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"try a little tenderness" creamy Southern mashed potatoes

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Easy, creamy mashed potatoes with heavy cream - Soft, tangy, and butter-smooth this is an all-family pleasing winner.

mashed potatoes with butter in blue bowl

You can make this dish whenever, but I recommend reserving for those special moments when you need to bring out the big guns to let everybody this a special day.

The ingredients are simple, but sour cream, heavy cream, and ghee (clarified butter)  combined with precise technique really set this off.

Mashed potato ingredients

  • Potatoes – I’m a Yukon guy. Great texture and flavor, but a mix of Yukon and Russets give you the best of both worlds with a mix of starchy + waxy
  • Sour Cream – under the radar sneaky ingredient that adds some zip and creaminess to the dish
  • Kosher Salt
  • Paprika – prefer a good quality smoky sweet paprika for that earthy and smoky flavor.
  • Butter or Ghee - don’t skimp on the butter and go quality. I actually prefer clarified butter as it’s got a unique flavor profile.
  • Heavy Cream - these mashed potatoes weren’t meant to be anything but mild, so I go hard with full flavor ingredients. You get creaminess plus indulgence with cream.
  • Kosher Salt - mashed potatoes are bland without salt. Be generous!
  • Black Pepper - add some bite with pepper.
  • Try to dice your ingredients as evenly as possible. Smaller chunks are also better than larger ones. You want each bite to get a mix of the different ingredients vs. only the larger diced potato.
  • Bring the water and potatoes to a boil at the same time vs. heating the water first. The potatoes will cook evenly this way.
  • Season at each step, especially early. During boiling the potatoes can/will absorb the flavors in the liquid. Boil potatoes in seasoned broth to maximize flavor

How to make mashed potatoes (step by step)

Step 1: Boil Potatoes

Salt the water well and add potatoes then bring to a boil until fork tender. Be careful not too overcook however, as you run the risk of producing sticky potatoes which ain’t a good thing here.

potatoes boiling in a pot

Step 2: Drain the potatoes

Important step! Drain thoroughly ridding as much moisture as possible

Step 3: Heat Dairy Ingredients

Heat ghee, cream, and season well with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix in the sour cream

melted butter and milk with spices in a pot

Step 4: Mash the potatoes

Add in parts of the hot dairy mixture, then using a potato masher, mash the potatoes as much as possible until liquid is absorbed then repeat the process a few times until potatoes are smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning with either more spices and/or butter.

mashing potatoes in a pot

Serving Suggestions

As comforting as these mashed potatoes with heavy cream are, they deserve to be around other comforting dishes like Mac and cheese, collard greens, Southern meatloaf, or pork chops. Top them with additional butter and cracked black pepper.

Expert Cooking Tips

Mashed potatoes are simple. But a few key steps can make a big difference in both texture and flavor. Trust me on this:

Choose the right potatoes

No brainer, right? This is a mashed potatoes dish, so make sure you get the main ingredient right. Yukon gold and Russet are the money potatoes!

Limit impact of water

Too much water is a NO NO. Less water, equals more flavor. If you boil them with skin on you can always remove the skin after cooking. Less water absorbed means more dairy absorbed later. If you’re shorter on time, then peel and cut into smaller pieces. It’s a quicker cook and minimizes time spent in boiling water

Start spuds in cold, salted water

This will help ensure potatoes cook evenly as in the exterior won’t be shocked before the interior starts cooking.

Mash the hot potatoes

For max creaminess mash those bad boys as soon as they’re ready. If you boiled them with skin on you’ll need dish gloves of some sort.

Season and taste as you go

Season at each step. Salt the water before boiling. Add seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika) to butter and milk mixture before adding to mashed potatoes. Taste afterwards and if needed add more seasoning. 

Add liquid in phases

I’m not a fan of super wet, thin mashed potatoes. Pouring all the liquid in at once will lead to over-saturation. I like to add a little at a time and lightly mix after each pour. 

Try a little tenderness with your mash technique

Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes if you have one. Otherwise use a regular potato masher. If using a masher mash as light as possible.Too much pressing and activity will push all the starch out which would be a very bad thing. Loss of starch = extra gumminess. For this reason electric tools (blenders, hand mixers, etc.) for mashing are not recommended.

Warm dairy beats cold dairy

Warm your dairy source before adding it to your mash. Heated dairy is more easily absorbed and keeps the dish hot.

Drain the potatoes well

This is the key to great consistency. I like to drain them for about 5 minutes. This is enough time for them to drain while also staying sufficiently hot. After draining place the potatoes back into the warm pot, for further evaporation of any remaining liquid.

Don’t skimp on the butter

Mo butter equals mo creamy and mo buttery texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can mashed potatoes be frozen?

I’m not a fan of freezing mashed potatoes. These won’t last anyway as people will eat most if not all at time of serving. However, if you make extra you can try freezing. The extra fat in the sour cream and heavy cream will definitely help.

Do I have to use Ghee?

No not at all, as regular sticks of butter will get the job done. Ghee does add much flavor to the dish though.

Can I substitute for Heavy Cream?

Yes, you can use either milk or half and half, but just be sure to use the full fat versions.

For other similar recipes try any of these:

Creole Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Puerto Rican Mashed Root Vegetables

Mofongo Relleno

Southern Potato Salad

If you make this mashed potatoes with sour cream recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

mashed potatoes with butter in blue bowl

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Easy, creamy mashed potatoes with heavy cream - Soft, tangy, and butter-smooth this is an all-family pleasing winner.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: southern
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs potatoes diced
  • 2 cup Heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Salt a pot of water, add potatoes and bring to a boil and cook until fork tender
  • Drain the potatoes and set aside
  • Place heavy cream and butter in a saucepan and heat on low. Add in the paprika, salt, and pepper plus the sour cream, mixing well.
  • Mash the potatoes with a masher as soon as they've drained. You'll need to add the liquid dairy mixture into the potatoes gradually while mashing along the way.

Notes

  • Choose the right potatoes
    No brainer, right? This is a mashed potatoes dish, so make sure you get the main ingredient right. Yukon gold and Russet are the money potatoes!
  • Limit the impact of water
    Too much water is a NO NO. Less water, equals more flavor. If you boil them with skin on you can always remove the skin after cooking. Less water absorbed means more dairy absorbed later. If you’re shorter on time, then peel and cut into smaller pieces. It’s a quicker cook and minimizes time spent in boiling water
  • Start spuds in cold, salted water
    This will help ensure potatoes cook evenly as in the exterior won’t be shocked before the interior starts cooking.
  • Mash hot potatoes
    For max creaminess mash those bad boys as soon as they’re ready. If you boiled them with skin on you’ll need dish gloves of some sort.
  • Season and taste as you go
    Season at each step. Salt the water before boiling. Add seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika) to butter and milk mixture before adding to mashed potatoes. Taste afterwards and if needed add more seasoning.
  • Add liquid in phases
    I’m not a fan of super wet, thin mashed potatoes. Pouring all the liquid in at once will lead to over-saturation. I like to add a little at a time and lightly mix after each pour.
  • Be delicate with your mash technique
    Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes if you have one. Otherwise use a regular potato masher. If using a masher mash as light as possible.Too much pressing and activity will push all the starch out which would be a very bad thing. Loss of starch = extra gumminess. For this reason electric tools (blenders, hand mixers, etc.) for mashing are not recommended.
  • Warm dairy beats cold dairy
    Warm your dairy source before adding it to your mash. Heated dairy is more easily absorbed and keeps the dish hot.
  • Drain the potatoes well
    This is the key to great consistency. I like to drain them for about 5 minutes. This is enough time for them to drain while also staying sufficiently hot. After draining place the potatoes back into the warm pot, for further evaporation of any remaining liquid.
  • Don’t skimp on the butter
    Mo butter equals mo creamy and mo buttery texture.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 726mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1106IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
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