Mashed Potatoes For Two is the perfect serving size for small dinners, whether you’re making a casual dinner of meatloaf or a mini feast like Thanksgiving. Plus learn how to make the best mashed potatoes without being gummy.

Mashed potatoes in a bowl with a spoon

One question I often get with small batch cooking – how do you make mashed potatoes for two?

It’s like spaghetti. Either you make too much or not enough.

Luckily for you, I figured out the correct proportion of ingredients, including how many pounds of potato per person.

These Garlic Mashed Potatoes For Two is your everyday mashed potatoes recipe made with Russet potatoes, milk, and butter then served with gravy without drippings.

They’re the perfect side for your pork chops with mushroom gravy, turkey tenderloin, or meatloaf.

You can also smother your homemade mashed potatoes with sausage gravy recipe for 2 for a more hearty side or mushroom gravy for a vegetarian option.

It’s hard to portray in the photos how many servings this mashed potatoes for two recipe makes (I mean, one large bowl does look like one serving), but it makes about 4 servings.

That’s about two helpings per person (because who only eats one helping?)

However, if you’re cooking Thanksgiving Dinner For Two or Christmas Dinner For Two, you can stretch out the servings (plus you need to save room for small pumpkin pie and small pecan pie).

This mashed potatoes recipe for two is from 2008. That means I’ve been making this recipe for a really long time now. Talk about tried and true!

Ingredients for Mashed Potatoes For Two

Ingredients For Mashed Potatoes For Two

To make homemade garlic mashed potatoes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Russet potatoes: Russets are the best potato for mashing because they are high in starch, which results in a light and fluffy texture that easily soaks up butter and milk.
  • Garlic cloves: The secret to the best garlic mashed potatoes? Boiling a few garlic cloves along with the potato. They then get mashed up, leaving you with garlic in every bite.
  • Butter: Adds flavor
  • Milk: Adds creaminess
  • Parsley: Optional but adds some nice freshness
  • Salt: Preferably kosher and ensures your potatoes aren’t bland.

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, I also have recipes for Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli and Cheese Mashed Potatoes.

How many potatoes for mashed potatoes?

You’ll need 1 pound Russet potatoes for small batch mashed potatoes, which is roughly 2 large Russet potatoes.

That’s about 1/2 pound potato per person. If you want to make single serving mashed potatoes, just cut my recipe in half.

Because potatoes vary greatly in size, I highly recommend weighing them with a digital scale. You’d be surprised at what 1 pound potatoes looks like.

Overhead shot of mashed potatoes in bowl with spoon

How To Make Mashed Potatoes For Two

Ready to make the best garlic mashed potatoes?

  1. Add your potatoes to your pot before bringing to a boil.

    The reason you add potatoes to your pot then fill with cold water and bring to a boil rather than adding potatoes to boiling water is to evenly cook the potatoes.

    If you add potatoes to boiling water, the outside will overcook while the inside won’t cook enough. You want both the water and the potatoes to come to temperature at the same time.

    Don’t forget to salt your water! The potatoes will absorb the salt as they cook, resulting in not bland potatoes. I usually add about a handful of kosher salt.
  2. Once boiling, turn your heat down to a simmer. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until fork tender.

    Rolling boiling water will move the potatoes around too fast, resulting in disintegrated potatoes. Simmering means the water won’t move as fast but still be hot enough to cook them through.
  3. Drain and let your potatoes dry for about 5 minutes. If you transfer them straight to the bowl without drying, you’ll end up with watery mashed potatoes.
  4. Mash by hand or your lowest setting on your mixer. For the fluffiest mashed potatoes, mash using a potato ricer or a hand masher.

    However, I’m lazy and will often use my stand mixer on the lowest setting. If you go this route, you need to be gentle and not overmash.

    Overmashing will result in a gluey and gummy texture.

    I turn the mixer on in spurts. Let it mash for 30 seconds, turn off, add the ingredients, turn back on for 30 seconds, turn off, check, repeat as necessary.

    You should still get creamy garlic mashed potatoes, but sometimes I’ll leave it on the slightly chunky side in order to not accidentally overmash.

How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes

If you accidentally added too much milk, don’t fret! To thicken mashed potatoes, put them in a dry pot and cook over low heat until they start to dry out, stirring often so they don’t burn.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes in a bowl

How To Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm

Don’t you hate it when your timing is off and by the time you finish cooking dinner, your mashed potatoes are too cold to serve?

Luckily there are several ways to keep them warm until ready to serve:

  1. If you only need to keep them warm for 15-20 minutes, usually a dish towel covering the bowl keeps in enough heat.
  2. If you need to keep them warm longer, say an hour or so, set the (heatproof) bowl of mashed potatoes over a pot of simmering water (like a makeshift double boiler), cover it with a dish towel, and stir every 15 minutes or so.

Homemade Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes FAQ

Can I use any potato for mashed potatoes?

Although you can use any potato type, Russet or Yukon Gold are ideal due to their high starch content.

Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time?

Yes, make your potatoes ahead of time then refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat on low heat, stirring often, adding a little bit of milk to make them creamy again.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double or triple the ingredients to make 4-6 servings.

Recipes To Serve With Mashed Potatoes

Now that you made mashed potatoes for 2, here are some recipes to serve with it:

Looking for more potato recipes? Check out my au gratin potatoes for two and stove top scalloped potatoes.

Mashed potatoes in a bowl with a spoon

Mashed Potatoes For Two

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Mashed Potatoes For Two is the perfect serving size for
small dinners, whether you're making a casual dinner of meatloaf or a mini feast like Thanksgiving. Plus learn how to make the best mashed potatoes without being gummy.


  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (roughly 2 large potatoes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 8 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste (preferably kosher)


  1. Add the potatoes, garlic, and a handful of salt to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain. Let cool for 5 minutes
  3. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a large mixing bowl. Mash by hand with a ricer or masher or beat on the lowest speed possible with a mixer.
  4. Add the butter, milk, parsley, and salt. Mash/beat until melted and smooth. Taste and adjust for salt.

    Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.


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Originally published November 2, 2008