I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (2024)

While you might not want your green beans touching your gooey marshmallow yams, everything tastes great with buttery mashed potatoes. The neutral, crowd-pleasing side can be plopped anywhere on the plate, ready to soak up extra gravy or complement savory stuffing. And while most recipes are good, I went in search of greatness–and ultimately came away with my new forever favorite.

What Makes Perfect Mashed Potatoes?

Perfect mashed potatoes are ridiculously fluffy, with a rich, buttery flavor and impressive amount of salt. They should be creamy but not too decadent (a little tang is always welcome), and the best ones can be reheated without the risk of drying out.

And if you manage to have any leftover mashed potatoes, they can be put to use several ways. Fry them up like fritters, stir them into soup, or even pull out your waffle iron for a savory start to your day.

Which is all to say there’s twice the reason to find the very best mashed potato recipe in time for Thanksgiving. It was time to test.

Which Mashed Potato Recipes Did I Test?

I tested the five most popular mashed potato recipes on Allrecipes.com, which taught me that there’s a seriously tasty recipe for every mashed potato preference. I tried one with bold garlic flavor, one that can be prepped in advance, one designed for large crowds, one made in a slow cooker, and one that I loved the most. Here’s how it all mashed up.

Best for Garlic Lovers: Basic Mashed Potatoes

  • Fast facts: Developed by Esmee Williams, has 411 reviews with a 4.6-star rating

This straightforward recipe employs a super-smart technique: simmering peeled garlic cloves alongside the chopped potatoes. The cloves stay with the spuds throughout the rest of the cooking process, ultimately getting mashed into the potatoes with the warm milk and butter. The resulting dish is so deliciously garlicky, Ithink it deserves new branding. These are far from basic!

Get the recipe: Basic Mashed Potatoes

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (2)

Best for Super Planners: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

  • Fast facts: Developed by Carol Evans, has 353 reviews with a 4.7-star rating

These mashed potatoes can be made up to two days in advance, and are chilled right in their baking dish for extra-easy reheating. Though the three types of dairy (sour cream, cream cheese, and milk) provide plenty of tang, I recommend adding extra onion salt to really bring all the flavors to life.

When you’re ready to bake, top the spuds with pats of butter, which will prevent them from drying out and infuse them with extra flavor.

Get the recipe: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (3)

Best for a Crowd: The Best Mashed Potatoes

  • Fast facts: Developed by Christina C, has 315 reviews with a 4.5-star rating

Thanks to the addition of cream cheese and grated Parmesan, these mashed potatoes are packed with tangy, salty flavor. They’re thick and mostly creamy, with a few small chunks throughout, and speckled with a generous amount of onion-y chopped chives. If you’re hosting a large crowd, this is the way to go: The recipe yields a whopping 12 cups.

Get the recipe: The Best Mashed Potatoes

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (4)

Best for Mix-Ins: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

  • Fast facts: Developed by BWAYE, has 1,252 reviews with a 4.7-star rating

These slow cooker spuds stay warm for several hours, leaving the stovetop cleared for cranberry sauce and gravy. They taste rich and creamy with just a hint of garlic, but are generally a blank slate that would welcome any mix-ins. Keep it (mostly) classic with fresh herbs or sliced green onions, or have a little fun with smoked paprika, chopped bacon, or shredded cheese.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (5)

Best Overall: Chef John’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes

  • Fast facts: Developed by Chef John, has 699 reviews with a 4.8-star rating

Chef John does it again! This 5-ingredient recipe is classic to its core: potatoes mashed with milk and butter and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. They’re smooth, fluffy, and pair well with everything on the plate, proving there’s really no reason to mess with perfection. Note: This recipe only makes four to six servings, so you’ll want to scale it up, especially considering everyone will be clamoring for more.

Get the recipe: Chef John’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes

I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One (2024)

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