You could climb mountains. You know, the ones made from rocks. Or you could climb mountains of mashed potatoes. But what are the best potatoes for mashing into those golden, buttery piles of steamy starch, the ones that, when made properly, are equal parts rich and fluffy?

a person holding a bowl of food © Photo by Laura Murray

Well, straight-up, Yukon Gold potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes. We love them for roasting, and we co-sign just as strongly for any mashing needs, whether they be with or without a turkey.

Yukon Gold potatoes have the densest and most uniform flesh of the potato varieties. When cooked, they aren’t grainy, watery, or mushy, which all happen to be qualities that ruin mashed potatoes instantly. And as an added bonus, Yukon Golds already have an inherent buttery flavor to them. So you’re starting with more butter flavor, without any actual butter. Yum.

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Idaho potatoes (a.k.a. russets) on the other hand are less ideal for mashing. They don’t love being cooked in water, because their crazy-high starchiness absorbs a ton of water. (Which is why they work in our Mashed Baked Potatoes with Chives recipe, where they get cooked in the oven, but not in other boil-then-mash techniques.) When they cook, the starch molecules get blown out, which can yield and unpleasantly gluey texture if they're mashed and whipped too aggressively. Ever made mashed potatoes that just never seem to get flavorful? Yeah, that’s because they took on too much water. That doesn’t happen with Yukon Golds.

So when we say that Yukon Golds are the secret to mashed potato, uh, gold, we’re not joking. They’ll get you where you need to be going, on a road paved with creamy, perfectly mashed potatoes. You’ll find us on that same road, riding as slow as possible, in the right lane, dipping a spoon out of the window.

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a white plate topped with different types of food: <p>Sweet potatoes' status as a Thanksgiving darling is well deserved—and they demand to be prepared in more creative ways than just baked into a casserole with marshmallows (no disrespect, that's delicious too). Try one of these 19 ideas at your table this year.</p> 20 Recipes That Prove Sweet Potatoes Are the Best Part of Thanksgiving