Mashed potatoes are an important part of a nice steak dinner and a great side to barbecued ribs. Turning mashed potatoes a delicious, fluffy and creamy side dish that isn't lumpy or gummy takes some skill, planning and patience. We've put together a recipe for smooth mashed potatoes that is full of flavor and easy to make.

What You Need To Make Mashed Potatoes:

yukon gold potatoes
  • 5 pounds of Yukon Gold Potatoes, all the same size and left whole.
  • 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • A large stockpot
  • A potato ricer

How To Make Mashed Potatoes

  • Peel the potatoes, put them in the stockpot and cover them with cold water, leaving about an inch of water on top of the potatoes.
  • Add the salt and thyme.
  • Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a rapid simmer so the water doesn't violently bubble and splash out of the pot.
  • Keep the potatoes simmering for 15 minutes or until soft all the way through (use a cooking thermometer to poke through a potato, if it goes through easily, they are good to go)
  • -Remove the thyme sprigs and drain the water carefully, making sure to avoid smashing the potatoes.
a ricer to mash potatoes
  • Place your ricer over a large mixing bowl and rice the potatoes, one or two at a time, into the bowl.
  • Warm up your half-and-half in a pan on the stove top and bring your butter to room temperature. You want your butter to be very soft, but not melted.
  • Using a spatula, fold the butter into the potatoes while periodically adding small amounts of the half-and-half. You don't want to whisk or spoon, as it can ruin the creamy texture of the mashed potatoes and leave them more rubbery.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Variations To Your Mashed Potatoes

chunks of butter in a bowl

There are a few things you can try doing to your mashed potatoes to make the already flavorful side dish even better:

  • Try mincing some garlic cloves into the mashed potatoes to give it a nice touch of flavor that pairs well with the butter.
  • Boil your potatoes in chicken, beef or vegetable stock for additional flavor, although stocks and broths can have a higher sodium content, so take care when seasoning with salt at the end.
  • Add shredded cheese to your mashed potatoes. A smoked cheddar variety or Oka cheese can add some really nice dimensions, and it pairs well with the creaminess of the mashed potatoes.
  • Try spicing up the potatoes with additional seasonings -- nutmeg, chili powder, smoked paprika or cumin can vary the flavors up in their own unique ways.
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