How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Have you ever used dried potato flakes to make mashed potatoes because you weren’t sure how to make “real” mashed potatoes or you assumed real mashed potatoes were too much trouble?  Well, today is your lucky day because I’m going to show you how to make awesome mashed potatoes using real potatoes. Here’s how to do it.

2-1/2 pounds potatoes (I use plain old russets)
4 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons onion salt
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons margarine or butter


You’ll need approximately 2-1/2 pounds potatoes.

Peel potatoes and cut off any bad spots. You can leave the skins on if you want but I never do because I don’t like them that way. I think mashed potatoes should be creamy.

Rinse the potatoes in cold water.

Cut potatoes into cubes. The cubes should all be similar in size. If you have different sizes, the bigger cubes won’t get done as quickly as the smaller cubes. So keep them uniform so they’ll all be done at the same time.

After the potatoes are peeled and cut, put them in a stove top dutch oven. Cover with cold water so the water is at least an inch or so above the potatoes.

Bring potatoes to a boil and cook about halfway between high and medium (8 on my gas range) for approximately 20 minutes.

At the end of 20 minutes, take a butter knife and gently cut a couple of the potato cubes in half. If they cut easily, potatoes are done. If there’s any resistance, cook a few more minutes and check again. If the potatoes aren’t soft enough, they’ll be lumpy. If they’re too soft, they’ll be mushy. Now don’t panic, there’s quite a bit of leeway between those two extremes.

After the potatoes are done cooking, drain well. While the potatoes are sitting in the strainer, gently stir them a bit to get all the water out.  This strainer, with the slotted sides, is the best to use for these potatoes because it allows the excess water to drain more easily.  If you only have a strainer with holes, that’s fine.  Use what you have.

Place cream cheese, margarine and salt in a large bowl.

Add cooked potatoes and mix well.  This might surprise you if you’ve been reading the blog for very long, but instead of my Kitchen-Aid stand-up mixer, I use my hand held mixer to mash the potatoes.  I think it does a better job but that’s just me.

Then add ½ cup sour cream and continue mixing until there are no lumps and added ingredients are mixed thoroughly. The potatoes should be very creamy.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use. This potato recipe can be made ahead and re-heated in the oven, microwave or crock pot.  When I made these potatoes, I put them in the crock pot and then put the crock in the refrigerator until later.  About 2 or 3 hours before serving, I put the crock on the base and turned the crock pot on low.  It’s best if you can stir the potatoes occasionally so the bottom and sides of the potatoes don’t get brown.  You can also microwave the potatoes until heated through (7 minutes or so) or reheat in the oven (about 20 minutes at 350).

My family calls these “THE POTATOES” and it’s the only kind they’ll eat now.

This is not the ONLY way to make mashed potatoes – it’s just the way I do it. And that gives you a place to start.

So throw away those dried potato flakes and whip up some homemade mashed potatoes.

Oh, wait – don’t throw away the mashed potato flakes. I just read a tip that said you can add a tablespoon or two to thicken thin soup. So maybe keep them on hand for soups – but don’t use them for mashed potatoes.


Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes Printable Recipe


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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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9 thoughts on “How to Make Mashed Potatoes

  1. Oh my, I am going to try these. These much be the best tasting mashed potatoes ever! My guys will love you for this! Have a wonderful day 🙂

    1. Definitely! Once I found this recipe, I didn’t make any other kind of mashed potatoes. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always make 10 pounds worth and there really aren’t any left.

    1. These are really awesome. But it is definitely a little more challenging with “helpers”. My 2-1/2 year old granddaughter has started helping me cook. It’s fun but challenging.

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