Simple Mashed Potatoes


Chunky or smooth, lightened with milk, or made rich with cream and butter, it is hard to go wrong with this paradigm of comfort food.


  • 2 pounds russet, Yukon gold, or long white potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 cup milk, or cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Peel and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. Place in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water; add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer. If using a potato ricer, fill another saucepan or bottom of a double boiler with water; place over low heat. Keep potatoes at a low simmer until a knife slips in and out easily. Drain potatoes in a colander. Place milk in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.

  2. If using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, proceed to step four. If using a potato ricer, place a heat-proof bowl or top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Press hot, drained potatoes through ricer into bowl.

  3. Stir potatoes with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a whisk, incorporate butter. Drizzle in hot milk, whisking continuously. Add pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste; whisk to combine. Serve immediately.

  4. For the electric-mixer method, transfer hot, drained potatoes to bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, until most lumps have disappeared, about 1 minute. Add butter; mix until blended. On low speed, add hot milk in a slow stream, then add pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Mix to combine.

Cook's Notes

Experiment with different kinds of potatoes. The traditional russet makes mashed potatoes that are fluffy but grainy. For creamier mashed potatoes, use long white or Yukon gold. Mash new potatoes with their skins on for extra flavor and texture. For stiffer mashed potatoes, use only 3/4 cup milk or cream; for richer potatoes, add another 2 tablespoons butter.

Related Articles