Pop’s Mashed Potatoes

My husband says my mashed potatoes are the best. Legitimately, he’s not biased on this issue! Mashed potatoes seem like a fairly simple thing, but I take a lot of pride in knowing mine truly are excellent. Sometimes when I’m feeling lazy we pick up mashed potatoes from a restaurant and I am always left feeling disappointed and the craving unsatisfied. In all honesty, these potatoes aren’t my creation, they come from my grandfather.

Growing up during the Great Depression when potatoes were plentiful – and not much else – I suppose he learned how to make them taste extra delicious. These bring back vivid memories of Thanksgiving’s spent at their house. so many memories. My grandmother had gold lined plates and tableware, which she passed down to me. I can remember thinking they were the most fancy thing I’d ever seen. Both counters of the kitchen were lined with food: turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, and of course these famous mashed potatoes. Don’t even get me started on the deserts (some of which will be making an appearance at a later time)!! The mashed potatoes were always the last thing ready because they’re best when fresh and hot. I remember him standing at the counter next to an ancient Kitchen-Aid mixer, tasting and adding butter and milk. That’s the simplicity and the trick, the ratio of butter and milk. The other trick is the salt to pepper ratio. More salt, less pepper. The result is a buttery creamy salty goodness that I promise you will want again and again!

mashed potatoes

Start with some good ole ugly russet potatoes. Peel them and chop them into smaller pieces. Safety tip: wet potatoes can cause knife injuries; I find that drying slightly with a paper towel reduces the slipperiness (is that word?). Now let’s boil those babies until they’re falling apart soft.


Hello butter. You’re the star of the show. Put that whole baby in there. Don’t be scared. Fat is good, fat is good, fat is good. Especially if you use a good quality pastured butter! Now go sit down and do something else. The potatoes will boil and that butter will soften up. 

mashed potatoesOnce potatoes are cooked, drain water and pour over butter. Slowly walk around and gather milk, salt, and pepper, measuring cups and spoons. Daydream for a few minutes because we want that butter melted at the bottom! Now comes the milk. I generally free hand this part because I like to live dangerously. There’s also some variation in how creamy or soupy each person likes their potatoes. My mom likes them a little more liquidy than  do, and that’s ok! Don’t worry, I’ll post an amount below! Add some milk, mix, add more milk, mix. Add salt and pepper, mix.

Taste those babies. Mmmmm, are you happy yet? Will there be any left for the rest of the family? These usually only last through one meal at my house, in spite of my attempts to make them last for a leftover day. Speaking of, how about a leftover tip! Mashed potatoes tend to dry out when refrigerated and stored. There is a simple and great solution for this! Add some butter and cheese before reheating. This will add moisture and another level of flavor! 

mashed potatoes

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Pop's Potatoes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
The most delicious mashed potatoes ever!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mashed Potatoes
Servings: 6
  • 5 lb russet potatoes
  • 8 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Place butter in bottom of mixing bowl.

  2. Peel potatoes, rinse, and cut into large chunks.

  3. Cover with water, add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil

  4. Cook until soft and falling off fork, approximately 15 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and drain.

  6. Pour over butter in mixing bowl.

  7. Slowly add milk while mixing. May add up to 1/4 cup more if desired.

  8. Add salt and pepper and mix until desired consistency.