Homemade Mashed Potatoes – Smooth & Creamy!

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! Plus, learn my make-ahead method and instructions for freezing and reheating!

Be sure to serve these with my Brown Gravy, Mushroom Gravy, or Chicken Gravy!

For more potato side dish ideas, check out my homemade french fries, potato wedges, and twice baked potato casserole!

Swirls of mashed potatoes in a serving dish topped with melted butter and green onions.

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, whether or not you cut them before boiling, how long you boil them, and even how you mash them!

In my recipe, we’ll be using Russet potatoes as those have an ideal consistency for mashing, they’re budget-friendly, easy to find, and perhaps already in your house.

Let’s go over everything else you need to know to make the smoothest, creamiest potatoes every time!

How to Make the Best Homemade Mashed Potatoes

⭐Use a Starchy Potato:

  • Russets or Yukon Golds 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 smaller pieces of equal size

  • This allows them to cook evenly. Some say to boil the potatoes whole 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.

⭐Use COLD Water:

  • Add the potatoes to cold and salted water before boiling.
  • Using hot/warm water will cause the outside of the potato to heat up before the middle does, which will cause uneven cooking.

⭐Salt the water once it’s reached a boil:

  • This is the best way to evenly season the potatoes, you can always add more salt at the end.

⭐Let the Steam Rise after Boiling:

  • 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 they absorbed to steam away.

⭐Don’t Add Cold Ingredients to Warm Potatoes:

  • Make sure your butter is completely softened or even melted.
  • Make sure that your half and half is warmed up slightly before being added.
  • The potatoes will absorb them better this way and they will end up much creamier.

⭐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 potato masher with small holes works well for this. Avoid any type of electric mixer as they will go from creamy to gluey very quickly.

A pot of sliced russet potatoes in water next to a pot of cooked potatoes with butter.

Half and half and Sour Cream being added to cooked potatoes before being mashed.

A plate with a pile of mashed poatoes with butter and cracker pepper on it with asparagus in the background.

Make Ahead Method

  • 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 with foil or transfer to a casserole dish.
  • Refrigerate for 1-2 days.
  • Let it sit out for 1 hour prior to reheating.

Reheating Cold Mashed Potatoes

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

  • Oven: Cover and cook at 350° for 30 minutes.
  • Stove: Medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, covered.
  • 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.

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 remaining 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.

What to Serve with Homemade Mashed Potatoes

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A wooden spoon holding a scoop of smooth and creamy homemade mashed potatoes with melted butter on top.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

5 from 2 votes
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 lbs. Russet potatoes, about 4 large ones.
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons salted butter
  • ¾ cup half & half
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Note: The butter, half & half, and sour cream should all be at room temperature or warmed prior to adding to the potatoes.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into 3 slices of equal size.
  • Fill a 6-quart pot with cold water. Add the potatoes.
  • Bring to a rapid boil and sprinkle in the salt. Reduce to a softer boil.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are very fork tender. Turn heat off.
  • Drain all of the the water. Let them sit in the warm pot for 5 minutes to allow most of the steam to escape.
  • Drizzle the butter over the cooked potatoes, then add the sour cream.
  • Drizzle ¾ of the half & half over the mashed potatoes. Add the rest if preferred once you begin mashing.
  • Mash with a potato masher until soft and creamy. Don’t over mash or the consistency will become gluey.
  • Taste the potatoes and add more salt/pepper if needed.
  • Transfer to a serving dish. Top with freshly cracker pepper and fresh parsley.


Optional Ingredient Additions

  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, add with the sour cream/half & half.
  • 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced. Heat with the melted butter 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 & Cheese
  • Green onions, to garnish
  • A side of my 10 minute Brown Gravy!
**Cream cheese may also be used instead of sour cream. ¼ cup = 2 oz.

This recipe makes approximately 6 cups of mashed potatoes.


Calories: 454kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 858mg, Potassium: 1478mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 598IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 3mg