A classic side dish recipe for creamy, small batch mashed potatoes that is the perfect comfort food for any small holiday gathering. This recipe makes about 2 cups of mashed potatoes, and comes together in just 20 minutes.
It doesn’t get any better than a small batch, homemade mashed potatoes recipe with only four ingredients. Sometimes simple mashed potatoes are the best mashed potatoes, especially when they’re served alongside a really flavorful main dish. Making mashed potatoes is so easy, and I’m here to guide you through it!
This easy recipe makes about 2-3 servings of mashed potatoes. We love mashed potatoes, but sometimes we only want a small batch for a certain meal. So, this is a perfect recipe for a cozy weeknight dinner OR a special occasion. It makes two cups of mashed potatoes, which is perfect for two generous servings, but if you want to double the recipe that totally works, too! You may want seconds anyway. 🙂
Ingredients for Small Batch Mashed Potatoes
- One pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
- One heaping teaspoon kosher salt, plus more salt to taste
- Two tablespoons unsalted butter
- One tablespoon whole milk, plus more if desired
That’s it! Only four ingredients for these simple mashed potatoes. It’s all you really need, I promise. I like to use Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe, because they’re the best potatoes for a creamy, buttery texture and flavor. I also use more salt than you might think, because the salt cooks into the potatoes as they boil, and that’s what really makes them delicious!
For other flavor variations, see my suggestions below, or check out the other small batch mashed potato recipes at the end of this post!
Tips to make the Best Creamy Mashed Potatoes for Two
- Use gold potatoes. Gold potatoes (or Yukon gold, or yellow potatoes) are soft, buttery, and perfect for creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. They’re smaller than russet potatoes, and have a waxier skin. I prefer them for basic mashed potatoes because they provide a ton of buttery flavor, and a wonderful texture.
- SALT YOUR WATER. This tip is dramatically written in all caps because it is SO important. Salting the potatoes from the absolute beginning is a GREAT way to make them more flavorful! I recommend adding at least a teaspoon of kosher salt to each quart of water, but you can add a little more if you’re feeling it.
- Use room temperature butter. Room temperature butter melts easily into the hot potatoes, and helps the texture of the mashed potatoes stay smooth and creamy.
- Add salt to taste. What does this really mean? It means that we all have different levels of salt preference, so add a little bit of salt at a time until the mashed potatoes taste absolutely delicious to you!
- For extra smooth mashed potatoes, use a potato ricer or food mill to break the potatoes down and remove any lumps.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes for Two
- Wash and peel one pound of gold potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, and place them in a large saucepan. Fill the pot with cold water (just enough to cover the potatoes by an inch of cold water).
- Sprinkle in one heaping teaspoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil for about ten minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. (The best way to test for “fork tender” is to use a slotted spoon to remove a potato from the pot, then slide the prongs of a fork into it. If it easily slides in, your potatoes are fork tender and ready.)
- Drain the water from the saucepan. Stir in two tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt, and mash the potatoes with a potato masher (or handheld electric mixer).
- Switch to a spoon and stir in the milk. Taste and season with more salt or butter, or stir in more milk for a creamier consistency.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
See below for a full step-by-step guide on how to make small batch mashed potatoes:
First, place the peeled and chopped potatoes into a medium-large sauce pan. Peeling the potatoes is optional here, so only do it if you prefer it! Fill the sauce pan with cold water until the water is about an inch over the top of the potatoes. (Filling the sauce pan with water after adding the potatoes allows each potato piece to be exposed to the water for the same amount of time; if you added them as you chopped them, some would become soggier than the others and this could affect the texture of the mashed potatoes. Also, starting with cold water ensures that all of the potato pieces cook evenly as the water slowly comes to a boil. If we added the potatoes to boiling water, it will cook the outside of the potatoes too quickly and change the texture).
Add salt to the water and potatoes! Salt adds flavors to the potatoes as they boil, which makes them very tasty! We will add a little more salt to taste after the potatoes are mashed, but this is an important step that flavors the potatoes from the beginning.
Bring the water to a boil. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about ten minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. (The best way to test for “fork tender” is to use a slotted spoon to remove a potato from the pot, then slide the prongs of a fork into it. If it easily slides in, your potatoes are fork tender and ready.) Drain the water, then add the boiled potatoes back to the hot sauce pan off of the heat.
Add butter and mash. Mashing the butter into the potatoes helps it melt evenly and add tons of flavor. Note: if you used unpeeled potatoes, you may have to remove some of the peels from the masher if they get caught. Mash the potatoes for 1-2 minutes until they are nearly smooth.
Stir in milk and add salt to taste. I like to add at least another pinch of salt to the potatoes once they’re done, but just taste them and add salt according to what you’re feeling!
Can I Add Flavor to this Mashed Potatoes Recipe?
Of course! I absolutely love some finely chopped green onion on top of potatoes, and definitely a good crack of some fresh black pepper. If you’re looking for a richer tasting mashed potato, substitute the whole milk with heavy cream, and add a tablespoon or two of whipped cream cheese. A dollop of sour cream is something I also highly recommend, as it adds a silky texture and a touch of balancing acidity to the mashed potatoes, too!
Fresh herbs (like rosemary, thyme, and chives) are a wonderful addition, and I would add just a half teaspoon of finely chopped fresh herbs in with the butter and salt before mashing the potatoes. The flavor could be overpowering with such a small recipe, so start with a small amount and add more as you see fit.
Spices such as garlic powder or onion powder are also a great addition; I would also start small with these amounts and only use 1/4 teaspoon so the flavor isn’t overpowering. Mash either one in with the butter and salt, too.
I’ve actually been making a TON of mashed potatoes this week (so I can get all of the recipes perfected and ready for you before your Thanksgiving dinner is here!). While they’re all SUPER delicious, there’s something so comforting and delightful about these simple mashed potatoes. The simple buttery flavor and the creamy texture are just so perfect for any holiday meal (or any meal, really). I sincerely hope this becomes your go-to small batch mashed potato recipe, even if you want to add garlic or other flavors!
How To Reheat Mashed Potatoes:
Set a small saucepan over low heat and add your desired amount of leftover mashed potatoes. Warm them up, stirring occasionally, until they’re hot and creamy. Feel free to add a splash of warm milk for extra creaminess if needed!
On that note, I know a lot of people love garlic mashed potatoes. This recipe is totally perfect for that. Just add a clove of minced garlic to the potatoes along with the butter and salt, and mashed the minced garlic into the potatoes while they’re still super hot. The heat will sort of cook the garlic, reducing the harshness of the garlic and letting the flavor just explode into the potatoes.
If you prefer a mellower garlic flavor, add 3-4 roasted garlic cloves to the potatoes right before mashing, and mash the roasted garlic cloves into the potatoes along with the butter and salt.
If you’ve never made mashed potatoes, I hope this post encourages you to do so. 🙂 And once you get comfortable making mashed potatoes at home, here are some other potato recipes you can try!
Other Small Batch Potato Side Dishes:
- Garlic + Parmesan Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes for Two
- Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes for Two
- Jalapeño, Bacon, and Gouda Twice Baked Potatoes for Two
- Blue Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes for Two
- Small Batch Garlic Parmesan Au Gratin Potatoes
Some Small Batch Vegetable Side Dish Recipes:
- Small Batch Fresh Green Bean Casserole
- Small Batch Creamy Chopped Brussels Sprouts
- Small Batch Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
- Unique “Fall” Caesar Salad
If you make these mashed potatoes, I would love if you left a comment and recipe rating below, and/or tagged me on Instagram so I can see your gorgeous creation! You can also follow me on Pinterest for more small batch recipes, and always feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions!
Homemade Creamy Mashed Potatoes for Two
- 1 pound gold potatoes (yukon or yellow works)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp. whole milk
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1" cubes, then place them into a large saucepan. Fill the pot with cold water so that it covers the potatoes by an inch.
- Add one teaspoon of kosher salt to the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, and boil for about ten minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough that they can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain the water. Add the butter and a pinch of salt, and mash the potatoes using a potato masher.*
- Switch to a spoon, and stir in the milk. Taste, and season with more butter or salt if desired. If you prefer a creamier consistency, add another tablespoon of milk.
- Serve warm, and enjoy!