Amazing Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

These Instant Pot mashed potatoes are the best potatoes on the planet! The most amazing part: the mashed potatoes can stay warm for HOURS before serving.

Large bowl full of mashed potatoes, with a gravy boat of brown gravy next to it.

If you are one that thinks mashed potatoes are just mashed potatoes, you better just sit on down while I tell you why these mashed potatoes are going to change your life.

I have a couple of great go-to mashed potato recipes when I want to follow an actual recipe (roasted garlic/parmesan mashed and baked garlic mashed), but usually, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t follow a recipe at all.

I just throw a little bit of this and that (some variation on milk or cream, always butter, and often cream cheese or sour cream) into hot, drained, tender potatoes. I mash ’em up and call it good.

Cut up potatoes immersed in water in an Instant Pot, ready to cook.

A little while ago, a reader (hi, Beth!) emailed me saying making mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot was a game changer.

Game changer. Life changer. Mind changer. We’re changing all sorts of things today.

Why are these potatoes so amazing? Well, first, the potatoes cook in the IP for a wonderfully short amount of time (8 minutes).

And because the lid is sealed, like a good IP lid should be, there’s no worry or fuss over starchy, boiling water bubbling all over the stovetop (boiling potato mess is the worst).

Set it and forget it. But only for 8 minutes.

The front of an Instant Pot with 8 minutes left on the timer. A bowl full of mashed potatoes topped with brown gravy.

Once the potatoes are drained and have found their way back to the insert of the Instant Pot, they are mashed with the perfect proportion of milk, butter and garlic.

And a little sour cream! Don’t forget that.

It’s the secret ingredient to these creamy Instant Pot mashed potatoes – giving them just enough tang to make you throw an elbow mercilessly at your table companions to get to the last of them.

Large bowl of cooked mashed potatoes ready to be mashed.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

The second reason these Instant Pot mashed potatoes are so dreamy is because you can make them HOURS ahead of time. 

Once they are mashed to creamy perfection, return the insert back to the Instant Pot, secure the lid, and hit Keep Warm.

Before serving, give them a good stir – maybe add a tiny drizzle of warm milk – and these Instant Pot mashed potatoes perfect as perfect mashed potatoes can be.

Instant Pot bowl full of mashed potatoes. Bowl full of mashed potatoes, with brown gravy on top.

I am so in love with this Instant Pot method of making mashed potatoes, I can’t be stopped. I make them all the time.

It has revolutionized my life knowing I can make mashed potatoes ahead of time and still have creamy, dreamy, amazing, best-ever potatoes without rushing to get them finished so they are warm and freshly made right before dinner.

A spoonful of mashed potatoes and brown gravy, with a bowl full of mashed potatoes and brown gravy in the background.

In the recipe below, I’m giving my notes about which variety of potatoes I prefer AND there’s a handy step-by-step tutorial below, too.

Not that you really need a guide, of course. These Instant Pot mashed potatoes are SO EASY. But if you are new to the Instant Pot, sometimes a little visual help is nice.

Also, since we are all over changing lives today, this potato masher may be the last key to unlocking full mashed potato joy. I love it so much.

Goodbye now.

Step-by-step pictures and text for how to make Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes.

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Life-Changing Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6-7 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Life Changing Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (see note about type of potatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse, kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk, preferably not skim
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Add the potatoes and salt to the Instant Pot insert (6-quart). Add at least 1 1/2 cups water or enough to cover the potatoes (either way is fine). Don't exceed the max fill line.
  2. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the valve is set to "seal" and not "vent."
  3. Select Manual and then dial up or down to 8 minutes. The IP will start on its own.
  4. While the potatoes cook, warm the milk, butter and garlic powder in a saucepan or microwave-safe container until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm.
  5. When the potatoes are done cooking, quick release the pressure. If liquid bubbles and spurts from the valve, cover loosely with a damp dishcloth while the pressure releases.
  6. Drain the potatoes in a colander over the sink, discarding the cooking liquid.
  7. Return the potatoes to the insert of the Instant Pot and coarsely mash.
  8. Add the 2/3 of the butter/milk mixture along with the sour cream, and mash until the potatoes are the desired texture, as smooth or as chunky as you like, adding more of the remaining milk/butter mixture if you want creamier, less stiff mashed potatoes (I usually add it all).
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve immediately OR return the insert to the Instant Pot, secure the lid, and select Keep Warm. The potatoes can stay on this setting for up to three hours.
  11. When ready to serve, give the potatoes a good stir and a drizzle of warm milk, if needed.

Notes

Potatoes: my favorite type(s) of potatoes to use for mashing are a combination of red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. But you can definitely vary the type of potato used in this recipe without altering cooking time. 

Instant Pot: I buy potatoes in bulk (I do live in Idaho after all), so I always weigh out the 4 pounds (or 8 pounds if using my 8-quart Instant Pot) for this recipe, but you should be able to fit in a commonly sold 5-pound bag of potatoes into the 6-quart Instant Pot, as long as the max fill line isn't exceeded after water is added. Just increase the milk/butter/sour cream/garlic powder a smudge to account for the extra pound.

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Recipe Source: adapted a little from a recipe/method a reader, Beth T., sent me (thanks, Beth!)