Monica's Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

September 21, 2011
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This recipe is from my late mother-in-law Monica. I’ve never had mashed potatoes that even come close to how delicious these are. With both cream cheese and sour cream, they’re the perfect balance of creamy and tangy, with the chives at the end tempering the richness.

Monica was a great cook without realizing she was one. She had a handful of dishes that she proudly served at holidays, family gatherings and bridge parties, and this dish were one of them. My husband and his two sisters requested these potatoes for every birthday dinner (with a big grilled steak, being the born-and-bred Nebraskans they are), and the first time I tasted them, I completely understood why.

Here are a few important tips that I picked up from Monica during the countless times I watched her make them. (1) Generously salt your cooking water. Yes, you can and should add salt to taste at the end, but you need to season the potatoes well while they’re cooking. (2) Put away your fancy potato ricer or food mill when making these. Use your trusty hand mixer, or if you must, your standing one. (3) Keep tasting and seasoning as you go -- and keep tinkering ‘til you get it right. (4) Don’t even think about leaving the chives out. The chives are so important that on several Thanksgivings, my husband and I have gone on a wild goose chase trying to hunt them down.

When I asked my husband if I could share his mom’s recipe, his response was, “Is the world ready for that much sour cream and cream cheese in the same bowl?” I suspect the answer to that question is Yes.

Test Kitchen Notes

Okay. I love mashed potatoes, but I never knew what that truly meant until I tasted this absolutely addictive spin on the dish. I ended up eating an entire bowl for dinner with nothing else, because they were that good. I've never seen nor heard of cream cheese in mashed potatoes and it's one of those “aha” moments. Seriously, why haven't I been doing this all along? It adds a richness and creaminess that is really, really good. It's easy to see why this is on EmilyC's Thanksgiving table every year. The chives are also a refreshing addition and help cut the rich potatoes. I will make this again and again. —figgypudding

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (Monica always used red potatoes)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into large pieces (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream (at room temperature)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt + freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, and either return to the same pan, or place in a large bowl for combining with other ingredients.
  2. While potatoes are still hot, start mixing in the remaining ingredients using a hand mixer with beater attachments. Add the cream cheese first (a few pieces at a time) and mix until thoroughly combined. It's important to start with the cream cheese because it's the ingredient that benefits the most from the hot potatoes when mixing. Next, add the sour cream, then the butter, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Continue mixing until the potatoes are smooth, creamy, and lump-free. You may want to stop a few times and clean the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl with a spatula. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. A few notes: I like to add the cream cheese, sour cream, and butter at room temperature to make the mixing easier, but Monica always used them straight from the fridge. If you want, you can start with lesser (say 3/4) amounts of the cream cheese, sour cream and butter and then tinker with the quantities to taste at the end, but 9 out of 10 times I've done this, I've ended up adding the full amounts. Trust me, these potatoes are worth the indulgence.
  4. Mix in chives. Serve and savor every bite.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bodhi marpa franzoni
    bodhi marpa franzoni
  • wills
  • Nadia Garcia
    Nadia Garcia
  • Cindy Sewell Martin
    Cindy Sewell Martin
  • ColleenRodden

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

28 Reviews

Jenluv November 23, 2022
These are my thanksgiving recipe for the best mashed potatoes omg.. I’m going to add garlic this year and see how they turn out
Elizabeth G. November 25, 2017
I made these for Thanksgiving very good.
Isa November 21, 2017
Hey, if we bring it to a Thanksgiving potluck, is it better just to cover it to keep it warm? Or can we warm it right before serving in a pan? Or should it be warmed in the oven? This will be my first mashed potato ever :)
EmilyC November 21, 2017
You can cover with foil and warm them in the oven. Or, if you have a crock pot (and your host has the space!) the potatoes hold really well on low for several hours. My sister-in-law is bringing them in a crock pot for our Thanksgiving dinner!
bodhi M. December 24, 2015
EmilyC December 24, 2015
Yes, you can use dried ones! Just add to taste -- a little goes a long way!
bodhi M. December 24, 2015
That's what I ended up getting. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! XOXOX
wills December 6, 2014
My son: "best mashed potatoes ever, Dad!"
EmilyC December 8, 2014
Excellent! : )
Nadia G. November 30, 2014
I have a question about the cuantities, the T in the butter what does it means, it might be a little weird to ask , but i will thanks you a lot if you answer me.
EmilyC November 30, 2014
It's 4 Tablespoons of butter (1/2 stick).
Cindy S. September 29, 2014
I always thought mashed potatoes were make with milk, salt, butter - just regular, plain old mashed potatoes but they never seem to be thick enough even though I just use a little bit of milk... Maybe it's the russet potatoes I used instead of yukon gold... Will have to give this recipe a try even though I've just been wanting regular mashed potatoes. If anyone has a tip for me, please share.
EmilyC September 30, 2014
Hi Cindy -- these mashed potatoes are nice and thick so definitely give them a try! If you like the texture, I'm sure you could easily adapt them to be simpler, with just milk and butter. Although once you have them with cream cheese, sour cream, and butter, you may never go back, I'm warning you! : )
ColleenRodden August 16, 2014
I am making this for a Birthday dinner tonight. Have to double the recipe. I will let you know how they turn out. I am excited.
EmilyC August 16, 2014
Really hope you like them! My husband requests these for his birthday. And happy b'day to you.
glenfrank January 10, 2014
Awesome! Making this tonight along with the steak...
EmilyC January 10, 2014
Great -- hope it's a hit!
JanetFL December 12, 2013
These are definitely my kind of mashed potatoes! Butter, cream cheese and sour cream - yum!
EmilyC January 10, 2014
Thanks Janet! It seems like overkill with all three but it's not!
inpatskitchen December 9, 2013
Congrats on the CP Emily! I make almost the exact recipe and what's really great about it is than you can make it the day before and and re warm in a crockpot the day of!
EmilyC December 9, 2013
Thanks IPK! I've never used the crockpot trick but my sister-in-law just told me about it. Glad to know it works well! By the way, these potatoes are amazing as the base for the Genius potato cake recipe posted a few weeks ago!
inpatskitchen December 9, 2013
Thanks for the tip! If we have any leftover after Christmas, I will definitely make them.
foxeslovelemons December 5, 2013
Haha YES. The world is ready for this recipe! I did sour cream and chive mashed for Thanksgiving, but now I wish I would have put some cream cheese in there too! Congrats on the CP.
EmilyC December 6, 2013
Thanks Lori! And definitely try the cream cheese -- you may never go back! : )
LLStone November 20, 2013
EmilyC, I had a recipe for this many years ago that I've lost. It was much like this, but substituted mayo for butter (in roughly the same quantities) and it could be frozen forever. You just had to thaw a day before then bake. I always wondered about butter instead of mayo, and am curious if you've ever frozen this? I assumed maybe the sour cream made it more freeze-friendly.... I agree, this is a killer potato.
EmilyC November 21, 2013
I'll ask my husband if his mom ever froze these potatoes. We've never tried, mostly because any leftovers disappear quickly. I've always been surprised how well these reheat in the microwave, straight from the fridge! By the way, I see you're from Evansville. I grew up about an hour NW, on the Illinois side, and Evansville is where we'd go for bigger shopping trips, etc. It's a good part of the world.
EmilyC November 30, 2013
My sister-in-law and brother confirmed on Thanksgiving that their mom used to freeze these potatoes with good results!
EmilyC November 30, 2013
Oops, typing too fast, meant to say my sister-in-law and husband!