These easy, super fast, homestyle mashed potates are creamy, dreamy, and a cinch to make for a holiday celebration or just your next weeknight dinner!
This recipe was originally published on November 19. 2018. It has been updated with new photos and content. Enjoy!
November is nearly upon us, and while I’m contemplating the precise window of time in which to buy Halloween candy so that we actually have some to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters, my brain is also occupied with thoughts of turkey and gravy and of COURSE buttery, creamy, carby, mashed potatoes! And because I’ve got thoughts about mashed potatoes, and have a convenient online soapbox from which to shout aggressively into the vast void that is the internet…today we’re getting down with spuds.
Easy Home Style Mashed Potatoes
But honestly you can’t talk about mashed potatoes (or any other traditional holiday dish) without brushing up against some strong opinions, and possibly ruffling a few feathers along the way. So let’s be clear. These are not the ultimate, end all, be all, best ever mashed potatoes that are definitely going to please every Tom, Dick, and Mary out there. Honestly, I doubt those even exist. And that’s great – lots of potatoes is definitely better than just one. But if you’re looking for a simple, comforting, flavorful, homestyle recipe that takes very little time and even less effort – then this one is totally worth a try.
What are Homestyle Mashed Potatoes?
Sounds like a marketing ploy, right? It totally is! But sometimes those buzzy marketing words are pretty effective at evoking the feeling of a dish. In my personal opinion, when I think of “homestyle” it conjures images of real people in real kitchens making real food. That’s what I love about these mashed potatoes – they are totally unfussy and undeniably simple.
In more descriptive terms “homestyle mashed potatoes” to me are fluffy, creamy, and well seasoned. They also strike the perfect balance between earthy potato flavor and dreamy dairy richness. Homestyle mashed potatoes are not perfectly smooth (I like some lumps, personally), would never be described as a puree and won’t be found duchessed or piped into perfect rosettes either.
No, homestyle mashed potatoes are just that…in the style you might make at home. Which to me sounds like pure comfort – and what are mashed potatoes if not the ultimate in comfort food?
What kind of potato makes the best mashed potatoes?
Most traditionalists will opt for russets (ie: your basic baking potato). These have the most starch content and break down easily which equals super fluffy mash. BUT they’re kinda bland. Just think about how much stuff you usually pile onto a baked potato to make it an enjoyable eating experience, and I think you’ll nod in agreement. A much more flavorful option, in my opinion, would be the Yukon Gold. They just look buttery, right? And although they’ll never be quite as fluffy as a russet…I don’t really care, because they taste damn good. So that’s settled.
How to make easy, delicious mashed potatoes
Some say to bake and peel, others stand by steaming, I myself prefer to boil. Not because I think it’s the most effective method but because my brain doesn’t really have to engage that way. Cold water, chunked up potatoes, salt, and boil gently until tender. It’s the way that grandmas have done it for decades and grandmas generally know their stuff.
The real quandry comes when you consider how to pulverize your potatoes down to a mash. And honestly, this is the part that really matters. You can pick the very best potato and cook it to perfection, but if you mess up the mashing part, well I won’t fill your head with self doubt right before the holiday – but just know it won’t be pretty.
Good news is that it’s totally easy to avoid disaster. All you have to remember is not to overdo it. I know I’ve mentioned this before, perhaps when making biscuits, or baking cakes. But overworking, over mixing, or in this over mashing anything that’s starchy is usually bad news. Some light science – the more you agitate the potatoes, the more starch you release. This starch mixes with the liquid in the potatoes and binds to form a gluey mess, which is, as you probably already guessed, not ideal.
How to avoid making gluey, pastey mashed potatoes
Again, just don’t overdo it. You could use a ricer (basically looks like an enormous garlic press), which very effectively breaks down the potatoes for a light and ethereally creamy mash. Or you could go the old fashioned route and mash by hand. Just don’t be too focused on pulverizing every. single. solitary. lump – because you’ll wind up in glue town.
But how do I make mine? Well because I’m super lazy, and absolutely HATE mashing potatoes. I bring out the big guns – my stand mixer. I’ve found that this is absolutely the fastest, easiest way to get beautiful, home style mashed potatoes. This is not to be confused with the food processor, which I’ve also tried with tremendously bad results (something about the aggressive heat that comes from the blades). But the mixer I guess is just powerful enough to be effective, while being gentle enough not to anger the starch gods. Oh, and if you don’t have a counter top monster like I do, feel free to use a hand mixer – it will take a little longer, but will still work just fine.
My homestyle mashed potato method:
- Your yukon golds, peeled, chunked, and tossed in a pot of cold water with a bunch of salt.
- Bring them up to a moderate simmer. Then let them bubble gently until they’re fork tender, then drain.
- I usually put the spuds back in the pot over low heat so any surface moisture can evaporate.
- They go into the bowl of my stand mixer, with the whisk attachment. They get beaten up for no more than 30 seconds.
- Then a hot mixture of melted butter and cream is added and you mix for one minute more, stopping every 20 seconds or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- You’re done! Seriously it’s that easy.
Tips and good stuff to know:
- Regardless of what type of potatoes you use, and if you peel them or not, make sure to cut them into similar sized chunks. This will aide in even cooking, which will result in smoother mashed potatoes.
- Be heavy handed with the salt, and season at the beginning AND the end. Potatoes can take a lot of salt and they absorb it best via their cooking liquid – so it should taste salty like the sea.
- Start potatoes in cold water. This will cook them gently and evenly, so they’re as tender on the inside as they are on the outside.
- Instead of boiling your potatoes vigorously, go for a moderate simmer. It will take a little bit longer, but the potatoes will cook much more gently and evenly.
- You want your potatoes to be fork tender before you drain and mash. That means a fork goes in and comes out with no resistance. Do not use a knife to test this, as it will give you a false positive, which can lead to unnecessary lumps.
- Because this process goes crazy fast, you’ll want to have your butter and cream hot and ready to go before you start with the mixer.
- If your stand mixer has a metal bowl, it will get quite hot, so a kitchen towel or oven mitt is totally necessary.
- Just like with a hand mashed spud – these will never be entirely smooth and lump free – it’s ok though, because they’re stupid delicious.
- DO season to taste with salt and pepper at the end, but DON’T use the mixer at this point. Just fold it in with a spatula.
And with that you’ll have deliciously creamy, beautiful mashed potatoes that required absolutely zero elbow grease.
Substitutions and Add-ins
Of course these are delicious just the way they are, but if you’re looking to change something out or spice your potato situation up a bit, then try these options.
- Dairy free. Try folding in some luxurious cashew cream instead. It will give you a rich, savory taste without the milk or cream!
- A little lighter. Looking for your mashed potato fix without quite as many calories? Try a mix of chicken or veggie stock cut with a little whole milk and swap olive oil in for butter. A little lemon zest is also a nice finishing touch here.
- Rich and tangy. Honestly, I’ve never seen a potato and dairy not get along, especially varieties with a little tang. Try sour cream, creme fraiche, cream cheese, greek yogurt, or even buttermilk for a change of pace.
- Get cheesy. Again with the dairy – but seriously, no one ever complained about some gratuitous, melty cheese. I like a sharp cheddar or a salty parmigiana in mine.
- Garlicky goodness. Roasting a head of garlic and folding those sweet, soft cloves into your mash is BRILLIANT. But if you’d like a more subtle flavor with less effort throw a few peeled cloves in with the simmering potatoes. Then mash them all up together and you’ve got garlic scented mashed potatoes!
- Going green. I like to subtly flavor my mashed potatoes with herbs in one of two ways. For hearty or woody herbs (like rosemary, thyme, or sage) I’ll drop a few sprigs in with my butter and cream while it melts. Then pick them out before adding the mixture to my potatoes. Leafy, tender herbs (like parsley or chives) can get minced up and folded in at the end.
Easy Homestyle Mashed Potatoes
These mashed potatoes require absolutely no hand mashing at all. Just 90 seconds, a stand mixer, and a healthy dose of butter and cream get you to mashed potato heaven without all the heavy lifting.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 Servings 1x
- Category: side dish
3 LBs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
5 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 C heavy cream
6 T unsalted butter, melted
Ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot with salt. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a low boil and cook until potatoes show no resistance when pierced with a fork. This took me about 15 minutes
While potatoes cook, heat cream in the microwave (or the on the stovetop) until hot but not boiling. Add the melted butter and set aside.
Drain potatoes in a colander and put back in the pot over low heat for one minute, or until the potatoes look dry on the outside.
Transfer potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
Beat potatoes on high for 15-30 seconds, or until potatoes start to break down, but are still crumbly.
Add the butter and cream mixture and beat on medium speed for one minute, pausing every 20 seconds to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Taste for seasoning, and using a spatula, fold in any necessary salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in a slow cooker or over a double boiler.
If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer, a ricer, a food mill, or a hand masher. But DON’T use a food processor.
Do be mindful though that if your bowl is metal, it will get hot – use an oven mitt or kitchen towel.
Reheat leftover potatoes by putting them in a small pot, adding a couple splashes of milk or cream and heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
Keywords: easy mashed potatoes, fast mashed potatoes