Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish to make your next holiday meal easier. They taste amazing, with no draining required!
This recipe is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu because it will free up some space on your stove. The pressure cooker can’t peel the potatoes for you, but it will cook them quickly (all in one pot!) and keep the potatoes warm until you’re ready to eat.
Serve them with turkey or vegetarian meatloaf, for a comforting holiday meal.
Ingredients You’ll Need
You can use russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe, but keep in mind that they will require different amounts of liquid when it comes to mashing them.
Russet potatoes tend to be more dry and starchy, with a white fluffy texture, while Yukon gold potatoes are naturally creamy, so they won’t require as much milk for mashing. It’s a good idea to add just a 1/4 cup of milk at a time, so you won’t end up with soupy potatoes.
Feel free to add any extra flavorings you love, such as butter, sour cream, cream cheese, or Parmesan cheese. But be sure to taste these mashed potatoes first, because they are plenty flavorful on their own!
How many potatoes do you need per person? When planning a holiday meal, plan for a half pound of potatoes per person, if you want to ensure a generous serving for everyone. That means you may need to double this recipe when serving a crowd. (The cooking time won’t change in that case; it will just take longer for the pot to pressurize.)
I tested this recipe with 6 pounds of potatoes in a 6-quart Instant Pot, and that quantity works well with the same cooking time. If you need to triple this recipe, you’ll need to use a larger Instant Pot.
How to Make the Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Press the Sauté button on your machine and wait 2 minutes for the surface to warm up. Add in the olive oil and garlic, and stir briefly for about 1 minute.
Press the Cancel/Off button on the Instant Pot right away, so the garlic won’t burn.
As soon as the garlic smells fragrant, add the cup of water and use the spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot. This will ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom and prevent a burn error later.
Next, add in the peeled & cubed potatoes, salt, and black pepper. Secure the lid on your pressure cooker and move the steam release valve to Sealing.
Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. It will take roughly 8 to 10 minutes for the pot to pressurize, so the screen will read ON until then.
When the cooking cycle is complete, release the steam pressure by immediately moving the steam release valve to Venting.
Keep your hand away from the top of this valve, since hot steam will shoot out from the top. This is called a “quick release.”
When the floating valve in the lid drops, the pot is no longer pressurized and it’s safe to open the lid.
Use a potato masher (or potato ricer) to mash the potatoes directly in the stainless steel bowl of the Instant Pot. Alternatively, you can use an electric hand mixer, if you prefer whipped potatoes.
Add the milk, and continue stirring until they reach your desired texture. Taste the potatoes and add extra salt, as needed. (I use up to two and a half teaspoons of fine sea salt per 3 pounds of potatoes, but this is assuming you don’t add other salty ingredients, like salted butter or Parmesan cheese.)
Once you’re happy with the flavor, these Instant Pot mashed potatoes are ready to serve. The pressure cooker will keep them warm for up to 3 hours, if you need to make these in advance, but be sure to check on their texture before serving.
Mashed potatoes tend to firm up and dry out as they sit, so you might need to add an extra splash of water or milk and give them a stir, right before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
To cut down on the prep work for a busy holiday meal, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks, then transfer them to an airtight container and submerge them in water so they don’t brown. Store the container in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance, then drain them right before cooking as directed in the recipe.
Reheat chilled potatoes in the Instant Pot by adding a 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pot. Use the Sauté function to heat them up again with the lid off, and stir often to break up the cold potatoes, until they are heated through. I’ve also heard you can pressure cook them for zero minutes (yes, zero!) if you’d like a hands-off method, then perform a quick release to open the pot again.
Russet potatoes will give you the most traditional mashed potatoes, with their white fluffy interior. If you prefer to use Yukon Gold Potatoes, you can do that, too! But, they will not require as much liquid for mashing, so you might not need all of the milk that this recipe calls for.
Yes, you can saute a sprig of fresh herbs, like thyme or rosemary, with the olive oil and garlic to help infuse their flavor. Remove the herbs before adding the potatoes and cook as directed.
The Instant Pot requires a thin liquid to bring the pot to pressure. I don’t recommend using milk to cook them (it can trigger a burn error) but you can use chicken broth or vegetable broth if you prefer. In that case, you might not need all of the salt that this recipe calls for, since the broth may already contain sodium.
This recipe is vegan-friendly when you use almond milk or another plant-based alternative. We keep our holiday mashed potatoes dairy-free for family members with allergies, and no one can tell the difference! (But if you are serving people with nut allergies, be mindful of which milk you use.)
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (No Drain!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 cup water
- 3 pounds Russet potatoes* , peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ to ¾ cup milk of choice (or more, as needed)
- Press the Sauté button on your Instant Pot, and add in the olive oil. When the pot has heated up, add in the 2 cloves of minced garlic and briefly stir them. Press the Off button right away, so the garlic won't burn.
- As soon as the garlic smells fragrant, add the water to prevent it from burning. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot, to make sure no garlic is stuck there. (This will prevent a Burn error later.)
- Add in the potatoes, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot. There's no need to stir. Secure the lid, and move the steam release valve to "Sealing."
- Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button on your machine to cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. It will take roughly 8 to 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, so it will read "On" as it heats up, and then it will start the count-down as soon as the floating valve in the lid pops up.
- When the cooking cycle is complete and the screen reads LO:00, immediately move the steam release valve to "Venting" to release the pressure in the pot. Make sure your hand isn't over the vent, to avoid getting burned by the hot steam. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to open the lid.
- Use a fork to test the potatoes, to make sure they are tender, then use a potato masher to start mashing the potatoes. Add in the milk, starting with only ¼ cup at a time, until the potatoes are as creamy as you like. I usually end up using ¾ cup total for Russet potatoes. (See notes below if you use Yukon Gold, instead.) This is also the time to taste the potatoes and add more seasonings as you like. I typically use at least 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt total for 3 pounds of potatoes, and you can add any extras you like at this point, such as butter, sour cream, chives, or fresh thyme.
- Once the potatoes are seasoned to your liking, you can serve them warm right away. You can also use the Instant Pot's Keep Warm setting, to keep them warm for up to 3 hours. The mashed potatoes will firm up as they sit in the pot, so be sure to check on them again just before serving. You may need to add an extra splash of milk or water, to help loosen them up again. See tips in this post for reheating any leftovers, or making them ahead of time.
If you try this Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.