Mashed potatoes are the ultimate side dish and comfort food in one. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas or any family dinner when you feel like something cozy.
With only 5 ingredients, you can turn your potatoes into a creamy-licious mash. Serve it with a square of butter and chives, or enjoy it with our delicious mushroom gravy.
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The best mashed potatoes recipe is also the simplest one. Bold statement, I know.
But with only five ingredients, we find this to be the best mashed potatoes recipe we've tested.
We took inspiration from my Italian grandma's recipe book; this mash has been a family favorite for generations.
We think you'll love it because it's easy to make, light, and creamy, and you can adjust its consistency based on your preference.
The secret ingredient? Grated parmesan cheese, without any doubt! Not much, but just enough to boost the potato flavor and to supercharge the mash with that cheesy and savory umami flavor so typical of Parmigiano.
Also, we recommend adding a pinch of grated nutmeg for that je ne sais quoi that will make your guests lick the plate and beg for another portion.
Oh, and if you are vegan, not to worry. We'll show you how to make the recipe vegan.
The best way to serve it is as a side dish with butter and chives, or even better, with a generous amount of our incredible mushroom gravy.
Different people have different opinions about the best potatoes to make mashed potatoes.
We use ordinary yellow potatoes like Yukon Gold potatoes, but a mix of Russet Potatoes and Yukons is also a good option.
Do we peel the potatoes? Yes, we do. We like our mash smooth. However, if you like it chunkier, with bits of skin and some extra fiber, feel free to mash your potatoes with the skin on.
The best milk for mashed potatoes is either regular milk or unsweetened soy milk. We unapologetically use soy milk in ours.
Go for either unsalted butter (European-style butter has a better flavor if you ask me) or vegan butter.
Some vegan butters on the market are tastier (and probably healthier) than regular butter, so it's worth trying.
Alternatively, an excellent quality extra virgin olive oil can also be used.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in making extraordinary mashed potatoes; we add it twice.
First, in the water for cooking the potatoes. Second, in the mash. Sea salt and kosher salt are best.
Parmesan cheese (ideally Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano) is probably the best flavor enhancer. We think it's terrific in mashed potatoes, provided you don't add too much of it.
Add a little at a time, tasting and adjusting as you go.
If you are vegan, keep the parmesan out or replace it with a vegan cheese alternative (Vio Life and Simply V shredded vegan cheese melt well).
We can't recommend replacing parmesan with nutritional yeast as it never fully melts in the mash, and it tastes a little weird to us.
Grate nutmeg, potatoes, and parmesan are a great flavor match, and we think it's worth an extra trip to the grocery store to get it.
A hint of nutmeg is a quick trick up your sleeve to make your mash restaurant-worthy with a little extra effort.
Finely chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley and freshly ground black pepper.
Sure, you can add roasted garlic, black pepper, heavy cream, sour cream, and cream cheese, but again, we prefer this recipe to be as simple and elegant as possible with just a hint of fancy from the nutmeg.
An old-style rotary vegetable mill with a small holes disk attachment is the best tool to make fluffy, light, and lump-free mashed potatoes. Ask your grandma; she might have one collecting dust in her kitchen.
As an alternative, you can use a potato ricer with small holes.
Finally, you can mash your potatoes with a potato masher, although the resulting mashed potatoes won't be as smooth and fluffy.
Avoid using a blender, food processor, mixer, or anything with blades. The potatoes will release their starch, making the mash gluey.
Use a whisk to stir the ingredients. It'll be easier to incorporate air, make a fluffier mash, and distribute the ingredients evenly.
I'd avoid mixing with a wooden spoon or spoons in general. An electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment works.
Peel the potatoes, chop them into equally sized large chunks, and put them in a pot with cold water and salt.
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Tip: starting with cold water will ensure even cooking of the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes and let them cool down for 5 minutes in the sieve. This allows the water vapor to escape, making your mashed potato less watery.
Next, mash the potatoes in a dutch oven (or large pot).
We used a rotary vegetable mill here, but you can also use a ricer or potato masher.
Add butter and milk at room temperature—season with salt and grated nutmeg.
Turn the heat to medium and stir with a whisk until the ingredients are well combined, and the mash is hot.
Taste and adjust for salt. Also, add more milk if you want thinner mashed potatoes.
Tip: depending on the type of potatoes, you might need more or less milk, so take our recipe as an indication and add more as you need.
When you are happy with the consistency and taste, turn the heat off, and add the grated parmesan cheese.
Stir with a whisk for a couple of minutes or until the cheese has fully melted and your mashed potatoes are perfectly creamy.
Transfer onto a serving bowl and optionally serve with a small square of butter on top, finely chopped chives or parsley, and, if you like it, a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
Do you know what's delicious with mashed potatoes? Mushroom gravy.
I was once at the Great British Beer Fest in London, UK, where they served their mash with a crazy tasty mushroom gravy, and it was so delicious I always try to make some at home with our mash.
Check out our easy mushroom gravy recipe.
To make a complete meal, pair it with a protein-rich main, ideally with a sauce, such as:
- Vegetarian meatballs in a rich and Italian-inspired tomato sauce
- Mushroom tofu cutlets with sauteed mushrooms and a creamy sauce
- Tofu cacciatore: fried tofu with olives, capers, and a rustic tomato sauce
- Italian bean stew: a wholesome Italian countryside dish with plant-based protein
- Easy chickpea stew with sweet potato, a 1-pot dinner idea!
Mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are also great for mashing and have the bonus that you can turn them into a sweet or a savory sweet potato mash.
Perfect from Thanksgiving through Christmas, they are an excellent alternative, or complement, to regular mashed potatoes.
Check out our sweet potato mash (sweet and savory recipe).
Cauliflower potato mash
Creamy, comforting, and light, cauliflower mashed potatoes is a super tasty alternative to classic mashed potatoes.
Refrigerator: store mashed potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pot with a splash of milk or a tablespoon of butter.
Freezer: let cool down completely, then transfer into a freezer-friendly bag (all or divided into portions if you need it for meal prep) and freeze for up to a month.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then transfer onto a bowl and reheat in the microwave. Alternatively, transfer into a pot and reheat with a dash of milk.
- Use a rotary vegetable mill with a small wholes attachment or a potato ricer for the fluffiest mashed potatoes.
- For the fluffiest mashed potatoes, stir with a whisk (not a wooden spoon).
- Salt the water in which you cook the potatoes for the best results.
More Potato Recipes
If you love potatoes, get some ideas from these easy potato recipes:
- Roasted potatoes with fresh herbs, a tender and crisp vegetable side
- Homemade potato gnocchi with 3 ingredients and one fork required
- Vegan potato salad: no mayo but plenty of flavors in this summer-friendly salad
- Smashed potatoes: a garlic-rich and velvety tender potato recipe
More Holiday Recipes
These easy and quick recipes will put color and flavor on your table:
- Potato Ricer , rotary vegetable mill, or potato masher.
- 2½ pounds potatoes Yukon Gold, weighted after peeling. Cook them covered in water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
- 4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter.
- ½ to 1½ cups milk or unsweetened soy milk. Start with ½ cup and add more based on your preference. We like it with 1½ cups of milk.
- ¾ cup parmesan if grated at home, or ½ cup if pre-grated. Also dairy-free cheese.
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg grated, or more to taste.
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste.
- chives finely chopped.
- black pepper freshly ground.
- mushroom gravy
- Peel the potatoes, chop them into equally sized large chunks, and put them in a pot covered with cold water.Add salt, bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes and let cool down for 5 minutes in the sieve. This allows the water vapor to escape, making your mashed potatoes less watery.Next, mash the potatoes in a dutch oven (or large pot).
- Add butter and milk at room temperature. Season with salt and grated nutmeg.
- Turn the heat to medium and stir with a whisk until the ingredients are well combined, and the mash is hot (about 5 minutes).Taste and adjust for salt. Also, add more milk if you want thinner mashed potatoes.
- When you are happy with the consistency and taste, turn the heat off, and add the grated parmesan cheese.
- Stir with a whisk for a couple of minutes or until the cheese has fully melted and your mashed potatoes are perfectly creamy.
- Transfer onto a serving bowl and optionally serve with a small square of butter on top, finely chopped chives or parsley, and, if you like it, a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
- Alternatively, serve with our delicious mushroom gravy on top.
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