The Cozy Cook

Book cover graphicThe Cozy Cookbook is here! Order Now!

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Homemade Mashed Potatoes are the best side dish idea for any night of the week! The steps are easy to follow and have basic ingredients like butter and sour cream with optional additions like garlic and Parmesan cheese!

BONUS: Learn my make-ahead method and instructions for freezing and reheating!

Be sure to try my Green Bean Casserole and homemade Dinner Rolls next!

A white bowl of creamy homemade mashed potatoes with a spoon in it.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

There are few things better than perfect, creamy, homemade mashed potatoes.

There are a ton of different ways to make mashed potatoes. From the type of potato you use, if and how you slice them, how long you boil them, and even how you mash them!

Are you ready to learn the secret to making the best mashed potatoes?! Let’s do it!

How to Make the Best Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Use a Starchy Potato:

  • Yukon Golds or Russets are perfect for mashing. You can also use a combination of both!
  • Using waxy potatoes such as red or new potatoes can cause your mashed potatoes to have a gluey consistency as opposed to being nice and creamy.

Cut the Potatoes into 3/4-inch Slices:

  • This allows them to cook evenly. Some say to boil whole potatoes to prevent them from absorbing too much water, but they cook unevenly this way.
  • You can choose to leave the skins on or off, or you can leave some of them on. Just be sure to scrub them thoroughly if leaving the skins on.

Use COLD Water, slowly bring to a gentle boil:

  • This ensures that the potatoes cook evenly. Otherwise the middle will be hard and the outside will be soft.

Salt the water once it’s reached a boil:

  • This is the best way to evenly season the potatoes all the way through, you can always add more salt at the end. You’ll use about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of potatoes.

Let the Steam Rise after Draining:

  • Once you’ve drained the potatoes, return them to the warm pot and let them steam for 5 minutes, this will allow excess moisture that the potatoes absorbed to steam off.

Don’t Add Cold Ingredients to Warm Potatoes:

  • Make sure the half and half, sour cream, and butter are all room temperature. This ensures the potatoes are able to fully absorb them which makes them extra creamy.

Add Butter Before the Half and Half/Sour Cream:

The butter helps to coat the starch and gives you a silkier consistency.

Don’t Over-Mash:

  • Potatoes release starch every time they’re handled/mashed. Too much starch leads to a gluey, gummy consistency.
  • A dual-action potato masher works well for this. Avoid any type of electric mixer as they will go from creamy to gluey very quickly.

Here’s What The Process Looks Like:

Whole unpeeled yellow potatoes next to a pot of peeled and sliced potatoes.Sliced potatoes in a colander next to a pot of cooked potatoes with butter and cream being added.A potato masher in a pot of potatoes next to a pot of creamy mashed potatoes.

How Many Potatoes Per Person

  • While 1/2 lb. of potatoes is enough to prepare per person, I like to use .85 pounds per person to ensure that there is plenty to go around.
  • Any leftover mashed potatoes can be used to make my Baked Potato Soup or Mashed Potato Casserole.

Can You Peel Potatoes Ahead of Time

Yes, this is a great shortcut when you’re entertaining. Place peeled and sliced potatoes in a pot and submerge them in cold water. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Make-Ahead Method

If you prefer to boil and mash your potatoes ahead of time so that you only need to reheat them:

  • Add an extra  1-2 Tablespoons butter.
  • Stir in 2-3 additional Tablespoons warmed half and half, (preferably whole), at the end of cooking. Cover the pot and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
  • Let it sit out for 1 hour prior to reheating.

How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes

Stirring occasionally is ideal of all methods below. Add a little warm half and half if the potatoes appear too thick.

  • Slow Cooker: Low heat for 1-2 hours. Reduce to warm until ready to serve.
  • Microwave: 50% power in 1-minute intervals, covered, until heated through. Stir in between.
  • Oven: Cover and cook at 350° for 30 minutes.
  • Stove: Medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, covered.

Freezing Leftovers

If you plan on freezing leftovers, be extra generous with the half and half and butter. Per The Kitchn, this helps them freeze and reheat well.

Freezing the whole batch:

  • Place all of your cooled leftover potatoes into a freezer bag, remove air, seal tightly, and freeze.

Freezing Portion Sizes:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use a measuring cup to scoop 1-cup portion sizes onto the sheet.
  • Flash freeze for 1 hour.
  • Transfer to a freezer Ziploc bag. Best if used within 3 months.

Reheating Frozen Potatoes:

  • Let the potatoes thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave. Then refer to reheating instructions above.

A white bowl of creamy homemade mashed potatoes topped with parsley with butter in the background.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

What to Serve with Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Meow Gallery: The layout none is not available in this version.

Get My Free Meal Plan

I’ve got a Free Meal Plan with 7 of my super popular recipes (complete with grocery list)! Sign up for my email list and I’ll send it over now along with weekly dinner recipes!

And follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest!

Tried This Recipe?

Leave a review, I love hearing your feedback! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A white bowl with creamy mashed potatoes with a spoon in it.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

5 from 34 ratings
This Homemade Mashed Potato Recipe is easy to make with basic ingredients like butter and sour cream with optional additions such as garlic and Parmesan cheese!


Note: See recipe notes section for optional ingredient additions

  • 3.5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes*, about 4 large potatoes, each about .85 lbs.
  • 3.5 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste at the end
  • 6 Tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Add the half and half and sour cream to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set it aside and allow it to come to room temperature. It shouldn't be cold when added to the potatoes.
  • Peel each potato and give them a quick rinse to remove any dirt/residue from the peel. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and place in a large pot. Add cold water until they're all submerged.
  • Slowly bring to a gentle boil, do not boil rapidly. This ensures the potatoes cook evenly and prevents them from falling apart. Once a soft boil is reached, add 3.5 teaspoons salt.
  • Cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are very fork tender, don't undercook or they'll be lumpy when mashed. Turn heat off.
  • Drain all of the water. Let the potatoes sit in the warm pot for 5 minutes to allow most of the steam to escape.
  • Add the butter to the potatoes and allow it to gradually melt.
  • Drizzle ¾ of the half & half/sour cream over the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with pepper. Mash with a potato masher (not an elective mixer), until soft and creamy. Don’t over mash or the consistency will become gluey. Add remaining dairy only if a slightly creamier texture is desired.
  • Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving dish and serve!


*Russet potatoes or a combination of both can also be used.

Optional Ingredient Additions

  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, add with the sour cream/half & half.
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced. Heat with a little olive oil in a small saucepan for 1 minute.
  • ¾  teaspoon chicken better than bouillon, stir in at the end, use unsalted butter if you plan on adding this.
  • Bacon & Cheddar Cheese
  • Green onions, to garnish
  • A side of my 10 minute Brown Gravy!
**Cream cheese may also be used instead of sour cream. 1/2 cup = 4 oz.

This recipe makes approximately 6.5 cups of mashed potatoes which is plenty for 4 people. When it comes to potatoes, I don't like to risk not making enough. My baked potato soup is a great way to make use of any leftover mashed potatoes!


Calories: 591kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 1094mg, Potassium: 1790mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 918IU, Vitamin C: 79mg, Calcium: 148mg, Iron: 3mg
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!

Order The Cozy Cookbook!

Easy Recipes. Extra Comfort.

Order your copy today!

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click the Stars to Rate This Recipe

79 comments on “Homemade Mashed Potatoes”

  1. My brother in law has made this version several times now and each time he has lumps of uncooked potatoes. Can you clarify, with the water in the bag for 24 hours part specified, should they be cooked after this? He seems to be just mashing them after leaving for 24 hours in cold water and there are always inevitably lumps of what feel uncooked potatoes in the end product. The flavor of the parts that wind up mashed are delicious, so I can definitely appreciate the recipe’s ingredient combinations but the hand masher, I have to disagree with not using an electric mixer. Is he not hand mashing long enough? Is he not cooking and he should? Something is clearly wrong! Please help!

    • Hi LB! The only purposes of placing the potatoes in cold water is if you want to peel them ahead of time. (Otherwise they oxidize from air exposure and turn brown.) But they absolutely still need to be cooked, otherwise you’re just mashing raw potatoes. So after the potatoes are soaked, he still needs to follow all of the instructions in the recipe card, including cooking them.

  2. Made these for Thanksgiving and they were delicious! Thanks so much for the yummy recipe!!

  3. My first successful attempt at making creamy mashed potatoes from scratch. They turned out lovely. 
    Thank you so much for your easy to follow recipe..


  4. This will be my go-to mashed potato recipe from here on out! They were so creamy and delicious and loved by all at Thanksgiving. I made the Chicken Gravy Recipe to go with them, which was also delicious!

  5. These were great. And easy to make. I appreciate the pro tips. I loved that they had zero lumps!!
    I will be making these mashed potatoes again for sure. 

    • PERFECT! I’m so happy that these were a hit Daisy, and that they’ll be a recurring recipe for you! Thank you so much for the review, I really appreciate you taking the time! ❤️ -Stephanie

  6. When I peel ahead and leave chopped in water in fridge do I replace water before cooking or use the same water they’re in?

  7. Made this for me and my wife tonight and it came out amazing. This recipe is another fall comfort food dinner for a Friday night in New Jersey. Once again thank you for posting all these great recipes,  bob

  8. Perfection!

  9. This recipe is delicious-it produces creamy perfect mashed potatoes every time-ive quit making mashed potatoes without sourcrean after trying these!

    • Thanks so much for the great comments Ashely, I’m so happy you’re enjoying these potatoes! It’s been my go to method for a long time and they never fail!🩷

  10. I have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, so a potato has been to go to for when I’m craving gluten. I tried this recipe and loved it!!! I haven’t used to sour cream or the half cream as im lactose intolerant. I used lactose free milk and still it was sooo good! Will be using this over and over now 🙂 I chose this recipe for all the tips. I will be trying the lactose free version soon with sour cream and half and half, I cant wait!

As Seen On…