You guys. I have a secret. A dirty, dirty, dirty little secret about mashed potatoes.
Saying that mashed potatoes are a favorite at the Thanksgiving dinner table is a filthy understatement. in our house. For what felt like an entirety of my childhood, mashed potatoes WERE Thanksgiving dinner. They were the star. They were what we all loaded our plates with first, and the other traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes were just that – sides. The mashed potatoes trumped the turkey in every way, and we always fought over the leftover clouds of fluffy buttery heaven whenever we had the blessing of taking leftovers home after the bounteous meal. This year we have the privilege, honor, and huge responsibility of bringing the mashed potatoes and gravy for my entire family at Thanksgiving. For a family who is mashed potato obsessed, you know darn well I need to bring a batch that will blow their socks off. And my friends, I have that recipe right here for you today.
But that’s not my secret. The one ingredient that makes THE BEST MASHED POTATOES ON THE PLANET is the secret. I’ve tried a ton of mashed potato recipes in my lifetime, and this one is by far the greatest, best, and well… just try it and join me on proclaiming it’s well-deserved champion title.
Just for starters, I always shoot for the Yukon yellow potatoes. They’re not as dirt cheap as the Idaho Russet, but for me, I’ve noticed the flavor is naturally more like buttery.
Secondly, skin-on or skin-off is huge. As you can see from the picture, we love skin-on, especially when we don’t have time to peel every potato clean. However, we can definitely appreciate the creamy nirvana that is the skin-less smashed potato batch. Cater this detail to your table, for sure. On Thanksgiving, we’ll be doing skin-off.
Thirdly, you must use real butter. Margarine is gross, and you can taste the fake. Straight up. Use real, unsalted, butter. I use unsalted so I can add my own salt and control the salty taste right from the beginning.
Next, use real heavy cream. I know, I know, butter and cream! All our calories are racking up with just the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving! Nope. I’m pretty sure calories don’t count on Thanksgiving, and if you’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner with some killer mashed potatoes, this is how it’s done.
The secret ingredient, that has changed our lives forever has been none other than…
You can’t even taste it, no one will recognize the flavor, but everyone’s mouths will be exploding with the beautiful flavor of mashed potatoes made like a boss. Seriously, it’s simple, but it is a total game changer.
So, when you’re making up a batch of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or any family dinner this year, grab some cream cheese with that sack of potatoes. Life just got a million times better.
The BEST Mashed Potatoes
makes 4-6 serving
5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (whatever is your preference)
1/3 C unsalted butter
1 t salt (to taste)
1/4 t pepper
1/4 C heavy cream
3 oz cream cheese
1. Chop potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place into a large pot and cover with water until the water line is 1 inch above the potatoes. Place on the stove and bring to a boil, uncovered.
2. When it comes to a boil, rolling boil it for about 7-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from heat, pour out about 1/2 C of the cooking water, and then drain the rest.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter. Pour over cooked potatoes, and cover the edges with a splash protector. Mix with speed on low, then up to full speed. Add in salt and pepper and a little heavy cream. Toss in cream cheese and blend until potatoes are creamy and lumps are gone. Add some of the reserved cooking water to thin if desired. Serve hot with gravy of choice.