Sour cream mashed potatoes, the ultimate comfort food

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, The Ultimate Comfort Food
Maria Do/TNS

Traditional mashed potatoes get an extra dose of luxe flavor from sour cream.

Mashed potatoes are one of my top comfort foods, and I love an ultra-smooth, creamy version laden with butter and cream or milk. They’re also a blank canvas when I feel like changing it up a bit, and one of the easiest additions is some sour cream. The thick, tangy dairy is a natural in mashed potatoes, adding a subtle tangy flavor. Sour cream mashed potatoes are as easy to make as regular mashed potatoes, and you can channel some sour cream-and-onion vibes with a sprinkle of chives or scallions at the end.

Sour cream adds a little bit of tangy flavor and a boost of richness to mashed potatoes. It’s a fun change from the standard milk or cream and butter combo usually flavoring mashed taters. You can even try your hand at making homemade sour cream from heavy cream! However, you should not use sour cream in place of milk in mashed potatoes. Sour cream is too thick and too tangy to be used on its own, and the potatoes will have a thicker texture and too-tangy flavor if sour cream is substituted for milk.

While you can boil the potatoes whole and then peel them afterward for mashed potatoes, I find peeling them beforehand easier. That way, once the potatoes are cooked, you can just push them through a ricer or food mill, or mash directly in the pot without worrying about the peels.

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6 to 8, Makes 7 to 8 cups

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (5 to 6 large)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/3 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives or scallion greens (optional)

1. Peel and cut 3 pounds russet potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan or pot and add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are knife tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Add 1 1/3 cups whole or 2% milk, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and the remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt to the now-empty pot. Place over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.

3. Pass the potatoes through a ricer into the pot, or return the potatoes to the pot and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Gently stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup sour cream and gently stir until combined. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives or scallion greens if desired.

Recipe notes

  • The potatoes can be peeled and placed in the pot with the water and kosher salt and kept at room temperature for up to four hours before cooking.
  • Leftover mashed potatoes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.

(Christine Gallary is food editor-at-large for, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to