A copper pot filled with mashed potatoes with crème fraîche and a masher resting inside.

Purée (mashed potatoes) accompanies a French eater all of his or her life, from the very first moment solid food is introduced. Because, as the French know, there is nothing better than the potato when it’s mashed and softened like this! This recipe is so flavorful that you’ll make it all the time, serving it alongside some dishes, incorporating it into others.–Susan Herrmann Loomis

How do I keep my mashed potatoes from turning gluey?

Don’t use waxy potatoes and never puree the potatoes in a food processor with the knife blade. Mash potatoes by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

A copper pot filled with mashed potatoes with crème fraîche and a masher resting inside.

Mashed Potatoes With Crème Fraîche

5 / 2 votes
These mashed potatoes with crème fraîche are a French staple, and for good reason. They’re luxuriously rich and creamy with a subtle tang from the crème fraîche. Basically, comfort food perfected.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories337 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes


  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (4-cm) chunks
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
  • Freshly ground nutmeg


  • In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1 inch (25 mm) water. Add the bay leaf and a scant teaspoon of coarse salt.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil  and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Always save some of the potato cooking water, in case you need to loosen your mashed potatoes once the butter and cream are incorporated.

  • Return the potatoes to the saucepan and mash them with a potato masher or fork until they are crushed.
  • Add the butter and crème fraîche and mash these into the potatoes until they are smooth, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed. There may be a few chunks, which is fine unless you want a completely silken puree, in which case you want to keep mashing and then finish up with a large balloon whisk.
  • Season the puree with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Serve immediately. (If you have leftovers, they reheat perfectly if you do so very gently over low heat.)
plat-du-jour cookbook

Adapted From

Plat du Jour

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 337 kcalCarbohydrates: 41 gProtein: 5 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 11 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 52 mgSodium: 19 mgPotassium: 961 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 592 IUVitamin C: 13 mgCalcium: 43 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Susan Herrmann Loomis. Photo © 2021 Francis Hammond. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is an easy solid mashed potato recipe. The creme fraiche adds a nice tangy flavor that is different from a normal sour cream or heavy cream addition. I also liked the addition of the potato cooking water.

I did not do the whisk step. I mashed them by hand and it is nice that this recipe can be done with no special equipment BUT I think a lot of work could be taken out of this recipe by using a ricer. I love mine; it’s literally one of my most prized kitchen items.

Really? You need a recipe for mashed potatoes? Oh. Yes. You. Do. Don’t be skimping though…this recipe is so easy and so quick and so creamy delicious. Use the crème fraîche. Freshly grind the pepper. Freshly grind the nutmeg.

I used white pepper as it’s my favorite in mashed potatoes. I grow bay leaves in a pot in my kitchen, so I always have fresh bay leaves but I’m sure dried would also provide that “quasi forest” hint on your palate that matched so well with the lightly floral nutmeg and the slightly tangy taste of the crème fraîche. A potato ricer is my go-to tool for fluffy potatoes but the potato masher is much more user friendly on the hands. I used the potato masher and still had a light and fluffy mash. There were no leftovers but the smears inside the empty pot were still soft after dinner.

The greatest evidence of the success of this recipe was when I asked my family of four if they were ready for dessert and they responded “are you making more mashed potatoes?!”

If you’re looking to have a go-to mashed potato recipe in your back pocket that’s also easy to remember, you’ve found it! These potatoes were delicious and simple and akin to something you’d see in a nice steakhouse. I used half of the reserved cooking liquid after adding the butter and cream and I saved the other half to thin the potatoes when reheating them–highly recommend!

If you are looking for a very good version of an old standard, this is the recipe for you. This is a recipe that is well worth having in your list of recipes to be repeated again and again.

I could not find crème fraîche in my local grocery store so I substituted heavy cream. The light taste of bay leaf, combined with the butter and cream give these potatoes a wonderful creamy consistency and adding back some of the cooking water made the potatoes a little lighter. The nutmeg brought these mashed potatoes to a new level. I mashed as directed and ended with a balloon whisk as we like our potatoes smooth.

Silky, creamy, luscious, buttery, light, airy, and flavorful! Yes, these easy mashed potatoes are indeed perfect and deserving of all of these adjectives. They also took me back to my childhood, when my mom made mashed potatoes from scratch. One other bonus was that I was able to use the masher that used to belong to her. I felt like I was eight years old again, helping her in the kitchen.

Not only were these easy to make, but they were a success at reheating. Just a tad more butter and crème fraîche did the trick to keeping the dreamy consistency. I will definitely be making them again!

I cooked the potatoes for about 25 minutes. Because they were done about two hours before dinner, I reheated them adding a little more butter and crème fraîche. The masher worked so well that I didn’t need the balloon whisk as they were already fluffy enough.

I love the simplicity and elegance of this recipe. It’s not a “big batch” recipe, although it could be altered. It’s also a great base recipe to go with any type of main dish, or to be “dressed up” and a bit fancy for a special occasion.

I began with Idaho russets as suggested. I followed the timing, and found my cook time to be only about 10 minutes vs. 20. I recommend checking frequently for doneness. I’m assuming it varies based on the size of your cubed potatoes. I followed the process stated and it worked well.

My potatoes mixed up beautifully. I chose to use the heavy cream. For the seasonings, be careful not to overdo the nutmeg, as it can easily overpower the dish. I found that I preferred to add a bit more butter and cream to ‘smooth out’ the mixture, but all the ingredients can be adjusted to taste for ultimate flexibility.

I highly recommend this recipe! Make it once ‘as is’ to see how it fits to your preferences, and then adjust as needed. You can’t go wrong with this one, and you can even use it to create your own signature potato recipe.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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