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There’s nothing better than a giant scoop of buttery mashed potatoes on a dinner plate. Light, fluffy, and full of flavor this is the ultimate mashed potato recipe that’s loaded with butter, milk, and perfectly cooked potatoes!
As a Midwesterner, it’s in my DNA to know a thing or two about potatoes. I’ve been eating them for my entire life. I grew up in a “meat and potatoes” home and then married into one. Potatoes are versatile, filling, and affordable. You just need to know how to harness their power.
Ingredients needed for this recipe
- Garlic Cloves
- Whole Milk
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Nutmeg (trust me)
What potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes?
How many potato varieties do you think there are? 3? 4? A dozen? Try FOUR THOUSAND. Yes. Four zero zero zero. Unbelievable! But! In my extensive potato eating experience there are a few potatoes that are better for mashing that others.
In this recipe I use unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes for their delicate texture, thin skin, and lightly sweet, buttery flavor. Leaving the skin on imparts a massive dose of vitamins and minerals into the finished dish and makes prep much easier.
I also love making mashed potatoes with Baby Red Potatoes for the same reasons. A Russet Potato is the most traditional and widely available potato and can be used in substitution, but they will need to be peeled before boiling unlike the Golds or the Reds.
How to make Buttery Mashed Potatoes
- Chop the potatoes. Leaving the skins on! It’s flavor, vitamins, and minerals! Be sure the potatoes have been scrubbed and thoroughly cleaned before cutting.
- Place the potatoes and garlic cloves in a large pot. Cover them with cool water. Be sure the pot is deep enough that the water can come up at least 1 inch over the potatoes. Heavily salt the water.
- Boil the potatoes. Place the filled pot over high heat and bring the spuds up to a rolling boil.
- Cook the potatoes. Just until fork tender. This means that a fork can easily pierce a potato chunk without much force but it doesn’t fall apart when poked, either.
- Melt the butter and milk. While the potatoes cook. I do this in a large pint glass in the microwave.
- Drain the potatoes. And then return the potatoes to the pot. Pour in about ½ the milk and butter mixture and begin to mash. Taste the potatoes and add more salt, pepper, mix, and taste again. Continue adding liquid, mixing, mashing, and tasting until the seasoning is just right to your tastes and the potatoes are smooth and fluffy. Season with a dash of nutmeg.
- Serve. In big heaps topped with more butter and fresh parsley, if desired.
- Much like with pasta water the potatoes should be boiled in water that is almost as salty as the ocean. Don’t be shy. While boiling, the potatoes will absorb the salty flavor while the starch is released from the spuds.
- It’s imperative that the butter and milk are hot and melted before adding to the cooked potatoes. Throwing cold butter and/or milk into hot potatoes would shock them. Not only does it drain the heat from your side dish, but it also leads to grainy, lumpy taters. No one wants that.
- Don’t be too heavy handed with the potato masher. Potatoes can be worked too much. This will result in runny, loose potatoes. To be able to walk the fine line and avoid over-mashing the potatoes I use a crisscross potato masher instead of a traditional S-shaped, curvy one.
- Taste often. There’s nothing worse than bland, under-seasoned mashed potatoes! Upon first beginning to mash, taste the potatoes. You’ll probably have to add more salt. This is normal. Add more salt, along with the black pepper and nutmeg. Mix (don’t mash) and taste again. Repeat this process a few more times until the seasoning level is just right.
Buttery Mashed Potatoes
- Potato Masher
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes cleaned with skins left on
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup whole milk
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces and place in a large pot with the garlic cloves. Fill the pot with enough cool water to completely submerge the potatoes. Salt the water and place the filled pot over high heat.
- Bring the potatoes and garlic cloves to a rolling boil and cook until just fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return back to cooking pot.
- While the potatoes boil, place the stick of butter upright in a large pint glass or mason jar and fill with milk. Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, or until butter has fully melted into milk. Carefully remove from microwave as glass will be quite hot.
- Pour about half of the butter and milk mixture into the drained potatoes and garlic and begin to mash. Taste the potatoes and season with more salt and ground pepper. Add more liquid until desired consistency is reached (you may not use it all, that’s ok!), being careful not to over mash. Stir in nutmeg, taste, and add additional seasoning if necessary.
- To serve: top the potatoes with pats of butter and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.
- Other potatoes can be used in this recipe. Baby Red Potatoes are my next favorite option and the skins can still be left on. Regular russet potatoes are also usable, just peel the skins off before cooking.