Home Recipes Ina Garten Mashed Potatoes (Classic Recipe)

Ina Garten Mashed Potatoes (Classic Recipe)

Have you tried the famous Ina Garten mashed potatoes?

The Barefoot Contessa has a ton of incredible recipes, but her potatoes might be the best. 

They’re creamy and flavorful, and so smooth that each bite practically melts in your mouth.

They’re easy enough to make for a weeknight meal but tasty enough for Thanksgiving dinner.

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes
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With this recipe and six simple ingredients, you can make them, too.

You won’t need much; they don’t require much time or effort. 

So if you’re looking for the perfect side dish, check out this recipe for Ina Garten’s mashed potatoes. 

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes 

The key to Ina Garten’s mashed potatoes is, perhaps unsurprisingly, sour cream.

The sour cream is what makes them extra creamy and delicious. 

It’s rich and flavorful. It also provides the perfect balance of tart flavor and creamy texture.

It also makes the potatoes thicker. It’s only one ingredient, but it makes all the difference. 

In other words, don’t get started on these mashed potatoes without sour cream.

If you absolutely don’t have any, you can use Greek yogurt instead.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do the job quite as well. Still, you can reach for it in a pinch.

If you’re gearing up for a big holiday, though, you’ll definitely want sour cream.

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Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes on a Brown Bowl


These potatoes may taste like a delicacy from a five-star restaurant, but they’re easy to make. You’ll need the following few ingredients:

  • Potatoes. My go-to potato for mashed potatoes is Yukon gold. They’re large, thick, and have the perfect texture for mashing. You can opt for russet instead. Either way, you’ll need about three pounds worth.
  • Kosher salt. As it always is, salt is a flavor enhancer for this recipe.
  • Milk. I use 2% milk because I usually have it on hand. However, whole milk works well, too. You’ll need 1.5 cups to make the potatoes light and fluffy. 
  • Butter. I like to control how much salt is in my recipe, so I use unsalted butter. Butter contributes to the potatoes’ taste and texture.
  • Sour cream. I’ve already lauded the benefits of adding sour cream, so I won’t do that again. Just remember, this is your secret ingredient for any mashed potato recipe. 
  • Ground black pepper. Add pepper to suit your tastes.

If you want even more flavor, try adding garlic or chives. Some people even add a mix of cheddar and parmesan. 

What Kind of Potatoes Are Best? 

Want to know the biggest mistake people make when it comes to homemade mashed potatoes? Assuming a potato is a potato. 

Sure, potatoes are potatoes, but not all potatoes are created equally. Different potatoes work better for different recipes. 

When making mashed potatoes, you want them big and starchy. That leaves you with three primary varieties:

  • Yukon gold
  • Russet
  • Idaho

These are the three best potatoes for this recipe.

Peel them if you want extra luscious and creamy potatoes. Leave the skins on for more texture. 

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes Top View

How to Make Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Here are the steps for making Ina Garten’s delicious mashed potatoes: 

1. Dice the potatoes. Start by cutting the potatoes into smaller chunks. Don’t boil them whole. If you’re peeling your potatoes, take care of that during this step. 

2. Boil the potatoes. Salt the water generously. Then, let the potatoes simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Warm the milk and butter. Begin warming the milk and butter while the potatoes are still boiling. Use a small saucepan, and don’t let the mixture boil. You want it warm, not boiling.

Once it’s warm, remove it from heat and place a lid on it to keep it warm. 

4. Drain and mash the potatoes. Remove the boiling potatoes from the stove and drain them. Then, mash them using whatever method you prefer. Do not over-mash them! 

5. Combine the potatoes and milk/butter mixture. Whisk the warmed milk and butter into the potatoes. Do so gently until you get them to a thick, creamy consistency.

6. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper. Finally, whisk in the sour cream for extra taste and texture. Then, season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. 

Be sure to add any additional toppings at this point. (Chives, cheese, bacon, etc.) Then, serve and enjoy! 

Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your mashed potatoes: 

  • Don’t add cold milk to the potatoes. Using warmed milk is essential to making the best mashed potatoes. It’s so important, in fact, that I included warming it in the steps! You never want to add cold milk to your potatoes, as it ruins their texture. So no matter how you’ve made them in the past, don’t skip the warming the milk and butter step. 
  • Mash the potatoes with a food mill if possible. You can use a potato masher or food processor to mash your potatoes. However, if you have a food mill, you’ll want to use that. It’ll ensure the potatoes are smooth and luscious, not lumpy. Whatever you do, don’t over-mash them. They become sticky and gummy. They’re hard to work with and have a lousy final texture.
  • Be generous with the butter and salt. You can’t have delicious mashed potatoes without plenty of both.
  • Use full-fat products for extra-rich potatoes. As I mentioned, I typically use 2% milk. However, if you want your potatoes super rich, use whole milk and full-fat sour cream.
  • Experiment with various add-ins. Try garlic (regular or roasted), herbs, scallions, chives, cheese, bacon, etc. You can flavor the potatoes however you like. 
Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes With Cutlets and Herbs Garnish

How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes

Believe it or not, you can actually freeze leftover mashed potatoes.

The texture will be different when you reheat them, but they’ll still taste good. 

If you plan on eating them soon, don’t freeze them. 

Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge instead.

They should keep there for about 5 days. Then, you can reheat them in the microwave (12 minutes/75% power) or oven (50 minutes/325 degrees).

To freeze them, you’ll need freezer-safe bags. Each one will hold about two cups of potatoes.

Put the potatoes in the bags, and ensure you remove all the air from each bag.

Then, flatten them as much as possible to ensure even freezing.

Add a date, then stick them in the freezer. They should be safe for 2 to 3 months. 

When you’re ready to serve them, use your stove, oven, or slow cooker to reheat them.

(You can also use the microwave, but I don’t like what it does to the texture.)

Instead, I stick to the three methods listed above. Here’s what you’ll do: 

  • Slow cooker. Transfer the potatoes from the bags to the slow cooker. Then, heat them on low heat until they are warmed thoroughly throughout.
  • Oven. Transfer the potatoes to an oven-safe dish. Heat them for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to stir them after 10 minutes and again after 20.
  • Stove. Pop the frozen potatoes into a pot, and heat them over medium heat. Stir regularly until they are heated through. Add extra milk if necessary to help retain their texture.

If you insist on using the microwave, do so at only half power. I’d recommend a different method, however.

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes (Classic Recipe)



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You really just can’t beat Ina Garten mashed potatoes! This Barefoot Contessa recipe is one of her best. Learn how to make them, plus, get tips for the best mashed potatoes.


  • 3 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled

  • kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Start by dicing the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Then, place them in a large pot, and cover them with cold water. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. (It should be salty to the taste.)
  • Set the stove to high heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat, allowing the potatoes to simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes. The potatoes should come apart easily when pulled with a fork.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, add milk and butter to a small saucepan. Heat it on low heat, but don’t let it start to boil. Once it’s warm, set it aside, and wait for the potatoes to finish cooking.
  • When the potatoes are ready, use a colander to drain the water. Then, mash the potatoes using a food mill, potato masher, or another preferred method.
  • Add the warmed milk and butter mixture to the mashed potatoes. Use a whisk to mix them slowly and gently. Continue whisking until the potatoes are extra creamy.
  • While continuing to whisk, add two more teaspoons of salt. Also, add the sour cream and pepper. Continue whisking and adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Ina Garten Mashed Potatoes

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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