Fluffy and white, mashed potatoes are a classic favorite. Instant Pot mashed potatoes turn out perfectly every time. You’ll be amazed!
Why you’ll love it: It’s more or less hands off. You don’t have to watch the pan, it doesn’t boil over, and the potatoes turn out every time, no lumps or hard pieces.
How long it takes: 10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes in the Instant Pot
Equipment you’ll need: Instant Pot pressure cooker, potato masher or mixer
Don’t you love mashed potatoes? They’re classic. Mounds of steaming fluffy white potatoes drizzled with butter or gravy, accompanying a well-prepared steak, lemon garlic pork medallions, a slice of meatloaf, soy glazed baked salmon, or beef short ribs just can’t be beat.
I’ll admit that when I was a little kid, my mom made me try mashed potatoes and I gagged. French fries were the only potato for me. I was not a fan of mashed potatoes for quite awhile but I’ve come to appreciate mashed potatoes as one of the many delicious ways to eat this unassuming tuber.
I don’t make mashed potatoes very often though. They’re kind of a special occasion dish for our family (I’m thinking of Thanksgiving!). Maybe some of you cook them for every dinner if your family members are “meat and potatoes” folks.
Special occasion or every night, these Instant Pot mashed potatoes will change the way you cook potatoes. I guarantee it! No more big pots on the stove, waiting forever for the potatoes to come to a boil, having them foam and run over on your stove (the WORST), and waiting for what seems like forever for them to get soft enough to make lump-free mashed potatoes.
There’s no hassle with Instant Pot mashed potatoes. I am amazed at how well they turn out, every time.
About these Mashed Potatoes
Here’s why you want to use your Instant Pot for mashed potatoes: after coming to pressure (which takes about 20 minutes), five pounds of potatoes are fully cooked in only 10 more minutes. They’re perfectly done, ready to be drained and mashed.
My mom was quite skeptical about this cooking method and she was blown away by how perfect these potatoes turn out! She’s a convert for sure.
And you know what? One pan! Cook, mash, and keep warm all in the Instant Pot. And that one pan is dishwasher safe. Doesn’t get better than that.
I’ll get you started on the recipe right here and give you some extra tips and helpful information. As always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes. They are high in starch and whip up to make fluffy smooth mashed potatoes. For more about potatoes, check out the FAQ section below.
- Water: You’ll need a small amount of water to cook the potatoes.
- Salt: Without a bit of salt, the potatoes will taste really flat.
- Milk or Cream: Choose the one you like, depending on how rich you want your mashed potatoes to be.
- Butter: This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons. You can add more if you like, up to 8 tablespoons or one stick.
- Black Pepper: Add it if you like it. It’s not a necessary ingredient but it does add good flavor. You could also try white pepper if you want to maintain a silky white color.
How To Make This Recipe
I use a 6 quart Instant Pot to make 5 pounds of russet potatoes. Peel the potatoes, and cut them into large chunks. Set the wire trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour in a cup of water and add the potatoes. Season with salt.
Once the lid is secured, pressure cook (or manual on High) for 10 minutes. Remember it will take time for the cooker to come to pressure, about 20 minutes. This all hands-off time. You won’t have to do a thing.
When the timer goes off, quick release the pressure. After the pressure is released, drain any remaining water from the potatoes. I use a colander in the sink. Take out the trivet and put the drained potatoes back into the Instant Pot.
At this point, personal preferences take over. You can mash the potatoes with a potato masher, leaving them thick and slightly lumpy. Add milk and a couple of tablespoons of butter. A potato ricer makes fabulous mashed potatoes, as well.
Another way to mash potatoes is with an electric mixer, whipping them until they’re creamy and smooth. Maybe you like to add sour cream, or cream cheese. I’ve seen some recipes that call for 2 sticks of butter! 2 sticks! I’m a butter girl but I like to let the taste of potatoes shine through, unmasked by tons of butter.
And there’s always gravy! I love this make ahead turkey gravy for Thanksgiving. The recipe can easily be changed to make chicken gravy, too.
Enjoy your Instant Pot mashed potatoes, simple and perfect every time!
Russet or Yukon gold potatoes work best for classic mashed potatoes. They have a buttery flavor and are higher in starch, making fluffier mashed potatoes. Waxy potatoes, like red potatoes or some white varieties, can become gluey , especially if you whip them. However, if you are going to just mash them lightly, pretty much any variety will work. Try mashed red potatoes, they are super good and so easy (the peelings are mashed right in!).
If you have a 6 quart Instant Pot, 5 pounds will fit perfectly. If yours is a 3 quart, use 2 ½ pounds.
An average sized serving of mashed potatoes is 1 cup, approximately one half a pound of potatoes. Five pounds should serve 10 people. Of course, if you have a mashed potato monster in your family, you may want to make more. My uncle always makes a huge mound of potatoes on his plate, shaping a nice hole in the center for several ladles of gravy. For him, maybe 2 cups of potatoes, or even more.
Using a waxy type of potato (see above) could make gluey potatoes. Over processing the potatoes or adding too much liquid can also give your potatoes a gluey texture.
Ooh, do be careful when you’re adding the liquid (milk, sour cream, buttermilk, etc.). Add the liquid in increments, not all at once, until you reach the right. consistency.
There are a few fixes for runny mashed potatoes. My personal favorite is to turn them into a mashed potato casserole. Put those runny potatoes into a greased casserole dish, mix in some cheddar cheese and maybe even a couple of tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs, depending on how runny they are. Top with more cheese and buttered bread crumbs and bake at 350ºF for a half hour or so. Yum!
An alternative would be to mix in dry instant potato flakes until your mashed potatoes reach the desired consistency.
Make It Your Own
- Add more, or less, butter! Or, take the extra step of making brown butter. You can also enhance the butter flavor (without a lot of added calories) by adding a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
- Add cheese: cream cheese, cheddar cheese, vegan cheese, whatever you like.
- In place of milk, use heavy cream, sour cream, buttermilk, or chicken broth. Add unflavored almond milk to make vegan mashed potatoes.
- Make garlic mashed potatoes. Add roasted garlic or garlic powder, to taste.
- Personalize with garnishes. Some suggestions: crumbled bacon, chopped chives or parsley, sliced green onions, or a sprinkle of paprika.
- Rather use your slow cooker? Try crockpot mashed potatoes.
- Prefer sweet potatoes? Make Instant Pot sweet potatoes. Peel and mash the potatoes with a bit of brown sugar or honey, butter, and pumpkin pie spice. Try vanilla bean mashed sweet potatoes.
- Looking for low carb alternatives? Try parsnip purée or cauliflower rice.
How To Make A Smaller Batch
The recipe is written for five pounds of potatoes which makes about 10 cups of mashed potatoes. To make a smaller batch:
- Cook 1 lb. potatoes (about 3 medium sized potatoes): Add ¼ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes, along with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 10 minutes; it will take an additional 7 ½ minutes to pressurize. Mash potatoes with ¼ cup milk, 1 tablespoon butter, additional salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 2 cups.
- Cook 3 lb. potatoes (about 9 medium sized potatoes): Add ¾ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes, along with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 10 minutes; it will take an additional 11 minutes to pressurize. Add ¾ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes. Mash potatoes with 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, additional salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 cups.
You’ll find the same information on the recipe card below.
Often for holidays or other big days, I peel and cut the potatoes a day ahead. Put them in a big bowl (or Instant Pot insert) and cover completely with water. They don’t need to be refrigerated. Drain, rinse, and drain again before using. Having the potatoes ready to cook will save you a fair amount of time.
Since this makes a big batch of mashed potatoes, freeze portions in freezer bags to use later. It’s great for food prepping.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover mashed potatoes will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. Make sure you refrigerate them promptly.
While most potato recipes do not freeze well, mashed potatoes are the exception. They will keep for a month or two in a freezer safe container. I like to use a freezer bag because they lie flat in the freezer and are easier to reheat. There’s no need to thaw them before reheating.
To reheat individual portions, use the microwave. If you have larger amounts, heat them in a heavy pan or skillet on the stove over low heat or put them into a baking dish, cover with foil, and heat them at 350°F until heated through.
Use the leftover mashed potatoes to top a shepherd’s pie!
- 5 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1 ⅓ cup whole milk or heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- chives, butter, or sour cream for serving
- Prepare potatoes. Peel the potatoes and rinse well with water. Cut the potatoes into one to two inch chunks, as evenly sized as possible.
- Pour 1 cup of water into a 6-quart Instant Pot. Add wire insert or steamer basket. Put the potatoes on wire rack and sprinkle with salt.
- Secure lid and turn valve to seal.
- Select Pressure Cook (or Manual Pressure) and set timer for 10 minutes. It will take 20 additional minutes for it to pressurize. .
- When the timer goes off, turn valve to vent, to quick release pressure, being careful for any steam released. When depressurized, carefully remove cover.
- Drain potatoes, using a colander in the sink, removing wire rack. Return potatoes to Instant Pot.
- Add milk, butter, and pepper to potatoes. Mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add more milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Check seasoning and serve.
- Makes about 10 cups.
- Add more butter, cream cheese, sour cream, or buttermilk, replacing some of the milk or heavy cream, if you prefer. Make the potatoes the way your family likes them.
- If you prefer creamier, whipped potatoes, use a hand mixer to mash the potatoes. You can do this right in the insert of your Instant Pot.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly. They will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months.
- To cook 1 lb. potatoes (about 3 medium sized potatoes): Add ¼ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes, along with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 10 minutes; it will take an additional 7 ½ minutes to pressurize. Mash potatoes with ¼ cup milk, 1 tablespoon butter, additional salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 2 cups.
- To cook 3 lb. potatoes (about 9 medium sized potatoes): Add ¾ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes, along with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 10 minutes; it will take an additional 11 minutes to pressurize. Add ¾ teaspoon salt to cook potatoes. Mash potatoes with 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, additional salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 cups.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.