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Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes are a must-have on every Thanksgiving table! With a few simple ingredients, you’ll have the best potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner!

thanksgiving mashed potatoes recipe

The best-mashed potatoes recipe is everywhere on the internet! It seems every recipe blogger has their favorite way of making mashed potatoes.

This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by Bellemain.

This classic mashed potatoes recipe uses sour cream, heavy cream, and butter for the Yukon gold potatoes. A potato ricer is the best tool to create creamy, dreamy potatoes!

How to Make Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

First, let’s chat about potatoes.

Everyone has their favorite starchy potatoes! Whether Idaho potatoes, Yukon golds, or russet potatoes, any mashed potato recipe will need hot potatoes!

Let’s gather some kitchen equipment that will help make this Thanksgiving Day favorite:

Large Pot – you want plenty of room for your potatoes to boil in the water.

Large Bowl – While you can mash your potatoes in your large pot, my personal favorite is to use a large bowl.

Something to achieve mashed potatoes. You might prefer a potato masher like this one, or you use a hand mixer or the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

I’ve fallen in love with the way a potato ricer creates the perfect mashed potatoes. Every single time the ricer easily presses cooked potatoes through and into the bowl. Then, I’ll use a spatula to stir in the cream mixture. It’s a great kitchen tool I’m so excited to use! Bellemain makes one that is so easy to clean! Even in my little sink!

A food mill works great, too! It’s just a larger kitchen tool than I have room for in my itty bitty kitchen.

The other tools (masher, mixer, etc) all seem to create gummy or lumpy potatoes in the end.

Whatever you use, is just fine!

Creamy mashed potatoes

It’s one of my favorite recipes to serve as a Simple Dinner Party Menu Idea!

Now, let’s talk about the cream mixture

For this homemade mashed potatoes recipe, I keep it simple with three ingredients. It’s how my dad has made his potatoes all my life. And they’re damn good, y’all!

Ingredients to have on hand:

  • Cream Cheese – this adds extra richness and a tangy flavor that can’t be beaten!
  • Whole Milk – while whole milk is great, if you’re making these potatoes for a “normal” meal, use what you have! You might just need a little extra.
  • Heavy Cream – this is the best way to get incredibly creamy potatoes!
  • Butter – unsalted butter or salted, and lots of butter.
  • Sour Cream – like cream cheese, this adds a tangy flavor to your recipe, and it’s a small change that makes a huge difference.
  • Kosher Salt – If you’re worried about over-salting your potatoes, use kosher salt. You won’t need as much salt as you do with iodized table salt.
  • Black Pepper – freshly ground, please!

Other mix-ins for potatoes:

  • Roasted Garlic – roasted garlic mixed into potatoes is lovely! Be sure it pairs with the entire meal, otherwise, everything will have a slight garlic flavor to it.
  • Fresh Garlic – garlic cloves steeped in cream with butter and fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme are the epitome of comfort food recipes!
  • Parmesan Cheese – if you’re made your mashed potatoes ahead of time, give a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top before baking. Not only does it add a nice flavor, it gives a golden brown crust on top, too!
  • Garlic Salt – people love to use this seasoning. Just be mindful of any extra normal salt you might add on top of the garlic salt!
the best thanksgiving mashed potatoes

How to Boil Potatoes:

First, fill your large pot with cold water.

Peel and rinse each potato, then dice into similarly sized cubes. Depending on your potato it could be cut in half, into quarters, or into lots of little pieces.

Place potatoes into your cold water. You’ll want a good inch and a half of water above the potatoes.

Turn your stove on to high heat, then cover the pot.

When the water reaches a full rolling boil, you can turn the heat down to medium heat. This will help the potatoes cook evenly, and become fork tender.

While your potatoes are cooking, you can simmer small pieces of butter with cream in a small saucepan. This is when you’d add any other flavors like garlic cloves or rosemary! Just leave the stove on a very low heat so nothing boils over or scorches on the bottom.

Once your potatoes are fork tender, pour them out into a colander over the sink.

make ahead mashed potatoes

How to Make Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Using your potato ricer, rice each potato into a heatproof bowl.

I love this BIG bowl! It’s a great thing t have on hand when you need to make a lot of something… but also store knick-knacks!

Then, pour the cream and butter mixture over the hot potatoes. Add plops of sour cream, and gently mix together. You can find the full measurements in the recipe card below.

The melted butter and warm milk ooze into the potatoes creating the most perfect unctuous mouth feel.

If you find your potatoes need a little extra moisture, drizzle in some more cream or a little bit of butter.

Now, you can turn out into a beautiful serving dish, and serve it right away. Or, you can keep the warm potatoes over a pot of simmering water (like a double boiler!) for up to 30 minutes.

Keep reading to find out how I make these Thanksgiving mashed potatoes ahead of time.

Serving Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

You can serve your potatoes right away, or you can make them ahead of time.

Make these potatoes exactly as the recipe card says, then plop them into a freezer-safe dish. I use toss-away aluminum pans because they’re easy and uniform in size, and I can two side by side in my oven!

Cover with aluminum foil with reheating instructions. Then wrap in plastic wrap, tightly.

Freeze for up to one month prior! Yep! Don’t ask me how I know… But, I know it works just fine.

A few days before your meal, take the potatoes out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to slow thaw under refrigeration.

When you’re ready to heat, place it in a COLD oven, then turn the oven to 350˚. Bake for 45 minutes covered. Feel free to add a few pats of butter on top before baking.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are mashed potatoes part of Thanksgiving?

Yes, without a doubt.

What are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Yukon Gold Potatoes are nodded as the best. Their delightfully creamy texture and golden yellow hue add a bit of fancy to your meal. However, in the south, russet potatoes stand firm as the winner.

How many potatoes are needed for mashed potatoes?

1/2 pound of potatoes per person to get one full cup in the end. So, for 8 people, you’ll need four pounds of potatoes. Potatoes are usually sold in 5-pound increments, so choose accordingly. And! There are plenty of favorite recipes for using the leftovers — my favorite way? Potato Pancakes!

Other Great Thanksgiving Recipes

Green Bean Casserole – it’s a classic for a reason, and pairs so well with any holiday meal! The cream of mushroom soup and crispy onions are iconic for the menu! If you’re feeling frisky, give Cream of Onion soup a try instead of mushroom soup.

Grandma’s Dressing Recipe – my absolute favorite part of the entire meal! This recipe goes viral every year since I published it, and it makes me so so happy to hear back from all the people who make it. This recipe brings back the nostalgia of their grandmother’s cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and it warms my heart!

These creamy mashed potatoes also scream Braised Beef Short Ribs! It’s the perfect winter dinner that really sticks to your bones!

Be sure to save this recipe to your Thanksgiving Board on Pinterest!

Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes
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Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: american


Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes are a must-have on every table! With a few simple ingredients, you’ll have the best potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner!


  • 5 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick of salted Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt (adjust as you need)
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper


  1. In a large pot, add your peeled and diced potatoes to cold water.
  2. Place the pot on the stove, cover it, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Allow the potatoes to boil until they are fork tender.
  4. In a small saucepan, over low heat melt your one stick of butter with 1 cup of heavy cream.
  5. Once your potatoes are cooked through, drain.
  6. Use a potato ricer, and rice the potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
  7. Pour over the cream and butter, and give a good stir.
  8. Add in your sour cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine until evenly distributed.
  9. Turn out into a serving dish, or follow the instructions for how to keep warm, or freeze for later.



To keep the potatoes warm for up to 30 minutes before serving, place them over a pot with simmering water. Don’t let the boil touch the water.


You can freeze your potatoes a month in advance of eating. Turn out into a freezer-safe baking dish. I prefer to use aluminum foil pans. Cover with aluminum foil, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze. 3 days before cooking, remove from the freezer and allow the mashed potatoes to thaw in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, place it in a cold oven, then turn the oven to 350˚. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until the middle, is piping hot. Serve!

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