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Classic Mashed Potatoes

Updated: May 17, 2021

With thousands of different mashed potato recipes in different blogs and cook books there are so many to choose from. Variations in the potato type, amount of cream, butter, addition of sour cream, the list goes on and on. While there will be numerous mashed potato recipe variations here in the future, for now, I will provide you with a very basic and versatile recipe.


One of the biggest variation between mashed potato recipes are the types of potatoes use. While some call for russet potatoes, the kind you’d likely have when eating a baked potato, others call for red potatoes. For this recipe, and for ease of cooking, we will be using russet potatoes.

The best thing about these potatoes when used for mashed potatoes is that they do not require a long baking time or extensive amount of mashing. The cells easily break down which will lead to its very fluffy and light texture. Because you don’t have to work them as much, you have much less of a risk of the potatoes becoming like glue… Believe me I’ve tried to make mashed potatoes in a food processor for kicks and I made a glue like paste that took days to soak and clean out!

Cooking Methods

After looking at how other recipes and blogs suggest making mashed potatoes, I’m a little shocked by how few tell you to bake the potatoes and instead have you boil the potatoes. This all comes back to the type of potato you use. If your using a red potato the best way to cook the is through boiling. Russet potatoes with a high starch content should be baked and NOT boiled. Think about it, when you make a baked potato with a russet potato do you bake or boil it?

There are numerous reasons behind this, when you boil a potato it loses flavor as water takes the place of its flavorings. Along with the loss of flavor comes loss of nutrients.

Baking is also incredibly easy to do as well, rub in olive oil, salt, and pepper, stick it on a sheet pan in the oven for just over an hour, peel and mash with cream and butter. You don’t have to boil water or check up on them. This is incredibly helpful when making large batches of mashed potatoes as well, there are only so many potatoes you can fit into a stock pot.

While baking the potatoes does run the slight risk of a drier mashed potatoes, simply wrapping the potatoes in tin foil will help this process and lead to more even baking. You can always add more cream and butter to the final result as well.

The differentiator

You should always mashed potatoes to the consistency that you prefer. Some like a lumpier mash while some like it silky smooth. If you like it lumpy, use a hand masher and mash away till it’s what you desire. If you like a smooth and creamy mash, then you are in luck. While a ricer is helpful in making mashed potatoes, it just isn’t perfect, the mixture can often turn out grainy. What you truly need is a fine mesh sieve. After you peel the potatoes, you’ll want to add half the butter and cream, mix in, then using a wooden spoon push it through a fine mesh sieve back into the other half of the cream. The result is a fluffy silky smooth cloud of mashed potatoes.

And with all that knowledge on perfecting your mashed potatoes let’s begin cooking!


Chef Olson

"The Flying Chef"

Chefs Notes:

- I highly recommend only mashing potatoes by hand and not using any machinery such as a mixer or food processor

- It’s essential that you continually taste the potatoes as you add cream and butter, season throughout the cooking process

- Be very careful not to overmix the potatoes, you don’t want them to lose their qualities

It can be a challenge to push the mash through a sieve but adding cream will help, use a wooden spoon

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