Mr. L's Mashed Potatoes

January 31, 2010
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy, to the point that it worries my wife a little. These are a perfect accompaniment to beef of any ilk, in particular a perfectly grilled 2" thick prime ribeye. - La452 —La452

Test Kitchen Notes

Thanks to La452, we were reminded that the old-school russet makes an excellent mashed potato -- it's fluffy, soft and just loves to soak up butter. La452 adds sour cream and buttermilk, which give the potatoes a stroke of tanginess. And he boils the potatoes with peppercorns and garlic and leaves them in, so the mash is dotted with the soft black orbs. They're like little firebombs so if you don't like bursts of heat, crush them as you mash the potatoes. - A & M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 large rosemary sprigs
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic (depending how big they are)
  1. Put all the dairy in a dish and allow it to come to room temperature
  2. Fill a large pot 2/3 full of salted water. Add the peppercorns, garlic and rosemary. Bring to a rolling boil and remove the rosemary, then add the potatoes.
  3. Boil until the potatoes are very soft, then drain them and put them back in the pot - garlic and peppercorns and all. Let them sit and steam for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the dairy and mash until creamy. I use a hand masher but you could use a hand mixer as well. Serve with a steak and a big glass of good red wine!
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21 Reviews

JKC November 30, 2022
These potatoes are so very flavorful. I may have overdone the dairy portion compared to the number of potatoes I was using, but it was also delicious, it was impossible to mind! My guest couldn't handle the intact peppercorns, so I would crush them before serving to her the next time. Regardless, she wanted to take the leftovers home with her. It was slightly difficult and a little sad to watch her isolate the peppercorns, but a delight to see her love the dish so much!
Teresa May 26, 2020
By far the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten. Anyone who has them at one of my dinner parties asks for the recipe. Try this on top of Rita Konig's recipe for shepherd's pie and you will think you've died and gone to heaven.
NorthwoodsDan June 15, 2019
This is THE go to mashed potato recipe. Accept no substitutes. I've been making this recipe since I found it on this site years ago. It pares perfectly with a steak or grilled/baked chicken. I use the best peppercorns I have and add fresh chives from the garden (when available). Make sure that you remove the Rosemary before boiling the potatoes. You don't want the rosemary in the mash. If you don't have sour cream, you can sub cream cheese. This is a fantastic way to make mashed potatoes. Don't go too heavy on the garlic.

My hat is off to Mr. L. Godspeed, sir. Salute! May the wind always be at your back.
Brandy S. December 25, 2016
So sad, I basically turned this into potato taffy on accident by using a hand mixer, and mixing too long. :( I'm sure it would have been great otherwise
Angela W. July 12, 2014
Love this recipe. I substituted whipping cream for for the buttermilk and forgot to put in the peppercorns and it still turned out great. I used roasted garlic cloves and added along with the salt and pepper when mashing. Will definitely make again.
wizarddrummer January 20, 2014
If you Google best mashed potatoes you get 26,100,100 results. Of course Goople (intentional misspelling - becoming less of a fan) will limit your viewing pleasure to only the first 1,000 or so.

It's a nice recipe, and a variation I've fiddled with at some time or another in the last 50 or so years.

I tinker with potatoes quite a bit. Sometimes I use a potato ricer, most of the time I use my hand masher if I'm not using the ricer. It's a trusty gadget my mother bought in 1948 and to this day it still works as good as the day it was new when she bought it.

I might add that the stainless steel sieve, two pronged fork, ladle and spatula are still looking as good and working as well as when they were new too. That's at least 66 years because I don't have any idea of their true fabrication date - quality today is a sham.

Some Michelin Star Chefs use much higher ratio of butter than normal recipes do. Here's a decent example of a technique I dabbled with many times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqRV05u4d70 My variation is that I cube the room temp butter in smaller chunks (it's faster w/less stirring) and incorporate it with a wooden spoon. Then, I finish with a whisk.

I live in Mexico. The stores here carry a Crema de vaca (heavy cream) that's not like the heavy cream you buy in the states that pours like a thick liquid. This cream comes out of the bottle about as thick as Jell-O cook and serve vanilla pudding - there's no pour you have to shake it pretty hard to get it out or use a spoon.

Sometimes I'll throw in some whole cloves of garlic into the boiling water than when the potatoes are done the garlic is very soft. When I have company, I pass the very soft garlic through a garlic press to get rid of the outer skin of the garlic. It puree's more easily. Sometimes I roast garlic in the oven.

The only time I ever measure anything is when I'm baking because it's more chemistry than anything else.

Sometimes I use good old Best Foods (Hellman's I think) mayonnaise or sour cream or even a small quantity of avocado. Or, fresh Basil or roasted caramelized onions or a pinch of mustard powder or egg yolks, grated parmesan or Monterrey jack, mozzarella ... you name it I've put it in there. Heck I even throw a tablespoon of Skippy creamy peanut butter in there when the mood hits.

Where I live Butter Milk is hard to come by so I when I make butter from scratch I use the butter milk for biscuits or potatoes. Yukon gold are also hard to come by as well.

Bottom line, there is NO BEST ANYTHING! If you LOVE the wonderful, fabulous, super satisfying, almighty Potato, then mix what you will into your mash as it suits you.

Sometimes just the simple butter and milk w/a little salt and pepper addition is just what the Doc ordered.
k11 January 16, 2013
Delicious! Love the gentle hint of rosemary combined with the spicy peppercorns. I used a little less than the full amount of pepper and only three medium sized garlic cloves. The potatoes had a wonderful peppery bite and a subtle background note of garlic - just right for my taste.
zoemetro U. December 26, 2011
We love Mr. L's mashed potatoes. I made them last night with a rib roast and they were perfect. Thank you. This will be my new recipe for scrumpttuous mash.
Alamobecky November 30, 2011
Delicious, but any garlic flavor was completely lost. Next time I'm going to try pan roasting the garlic to bring out more flavor. Had to add more sour cream as well (I used low fat) as the potatoes came out a bit dry.
AntoniaJames November 30, 2011
These are my new favorite mashed potatoes! I served them on Thanksgiving, where they received, unanimously, rave reviews. Plus, the cooking water is so fragrant . . . . It's just lovely in bread. ;o)
arielleclementine November 21, 2010
hello! we had these for dinner last night and thought they were super fly! loved the buttermilk/sour cream combo! thanks for the great recipe!
notmuchofacook February 13, 2010
crispywaffle February 12, 2010
I love that these are totally classic, but that the peppercorns add a little twist.
hleecarr February 11, 2010
marley16 February 11, 2010
Love It! Great recipe, Mr L!
Did you know if you don't happen to have buttermilk you can just add some vinegar to your milk & it will curdle.
JimHero February 11, 2010
These were delicious, my only complaint is that the peppercorn seemed to dominate the flavor a little too much for my taste.
mariaraynal February 3, 2010
Great recipe -- love the addition of rosemary.
gabrielaskitchen February 2, 2010
Simple and classic, I love it! (P.S. Using up the buttermilk in my fridge tonight with this recipe!)
nannydeb February 2, 2010
I would have myself a big steamin' helpin' of those!
AmyW February 1, 2010
Gorgeous mashers!