Simple Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish for your special holiday meal. This simple 3 ingredient recipe makes the dreamiest mashed potatoes you’ve ever had; creamy, buttery, and fluffy with just a small ‘tang’ from the buttermilk.

There are so many great side dishes to serve alongside your holiday turkey, sometimes it’s difficult to narrow it down. Mashed potatoes always make my list, as does our family’s classic Homemade Stuffing. We also love a zesty Green Bean Casserole packed full of green beans and mushrooms.

A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

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Simple Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

There is no greater side dish than fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. They are the perfect accompaniment to any roast meat, particularly roasted turkey, fried chicken, or under an easy hamburger steak and gravy.

Most of the time, I simply boil potatoes then mash them with cream and butter but when I want something a little more decadent, I reach for buttermilk.

This recipe makes the best buttery-rich potatoes kissed with a slight ‘tang’ from the acidity of the buttermilk. They truly are the most delicious mashed potato I have ever had.

ingredient for buttermilk mashed potatoes.

What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashing?

For my mashed potatoes, I use whatever variety I have in the pantry; usually red or yellow skin potatoes. While some say they do not make the fluffiest mash, they work in a pinch and are great in a rustic sort of way.

These low starch varieties may become ‘gluey’ or ‘gummy’ if they are overworked. However, if you take care and do not mash the daylights out of them, they can be just as tasty as a mash made with starchy potatoes.

A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

Many people prefer the high starch, fluffy Russet potatoes but I find they are much too grainy for me. Further, some chefs recommend a mix of starchy Russets (to soak up the butter and milk) and Yukon Golds.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to use the potato you want in your mash…it’s all up to you!

A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

Great Tips for Boiling Potatoes

Good news! Mashed Potatoes are very simple to whip up and contain very few (though important!) ingredients. However, I have a few tips and tricks to help you make the best potatoes ever!

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into uniform sizes.
  • Rinse potatoes to remove any dirt left over from peeling.
  • Cover potatoes with COLD water to start. If you add potatoes to boiling water they may cook unevenly and still be raw and crunchy in the middle.
  • Add salt to the potato water because we love seasoned food!
  • Don’t over boil the potatoes…keep them at a slight simmer so they don’t break up.
  • Drain cooked potatoes well, then allow them to dry. If they are watery, they won’t get fluffy!
A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

How to Make Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

As with all vegetable recipes, begin by giving the potatoes a good scrub. Then use a potato peeler or paring knife to remove the peel. Next, cut the potatoes into 1 1/2 – 2 cm cubes.

Immediately place the cubed potatoes in a pot with cold water to cover. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp salt to the water and allow it to come up to a gentle simmer.

Simmer the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until a fork pierces the potatoes easily. Drain the potatoes using a colander and allow them to rest and dry out before continuing on. My mom likes to save the potato cooking water to use in the pan gravy later on.

Place the buttermilk and butter in the used saucepan and gently warm them over low heat until the butter melts. Do not boil this mixture.

In the meantime, process the potatoes using a potato masher, food mill, or potato ricer to physically break up the potatoes until no lumps remain.

Stir to distribute the warm buttermilk/butter mixture within the potatoes then top with chopped fresh chives.

A vintage silver spoon standing up straight in a bowl of mashed potatoes.

Other Great Flavours for Mashed Potatoes

While Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes have my favourite combination of flavours, there are many great ways to elevate the humble mashed potato.

  • soft cream cheese or Boursin
  • other herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley
  • boil the potatoes in chicken or vegetable stock instead of water
  • add garlic or green onions…roasted garlic would be amazing!
  • mix in sour cream or crème fraîche
  • add in other hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Gouda, or Cheddar
A silver spoon holds a serving of fluffy mashed potatoes over a bowl.

BTW, if you don’t have any buttermilk, you can easily make a quick substitute using a cup of whole milk or light cream and a tablespoon of vinegar. Let the mixture sit 5-10 minutes so it becomes thick and slightly curdled.

How to Keep the Potatoes Warm and Ready to Eat

Let’s face it. Timing a multi-dish menu for extended family and friends can be challenging. That’s why Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes should be the first dish you cook!

To keep mashed potatoes warm until dinner is ready to serve, place them in the top of double boiler, cover, and allow it to simmer gently on the back of the stove as you prepare the other dishes.

Alternatively, place them in a slow cooker and keep warm on low temperature for up to 4 hours.

A bowl of fluffy white mashed potatoes topped with melting butter, fresh green chives, and parsley garnish.

How to Re-warm Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are a great make ahead side dish because they are so easy to re-warm.

  1. Place the potatoes in a lidded oven safe container (or cover with Aluminum foil) and reheat in a 350 F oven for 30-40 minutes. Stir and add more buttermilk, cream, or milk as needed.
  2. Reheat in a microwave for two minutes at a time, stopping to stir at regular intervals until hot. Add more liquid and stir gently if they have become dry.

Whichever method you choose, safely reheat the potatoes to 165 F before serving. For best results, add stock, cream, or buttermilk as needed and do not stir them too aggressively or they may become gluey.

Pinterest image featuring a spoon holding fluffy white mashed potaotes.
Yield: 4-6 servings

Simple Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

A silver spoon holds a serving of fluffy mashed potatoes over a bowl.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish to add to your special holiday meal. This simple 3 ingredient recipe makes the dreamiest mashed potatoes you've ever had; creamy, buttery, and fluffy with just a small 'tang' from the buttermilk.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes of your choice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper


  1. Peel and chop potatoes into similarly sized pieces. Place in cold salted water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until a fork inserted in a potato slides in (and out) easily.
  3. Drain potatoes well using a colander. Allow the potatoes to dry for a few minutes.
  4. Place butter and buttermilk in the used potato sauce pan and gently heat without boiling.
  5. Begin processing potatoes using a potato masher until all visible chunks are gone. Do not over work or whip the potatoes. Alternatively, use a potato ricer to ensure the potatoes are completely chunk free. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir the warmed butter/buttermilk into the mashed/riced potatoes.
  7. Place hot potatoes in a serving dish, then top with chopped fresh chives.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Terri

    I never thought to use buttermilk- great idea! I will be trying it 🙂


    1. Bernice Hill

      I just love the tangy flavour it brings to the potatoes. So tasty!

  2. Kristen

    I haven’t made mashed potatoes in forever, but these are so perfectly creamy. I will definitely be making them more often.


    1. Bernice Hill

      They are a staple in this house!

  3. Loreto Nardelli

    I agree with you, mashed potatoes are the best side dish for this Thanksgiving meal. There is nothing more comforting than a fluffy creamy potato and the fact that you use buttermilk is awesome. I love that bit of acidity. It sure gives this classic a nice twang!
    Thanks for all those great tips bits on potatoes!


    1. Bernice Hill

      It really does give a nice twang to the flavour Loreto. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Moop Brown

    Yum, these look so creamy and like the perfect texture. A great dish for Thanksgiving as well!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Such a classic side…and perfect for any meal. I could eat it daily, thankfully I don’t.

  5. Laura

    These mashed potatoes look amazing. I will definitely try this recipe while in Ireland. Really easy to find buttermilk around here!


    1. Bernice Hill

      I bet! What other great buttermilk recipes do they have there? Or do they just drink it? My dad will actually just drink it.

  6. Tammy

    Ahh these look so perfect and creamy! I love the buttermilk whipped into potatoes it adds such a nice richness and depth of flavor that balances it.


    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh yes!! That is exactly it.

  7. Marta

    The buttermilk was a total game-changer. I loved how tangy they are. This is going to be the perfect side for this upcoming holiday season.


    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes! We’ll be making them for sure in our house.

  8. Kathryn Donangelo

    I haven’t made mashed potatoes in so long until this recipe! They are SO GOOD and so incredibly creamy with flavor. This is the recipe I’ll be using for the holidays 🙂 Thank you!


    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear Kathryn! Enjoy and happy holidays.

  9. Denise@Urbnspice

    There is nothing like a batch of delicious mashed potatoes and I have to say, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes sound elegant and divine as a side dish. They look irresistible, too! I’m sure this dish is going to be making its way onto our table very soon – thanks so much for sharing, Bernice!


    1. Bernice Hill

      You are so right. These mashed potatoes are the golden standard. Enjoy!

  10. Sharon

    If you want the BEST side dish for the holidays, this mash recipe is it! Thanks, Bernice for enticing me with these delicious photos. My fork was denting the screen so I had to make them for myself. 🙂


    1. Bernice Hill

      LOL. I’m glad you enjoyed them Sharon.

  11. NANCY

    these mashed potatoes looks SO creamy!!! i’ll have to try this recipe next time!


    1. Bernice Hill

      I would be honoured, Happy Thanksgiving Nancy.

  12. Colleen

    I’m a sucker for mashed potatoes and your buttermilk addition sounds like a delicious idea. Drool-worthy photos, too!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh, man I don’t want to brag but it was a genius moment. That’s how I’m doing them from now on.

  13. Leanne

    These mashed potatoes look so smooth and creamy! Mine always turn out a little lumpy. I’m going to add your recipe to the menu for this week’s Thanksgiving meal. My husband would love them!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too. I honestly am not fussed about it but using a potato ricer really cuts down on those lumps.

  14. stefani

    Your mashed potato looks heavenly.
    Perfect recipe for busy family.
    And your blog is amazing.
    Thank you for sharing.


    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Stefani! We could eat them every day.

  15. Farrukh Aziz

    Hey Bernice,
    This buttermilk Potato Mash looks so creamy and delightful! It’s making me drool, Chives are perfect thing to garnish with. This mash has my heart! <3


    1. Bernice Hill

      Mmmm, me too! They are a great comfort food!

  16. Sonya

    I love the texture of these! Well done! Perfect recipe for Fall!


    1. Bernice Hill

      mmmm so smooth and creamy!! That’s the perfect mash right there.

  17. Aleta

    These buttermilk mashed potatoes are SO creamy!!! I love how easy they are to make and the addition of the chives is just perfect – I’ll be making these for Thanksgiving this year!


    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s great to hear. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  18. Ramona

    This buttermilk mashed potato looks sooo creamy and heavenly! I can just imagine it melting in your mouth when you take your first bite. The thought of having this makes me drool and inspires me to make it for myself! thank you for sharing this recipe, I cant wait to try it out.


    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes! They are definitely drool worthy.

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