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These easy mashed potatoes take the stress out of your holiday dinner menu

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Tired of those new-fangled mashed potato recipes that make the beloved Thanksgiving dish unnecessarily complicated? Whether you crave the basic and time-honored combination of potatoes, butter and cream or you desperately need to streamline your holiday cooking — while keeping it delicious — our simple mashed potatoes recipe, inspired by Honest and Tasty, meets your Thanksgiving menu needs.

Americans are predictably obsessed with mashed potatoes during the holiday season. From food blogs and food magazines to family dinner conversations, mashed potato recipes take center stage. It’s not surprising that controversies arise over the best ways to make this comforting carb-loaded dish. Peeled or unpeeled, mashed or whipped, cream cheese or sour cream, heavy cream or milk, tasty extras like caramelized onions or left plain, mashed potatoes are a holiday classic. We say enough with the debating, people! You can’t please everyone at the Thanksgiving table when you start deviating from the basic recipe, so stop trying! Make our simple, scrumptious mashed potatoes and you are guaranteed to satisfy your hungry holiday crowd.

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Russets. Peeled, please. Despite the colorful selection of potatoes at the market, russet potatoes are the best potato for light, fluffy and flavorful mashed potatoes. And, yes, we know that leaving the peel on the potatoes will give you a boost of nutrients. But this is Thanksgiving and we aren’t too concerned about healthy eating. Peel the russets and dice them up.

Cold water is a must. Place the potatoes in a stockpot, add a generous pinch of salt and cover them with cold water; starting the potatoes in cold water ensures that the chunks of potatoes are cooked evenly. Place the stockpot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain the cooked potatoes into a colander and transfer them to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher to break down the chunks.

Butter makes everything better. You can’t have classic mashed potatoes without a generous inclusion of butter. Our simple mashed potatoes recipe calls for one cup — or two sticks — of unsalted butter, cut into half-sticks, softened to room temperature. Use the potato masher to mash the butter into the potatoes, a half-stick at a time, until well-incorporated.

Season and add cream. Sea salt and heavy cream give these simple mashed potatoes an indulgent taste and creamy appeal. Stir these ingredients into the buttery potatoes.

A few fresh chives go a long way. Minced fresh chives brighten up the mashed potatoes with appealing bits of herbal color and a mild onion flavor that goes impeccably well with potatoes. A modest two tablespoons of minced chives is all you need for the chives to assert just enough of their distinct taste. Stir in the chives until they are evenly distributed.

Serve your simple mashed potatoes hot. Time your mashed potatoes to go on the table hot and ready. If you’re making them ahead of time, keep them warm on low in the stockpot until it’s time to transfer them to a serving bowl. The best mashed potatoes are hot, fluffy — and begging for a pour of tasty turkey gravy.

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Mash the potatoes

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender. Use a potato masher to mash the boiled potatoes until they are soft.

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Add butter to the mashed potatoes

Add the butter, one half of a stick at a time, to the mashed potatoes. Mash each addition of butter completely into the potatoes before adding more butter.

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Add salt and heavy cream

Stir the salt and heavy cream into the mashed potatoes until fully incorporated.

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Mix in fresh chives

Fresh chives will brighten up the mashed potatoes with color and a mild onion taste. Stir the chives into the potatoes until they are evenly distributed. For extra flavor, you can scatter extra chives over the top of the mashed potatoes right before serving.

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Serve hot

The best mashed potatoes are hot mashed potatoes. Dig in.

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These potatoes make a delectable side dish!

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Simple mashed potatoes

Yield 8 servings


  • 3 to 3-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into two-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into half-sticks, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. Place the potatoes in a stockpot. Add cold salted water to cover the potatoes.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes or until they are fork-tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes into a colander and transfer them to a large bowl.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until soft.
  5. Add the butter, one half of a stick at a time. Mash butter into the potatoes until fully incorporated before adding the next half-stick.
  6. Add salt and heavy cream and stir until well-combined.
  7. Stir in chives. Serve hot.

Courses Sides

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