How to Make Mashed Potatoes (that are not from a box)

Some things just have to be done right. Really.

Mashed PotatoesWhen something as wonderfully delicious as mashed potatoes gets messed up, it can hurt feelings!

If you try to pick the serving spoon up out of the bowl, and you get the entire bowl of mashed potatoes with it, they’re messed up.


But there is a cure and you have found it, right here! Yay YOU! Read this and have lots of fun!

Mashed Potatoes

  1. Scrub well: one potato for each serving. (People often overeat this wonderful dish and leftovers are superb for many uses.)
  2. If the potatoes are not organically grown, peel them. If you do not enjoy peel in your mashed potatoes, peel them. Save the peelings for the chickens; they love ’em.
  3. Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices or one-inch cubes.
  4. Place cut potatoes into pan large enough for an inch of water over them, and also room to boil.
  5. Bring potatoes and water to a boil and add salt: For only one or two potatoes, add just a half teaspoon salt; for a big boiler full, add a tablespoon or so. Lower heat to simmer. (Just a few bubbles, not splashing around.)
  6. Simmer for about twenty minutes, at least. Test for doneness. Potatoes should be really soft and tender, to be done. If you stick a piece and it sinks down into the rest of the pieces, it’s too hard yet. If the fork goes straight into the piece or even breaks it easily, they’re done.
  7. Pour “done”potatoes and water into a colander over a large bowl. Set the cooking water aside to cool.
  8. Dump hot potato pieces into large mixer bowl and use beaters on low to break them up a lot. Then turn up speed to medium, to make them very mashed and fluffy.
  9. Add butter: If the large mixer bowl is close to full, add a whole stick of butter, at least; if you cooked only two potatoes, use less. Beat the butter in.
  10. Add milk: Do not be shy to add milk. Add it in small doses, but do add it. You do not want the potatoes to be stiff. It should be liked whipped cream or only slightly stiffer. It should not be like dried out playdough. Scrape edges into the middle to make sure all is blended well. Do not be afraid of overbeating–they need this.
  11. Turn off mixer and use spatula to smooth top of potatoes and mound them in the middle.
  12. Wipe edges of bowl clean and serve with a smile.


  • Add garlic powder while beating.
  • Use cream instead of milk.
  • Add herbs of choice, dried and powdered, a pinch or two at a time to not overdo. Parsley is popular. Italian herbs are good. A few light flecks of something mysterious adds a lot, in this case.
  • Use cream cheese instead of butter.
  • Add chives.
  • Stir in bacon crumbles (not fake! real bacon!) with spoon, before mounding.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

To Reheat: Place a small bit of milk in the bottom of a good pan and add cold mashed potatoes. Stir often and watch carefully while warming over medium heat. Be sure to heat through. Serve.

Potato Patties: Fry some bacon or sausage and set aside. Mix cold, leftover mashed potatoes with egg, about one egg for each cup or two of mashed potatoes. Drop by heaping tablespoon into hot pan drippings and fry until richly brown on one side; turn and fry other side.
Serve with gravy or honey. Mmm!

Potato Soup: Soften chopped onion and celery in small amount of butter, over medium heat, using a small pot. Add mashed potatoes and stir to warm. Add enough milk to make it a thin soup. Continue on medium heat until heated through and about to simmer. Serve with cheese (Swiss is a good one) and crackers.

That Cooled and Saved Potato Broth

Save in refrigerator for no more than a week. Use in recipes such as gravy, soups, and bread making. Just substitute for the liquid called for in the recipe. You will be pleased. Reduce or eliminate the salt called for in the recipe.

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Mashed Potatoes (that are not from a box)

  1. I love mashed potatoes and our crew would be sorely disappointed if they didn’t appear Thanksgiving and Christmas. My father-in-law used to make them for our family dinners. That’s only one of the reasons I miss him. Now at Thanksgiving, one of my guests who is a dietitian brings an unbelievable supply of mashed potatoes, and I say thank you!

    1. Potato! The perfect food! Hahaha!
      Thanks for this comment, Dorothy! When we have Thanksgiving, we assign the potatoes to one person. Using my recipe, above, it takes 22 potatoes. And we have precious little left over…

  2. I am partial to mashed potatoes that aren’t from a box. HOWEVER, my sweet mother in law can make the best mashed potatoes “from a box.” I don’t know how she does it but she DOES!!!! She makes them taste just like REAL potatoes. Amazing and unbelievable, yes, but true.


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