Black Pepper Mashed Potatoes

These black pepper mashed potatoes are not your ordinary spuds. They’re made with plenty of butter, milk, and black pepper, of course. But the secret ingredient? A pinch of sugar to bring out the other flavors.

A baking dish filled with mashed potatoes that are sprinkled with black pepper

For these black pepper mashed potatoes, put away your potato ricer or stand mixer. The beauty of these made-from-scratch spuds, besides the sugar that offsets the earthiness of the spuds, is their hunky chunky texture. This is the time to haul out your handheld potato masher that’s been languishing somewhere in your basement.

As for that pinch of sugar, we know it’s not politically correct to add sugar where it’s not needed, but trust us–your family is gonna love these. That’s the sort of genius that happens when you let a pastry chef make mashed potatoes. Originally published December 17, 2015,Renee Schettler Rossi

What Kind Of Potato Makes The Best Mashed Potatoes?

This black pepper mashed potatoes recipe originally called for creamy red skin potatoes, which are perfectly lovely. But because not everyone has red potatoes on hand when hit by a craving for mashed potatoes from scratch, some of our recipes testers swapped in russets while others subbed white new potatoes. And yet no one was disappointed by their results. Quite the contrary, actually. Which means you can rest assured that you really can’t go wrong with this recipe, no matter what sort of potato you use.

Black Pepper Mashed Potatoes

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Special Equipment: Handheld potato masher



Fill a large pot about 2/3 full with cold water, add the potatoes, and slide the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Carefully drain the potatoes, being wary of the steaming hot water, and transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Working quickly, add the butter, milk, sugar, salt, and pepper and mash with a handheld potato masher. Serve hot. (If, by any chance, you have leftovers, cover and refrigerate them for up to a couple days and then follow the instructions for the Leftover Mashed Potatoes Casserole that follow. Trust us on this.)

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    How To Make Leftover Mashed Potatoes Casserole

    • Leftover black pepper mashed potatoes make a bang-up casserole when they’re mixed with some sour cream, spooned into a buttered baking dish, and baked alone or with leftover cooked veggies or sliced meat tossed on top at 350°F (177°C) for 45 minutes.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This is my absolute favorite mashed potatoes recipe. I have already made this twice and love both the taste and the ease of putting it together. I think, indeed, the sugar does bring it all together. I used 2 pounds of russets freshly harvested from our garden. It took about 20 minutes for the potatoes to be fork-tender. I drained the potatoes and returned them to the stove for a couple of minutes to dry them. I followed the directions and had the most amazing mashed potatoes. I mashed the potatoes by hand, so it was a little lumpy, but that's how we like them.

    Crowd pleaser! I made these tonight with small red potatoes from the farmers' market, and they were delicious. In fact, my pickiest eater said "these potatoes are amazing!" I was concerned about boiling the potatoes without any salt in the water but followed the recipe as written, adding the salt after cooking, and they tasted perfectly well-seasoned. My family prefers their potatoes well-cooked, so I boiled them for 20 minutes, although they were fork-tender at 15. I may cut down the amount of sugar a little next time, as my kids thought they were perfect, but I detected a tad too much sweetness.


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    1. So seeing the photo up top made me do a couple of things: 1) bang out OMG I NEED THIS NOW on David’s FB post about the recipe; and 2) clatter into the kitchen (thankfully a short hop from the computer), praying that I would have some potatoes on hand. 25 minutes later, I was sitting down with the pot that I had boiled and mashed the spuds in on my lap (atop a judiciously-placed cushion), digging in. For me, there is no problem in the world that mashed potatoes can’t make better. And this recipe, as simple as it is, punches all the right buttons. My method for mash is this: mash the spuds straight after draining until barely lumpy, salt lightly, then beat in all other seasonings with a wooden spoon. I find that it makes it fluffier (provided you’re using a fairly floury potato to start with). The butter we get here has a much higher fat content, and is slightly cultured, so there’s a nice, full, bass-note twang. Sugar was the light brown stuff, ‘cos I like the caramel edge in the middle section, and the pepper – 1 teaspoon of freshly ground fruity Tellicherry made it sing. This is a mash that should almost have a side dish, not be a side dish!

      1. Ling Teo, and this is why we love you so! I would “like” this comment an infinite number of times if I could. Especially the part where you said “twang.” Many, many thanks for taking the time to drop us this note.

        1. Haha! You’re most welcome, Renee! (twang). I’ll be looking for any excuse to make these again and again. Happy holidays to you all at LC!

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