Are you planning a family party or a holiday meal? We're pretty sure that meal will involve everyone's fave side: mashed potatoes! File away this easy mashed potato recipe and a few remix options for a fresh take on a golden oldie. Be sure to sing that jaunty classic saying “I can mash potato, I can do the twist…..” while cooking! It's just more fun.

green towel and white bowl of mashed potatoes from Shelf Cooking

We can't say enough about mashed potatoes. They are simply the best. Better than all the rest. Without getting TOO Tina Turner up in here to prove our point, it's time we prepared you for all your family meals with a fool-proof and easy recipe for mashed potatoes.

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The best part is that very few side dishes are as versatile and leftover-friendly as the amazing mashed potato. You'll certainly find a fave way to use those leftover spuds after the party is over. Plus, we'll even share ways to store and reuse the leftovers! Now, let's get started!


pot of cut boiled potatoes and butter for easy mashed potato recipe from Shelf Cooking

If your goal is to master this essential side dish — and you should — then follow these tips from gourmet chefs for mashed potato success.

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes for the Win – While russets are great, many chefs agree that Yukon Golds are the superior spud. This is because they're slightly buttery, smooth, and they're naturally creamy when mashed.
  • Cut the Potatoes into Large Pieces – If you keep your potato pieces larger, it allows LESS water to get into the pieces. Watery potatoes = less flavor.
  • Mash ‘Em Hot – To get the creamiest texture, mash your potatoes hot. You can wear oven mitts or clean dish gloves to protect from burns!
  • Fat Goes First – To keep firmness and volume in your potatoes, add the fat first before adding liquids. In goes the butter!
  • Taste and Season Often – You will need to add salt at multiple points in the process. Be sure to do a taste check often to make sure the fats and liquid don't dilute your seasoning.
  • Add Liquid Slowly and Gently – Take your time adding in liquid like milk and fold in gently. Over mixed potatoes lose volume and become too liquidy.

Pro Tip: Gourmet chefs take their mashed potatoes to the next level by adding in an aromatic ingredient. Use what you love and enjoy! A few of our favorites are thyme, rosemary, or garlic. You can add these either to the boiling water or the butter mixture in your easy mashed potato recipe.


Casserole dish with shepherds pie with fork, knife, and spoon on a countertop from Shelf Cooking

When you're cooking for a crowd, it's easy to end up with leftovers. Here are a few great suggestions for repurposing those creamy taters into an easy weeknight dinner:

  • Shepherd's Pie – This comforting classic is a no-brainer and uses up leftover mashed potatoes. Plus, you can add cheese. Did we mention cheese?
  • Turkey Empanadas – Use up those leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal with these easy savory hand pies from The Spruce Eats.
  • Ham and Potato Casserole – Combine your mashed potatoes with some diced ham, top with lots of cheddar cheese, and heat for an easy and filling casserole.

Mashed potatoes are so yummy that we're certain you'll use them up long before you are sick of them. But if you don't? We've got the best news that will REALLY make your shelf cooking heart sing.


Guess what?! Mashed potatoes freeze like a champ!  If you don't want to eat up those leftover mashers right away, then you can freeze them away for a yummy repeat later on. Here are a few things to remember when you are freezing mashed potatoes:

  • The More Butter, the Better – The fat content in mashed potatoes is key to helping them freeze and reheat well, so don’t skimp! Potatoes made with broth are definitely healthier, but if your goal is to freeze them for later, then go for the full-fat version. 
  • Cool Them Completely – Allow your potatoes to cool completely before freezing, which helps keep the creamy texture.
  • Single-Serve Portions – To portion your potatoes, scoop one-cup portions of the mashed potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, then freeze for at least a few hours up to overnight, until the mashed potatoes are completely frozen. Transfer the individual portions to a large freezer bag or container, and store it in the freezer.
  • Easy Bulk Freezing – If you can't be bothered to portion, you can freeze the entire bowl of potatoes. Just transfer the cooled mash to a large freezer bag or container, and store in the freezer for later. Easy peasy!

Isn't it so comforting to know that you'll never need to toss that half-eaten bowl of potatoes again? Freezing leftover mashed potatoes is the mark of true shelf cook superstar.


Small cast iron pan of creamy mashed potatoes on a countertop from Shelf Cooking

Ready to go another round with those mashers for a quick and easy weeknight dinner? There are a few ways you can reheat the potatoes. If you have the luxury of time, then thaw the potatoes in the refrigerator one to two days before reheating. If not, then reheat with one of these methods straight out of the freezer!

  • Stovetop – Reheat the potatoes — thawed or straight from the freezer — in a large pot, over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once heated through, add additional seasoning and butter as needed before serving. 
  • Oven – Reheat the potatoes, thawed or straight from the freezer, in a covered dish at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are completely heated through.
  • Slow Cooker – This is the option that pairs well with potatoes that have been thawed in the refrigerator. Add the potatoes to the slow cooker and heat on low for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Microwave – Add the potatoes to a microwave-safe dish with a lid and heat them in the microwave at half-power for five minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to adjust the time depending on your microwave. Once they are cooked through, stir well, and add additional seasoning and butter, as needed. 

Pro Tip: If your mashed potatoes are a little watery when they are reheated, no worries! Just add some more butter, cream, or sour cream to thicken them up a bit. 


A killer recipe for mashed potatoes is a must for every proper kitchen. You can't go wrong with this deliciously creamy and rich recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven. Add this new fave to add to your recipe book!

kitchen towel and bowl of mashed potatoes from Shelf Cooking

Easy Mashed Potato Recipe

You can never go wrong when you serve up this delicious and creamy side dish with your next family meal. They're buttery goodness!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 5 lbs russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt, plus an extra 2 tsp
  • Optional toppings- chives, green onions, black pepper


  • Cut your potatoes into large pieces. You can choose to peel them or leave the skins on if you'd like.
  • Toss your potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water to about 1 inch above the potatoes.
  • Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of sea salt to the pot and heat on high until water boils.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • While potatoes are boiling, heat butter, half and half, and an extra 2 teaspoons of sea salt in the microwave until butter is melted WITHOUT boiling. Set the mixture aside.
  • Drain the water, and then immediately return the potatoes to the pot over low heat.
  • Let the potatoes cook on the hot burner for about 1 minute to steam off some of the remaining water in the potatoes.
  • Remove your pot from the stove to a flat surface.
  • Mash your potatoes with a potato masher to your preferred consistency.
  • Pour half the butter mixture over the potatoes and fold in with a wooden spoon. Repeat with the remaining butter mixture.
  • Season to taste with extra salt, black pepper, chives, green onions etc. if you'd like.
Keyword easy recipe

We can't wait for you to try these yummy potatoes. They are oh-so-delicious and comforting. So satisfying!

We are so happy that the season of family meals is upon us, and with this easy mashed potato recipe, you'll never need to worry about what to bring again! Leave us a comment and share how you enjoy your mashed potatoes!

Image with text that reads "easy mashed potato recipe" from Shelf Cooking

Need more great recipes for your family meal? These options are sure to please!

See ya later, mashed potater!