It's hard to argue with science-based methods for how to make mashed potatoes perfect every time!
Food - How To - Potatoes - Sides

How To Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Last updated on December 17, 2023 by Liza Hawkins

It’s hard to argue with science-based methods for how to make mashed potatoes perfect every time!

A group of my friends and I were having a conversation recently about the best way to make perfect mashed potatoes.

As boring as that may sound to some, for us it was grand — talk of butter (so. much. butter.), cream, sour cream, cream cheese and other delicious and savory additions is enough to not only keep our attention, but also make us super hungry.

I believe mashed potatoes was on my menu that night as a result.

It's hard to argue with science-based methods for how to make mashed potatoes perfect every time!

At any rate, one of my friends shared a link showcasing Sunset Magazine food editor Margo True and her tried and true (pun intended) method for how to make mashed potatoes.

Her secret didn’t come from fancy cooking school, nor from years managing a popular restaurant kitchen.

Nope. It came from her mother.

And, um, science.

Culture, when it comes to food, is a fancy word for your mom.

—Michael Pollan

After watching the video (I linked it above and it’s embedded at the bottom), I realized that I already incorporate about sixty-five percent of her methods when I make my whipped mashed potatoes.

And even though I really love my mashed potatoes, I decided to give some of her other suggestions a go!

So much of what she suggests is science-based … how very “Alton” … and it’s hard to argue with that.

It's hard to argue with science-based methods for how to make mashed potatoes perfect every time!

From now on I’m letting the potatoes boil for twenty-five minutes so they’re really, REALLY done (even though I have always started them in cold water, I’m usually a seventeen-minute-potato-boiler).

And, I’ll be drying the potatoes out in the pot before adding the milk and butter.

I agree with her proposal of Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes as optimum for mashed potato bliss, though if I happen to only have red skin or white on hand, it won’t stop me from making mashed potatoes.

Because, basically anything with potatoes and butter and cream is A-OK with me.

Take a peek:

I love how cooking is a life-long learning process!

No one ever said the holidays had to be full of difficult and time-consuming recipes. The best celebrations are had over simple holiday recipes that taste great and are easy to prep and make. Cheers!
Yield: 6

How To Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Easy perfect mashed potatoes!


  • 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into even pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon + teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Place the potatoes in a medium stainless steel pot, and then add enough water to just cover them. Add a tablespoon of salt, and then bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to keep the water at a gentle rolling boil, and continue cooking for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk over low heat in a separate pan.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain the potatoes and then add them back into the warm pot, tossing occasionally until they start to dry out and whiten around the edges.
  4. Use a hand-held masher to break them up — the potatoes should be fall apart tender.
  5. Add the butter, milk, remaining salt and the pepper to potatoes, and continue mashing until they're creamy.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 452mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.