I Made the Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes, and They’re the Creamiest Ever

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Ree Drummond swears by this recipe, and she's never steered us wrong. So we tried the Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes to see whether they really are a game changer.

Toh 3 2 Ft Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes Nancy Mock For Tohh Gettyimages 156649536 JveditNancy Mock for Taste of home, getty images

Ree Drummond knows how to make crowd-pleasing recipes, including some of our favorite potluck recipes of all time. Not surprisingly, the Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes are rich, perfectly creamy and loaded with flavor. Ree makes no apologies for the amount of butter in this recipe—and now that I’ve tried it, I won’t either!

This recipe is especially helpful when you’re cooking a big Sunday dinner or planning a decadent holiday meal, since the mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time and reheated, and they’ll still have that wonderfully creamy texture.

The Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes

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This recipe makes about 10-11 cups of mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3/4 cup (one and a half sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 8-ounce package softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Tools You’ll Need

  • Large Pot: Choose one large enough to boil five pounds of sliced potatoes.
  • Potato Masher: Ree Drummond prefers this old-fashioned tool for the best mashed potato texture.
  • Baking Dish: We like this pretty baking dish that can go straight from the oven to the table.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the potatoes

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Peel the potatoes and slice each one into four chunks, or six for larger spuds. Put the sliced potatoes into a large pot with just enough cold water to cover them.

Step 2: Cook the potatoes

Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and cook the potatoes until they’re tender but not falling apart. Begin checking them after 20 minutes; a fork should easily pierce the potatoes.

Step 3: Drain and mash

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Drain the potatoes through a colander, then return them to the pot. Set the pot on the burner over low heat, then use a potato masher to thoroughly break down the potatoes. (Mashing the potatoes over low heat lets the excess moisture evaporate away: one of the smart tricks that makes the best mashed potato recipes stand apart.) Let all the excess moisture escape before moving on.

Step 4: Add the other ingredients

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Slice the cream cheese into cubes and add them to the potatoes. Slice the butter and add this to the potatoes along with the half-and-half. Mash the potatoes until these ingredients are melted and mixed throughout. Stir in the seasoned salt and the black pepper. Taste the potatoes—add more seasoned salt if you think it needs it.

Step 5: Layer the potatoes in a baking dish

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a little butter to grease the inside of a 9×13-inch baking dish (or another baking dish large enough to hold the potatoes.) Spoon in the mashed potatoes and spread them evenly, then add a few swirls on top. Dot with a few pats of cold butter.

Place the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the butter is melted and the potatoes are hot. Stir the butter through, then serve them immediately. (You can also refrigerate and reheat before serving; see instructions below.)

Here’s What I Thought

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Okay, I knew with all that butter, these were sure to taste indulgent. But I wasn’t sure if I would like cream cheese in the potatoes. The verdict: I really do! The butter and cream cheese give these mashed potatoes a rich and super-creamy texture. I went with a full teaspoon of seasoned salt, which tasted just right to me and my family. The potatoes have a wonderful, buttery flavor that’s delicious as is or smothered with homemade gravy.

The very best part about this recipe is that the mashed potatoes can be reheated and they still have that creamy texture. Ree Drummond points out that this makes the recipe a perfect choice for Thanksgiving or other big family or holiday meals: get the hard work of making the potatoes out of the way a day or two in advance, and simply warm them up in the oven.

How to Reheat the Potatoes

After spreading the mashed potatoes in the baking dish, let them cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days. When you’re ready to reheat the potatoes, Ree Drummond recommends letting them sit out at room temperature for two to three hours ahead of time. Top the potatoes with a few pats of butter, then place the dish into a 350° oven for 20-30 minutes until hot. Leave some fridge space for other make-ahead holiday recipes.

Tips for Making Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes

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  • Russet or Yukon Gold are the right types of potatoes for this recipe because they break down easily when cooked. Yukon Gold will also give your mashed potatoes a lovely, yellow hue.
  • Ree Drummond prefers a hand masher to an electric mixer for her potatoes, saying that the blades of a mixer will “make the final product gummy.” The cooked potatoes are so soft that they mash in no time, even by hand.
  • Though they’re wonderful on their own, try some yummy mashed potato add-ins, like diced scallions, chives, bacon bits or shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.