Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe

We want our Thanksgiving roundup to provide recipes for all skill levels, tastes, and dietary needs. And so we bring you a basic: a calculated, written recipe for something many of us learn by doing and observing, without ever reading words on a page.


We bring you Perfect Mashed Potatoes, from Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Rossen Worthington.

These may not be your perfect mashed potatoes, but they are perfectly tasty. You may be a purist who makes mashed potatoes without garlic, or who refines their mash by peeling the potatoes, or who believes in the importance of using a starchy potato for a fluffy end product. We welcome all mashed potato feedback and variations!


  • 4 pounds yukon gold (or other yellow fleshed potatoes), cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups milk or half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes, garlic, and salt and simmer, partially covered, over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and garlic are fork-tender.

  2. Drain the potatoes and garlic and return to the pot over high heat. Cook, tossing the potatoes, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until all the moisture is evaporated. Transfer to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.

  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, oil, and milk over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add to the potatoes and whip with a wooden spoon or whisk to a smooth but not soupy consistency. Mash any pieces of garlic until totally pureed. When the liquid is absorbed, season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

  4. To prepare in advance, make up to 4 hours ahead, cover, and keep at room temperature. Reheat gently in the top of a double boiler over medium heat, adding extra milk as needed and adjusting the seasonings.

  5. The Clever Cook Could:

  6. Peel the potatoes and purée with a potato ricer for a very smooth consistency

  7. Add 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or 1 or 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish or a squirt of wasabi paste

  8. Add 3 finely chopped leeks sautéed in olive oil to the mashed potatoes just before serving