The Very Best Mashed Potatoes
Creamy, tangy and addictive, this is The Very Best Mashed Potato recipe ever. Simple to make and perfect for any occasion, from a simple Sunday supper to an elegant holiday spread…these will be the star of the dinner guaranteed.
I absolutely hated mashed potatoes when I was a kid. Probably because of the white, tasteless goo that was served at school lunches. Because of that I refused to eat them anywhere, even at home which was another battle. My house was part of the clean plate club. You didn’t leave the table until you ate your entire meal….there were starving children in Africa. And it was not a restaurant. You ate the dinner that mom made that night, she was not making Jonathan chicken nuggets, meatloaf for Andrew and spaghetti with extra butter and cheese for me. There was none of that.
As a child, you think this kind of behavior from your mother is irrational and mean. As an adult….I now see this was just plain common sense. I may or may not have used the phrase, “Eat it….this is not a restaurant!” We do eat out at restaurants quite a bit so I get that we may be causing some confusion with the kids. But this rule stands in our house.
Thankfully, I learned to love mashed potatoes. I think it was all a case of mistaken identity, really. See, that pile of white goo at school….those really weren’t potatoes at all. I don’t even know if that was food. I’m pretty sure the new laws that have been put in place regarding school lunches have actually banned serving substances such as the white goo. And my family loves mashed potatoes, especially the Very Best Mashed Potatoes. I’ve even had requests from my husband’s office every year to make them for their Thanksgiving office party.
One year, I was super lazy and decided not to peel the potatoes before cooking. This was a good idea. It helps keep some of the potatoes together so it’s a slightly chunky, creamy, fluffy concoction that you may want to bathe in. Or not. It’s totally up to you. You can peel the potatoes if you want but that’s just extra, unnecessary work in my opinion. Use that time to hide in the powder room with a bottle of wine. That’s time well spent! Also, be sure to add the potatoes to cold water and then bring it up to a boil. This helps them cook more evenly and lessens the chance of them turning to paste when you mix them. The Very Best Mashed Potatoes are wonderful with this Double Glazed Turkey Meatloaf or this simple roasted chicken or under these fall-apart tender slow cooker short ribs.
Thanksgiving Note: Start boiling the potatoes before the turkey is finished cooking. While it rests, throw your sides in the oven and finish up the potatoes. This will help you time everything so it’s finished around the same time.
The Very Best Mashed Potatoes
- 5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks of uniform size
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
- 1 1/2 cups half and half, at room temperature
- 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature (I use Plugra European Style Butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- In a large stockpot filled 3/4 of the way with water, add the potatoes and 3 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Continue to cook over medium heat until they are fork tender. Approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes in a strainer and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, half and half, butter, salt and pepper to the potatoes. Using a hand mixer, mix all the ingredients on medium speed until thoroughly combined and the potatoes are broken up. The mixture should be fluffy with a few potato chunks throughout. Be careful not to over beat the potatoes because they can become gummy.