How to make easy homemade mashed potatoes without a recipe.
Good homemade mashed potatoes are something I think everyone should know how to make, because they’re such a reliable side dish. They’re a pretty universal crowd pleaser, and they pair so well with so many things. Serve them alongside chicken, under pot roast, or with creamed turkey. Almost anything tastes better with mashed potatoes on the side.
Plus, fresh, homemade mashed potatoes are SO easy to make there’s really no reason they ever need to come from a box.
A No-recipe Recipe
Today’s recipe isn’t really a recipe so much as a technique to learn so you never have to eat potatoes out of a box again (unless that’s your jam, in which case, enjoy). It’s completely customizable, and can be healthy (as healthy as you consider potatoes to be), or sinfully rich, vegan, or loaded with dairy.
This is the “recipe” I wish someone had handed me as a new cook, and I hope that after you follow it once, you never have to read a mashed potato recipe ever again.
Ingredient and Equipment Notes
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes, Yukon Golds, and red potatoes are all good options. Use what you have on hand or experiment and see which potato you prefer for your mashed potatoes.
- Milk or cream: You can use any (unflavored) milk or milk substitute or type of cream in your potatoes. The richer the dairy/dairy replacement you use, the richer your potatoes will be.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter will both work, as will margarine or non-dairy butter replacements.
- A tool for mashing: You can absolutely mash your potatoes with a fork, especially if you are making one or two-serving amounts, but eventually, I recommend investing in a potato masher like this one. They’re inexpensive, will make your cooking time go so much faster, and they’re also great for smashing bananas for banana muffins (mine definitely pulls double duty). If you like perfectly smooth and creamy potatoes, you can also use a potato ricer. It’s not my preferred texture, but maybe it’s yours. 😉
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
Since this is a non-recipe, there aren’t any measurements here. There’s no wrong way to make mashed potatoes, so just add a bit of butter, dairy, salt, and pepper, and taste. Add more if it doesn’t taste good, and keep going until it does. My mashed potato ratios change constantly depending on how rich I want them to be and yours probably will too.
1. Prep the potatoes: Peel and dice the potatoes. Place them in a pot and cover with cold water (starting with cold water will make sure your potatoes cook evenly all the way through and you don’t get soggy outsides.) Salt the water well with a teaspoon or two of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Cook the potatoes: Boil the potatoes until they are tender (you should be able to easily smash a piece of one against the side of your pot with a fork), about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain potatoes.
3. Mash: Using a fork or potato masher, smash potatoes in the pot. Add butter or margarine and a splash of milk or cream. Mix and add salt and pepper. Taste and add more butter/milk/salt if needed.
Can I cut my potatoes ahead of time?
You sure can. You can store cut potatoes in cold water in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
Can I freeze mashed potatoes?
Yes. You can freeze and reheat mashed potatoes. You can freeze single-serving portions individually or an entire pot of mashed potatoes. Store them in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. However, frozen mashed potatoes will never be quite as smooth and creamy as the were when freshly made. I usually prefer to make mine fresh.
What to serve with mashed potatoes?
More Easy Sides
No-recipe Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- Potatoes peeled and diced
- Butter margerine, or non-dairy butter
- Milk cream, or dairy replacement of choice
- Salt and pepper
- Place potatoes in a pot. Cover with cold water (starting with cold water will make sure your potatoes cook evenly all the way through and you don't get soggy outsides) and salt water well with a teaspoon or two of salt. Bring to a boil.
- Boil until potatoes are tender enough that you can easily smash a piece of one against the side of your pot with a fork, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain potatoes.
- Using a fork or potato masher, smash potatoes in the pot. Add butter or margarine and a splash of milk or cream. Mix and add salt and pepper. Taste and add more butter/milk/salt if needed.
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