Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes are surprisingly the creamiest, fluffiest mashed potatoes you’ll ever have. Simple enough for a weeknight side, but stunning and lovely for special occasions, too.
I love mashed potatoes in every form they are presented to me. They can be skin-on, chunky mashed potatoes. They can be plain, or “elevated” with roasted garlic, the addition of goat cheese, sour cream, caramelized onions, or even horseradish. But for a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner spread? An old-school, smooth, gravy-loving, no fancy additions, is the one you will usually find on our holiday table.
Years ago for a Christmas dinner I felt adventurous and made these mashed potato. I loved them, but no one else did and they went uneaten. I learned my lesson – no more goat cheese on the shopping list, and definitely not in the mashed potatoes.
- Why Make Mashed Potatoes In An Instant Pot
- Best Potatoes For Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Ingredients & Notes
- Skin On Or Skin Off The Potatoes?
- How To Make Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Tips For The Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Stovetop Method
- Storage And Reheating Tips
- Make Them Vegan
- Mains To Serve With Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
In this post, I will tell you all about how you can make the best mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot. They’re creamier than any you make on the stovetop, and you won’t believe how easy they are to make.
Why Make Mashed Potatoes In An Instant Pot
Making mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot is a dream. Like most Instant Pot recipes, this one won’t save you much time, but you will gain a lot of hands-off freedom. This is pretty valuable, particularly during a main event like Thanksgiving or a holiday meal, when you have enough pots and pans to keep an eye on.
As opposed to the stovetop, with Instant pot mashed potatoes you don’t have to worry about the water boiling over, or constantly checking if they are ready. Start to finish, the mashed potatoes will be done in about 30 minutes, which makes them a great side for weeknight dinners.
With very little effort you have ultra creamy, ultra smooth, and ultra fluffy mashed potatoes every time. Best of all, you can let them sit with the “keep warm” setting and serve them nice and warm hours later. How seriously awesome is that?
Best Potatoes For Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes (also labeled as Baking or Idaho), will give you the best results for mashed potatoes. You might also find different varieties with less-common names labeled as “mashing potatoes”. Those will likely be fine, too.
I avoid using other types of potatoes that contain less starch, such as white or red potatoes. These also have a firmer flesh and require more mashing to become creamy. This could lead to the dreaded gluey potatoes.
Difference between Yukon Gold and Russet:
Yukon Gold potatoes have a medium starch content and have a rich, buttery, creamy flavour. They are slightly denser so will absorb less water when cooked.
Russet potatoes have a higher-startch content than Yukon Gold’s, and are less dense which means they will be softer and cook faster. The extra starchiness means they will mash up light and fluffy and because they’re softer they soak up more butter and milk.
I used to be exclusively team Yukon Gold for my mashed potatoes, but now I have converted to Russet. I love the beautiful, light and fluffy results I get from the more delicate spud. That said, sometimes I can’t decide and go for a mix – works like a charm.
Ingredients & Notes
This Instant Pot mashed potato recipe requires very few ingredients. Once you have your potatoes sorted, you likely have everything else in your fridge or pantry. Here’s a few helpful notes regarding the ingredients:
- Potatoes – For this recipe, I use 4 pounds of potatoes in a 6-quart Instant Pot. You could use 6 pounds (adding a 1/2 cup more water) no problem, but I haven’t tested it with more. See section above for which potatoes are best to make this mash.
- Butter – Yes, butter will always make mashed potatoes taste better. But. I do not believe you need 1 pound of butter to make them irresistibly good. I mean, soles of running shoes would taste good if cooked with 1 pound of butter. This recipe calls for 4 tablespoons and I find the result is divinely buttery enough. If you prefer them super buttery, go ahead and add a whole stick.
- Milk – I always use whole milk for my mash because I don’t always have cream on hand. If you like your mashed potatoes creamier, use a mix of milk and heavy cream. For dairy free mashed potatoes, use vegan butter and chicken broth or plant-based milk as your liquid.
- Salt and black pepper – I like to season my potatoes generously but in the recipe I call for only 2 teaspoons (I use more). Start with that, and add more to taste. Not everyone likes pepper in the mash so feel free to omit it, if you wish.
- Chives – I rarely garnish my mashed potatoes but if I do, it’s just with a few tablespoons of chopped chives for colour.
If you want to jazz up your mashed potatoes, here’s a few additions to consider:
Fresh herbs: Thyme, rosemary or sage will add some nice herbaceous aromas to the mashed potatoes.
Garlic cloves or garlic powder: For some extra savory flavor, add some two minced garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic powder to your mash.
Make them cheesy: Add some parmesan, cheddar or cream cheese to make your mash deliciously cheesy.
Skin On Or Skin Off The Potatoes?
For really creamy potatoes, I think peeled potatoes are the way to go. Yukon Gold potatoes have softer skin so you can leave the skin on if you don’t mind mashed potatoes that are a little more rustic. The skin on Russet potatoes is too thick and should be peeled when used to make mashed potatoes.
We definitely prefer a less chunky mash so even when using Yukon Gold’s, I always peel them. Peeled potatoes will also cook more evenly, especially when boiled.
However, there is a lot of nutrition on the peel so if you don’t mind your mash a little more rustic and lumpy, go ahead and leave the peel on.
How To Make Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are the perfect side for your Thanksgiving or holiday dinner. Making them in an Instant Pot is a game-changer because they are completely hands-off and will free up space on the stove.
The best part is that you can leave them for a few hours on the warm setting and they will be perfectly fluffy and creamy. The stovetop can’t beat that. Note: Exact measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Smaller potatoes can be halved.
- Put 1 cup of water and a steamer rack or steamer basket in the pressure cooker. Place the potatoes on the rack.
- Cover, and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Once pressure has finished venting, do a manual quick release, open the lid and drain the potatoes. Leave the potatoes in the Instant Pot liner, and return the insert to the Instant Pot.
- Add the melted butter and mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. The potatoes should mash up really easily and fluffy but if you prefer them even smoother, use a food mill or ricer. Next, add the warm milk, salt, and pepper if using, and whisk with a fork to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning; adding more salt and pepper as needed.
To Keep The Mashed Potatoes Warm: Select the “Keep Warm” setting (make sure you don’t seal the valve). The potatoes will keep warm and perfectly fluffy for 2 to 3 hours, stirring them once or twice. When ready to serve, stir in a bit of warm milk to fluff them up a bit more.
Tips For The Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
1. Steam don’t boil
Steaming the potatoes, instead of boiling them in water, avoids the dreaded waterlogged potatoes. You simply set the potatoes on a steam rack with just a bit of water and they soften beautifully absorbing very little moisture. Less moisture equals fluffier, more flavourful potatoes – in other words, potatoes that taste like potatoes.
2. Use The Right Tool To Mash
If you love fluffy, smooth potatoes, a potato ricer is the best tool you can use to achieve this. A potato ricer also makes the job a lot easier. However, unless you have a huge amount of potatoes to mash, a fork and a bit of grunt work, will also give great results. If you don’t mind your mashed potatoes a little less smooth, a potato masher will work just fine.
I would avoid all electric tools which are too aggressive and cause the mash to become gluey. That said, my brother in law makes the most fabulous mashed potatoes using a hand mixer, and he even pours in cold milk straight from the fridge. So if that’s what you want to use, I say go for it.
3. Don’t mash them to death
To retain maximum fluffiness in your mash, don’t over-work them. Once mashed, you want to whisk in the butter and milk gently so the mash doesn’t start to get dense and pasty and lose its fluffiness.
4. Season generously
Potatoes beg for a lot of salt, and I like mine on the dangerous side of salty. Because the potatoes are getting steamed, all of the seasoning is happening once you start mashing them. Start conservatively, tasting as you go along, and adding small amounts until you reach the perfect savouriness. If you’re using salted butter, don’t season until the very end. This gives you a chance to taste how salty the butter made the mash, then salt accordingly.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Perhaps the best thing about these Instant Pot mashed potatoes is that you can make them a few hours ahead of time. The “keep warm” setting keeps them warm with the perfect amount of moisture so they don’t dry out.
Once mashed, simply return to the Instant Pot, cover, and select the “Keep Warm” setting. They will keep warm and perfectly fluffy for 2 to 3 hours. When ready to serve, stir in a bit of warm milk to fluff them up a bit more.
If you wish to make them a day or two ahead, reheat in the Instant Pot following the same method with the “Keep Warm” setting until warmed through.
If you don’t own an Instant Pot or prefer to make them on the stovetop, here’s a quick how to:
- Peel and cut potatoes into uniform 2-inch chunks. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to just cover them. Stir in 2 teaspoons kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until very tender when pierced with a small knife or fork, about 18 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the pot. Let them sit in the hot pot until they lose some extra moisture, about 3 minutes.
- Proceed with the recipe instructions.
Storage And Reheating Tips
Instant Pot Mashed potatoes leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They are almost as good when reheated, however it’s a little tricky to warm them properly without scorching them or drying them out. I find reheating the mashed potatoes in the oven will give you the best result.
To Reheat: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place potatoes in a shallow casserole dish and cover tightly with foil. Warm for 15 minutes, remove from oven, add a 1/4 cup of milk and a few dabs of butter. Use a fork to gently incorporate, cover again, and place back in the oven until completely warmed through, about 15 more minutes.
If you’re in a hurry, the good ol’ microwave will have to do.
Make Them Vegan
You can easily make Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter, and using your favourite non-dairy milk.
Mains To Serve With Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- 1 cup water
- 4 pounds russet potatoes (or Yukon Gold's) peeled and quartered
- 1 cup whole milk warmed, plus more if making ahead
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper optional
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives optional, for garnish
- Set a wire steamer rack in a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot. Add the water. Place the potatoes on the rack. Cover and make sure the valve is set to Seal. Pressure cook for 9 minutes under High Pressure.
- While the potatoes are cooking, warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once warm, remove from heat and set aside.
- When the cooking time is done, release the pressure manually. Once pressure has finished venting (this will take about 2 minutes), open the lid and drain the potatoes. It's okay if a little water stays behind. Leave the potatoes in the Instant Pot liner, and return the insert to the Instant Pot.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter and mash with a fork, potato masher, ricer, or food mill. Stir in the warm milk, salt, and pepper if using, and whisk with a fork to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
- To Keep The Mashed Potatoes Warm: Select the "Keep Warm" setting (make sure you don't seal the valve). The potatoes will keep warm and perfectly fluffy for 2 to 3 hours. Stir them occasionally to make sure they aren't sticking. When ready to serve, add a splash of warm milk to fluff the potatoes up a bit more.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining tablespoon of butter. Garnish with chopped chives, if desired.