Southern Style Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I am looking for a southern style recipe for mashed potatoes. i live in minnesota and can’t make them like a relative in virginia did. Is it the potatoes?

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Jen - December 30, 2010

I believe potatoes can make a difference but I also think you can still make very good mashed potatoes with pretty much any kind. Here’s what I do.

Yellow gold or red potatoes are my favorite for mashed potatoes. If you like country style with the peel on, yellow gold is very good. I use Idaho too with great results too.

Peel & wash potatoes then put in pan with enough water to cover them. I usually salt the water a little. Boil until potatoes are done – soft when poked with a fork.

Drain the water out, I leave just a few Tbs in the bottom of the pan. Next I add real butter – the amount depends on how many potatoes but for 6 or so baking size potatoes I usually add 1/4 to 1/2 cup. You add less with yellow gold because it already has a good butter taste.

I mash with a potato masher first then I use my hand mixer to mix them until they’re very creamy. Once they’re mashed well, add liquid(milk, water, broth, half n’half..) My favorite is heavy cream or half n half for holiday potatoes. Regular meals I use milk but I like chicken broth sometimes too.

It just takes practice to get measurements right. Start with 1/4 cup of butter & 1/4 cup of liquid. If they don’t cream well add a little more of each. Add salt to taste.

    Harold Sullivan - November 19, 2015

    I like this recipe Jen. It’s very similar to the one I use which I inherited from my mom who was from Arkansas.

deena - December 30, 2010

use russett potatoes. peel, half, boil until tender,drain, table spoon or to your liking of butter (I use I cant beleive its not butter) Pour a little milk in, I mash mine with a ole fashion potato masher, keep mashing pouring a little milk as you go,till desired thickness! Some times I put a tablespoon or so of sourcreme, makes them really white, with the hint of a baked potato…ENJOY

deena - December 30, 2010

oh ,and dont forget the salt and pepper

Stephanie - December 31, 2010

I really doubt it’s the potatoes. Most potatoes come from the same region regardless of where you buy them. My guess is it is the butter. I am not sure what kind of “southern” potatoes you are refering to but I know that really yummy old fashioned mashed potatoes usually have about as much butter as they do potato. I make mine with about a stick of butter per pound of potatoes. I also add a little milk or cream if needed, salt & pepper and sometimes some parsley or chives. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Becky - January 1, 2011

1. Use big baking (russet) potatoes. Cut into 1-1½” cubes, cover in water, bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 10 min. Drain in colander in sink, then immediately cover colander w/ clean dish towel and let them steam another 10 min.

2. While potatoes are steaming, warm your milk and melt your butter in the pot you cooked the potatoes in. If you add cold milk to hot potatoes, you will get glue. Yuk! Warm milk (or cream, or half and half) will blend in nicely. I use a hand-held potato masher and mash/mix in the pot I boiled hte potatoes in. You can also use a potato ricer or a food mill, but a masher takes up less storage space and fits in a drawer.

3. Don’t be afraid to season w/ salt and pepper. Bland potatoes taste like glue, too! Kosher salt tastes better than regular table salt.

I posted a recipe below just so you’d have an idea of proportions of potato to milk to butter. A block of cream cheese is also good mashed in (makes them very white!) and buttermilk also gives them a twang which is nice. Sour cream is also good to add to it.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

5 lb. russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
8 Tbs. (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1¼ cups half-and-half, heated
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Put the potatoes and the 2 tsp. salt in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 3 inches and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently cook the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Set a potato ricer over the pot and pass the potatoes through in batches. Or, return the potatoes to the pot and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter and gradually add the half-and-half, beating constantly with a large spoon, until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

–Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Kathy - January 3, 2011

If you need to make mashed potatoes ahead of time or put them on a buffet for an extended period of time add an 8oz package of cream cheese and an 8oz carton of sour cream to about 5# of mashed potatoes. The fat stabilizes the starch and keeps it from breaking down.

Judy Bradley - January 5, 2011

I use pretty much the same recipes as stated above but with one difference. I use Carnation or Pet milk. That gives them that down home taste. If you don’t have either one of these, powdered coffee creamer works just as well. Sounds odd but it adds the flavor of cream that makes mashed taters taste like they just came off the farm!

Janis Hill - January 5, 2011

The milk is what makes the difference. Use evaporated milk for a creamy, rich taste along with real butter (not margarine)

Wash potatoes, peel, dice into 1/2″ pieces, put in pot. Do not cover with water. Add only enough to come about half way up in the pan. Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times, until fork tender. Drain well. Add 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup milk. Use electric mixer. Start on low speed increasing speed as potatoes mash. Add equal parts butter and evaporated milk until consistancy you desire. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix one final time.

As you can see there are as many recipes for mashed potatoes as there are ears of corn in a corn field! I suggest you try one then the next, ect. until you find the one you like best. Or better yet ask your cousin what she does.

Janis from Alabama

Donna - January 5, 2011

I live in Oklahoma and we use whatever potatoes we have on hand for mashed potatoes. In our recipes though we use a lot more real butter. I use almost a whole stick, I also use approximately 1/2 cup of sour cream. Sometimes I go ahead and put grated cheddar cheese in it to while it is hot so it can melt in when you mix it. I use milk or cream whichever I have on hand (normally milk) and I pour it into the hot potatoes. I have never had it make glue. Salt and pepper to taste. I can’t give you approximate measurements because I just always do everything to taste.
Donna B. in Okla.

Lee - February 23, 2011

all these are good. you also might try using chicken broth. But please do not put them in a food processor it makes the pot. tough and stretchy.

Rob Edison - March 8, 2011

It occurred to me that heavy cream is mostly butterfat anyway, so I now skip the butter and use only cream. Of course a little puddle of melted butter looks very inviting when the potatoes are served!

Mashed potatoes are one of those pale-colored foods that are picked up by addition of the “secret ingredient” – white pepper.

Lori Hendrix - June 3, 2011

We like ours with the peeling left on. I use my garlic press and mince a few cloves of garlic in with the potatoes while they are cooking. Salt and pepper to taste. Lots of real butter. Sour cream or evaporated milk or whole milk. Stir well and enjoy…lumps and all.

melaine - July 16, 2011

All the information sounds good —– but for southern mashed potatoes.
You boil how ever many potatoes (sliced with the skins on) you need with salt once they are almost ready you cut off the fire and cover. Get out your serving bowl and your potatoe masher along with atleast a stick (cup) of butter (real is best).
Drain the pot of potatoes of all of the water.
Mash the potatoes and add your butter — once they are mashed top with salt.

Do not add milk or use a mixer — that is for whipped potatoes not mashed potatoes.

Real southern mashed potatoes are smooth like baby food.


    melaine - July 16, 2011

    I was typing so fast —- the last line should read: Real southern mashed potatoes are not smooth like baby food.

Cissy Eversole - September 16, 2014

I live in East Tennessee.
This may sound a little crazy, but, I once watched my Grandmother pour some left over sweet chow chow juice in while she was mashing the potatoes. I also have had a friend add a little lemon juice.

It brings a flovor all its own that I think you are looking for.

Donna Franklin - September 22, 2014

Secret ingredient for rave review mashed potatoes (probably not southern but could be) a dollop of Mayonaise mixed in at the end of mashing/mixing. This will also make potato flakes (instant mash) taste more appetizing. Dunno why, but it works.

GRITS - January 18, 2016

All of the recipes stated above are great but a true southern woman will have mashed potatoes on her dinner table 4 out of 7 nights of the week. I’ve watched generations of women & men in my family prepare mashed potatoes. The potato is what is available. We have always grown our own red russet. Eat them all summer and into the fall. They have a sweeter taste than white or Yukon. They fry up beautiful.
For mashed potatoes my family has always peeled unless they are new potatoes with a tender skin, quartered and boiled in salted water until fork tender. Add a stick of butter and whole milk and mash. My dad prefers a few lumps so he uses a potato masher my mom likes them smooth so she uses a mixer. Salt and pepper to taste and dig in.
Adding sour cream, mayo, heavy cream, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, or anything else is an extra treat. Think about it? In the south many many years ago these items were not easily available to the southern woman on a farm. Milk and butter were staples.
Simply stated true southern style mashed potatoes are potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper.

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