Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe

JerzeeTomato showed Thanksgiving spirit when she invited novice cooks to use Serious Eats as a resource (and when she observed that "Turkey Day is my Olympics!").

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