Thoughts on Mashed Potatoes: A Classic

Mashed potatoes are a personal favorite food and a family favorite.  They will definitely be a part of my Thanksgiving dinner.  Many people are intimidated by mashed potatoes because they worry about their mashed spuds being perfectly smooth, with no bumps or lumps and rich amounts of cream.


I’m a firm believer that mashed potatoes are best made simple, even daring to call them rustic.  I like to use red or Yukon potatoes and not even peel them.  (Of course you want to scrub them really well if you’re not going to remove the peels.)  I simply hand mash my mashed potatoes with a masher and add the additional ingredients as I mash.  No blenders, no ricers, just the hand held masher.  I also vary what I put in my mashed potatoes, depending on the other flavors I’m cooking with and what my taste buds are telling me that day, so I’ll give you a couple of varieties and you can make whatever you’re in the mood to eat.

Mashed Potatoes for a crowd:

5 lbs. red potatoes or Yukon gold, scrubbed, unpeeled.


Put whole potatoes in a pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and continue cooking (at a boil) for 25 minutes or until tender.  When in doubt, cook for a little longer.  Remove from heat and drain potatoes.

Put potatoes in a bowl and now start adding the good stuff.  I begin with the milk or crème and then add in other ingredients.



Milk or crème: You definitely want some kind of liquid in your mashed potatoes.  This is what makes them smoother and allows the other ingredients to blend better with the potatoes.  Add ¼ cup at a time, mash and add more mik/crème depending on the consistency you like.  I usually just add milk because crème can be a little rich for my liking.  But if you’re making these potatoes for a fancy occasion, crème adds to the flavor and taste of the potatoes.


Garlic or shallots: both of these add great depth to your flavor and you can mince or simply chop the garlic or shallots.  I wouldn’t use both, just one.

Parmesan cheese: This is a personal favorite of mine and I’ll be using parmesan for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.  Start with ¼ cup and see how you like the taste.  Other cheeses you might like to try: cheddar, goat, or smoked gouda

Sour cream: another good choice.  You still want to use milk if you’re going with sour cream, but it adds more complex flavors.  I think sour cream mashed potatoes go particularly well with steaks.

Salt & Pepper: These spices are a must.  You have to taste as you add S&P, but if anything, you’ll find that your mashed potatoes are under seasoned.

Fresh Rosemary: a great addition to your mashed potatoes.  Just chop up some rosemary leaves and toss it in as you mash your potatoes.

Another great thing about mashed potatoes is that you can make them ahead of time and just reheat before serving.  It’s one less side dish to be worrying about in the moments leading up to the big dinner.  And they make great leftovers the next day.  I always make extra.

What do you like to put in your mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes don’t need to be fancy, with ricers and blenders in order to be delicious!  Hopefully this will help you as you continue to plan your yummy, gluten-free Thanksgiving and holiday meals.

  1. Thomas says:

    Putting some extra cheese in the mashed potatoes sounds gouda to me.

  2. RAD says:

    I love to do twice baked potatoes. Make your favorite “college girl” baked potato recipe. Scoop out the potato leaving the skin intact. Then make your favorite mashed potato recipe ( adding goat or cheddar cheese as Besty suggests sounds best), spoon the mashed potato back into the skin and bake for another 15 minutes. Turns a beautiful golden color and tastes delicious!

  3. Betsy says:

    Yum! I love twice baked potatoes and I always forget about them. They also freeze well. I’ll have to make some after Thanksgiving.

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