and reheat them for dinner. It definitely is one less thing to worry about keeping an eye on, and makes hostessing that much more enjoyable!

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  13. Lintee

    5 stars
    Thanks Lauren for the delicious recipes of Irish Stew and Mashed Potatoes. Oh yummers. It’s refreshing to have a place to go to for some new ideas. Most appreciated.

  14. Judy

    A dear friend years ago gave me a hint to making mashed potatoes. She said to warm the milk in the microwave keeps the temp warm. I’ve done it ever since just FYI.

  15. Tina

    I’ve used cream cheese in my mashed potatoes for YEARS! It was my grandmother’s recipe. Love the taste and how super creamy it gets without feeling grainy. My husband won’t eat anyone elses. At least I know I’m not the only one anymore!

  16. Laurie {Simply Scratch}

    I <3 mashed potatoes! They don't even need to be perfectly smooth… but with a dollop of butter or some gravy and I'm in heaven! These look great Lauren!

  17. Peggy

    I received your e-mail about the giveaway and responded but I have been having problems with my e-mail. I can only open it intermittently and then I am not able to respond at this point in time. Just checking to see it you received the response on Saturday. Thank you!

  18. Megan H

    Looks delicious! I made your cornbread stuffing just last week and it was a hit…can’t wait to try this recipe, too! I’ve never considered putting cream cheese into mashed potatoes, but it totally makes sense :). I’m not usually a fan of potatoes (I’ll eat them, but not often) but these I’ll have to try!

  19. Kathryn

    Oh the idea of using cream cheese has never occurred to me! It sounds like it makes for awesome matched potatoes; mine normally seem a bit sad but this definitely perks them up!