We hate to pick sides, but if you forced us to choose our absolute best mashed potatoes recipe, this one would top the list of contenders. It produces a supremely fluffy mash and might just be the creamiest side dish around.
Yukon Golds are hands down the best potatoes for mashing; they have a rich buttery flavor and creamy mouthfeel before introducing them to any dairy. (But yes, you can use russet potatoes if you must.) It’s important to cook the potatoes in well-salted water; anything less and the spuds will never taste fully seasoned. Boiling them with their skins on keeps them from taking on too much moisture too soon, allowing for a higher ratio of milk and cream later on. (Read more in our guide to boiling potatoes.)
For the perfect mashed potatoes, a ricer or food mill is a necessity. For one thing, they’ll catch all those skins, and secondly, they have the ability to process the potatoes to a fine purée without turning them gummy or gluey. (A potato masher could never; for more pro tips, watch Andy make them here.)
If you’re tight on time on Thanksgiving or any other day you plan to serve this comfort food classic; you can make this recipe a day in advance and tuck it into the refrigerator. And while you’re at it, you could get a head start on this turkey gravy, which you can reheat in the roasting pan (along with any drippings) once the turkey comes out of the oven.
On days when your gravy boat is dry, a dollop of sour cream and some thinly sliced green onions or a little extra melted butter gild these mashed potatoes nicely.
As we said at the top, there are many ways to go with homemade mashed potatoes. If you want to branch out, consider these roasted-garlic mashed potatoes with miso, an extra-silky mash topped with a crispy, crunchy garnish, mashed baked potatoes finished with half-and-half and chives, or check two recipes off your list by makinginstead.