Get ready to elevate your side dish game with the creamiest mashed potatoes to ever cross your lips! This simple recipe is made with cream cheese, heavy cream and butter for a crowd-pleasing dish worthy of your holiday dinner table, and beyond. And if you happen to have leftovers, turn them into cheesy potato pancakes!
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Whether you’re looking to elevate your holiday feast or simply want to indulge in a comforting side dish, don’t underestimate the power of cream cheese in your mashed potatoes. It’s the secret ingredient that will forever change your mashed potato game, leaving you with a dish that is truly creamy, dreamy and irresistible.
Love mashed potatoes but looking to lighten the caloric load? Don’t miss my quick and easy recipe for Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives.
Why This Recipe Rocks
- Creaminess overload. The combination of heavy cream and cream cheese makes these mashed potatoes irresistibly creamy.
- Versatility. This recipe is a blank canvas. Make it your own by adding your favorite herbs, spices or mix-ins (hello, shredded cheddar cheese and crispy bacon!).
- Crowd-pleaser. Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a holiday feast, these mashed potatoes are guaranteed to steal the show.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare your mashed potatoes a day ahead and reheat gently in the microwave before serving. This is a great time-saving tip, especially during the holidays.
Secrets to Making the Best Mashed Potatoes
This starchy side may seem like a straightforward dish, but achieving that perfect, velvety texture and rich flavor requires a bit of finesse. Here are the secrets to making the best mashed potatoes that will have everyone asking for seconds:
- Cream cheese! It adds creaminess and a touch of tang without overpowering the pure flavor of the potatoes. (I have my husband’s grandmother (hi, Barbara!) to thank for introducing me to this amazing mashed potato mix-in last Thanksgiving.)
- And the second most important tip for perfect mashed potatoes: Use a potato ricer! It guarantees an extra velvety texture sans any lumps.
- Opt for Russet potatoes for their high starch content. This leads to a fluffier texture, absorbing the creamy goodness of your ingredients.
- Warm heavy cream, cream cheese and butter incorporates into the potatoes better and is the secret to achieving an extra level of creaminess.
- Russet potatoes: Why Russet? Russet potatoes are starchy, which means they break down easily and absorb the flavors and creaminess of the added ingredients. They result in a light, fluffy texture that’s perfect for mashed potatoes.
- Heavy cream: Its high-fat content contributes to the creaminess we all crave in this classic dish.
- Butter: Adds flavor and contributes to the overall richness of the dish. It’s a must! I prefer to use unsalted butter because it gives me more control over the saltiness of the final product.
- Cream cheese: The secret ingredient that brings a rich creaminess that sets this recipe apart.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Peel and chop. Start by peeling and chopping your Russet potatoes into uniform chunks. This ensures even cooking and a consistently creamy texture.
- Boil until fork-tender. Place your potato chunks in a large stock pot filled with salted water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes).
- Make the cream cheese mixture. While the potatoes cook, combine the heavy cream, butter and cream cheese in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture until, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth and warm.
- Drain, mash and add the cream mixture. Drain the potatoes, then once they’re cool enough to handle, pass them through a ricer into a large bowl. Add the heavy cream mixture to the bowl, stirring to combine. Taste and season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Kelly’s Note: If you’re a garlic fan, roast a few cloves and mix them into the mashed potatoes for a subtle, sweet garlic flavor.
- Don’t overcook the potatoes. This can lead to waterlogged potatoes. Boil just until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
- Do use heavy cream. While you absolutely can use any other type of milk, the result won’t be nearly as creamy and rich.
- Do customize the consistency. If your mashed potatoes are too thick, add a little more warmed heavy cream gradually until you reach your desired consistency.
If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can still make mashed potatoes using a potato masher or even the back of a fork. For a smoother consistency, use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
I love adding a mix of herbs to make mashed potatoes extra flavorful! Chopped fresh chives bring in a mild oniony goodness, while thyme and rosemary add a delightful earthy and savory touch. And don’t forget the fresh, bright vibe that parsley brings! Feel free to play around with your favorite herbs.
Absolutely! Make the mashed potatoes a day in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving. If they seem a bit dry after reheating, add a splash of milk or cream to restore their creaminess.
The possibilities are endless! Some of my favorite mix-ins include shredded cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and roasted garlic.
For the creamiest mashed potatoes, opt for heavy cream; however, whole milk or half and half work, too. Avoid using anything with a lower fat content than whole milk, as it may compromise the flavor and creaminess of your potatoes.
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- 2 1/2 lbs (about 6 large) Russet potatoes
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- Potato ricer
- Peel the potatoes, cut them in half then place them in a large stock pot filled with salted water. (The water should be at least 1 inch above the potatoes.) Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat so the water is simmering, and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, combine the heavy cream, butter and cream cheese in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture until, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth and warm.
- Drain the potatoes, then once they’re cool enough to handle, pass them through a ricer into a large bowl. Add the heavy cream mixture to the bowl, stirring to combine. Taste and season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Boil the potatoes just until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
Use heavy cream. While you absolutely can use any other type of milk, the result won’t be nearly as creamy and rich.
If your mashed potatoes are too thick, add a little more warmed heavy cream gradually until you reach your desired consistency.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.