Thanksgiving—a time for gratitude, family, and of course, the much-anticipated feast, isn’t complete without a bowl of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. It’s a dish that evokes comfort with every spoonful and binds the myriad of flavors present on the holiday table. This year, we’ve collaborated with Chef Travis Cooks to bring you an easy mashed potato recipe that promises to be the ultimate crowd-pleaser with its velvety texture and rich taste.
Chef Travis Cooks is renowned for his soulful approach to classic dishes, infusing them with both simplicity and depth of flavor. His easy mashed potato recipe is no exception; it’s about elevating the ordinary to extraordinary with just a few kitchen staples.
- 3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- Salt, to taste
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- Optional: roasted garlic or fresh herbs (such as chives or parsley) for added flavor
- Prepare the Potatoes – Begin by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into even chunks. This ensures that they cook uniformly. Rinse the potatoes under cold water to remove any excess starch which can affect the final texture.
- Cooking the Potatoes – Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water to prevent them from discoloring and to promote even cooking. Add a generous pinch of salt, then bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Warming the Dairy – While the potatoes are cooking, gently heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan. You want it warm but not boiling—Chef Travis emphasizes that adding warm dairy to the potatoes keeps them hot and absorbs better for a creamy texture.
- Draining and Drying – Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and return them to the hot pot for a minute or two. This step allows any remaining moisture to evaporate. Excess water is the enemy of good mashed potatoes—it leads to a gluey texture.
- Mashing the Potatoes – Using a potato masher, begin to mash the potatoes. For this recipe, Chef Travis prefers a masher to a food processor to avoid overworking the potatoes which can make them gummy.
- Adding the Dairy – Fold in the warm milk and cream mixture, then add the butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted and the potatoes have absorbed the liquid. It’s crucial not to over-mix; you want to achieve a creamy consistency with just enough body.
- Seasoning – Season with salt and white pepper. White pepper is chosen over black for aesthetic reasons; it melds into the potatoes without leaving specks. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Final Touches – For those who want to add a gourmet twist, fold in roasted garlic puree or finely chopped fresh herbs.
- Serving – Serve the mashed potatoes hot. They can be made ahead of time and reheated over a simmering pot of water or in a microwave, with a bit of added milk to loosen them up.
- For an even richer flavor, replace the milk with half-and-half or add a dollop of sour cream.
- Ensure all ingredients are ready before the potatoes finish cooking; you want to work quickly to keep the potatoes hot as you mash them.
- If desired, garnish with a pat of butter or a sprinkle of fresh herbs before serving.
Pairing with the Feast:
These mashed potatoes will sit beautifully alongside your roasted turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and other Thanksgiving sides. Their creaminess will complement both the lean and rich meats and provide a comforting base for spicier or tangier flavors.
Concluding the Meal:
Chef Travis Cooks’ easy mashed potato recipe will undoubtedly become a staple at your Thanksgiving table. Simple, comforting, and classic—this dish embodies the spirit of the holiday. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the simplest things can be the most satisfying, especially when shared with loved ones over a Thanksgiving feast.