Creamy, dreamy, glorious mashed potatoes. My most favorite food in the whole world! With gravy, duh. Can you believe that November starts tomorrow? Thanksgiving will be here in 3 weeks! These classic mashed potatoes and gravy are the perfect dish for your feast so get someone to help you peel your taters and let’s get cooking!
Mashed potatoes were my favorite food growing up and my love still goes strong. They are the most perfect comfort food, and are made out of real and simple ingredients:
- heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- parsley (optional)
And for the gravy:
- chicken broth
- heavy cream
- salt and pepper
Now, I know people love to add other things to their mashed potatoes, like cream cheese and sour cream and cheese and garlic and all kinds of stuff. And I love that too. But for Thanksgiving I prefer the simplicity of this recipe and how it pairs so perfectly with turkey and gravy.
So let’s talk ingredients. I use a whole five pound bag of yukon gold (sometimes called “yellow”) potatoes. They seem to have the best consistency for mashed potatoes in my opinion. I try to use organic ingredients when possible and I also use salted (and prefer grass-fed) butter, but you can use unsalted and then salt to taste if you wish. When you’re buying heavy cream be sure and check the ingredients. The ingredients should be: heavy cream (milk). I have seen heavy creams that have a whole list of ingredients, some that are known carcinogens. It infuriates me! OK, rant over. Moving on!
How creamy do you like your mashed potatoes? On Thanksgiving I go the extra step of whipping them up with an electric mixer to get that extra smooth and creamy texture, but most of the time I just mash them with a potato masher and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. I enjoy both versions but in case you’re wondering, the textured version is pictured in this blog post.
Aside from having to peel five pounds of potatoes (and if you like the skins, by all means leave some of them on…also delicious), this version of mashed potatoes and gravy is super easy as you’ll see in the recipe below. After cooking and draining the potatoes you simply mix in the butter and heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley just for a little color if desired.
And what are mashed potatoes without gravy? OK, they’re still really good. But not as good as they could be! If gravy is something that intimidates you, I am here to tell you – it is such an easy thing to make! If you learn how to make a roux (the first part of making gravy) you will be able to make all kinds of things, most notably cheese sauce for mac and cheese if you have kiddos!
To make gravy, you need butter and flour. Always equal amounts of both. I always use 2 tablespoons no matter how many I’m cooking for. That usually makes enough for my crowd. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan.
Once melted add in the flour. I used whole wheat flour here but if you’re new to making gravy maybe start with white flour for a more familiar taste. We have switched to whole wheat everything else so I figured my gravy should be included!
Whisk continuously for a couple of minutes until a paste has formed. And that is your roux!
After you make a roux you can add the ingredients to turn it into whatever kind of sauce you’re making. In this case, gravy. Continue to whisk gently while slowly pouring in the chicken broth and then heavy cream. You’ll notice it starting to thicken. If it gets too thick you can add more liquid.
You can even just splash in a little water as the liquid. It’s not going to hurt a thing. If you’re making this for Thanksgiving and you’re also in charge of the turkey, skim some broth from the bottom of your roaster to use instead of chicken broth. It has a great flavor!
Alton Brown taught me that the gravy will continue to thicken as you put it in your serving dish and bring it to the table so it’s best if it’s a little thinner than you want. That way when it’s ready to be devoured it will be the perfect thickness! I am going to say to use salt and pepper to taste but for me about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper works well, and that’s with using regular sodium canned chicken broth and salted butter.
You can make the mashed potatoes a couple of days ahead and store covered in the refrigerator to save time on Thanksgiving. I heat them up in a pot and use whole milk to get things stirring.
Let me know if you try this recipe and how you like it by posting in the comments below or tagging #kristensfixins on social media!
Need another side dish to bring for Thanksgiving dinner? Try my squash casserole!
Classic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
For Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs yukon gold (or "yellow") potatoes
- 1 3/4 stick salted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Peel potatoes, then chop into large, similar sized chunks.
- Place in a large pot and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil on high, then lower temperature to a rolling boil.
- Let boil until tender when pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes).
- Drain and then return to pot (removed from heat).
- Mash with a potato masher.
- Add butter and heavy cream and mix. Add more cream if needed to get a smooth consistency.
- Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Add butter to saute pan and melt over medium heat.
- Add flour and whisk until a thick paste forms (a couple of minutes at most).
- While slowly continuing to whisk, add in the broth, and then the heavy cream.
- Continue to whisk until desired thickness. Taking the gravy off of the heat when it's just a tad thin will ensure it's the right consistency when it gets to your table.
- Add plenty of salt and pepper, to taste.