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What kind of potatoes does Ina Garten use for mashed potatoes?

Quick Answer

Ina Garten typically uses russet potatoes for making her creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are known for their starchy, fluffy texture that makes them ideal for mashing. She recommends using Idaho or Maine russet potatoes if available.

Ina’s Favorite Go-To Potatoes for Mashing

Ina has shared that she prefers to use russet potatoes, specifically Idaho or Maine russets, when making her famous mashed potatoes. Here’s why she favors these potatoes:

  • High starch content – Russet potatoes have a high starch content which results in light, fluffy mashed potatoes.
  • Low moisture – The low moisture content of russets means the mashed potatoes will have a creamy, smooth texture.
  • Flaky, dry flesh – The dry, flaky flesh of russets mashes easily into a smooth puree.
  • Mild flavor – Russets have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with different seasonings and ingredients.
  • Availability – Idaho and Maine are leading producers of russet potatoes, making them widely available.

The high starch and low moisture in russet potatoes is perfect for creating creamy, rich mashed potatoes just like Ina makes. The mild flavor also allows the potatoes to take on flavors from butter, cream, cheese, garlic and any other additions.

Other Types of Potatoes Ina Uses for Mashing

While russet potatoes are Ina’s top choice, she will sometimes use other types of potatoes to make delicious mashes too:

Yukon Gold

Yukon gold potatoes have a thin, smooth skin and bright yellow-gold flesh. They have a slightly higher moisture content than russets. Yukon golds make a rich, creamy mashed potato but with a bit more texture. Ina will use these when she wants a less smooth, more rustic texture.

Yellow Finn

This Finnish potato has sunny yellow flesh and a waxy, creamy texture. It mashes up into a velvety, buttery puree with lots of rich flavor. Ina uses these when she wants vivid yellow colored mashed potatoes.

Purple Potatoes

Ina has made purple mashed potatoes before to create a fun, colorful side. She uses purple varieties like Purple Majesty or All Blue potatoes. They add vibrant lavender-hued color and have an earthy, slightly nutty flavor.

Fingerling Potatoes

Petite fingerling potatoes come in many colors and textures. Ina will roast then mash fingerlings when she wants rustic, chunky texture. Varieties like French fingerling, Russian banana and ruby crescent work well.

Tips for Making Ina’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Here are Ina’s top tips for getting perfect, creamy russet mashed potatoes just like she makes:

Choose the Right Potatoes

As we learned, it’s best to select starchy russet potatoes, ideally Idaho or Maine russets. Choose potatoes that are similar in size so they cook evenly. Also avoid any potatoes with green spots, sprouts or blemishes.

Prep the Potatoes Properly

Peel the potatoes first, then cut them into roughly 2 inch chunks. Having uniform pieces allows even cooking. Leave the potatoes in cold water after cutting to prevent browning.

Start in Cold Water

Place the potato chunks in a pot and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Starting in cold water helps ensure the potatoes cook gently and evenly all the way through.

Simmer Until Very Tender

Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes at a gentle simmer. They are ready when a fork or knife inserts smoothly with no resistance. Resist the urge to rush this step. Very tender potatoes will mash to a smooth, lump-free puree.

Drain and Evaporate

Drain the potatoes well then return to the empty, dry pot on low heat. Shake the pot to evaporate excess moisture for 1-2 minutes. This helps give you fluffy, creamy mashed texture.

Mash Thoroughly

Use a potato masher or ricer and mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Don’t skip this elbow grease as proper mashing is key!

Add Butter and Cream

Fold in melted butter and warmed heavy cream. This adds essential richness and moisture to the potatoes. Start with 4 tbsp each butter and cream per pound of potatoes.

Season Well

Ina uses kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to season her mashes. Add 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper per pound of potatoes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Keep it Creamy

For the creamiest texture, use a hand mixer on low speed to whip the potatoes after adding butter and cream. This incorporates more air for extra fluffiness.

Ina’s Secret Ingredients for Flavorful Mashed Potatoes

While butter and cream are key, Ina also likes to incorporate different ingredients into her mashed potatoes for extra flavor. Here are some of her secret add-ins:


For richer flavor, Ina often adds roasted garlic. Roasted garlic has a mellow, sweet tone that brings warmth. Stir in 2-3 cloves of mashed roasted garlic.


Melting cheese into mashed potatoes adds a lovely creaminess. Ina’s favorites are Gruyère, sharp cheddar, Parmesan, goat cheese or blue cheese. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Sour Cream

For extra tang, Ina sometimes swaps cream for an equal amount of sour cream. The sour cream gives the potatoes a nice zing.


Mixing in whole grain mustard contributes subtle spice and tang. Ina uses 1-2 tbsp whole grain or Dijon mustard.


For kicked up flavor, freshly grated horseradish can be stirred in. Start with 1-2 tsp freshly grated horseradish.


Chives provide color contrast and fresh onion flavor. Mix in 2-3 tbsp freshly chopped chives right before serving.


Crisp cooked crumbled bacon is an umami-rich addition. Ina will top her mashed potatoes with crumbled cooked bacon.

Top Tips for Reheating Leftover Mashed Potatoes

With all the butter and cream, mashed potatoes often taste even better as leftovers! Here are Ina’s best reheating tips:

Thin it Out

If the mashed potatoes seem dry or thick, stir in a little milk before reheating to thin them.

Add Moisture

Place a small pat of butter on top of the mashed potatoes before reheating to add more richness. You can also stir in a touch more cream.

Reheat Gently

Reheat the mashed potatoes over medium low heat while stirring frequently. High heat can cause scorching. Add any extra dairy slowly while stirring.

Freshen it Up

Before serving reheated mashed potatoes, stir through some chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley or dill to freshen the flavor. A squeeze of lemon adds brightness too.

Make it Crispy

Give leftover mashed potatoes new texture by spreading them into a skillet to make a crusty, golden brown crust. Top with a fried egg for breakfast!

Sample Recipes for Ina’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes

To highlight Ina’s techniques, here are some top-rated recipes for creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes:

Classic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients Quantity
Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 lbs
Butter 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks)
Heavy cream 12 tbsp (3/4 cup)
Kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp
Black pepper 1 tsp


  1. Place cubed potatoes in cold salted water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until very tender.
  2. Drain potatoes and let steam evaporate for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Mash potatoes while still hot, until smooth and creamy.
  4. Fold in melted butter and warmed cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. For fluffiest texture, whip briefly with a hand mixer.

Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients Quantity
Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 lbs
Butter 12 tbsp
Heavy cream 8 tbsp
Sour cream 4 tbsp
Kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp
Black pepper 1 tsp
Roasted garlic cloves, mashed 6 cloves
Gruyere cheese, grated 1/2 cup


  1. Simmer cubed potatoes in salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain, then evaporate moisture for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Mash potatoes well, then mix in butter and cream.
  4. Stir in mashed roasted garlic, salt, pepper and sour cream.
  5. Fold in grated Gruyere cheese until melted through.

Horseradish and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients Quantity
Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 lbs
Butter 8 tbsp
Sour cream 8 tbsp
Whole milk 4 tbsp
Kosher salt 2 tsp
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Prepared horseradish 1 tbsp
Crisp cooked bacon, crumbled 1/4 cup
Chives, chopped 1 tbsp


  1. Boil potatoes until completely tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain, then dry potatoes over low heat for 1 minute.
  3. Mash potatoes while still hot, until smooth.
  4. Mix in butter, sour cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold in horseradish. Top with crumbled bacon and chives.

How to Store Leftover Mashed Potatoes

To get the most out of leftover mashed potatoes, proper storage is key. Here are Ina’s best tips:

Let Them Cool Completely

Allow mashed potatoes to come to room temperature before storing. Covering hot potatoes can create condensation, making them soggy.

Use Shallow Storage

Store mashed potatoes in a container no more than 2-3 inches deep. This prevents accumulating too much moisture in one spot.

Press Plastic Wrap onto Surface

Before sealing the container, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the mashed potatoes. This prevents them drying out.

Refrigerate Promptly

Refrigerate cooled mashed potatoes within 1-2 hours. The fridge preserves freshness and prevents harmful bacteria growth.

Use Within 3-4 Days

For optimal flavor and texture, try to reheat leftovers within 3-4 days. Beyond that, mashed potatoes lose their appeal.


Here are answers to some common questions about Ina Garten’s techniques for making perfect mashed potatoes:

Should mashed potatoes be lump-free?

Yes, properly mashed potatoes should have a perfectly smooth, lump-free texture. Be sure to mash the potatoes thoroughly after draining to get a smooth puree.

Is it ok to make mashed potatoes ahead?

Absolutely! Mashed potatoes can be prepared 1-2 days in advance. Simply cool, refrigerate, then gently reheat over medium low heat while stirring frequently.

Can I prepare mashed potatoes without cream?

You can, but the cream lends valuable fat and moisture for silky texture. As an alternative, try using milk and chicken or vegetable stock. Increase the butter to maintain richness.

What liquid works best for reheating mashed potatoes?

For reheating, milk or half-and-half work best. The proteins in milk help bind the potatoes. Slowly stir in liquid just until heated through and creamy.

How can I jazz up leftover mashed potatoes?

Mix in sautéed onions or garlic, shredded cheese, cooked veggies like spinach, or fresh herbs. For breakfast, fry into a crusty potato cake or top with a fried egg.

The Takeaway on Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes

When it comes to mashed perfection, Ina Garten nails it every time. Her secrets include using russet potatoes, loading them with butter and cream, and mashing them thoroughly. With a few flavorful extra ingredients, these tips guarantee mashed potato bliss! Now get out there and make Ina proud with a batch of fabulous, unforgettable mashed potatoes.