Mashed potato is one of the easiest dishes to make. But before you start, you need to figure out how many potatoes you need. This will depend on how many people you’re cooking for and the portion size you are planning to serve.
The good news is that there’s a pretty simple formula for figuring out the right amount of potatoes.
Once you’ve figured out how many potatoes you need for mashed potatoes for one person, then you can quickly scale that recipe for 2, 10, or even 20 people.
How Many Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes?
On average, for a side dish, you will need half a pound of potatoes per person for mashed potatoes. That is about two small potatoes or one medium or half a large potato.
Naturally, these proportions can easily be scaled up—cooking for two people would require one pound while cooking for ten folks will translate into needing five pounds of potatoes.
That is because the United States Department of Agriculture determines that a serving of mashed potatoes is one (1) cup, which equals about half a pound. Since mashed potatoes barely change volume, size, or weight when cooked, half a pound of raw potatoes will more or less equal half a pound of mashed potatoes.
But don’t let any government agencies dictate to you the amount of mashed potatoes you should serve. Let me explain below.
Making Mashed Potatoes For a Family? Double it!
Using half a pound of potatoes to get a recommended portion size of one cup per person is quite precise, but the odds are that it is not quite enough for many people, and you certainly won’t have any leftovers.
That is excellent for a small fancy meal or for precise cooks that want as little waste as possible, but it may not work if you cook for a family of 4 or 5 hungry kids or if you want to save some for later.
If your family is anything like mine, always going for second servings, or if you want to keep some in the fridge to reheat the following day, you would better of serving a large pot of mash in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves.
If you are making mashed potatoes for a hungry family or for a large crowd at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I would recommend using one pound of potatoes per person. That would be sufficient enough to keep everyone well fed and even leave you with some leftovers.
Remember that mashed potatoes will last in the fridge for 3-4 days; just keep them well-covered or in an airtight container. If they are not well covered, they will start to dry out and develop a hard crust.
Also, keep in mind the more people you cook for, the more you need to account for extra servings. As such, if you are preparing mashed potatoes for more than ten people, estimate one pound of potato per person or make a batch accounting for 3-4 extra folks.
Even if you have leftovers, it’s best to err on the side of caution and account for more people than expected.
Read Also: Why Use Cream Cheese In Mashed Potatoes?
What Type of Potatoes Are Best For Mashed Potatoes?
Most potatoes can be used for mashing, but some are certainly better than others. For the best, creamiest mashed potatoes, you want to use a starchy potato like Yukon Gold. These potatoes will break down more efficiently and have a rich and creamy texture, creating a smooth, yellow, buttery-tasting mash.
Russet potatoes are also a long-time favorite for mashed potatoes, but they require a bit more care since their high starch content means they will absorb more water when cooked.
On average, a medium-sized Yukon Gold or Russet potato weighs anything between 5 to 10 ounces (140 g-280 g), which means that usually, one or two medium-sized potatoes will be enough for one serving of mashed potatoes.
Of course, potatoes vary in size, so you are better off going by weight rather than the number of potatoes.
Worst Potatoes For Mashing
Many people say not to use waxy varieties such as red or white potatoes because they tend to be more prone to gummy, dense, or gluey mash. However, if that is the only option you have, don’t worry; you can still make it work; you just need to take a bit more extra care when preparing them.
Read Also: 5 Creative Ways to Fix Salty Mashed Potatoes – (Do Not Add Sugar!)
According to an ‘official’ recommended mashed potato portion size of one cup per person, you will need about half a pound of potatoes per person. This translates to two small potatoes, one medium potato, or half a large potato per person.
Nevertheless, when cooking for a hungry crowd or aiming for some leftovers, I would recommend using one pound (2 medium-sized) potatoes for one person. This will ensure that everyone is well-fed and there are no arguments over who gets the last scoop of mash.