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Creamy, dreamy, and ready in just 30 minutes, these cheesy mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. Plus, discover the secrets to making them ahead of time for a hassle-free feast.

Creamy cheesy mashed potatoes in a large bowl with fresh chives.
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Best Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of, if not the, favorite side dishes for my kids on Thanksgiving, and I’ve spent years experimenting and gathering tips to create the creamiest, most flavorful mash every single time.

I’m thrilled to share all my secrets with you! This recipe is incredibly easy and pairs perfectly with just about anything on the table.

And if you are looking for a low-carb option, try this creamy mashed cauliflower!

Ingredients

All the ingredients laid out in a white background.

I am highlighting just the ones that need further explanation. The complete list is in the recipe card below.

  • Potatoes – Use Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes or a combination of both
  • Butter – adds so much flavor and richness to the dish
  • I like to use fresh garlic cloves (finely minced) but you can use garlic powder if you wish.
  • Cream cheese – use full fat cream cheese for extra creaminess and flavor! You can also add sour cream or mascarpone cheese instead
  • Milk – I recommend using whole milk for extra creaminess and flavor. Let the milk sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or if you’re short on time, warm the milk in the microwave briefly
  • Cheddar cheese – sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese works particularly well but you can also add parmesan cheese, gruyere cheese, monterey jack, or even goat cheese

How to Make Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes in a pot of cold water.

Step 1: Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with COLD water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until fork tender. Drain the potatoes throughly and return to the warm pot. Let them sit for a minute or two to evaporate any remaining moisture.

Mashing using a potato masher.

Step 2: Mash the potatoes slightly. This will help reduce the amount of mixing required to incorporate the additional ingredients.

Cream cheese and cheddar cheese on top of cooked potatoes.

Step 3: Add butter FIRST followed by cream cheese, cheese, milk.

Potatoes mashed into creamy consistency.

Step 4: Mash using a potato masher until soft and creamy. You can leave the texture chunky if preferred.

Tips for Success

Mashed potatoes in a large bowl and a bowl of cranberry sauce behind it.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes uniformly – this ensures even cooking
  • Boil properly – start with cold water and bring the water to a gentle boil to cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender. Avoid overcooking as it can make the potatoes too starchy and gluey.
  • Drain your potatoes completely before mashing to prevent mushy potatoes.
  • Don’t add cold ingredients to warm potatoes – be sure to warm the butter and milk and use softened cream cheese so they will blend more easily with the potatoes.
  • Do NOT overmix the potatoes – otherwise you will end up with dense and gummy texture and nobody wants that!
  • Season well – taste and season with salt and pepper. You can also add more cheese or fresh chives, green onions, and other herbs for extra flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

Here are 3 different ways to make the most delicious creamy mashed potatoes ahead of time.

  1. Cook the potatoes as directed and refrigerate for 3-4 days in an airtight container. I recommend covering the surface of the mashed potatoes with plastic wrap or a layer of butter to prevent them from drying out. When ready to enjoy, simply warm them on the stove top with a bit of butter and a splash of milk.
  2. Or transfer to an oven-safe dish, cover, and reheat at 350°F until warmed through. Add more milk, if necessary, to maintain creaminess.
  3. You can also add them into the slow cooker on the low setting. Stir in 1/4-1/3 cup of milk to prevent them from drying out, and keep warm for 3-4 hours.

What to Serve with Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy mashed potatoes pair well with a variety of dishes! Here are some suggestions:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best potato to use for mashed potatoes?

Use starchy potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds. They have a higher starch content, which results in a fluffier and creamier texture.

Can I make this dairy-free?

You can use vegan butter, cream cheese, nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheese, and your favorite non-dairy milk.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 1 vote

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy, dreamy, and ready in just 30 minutes, these cheesy mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. Plus, discover the secrets to making them ahead of time for a hassle-free feast.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10
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Ingredients 

  • 3 pounds gold or russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chives

Instructions 

  • Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Place into a large pot and cover with COLD water. Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until fork-tender.
  • Drain the potatoes throughly and return to the warm pot. Let them sit for a minute or two to evaporate any remaining moisture. Mash slightly.
  • Add butter FIRST followed by cream cheese, cheese, milk.
  • Mash using a potato masher until soft and creamy. You can leave the texture chunky if preferred. Top with chives and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don’t add cold ingredients to warm potatoes – be sure to warm the butter and milk and use softened cream cheese so they will blend more easily with the potatoes.
  • Do NOT overmix the potatoes – otherwise you will end up with dense and gummy texture and nobody wants that!
  • Season well – taste and season with salt and pepper. You can also add more cheese or fresh chives, green onions, and other herbs for extra flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 601mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 346IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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