These classic fluffy mashed potatoes are made with Russet (or Idaho) potatoes, milk or cream, and butter. Make them ahead of time!
Who else loves potatoes?
We all do, right?
They’re starchy, delicious, and filling.
And there are so many different kinds of potatoes!
But the potato I have on hand most often is the Russet (or Idaho) potato.
And of course, Russet potatoes make the delicious, fluffy mashed potatoes.
Russet vs Yukon Gold for Mashed Potatoes
Guys, people have major opinions about their mashed potatoes.
We all do, right?
Some chefs swear that Yukon gold potatoes are the only acceptable potatoes for mashed potatoes, while others swear by the Russet potato. The Bon Appetit food writers seem to all swear by gold potatoes, but Julia Child recommends Russets in multiple cookbooks.
I say, you do you. Pick the potato you like best, or use what you have on hand.
Here’s the difference.
Yukon golds will make creamy, smooth mashed potatoes.
Russets will make fluffy mashed potatoes.
Russets also tend to absorb more water than gold potatoes, so there’s an extra step involved to make the potatoes even more delicious.
If you’re following this recipe, but you’re using gold potatoes instead of Russet, check the recipe card notes to adapt the recipe.
How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Start by peeling, quartering, and boiling the potatoes.
Cook them until they’re tender but not falling apart.
Drain the potatoes.
Add the potatoes back to the pan, and mash them.
Next, move the pot back to the stovetop and heat the potatoes over medium heat for a minute or two. This will help evaporate any extra water from the potatoes.
If you’re swapping Russet potatoes for a firmer potato (like golds), you can skip this step, because those potatoes absorb less water while boiling.
Add a few cubes of butter to the potatoes, and heat a little milk or cream until it’s simmering.
Slowly drizzle in the hot milk, beating the potatoes constantly as you pour.
The potatoes will transform as you add the milk.
Season the potatoes until you love the flavor, and then you’re ready to dig in! If you made them ahead of time, you can store them in the fridge and reheat them over a pot of simmering water.
If you prefer, you can also reheat them in the microwave and add a little more warm milk or cream to fluff them back up.
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
1 Day (See Recipe for Reheating Directions)
- Potato Masher or Ricer
- 2 ½ pounds Russet potatoes
- ½ cup milk or cream, plus more if needed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.Scrub, peel, and quarter the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, and cook 10-15 minutes until tender (but not falling apart).Drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes back to the pot and immediately run through a potato masher or ricer.
- Put the pot back on the stovetop, turn the heat to medium, and use a wooden spatula or spoon to beat the potatoes constantly for about 2 minutes. When the potatoes begin to form a film on the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat.If your potatoes are old they might already be dry, and a film will appear immediately on the bottom of the pan. If so, turn off the heat and move on to the next step.This step will remove extra moisture from the potatoes.
- Add the milk or cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.Cut the butter into small cubes. Add butter cubes, salt, and pepper to the potatoes.
- Begin beating the hot milk or cream into the potatoes. Continue beating until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.If your potatoes were very dry, you might need to add extra milk. Warm the milk before adding.Taste and add more salt if desired.To keep warm (for up to an hour), place in a pan over lightly simmering water, and cover loosely. To make up to a day ahead of time, reheat in the same manner (in a loosely covered pan over simmering water).Serve with gravy or extra butter if desired.