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mashed potatoes recipe

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Herb Butter

  • Author: Maria Do
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory


To make these creamy garlic mashed potatoes, pass the boiled potatoes through a food mill or ricer for ultra-smoothness.


Units Scale

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp kosher salt
  • Lemon zest strips from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed (peel-on is fine)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp black or multi-color peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Lemon juice from 1/4 lemon

Salted Herb Butter (Optional)

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 3 to 5 sprigs fresh herbs (sage, thyme, or rosemary work great)


  1. Boil potatoes. Fill a large pot halfway with water, add 2 tbsp kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel 4 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, then dice into 1 1/2-inch cubes. When water is boiling, add cubed potatoes to water and add more water if needed to completely submerge potatoes. Reduce heat to medium, then boil uncovered until potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make infused milk. 
  2. Heat milk mixture. Peel zest strips from half a lemon, then add to a small saucepan. Then add 2 sticks salted butter, 6 garlic cloves, 5 sprigs thyme, and 1 tbsp peppercorns. Warm on medium heat until butter melts and the mixture is fragrant of herbs and garlic, about 3 minutes. Pour in 3 cups whole milk, then bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, check the potatoes.
  3. Mash potatoes. When potatoes are cooked, discard the hot water. Over a large pot, pass boiled potatoes through a food mill* with a fine disk or a ricer. 
  4. Combine milk + potatoes. Pour half of the infused milk through a fine-mesh sieve into the pot with mashed potatoes. Bring pot to medium-high heat and stir potatoes until smooth and bubbling. Depending on how loose you like your mashed potatoes, add the rest of the milk into the pot in increments (I use all of the milk). Whisk until milk is fully incorporated and potatoes are bubbling. Turn off the heat, taste, and season with 2 tsp kosher salt and lemon juice from 1/4 lemon. Cover and keep warm to serve.
  5. Salted Herb Butter (optional for serving). Melt salted butter in a saucepan with fresh herbs (or microwave butter and herbs in a glass measuring cup), and serve over warm mashed potatoes. 
  6. Make-Ahead. Potatoes can be made 2 days in advance. 


Food Mill: The food mill I use is the Kuchenprofi mill recommended by Cook’s Illustrated! It’s not the cheapest option at $67 but if you host a lot of dinners, it is a great investment. Otherwise, when I first made this recipe, I got the same smoothness pushing potatoes through a fine-mesh sieve with a silicone spatula. This option takes longer as you can imagine but will lend you the smoothest result without a food mill. If you don’t mind a little chunkiness, a potato masher will get the job done, also.

Keywords: thanksgiving sides, christmas sides, mashed potatoes, potatoes