Classic creamy Old Fashioned Mashed Potatoes are a family favorite in our house. Cooked russet potatoes are blended with half and half, butter and seasoned simply with salt and freshly ground black pepper. A mashed potato recipe that’s special enough for your weeknight dinner or holiday gathering. Serves 8 to 10 but can be easily doubled to serve more.
Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t know how to make mashed potatoes.
I was in my early twenties and just starting out with a new house and beginning a family. I was standing in my kitchen with my friend Nichole listening intently to her instruct me how to make mashed potatoes. She gave me the lowdown on everything from peeling, to the importance of not cutting potatoes too small and why you start potatoes in cold water and not hot. I absorbed her words like a sponge.
Looking back, I can laugh (and cringe if I’m being honest) about how little I knew about something so simple and basic. But with that said, all that not-knowing catapulted me into learning and now I’m the girl with a food blog and cookbook 😏. Funny how things happen.
Now I usually just go at mashed-potato-making blindly, not really measuring and going by look, feel and my favorite, taste. But yesterday I decided to break it down for those out there who may not know how to do it either.
So with the holidays fast approaching, maybe there’s someone out there in the same boat that I was in. Or maybe you just want to make mashed potatoes the good old fashioned way that doesn’t call for ingredients like truffle oil, browned butter or some hard to find cheese. (Although now I’m thinking of mashed potatoes and including all those things mentioned)
To Make These Creamy Old Fashioned Mashed Potatoes You Will Need:
- russet potatoes – Yukon golds are good for making a buttery smooth mash and redskins work great too!
- unsalted butter – Try to use good quality grass-fed butter. We love Kerrygold butter. (not sponsored)
- half & half – Which is essentially 1 part whole milk and 1 part heavy cream.
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavor of this dish.
- freshly ground black pepper – This will add some subtle bite and flavor.
- salted butter (melted) – Adds extra richness and flavor, but is optional.
- fresh chives – Adds a pop of green and subtle onion flavor.
Even though I will be peeling these potatoes, I always scrub them beforehand. You will need 4 pounds potatoes.
Once peeled, quarter (if using medium size potatoes) or cut into eighths (if using large potatoes).
Throw the potatoes into a large pot. I use my stock pot so the potatoes have the room they need to cook evenly.
Fill the pot with cold water, about 1 to 2 inches above the potatoes. Always, ALWAYS use cold water so the potatoes cook evenly.
Cover, bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.
For me it’s about 25-30 minutes from when I turn the burner on to doneness. A fork should easily glide through effortlessly, meeting zero resistance. However, depending on the size of our potatoes will determine how much time they will need.
Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander.
Using a potato ricer set over the now empty pot, add a few of the cooked potatoes.
Gently squeeze so the riced potatoes fall into the pot.
Continue with the rest of the potatoes.
To the riced potatoes, add in 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup) of unsalted butter.
What Type Of Butter is The best for making mashed potatoes?
I’m somewhat of a butter snob. I love Kerrygold butter (for cooking, baking and slathering on warm bread or toast) to me it has the best flavor.
Next pour in 1 cup of heavy cream. Return the pot to the stove top and heat on low.
Stir to incorporate. I usually end up adding another 1/2 cup of heavy cream to get the creamy texture my family likes. You can add more or less to your liking.
Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Stir well, scraping down the sides and bottom of the pot. Heat throughly.
You can serve spoonfuls of old fashioned mashed potatoes onto plates and top with gravy or serve family style, drizzled with 2 tablespoons melted salted butter and extra black pepper.
I also like to add fresh snipped chives on top for a pop of color and the subtle oniony flavor.
See how simple? A classic. Nothing overly fancy. Just a classically delicious recipe for creamy old fashioned mashed potatoes.
What’s a serving Size of Mashed Potatoes?
Typically a servings size of mashed potatoes is 1 cup. However, if serving with lots of different sides (i.e. Thanksgiving), it can be scaled back to 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup.
Old Fashioned Mashed Potatoes
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, or yukon gold
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, I use Kerrygold
- 1½ cups half and half, more or less as needed (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Scrub, peel and quarter (or cut into eighths if large) the potatoes and place them in a large pot.
- Fill the pot with cold water, about 1 to 2 inches above the potatoes. Always, ALWAYS use cold water so the potatoes cook evenly.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook until fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes - depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander.
- Using a potato ricer (or food mill) set over the empty pot, add a few of the cooked potatoes into the basket and squeeze so the riced potatoes fall into the pot. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
- Return the pot to the stove top and heat on low.
- To the riced potatoes, add the butter and 1 cup half and half. Stir to combine, adding more half and half until desired consistency. (I usually end up using 1 to 1½ cups total)
- Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if desired.
- Stir well, scraping down the sides and bottom of the pot and heat throughly.
- Once hot, serve spoonfuls onto plates and top with gravy or serve in a large bowl family-style, drizzled with 2 tablespoons melted salted butter and snipped fresh chives if desired.
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