Traditional Mashed Potato Recipe

When you think of a classic side dish, what exactly comes to mind? Maybe it's green beans, maybe peas and carrots, maybe rice, maybe dinner rolls... but most likely it's mashed potatoes. Does it get any more classic or delicious than mashed potatoes? When they're made correctly, the correct answer is no, not really. This recipe from Miriam Hahn yields perfect mashed potatoes every time, so put those instant mashed potato mixes to rest.

What's Hahn's secret for great mashed potatoes? No secret at all: just the right ingredients ("traditional mashed potatoes typically use milk, butter, salt and pepper, really just plain and simple," she says) and the mashing done by hand, not with an electric mixer, which can lead to what we'll politely call "mushed" potatoes.

This recipe calls for just five ingredients, not counting the water, two of which are salt and pepper, so chances are you have everything on hand already. Let's get that water boiling and be on our way to making a culinary classic!

Gather your ingredients for traditional mashed potatoes

As noted, all you need to make great mashed potatoes are five things: butter, milk (any kind — you can use non-dairy milk, and non-dairy butter, by the way), salt and pepper, and of course some potatoes. "You want the potatoes all the same size so they are all done at the same time," says Hahn, adding: "I like using small ones because they take less time to cook. If you are buying a bag of potatoes sometimes you will get all sizes so easiest to hand pick them."

Ah, but of course you can dress these potatoes up to the nines. You can add classic chopped green onions, some cheese, some red pepper flakes, bacon bits, chopped celery, and on the list goes — they can be made into a veritable meal!

Scrub then boil then peel the potatoes

To start off, bring a large pot of water to a boil. As it warms, scrub the potatoes well with a vegetable scrubber. Then add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook them for 25 to 30 minutes until they are cooked through, but still firm. Then drain them and set the potatoes in a colander to cool. And when cool, peel all of the potatoes.

Short on time? Peel the potatoes ahead of time, chop them into cubes, and then boil them — they'll be ready in just about 10 or 12 minutes.

Melt the butter in the milk and combine the potatoes

Now, put the milk and the butter into a small sauce pan and cook them on medium heat until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Once the butter has melted, put the peeled potatoes in a large bowl and add half of the warmed milk and butter mixture over the top them.

Mash then season the potatoes

Using a handheld potato masher, mash the potatoes, incorporating in more of the milk mixture as you go. If you prefer the finished mashed potatoes chunky, mash them less, leaving some larger chunks. And if you want them very smooth, add more milk and finely mash away.

Once the potatoes are mashed to your preference, add the salt and pepper and stir it in. They are now ready to serve or to dress up. And as for pairing ideas, Hahn says, "These go great with any type of burgers, veggie burgers, chicken, or fish. They also make a great side for grilled sandwiches, paninis, or wraps!"

Traditional Mashed Potato Recipe
5 from 9 ratings
If you want perfect mashed potatoes every time, follow this easy and traditional mashed potato recipe.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
8
Servings
mashed potatoes in a bowl
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 10 small russet potatoes (all roughly the same size)
  • 1 ¼ cup milk (more for smoother potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons butter + more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Directions
  1. Scrub the potatoes well with a vegetable scrubber.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 25 to 30 minutes until they are cooked through, but still firm.
  3. Drain and set in a colander to cool. When cool, peel all of the potatoes.
  4. Put the milk and butter into a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until the butter is melted.
  5. Put the peeled potatoes in a large bowl and add the ½ of the warmed milk and butter mixture.
  6. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes, incorporating in more of the milk mixture as you go. If you want the potatoes chunky, mash them, leaving some larger chunks. If you want them very smooth, add more milk and finely mash.
  7. Add the salt and pepper and stir, and they are ready to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 230
Total Fat 5.7 g
Saturated Fat 3.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 15.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 40.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 3.2 g
Sodium 318.3 mg
Protein 5.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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