Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes made with buttery Yukon Gold potatoes and butter are the creamiest mashed potatoes!
This simple recipe includes tips for how to ensure your mashed potatoes are rich and creamy plus a long list of ideas for add-ins and substitutions that will take your mashed potato game to the next level.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Butter
I have this very clear memory of a conversation I overheard at a restaurant with my family when I was a little girl. Someone, I think one of my aunts, said, "I wonder how they get these mashed potatoes so creamy?" My mom replied, "They probably add cream cheese."
And just like that, the idea of adding cream cheese to mashed potatoes was implanted in my brain. Naturally, the first time I ever made mashed potatoes, I added cream cheese.
I honestly didn't even think it was an option. I just thought that's how mashed potatoes were supposed to be made.
All these years later, and I'm convinced that adding cream cheese IS how mashed potatoes are supposed to be made. Let's be real.
If you want super creamy mashed potatoes, you gotta add some cream cheese. (Adding roasted garlic and mascarpone cheese is also ridiculously delicious.)
Ingredients Needed to Make this Recipe
- Potatoes, of course. I prefer using Yukon Gold yellow potatoes.
- Cream cheese. Full fat is best.
- Salted butter. If you want 100% control over the amount of salt in your potatoes, use unsalted.
- Whole milk, half-and-half, or buttermilk. Half-and-half adds even more richness. Buttermilk adds a slight tang that is surprisingly delicious.
- Salt and ground black pepper
How To Make the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes:
- Use Yukon Gold potatoes. Russet potatoes are fine, too. But, if you want the creamiest potatoes, use buttery Yukon Golds.
- Use hot milk, buttermilk, or or half and half. Potatoes have a difficult time absorbing cold dairy. So, heat it up a bit before you add it to the potatoes.
- Melt the butter and the cream cheese. Just like the milk, potatoes have a difficult time absorbing cold butter or cream cheese. The easiest way to do this is to add room temperature butter and cream cheese to a bowl and then dump the hot, freshly boiled potatoes on top. Wait a couple of minutes to let the heat from the potatoes melt the butter and cream cheese, then proceed.
- I like to use my KitchenAid stand mixer to mash potatoes. Just be careful to not overwork the potatoes. When you mash potatoes, they release starch. If too much starch is released, mashed potatoes get a bit gummy. Gummy potatoes are not awesome. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and gently stir the potatoes while adding the milk, mixing just until mashed.
- Add the potatoes to cold water, then bring the water to a boil. When you add raw potatoes to boiling water, they have a tendency to cook unevenly. When the water and potatoes heat up together, the potatoes cook more evenly.
Delicious ideas for Cream Cheese Mashed Potato Add-Ins and Substitutions:
- Bacon. Because, bacon. Dice up some bacon, cook it in a frying pan until crisp, drain, and stir into the potatoes.
- Cheese it up. Along with the cream cheese and butter, add a handful or two of sharp cheddar. Or, scoop the mashed potatoes into a baking dish, top with shredded cheese, and place in a 425 degree oven to melt. If you really want to cheese it up, do both - add some shredded cheese to the mash and top the potatoes with melted cheese.
- Chives! I don't know what it is about potatoes and chives, but they are an awesome combination.
- Roasted Garlic. Garlic mashed potatoes are amazing, but be sure to add in roasted garlic. Raw garlic is waaaaay to sharp and strong.
- Add a diced chipotle pepper (or two, or three!) and a teaspoon of adobo sauce for spicy chipotle mashed potatoes.
- Fresh parsley. Chop up some fresh parsley and stir it in to the mashed potatoes for a fresh, herby taste.
- Toss in a teaspoon or two of smoked Spanish paprika or chili powder for smoky Spanish flavor.
- Swap out the cream cheese for mascarpone for an Italian version. Want to make them even more Italian? Add a few tablespoons of pesto.
- Bring the heat with a couple tablespoons of horseradish.
- Instead of using regular butter, brown the butter first before mashing with potatoes for a subtle nutty flavor.
- Swap the cream cheese for herbed Boursin cheese for herby flavor and slightly less calories.
- Swap the butter for Miso Butter! So good especially when serving mashed potatoes with Asian Short Ribs.
Favorite Ways to Serve Mashed Potatoes
My all-time favorite way to serve cream cheese mashed potatoes is with Roast Chicken and Roasted Carrots and Dates. But mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish for any kind of meat, poultry, or seafood dish.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish for any kind of saucy or gravy covered protein like these Peppercorn Pork Chops.
And, every year around St Patrick's Day I make Irish Bangers with Onion Gravy to serve over cream cheese potatoes.
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces salted butter, at room temperature
- ½ - ¾ cup whole milk, half-and-half, or buttermilk (Half-and-half adds even more richness. Buttermilk adds a slight tang that is surprisingly yummy)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Fill a large saucepan about halfway with cold water. Add the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes simmer until they are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a standing mixer. (See note.)
- Heat the milk, half-and-half, or buttermilk in the microwave or stovetop until little bubbles appear around the edge. (You can also heat it in the microwave.)
- Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander set in the sink and immediately dump the potatoes over the butter and cream cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the butter and cream cheese to melt.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to the potatoes, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and begin to mix on the lowest speed. (*See note.) Add the milk, buttermilk, or half-and-half slowly, adding only what you need to achieve the consistency you desire. You might not need to add the entire half cup.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired, and serve.
- To use a ricer or food mill to mash the potatoes, melt the butter and cream cheese in a saucepan set over low heat. Push the potatoes through the ricer or food mill, slowly stir in the butter and cream cheese, then slowly stir in the milk.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g