There’s an Argentinean restaurant in Paris that serves the most amazing steaks plus pureed potatoes you can order with truffles, chimichurri, or lemon. I particularly love the lemon ones because the acidity balances the richness of the steak and potatoes. This is truly updated comfort food.–Ina Garten


Lemon gets bitter as it sits so these potatoes are best served the day they’re made. Prepare them completely without the zest and set them aside at room temperature. Reheat in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, adding warm milk, as needed, until the texture is right. Whisk in the lemon zest just before serving.

A saucepan filled with Ina Garten's mashed potatoes with lemon and black pepper and a whole lemon and zester next to it.

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes with Lemon

4.75 / 20 votes
Cooking the potatoes in less water than usual and gradually mashing in bits of chilled butter are the details that make this recipe special.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories441 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes


  • 2 1/2 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, from 2 lemons, preferably organic


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2- to 2-inch (4- to 5-cm) chunks. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover by one inch (25 mm), and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a small paring knife, 15 to 17 minutes. Drain in a colander and reserve the saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, cut the butter in 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice and put it back in the refrigerator.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk just until it simmers. Turn off the heat.
  • Using a food mill, fitted with the finest blade, set above the large saucepan, process the potatoes into the saucepan. Alternatively, you can use a ricer or good-quality masher to process the potatoes.
  • Set the saucepan over low heat and vigorously whisk in the cold butter several bits at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding more butter. When all the butter is added, slowly whisk in enough of the hot milk to make the potatoes the desired consistency—creamy but still thick. You may have some milk leftover. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Whisk in the lemon zest, sprinkle with salt, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.

Adapted From

Modern Comfort Food

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 441 kcalCarbohydrates: 35 gProtein: 5 gFat: 32 gSaturated Fat: 20 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 85 mgSodium: 33 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 4 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Ina Garten. Photo © 2020 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Ina Garten’s mashed potatoes with lemon is a fun spin on mashed potatoes and a recipe that could work with several varieties of white and yellow potatoes. I think it might be worth adding a little extra salt given the lemony flavor but this was a well-received side dish for dinner. We served this with a classic roast chicken and garlicky broccoli rabe.

If you’d seen me at various Cookbook Clubs held at various libraries in greater Philadelphia, you might assume that all I knew how to cook was meat (not true, btw)! When I saw the rather daunting list of recipes to try, I decided to keep it simple. I was frying fish tonight, so the combination of potatoes and lemon seemed logical.

Technically, this wasn’t a challenge. The directions were crystal-clear and resulted in soft, creamy, rich mashed potatoes with just enough lemon to be a perfect complement to the fish. I’d make this again, and my wife suggested serving this dish with chicken or ham. We served the mashed potato with lemon with fried whiting (coating–Louisiana brand New Orleans style breading), peas, and homemade roasted applesauce, with sweet tea to drink.

Magnifico–Ina Garten’s mashed potatoes with lemon are so, so worthwhile! This dish elevates anything you think you love about mashed potatoes to a beautiful, perfect texture and silky flavor. The lemon is delicate, the steady addition of whisked-in butter and milk help make these gleam like a silk ribbon, and they’re surely worth the patient effort.

Tool tip: no potato ricer or food mill? Use a really good modern masher. Maybe my best kitchen upgrade was to fire the expensive but awkward ricer this past year and upgrade to a newly designed masher with a variety of precise slots and an easy-grip handle. I was able to get the potatoes to perfect smoothness, then to whisk in the butter, I switched to a small flat wire flat whisk. By the time all the butter was in, the potatoes had a rich consistency, and I found I needed less than the full amount of milk.

My potatoes were especially tender and reminded us of why we love Yukon Golds. While the amount of salt and pepper was about spot on, himself might have taken a bit more black pepper, which blends so well with butter. I love how lemon zest conveys the lemony flavor, even without the actual juice, and might even be more generous with zest.

I only considered for a nanosecond doing less than the whole recipe, because potatoes are always so welcome the next day. Since these are so lovely, in reheating I would suggest a gentle reheat if you want to retain the texture by using either a gentle stovetop method in a non-stick pan or double boiler. If you reheat in the oven, cover with foil. The recipe serves 4-6, and only with great reluctance do you pass on seconds, so as to have it again the next day. The first night we had this with some nice baby back ribs, and day two, with a flat iron steak. This would be equally delicious with some braised short ribs or a nice bit of seared halibut.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also 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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Recipe Rating


  1. I made the Ina Garten “Lemon Zest” mashed potatoes and they were WONDERFUL. I’m 82 years old and have been eating mashed potatoes for at least 80 years and had never heard of lemon zest in mashed potatoes. It just goes to show you that you’re never too old to learn something new! I served them with Salmon Croquettes and we really enjoyed this dinner. I’ll be using this recipe again, for sure !!

    1. You’ve made our day, Carolyn! We’re delighted you decided to take a chance on this recipe and that you loved it as much as we do. It sounds like a perfect match for salmon croquettes.

  2. 5 stars
    These are amazing!! These are incredibly creamy. I now use the method of whisking in cold butter into the potatoes from now on (I used a ricer and then whisked in the butter). The lemon is subtle, not at all overwhelming, and adds just a little something to the potatoes. I’ve served this with roast chicken and pork loin cooked in milk (which is particularly yummy). These are always a hit – the perfect cozy comfort food.

  3. 5 stars
    Divine. Used a classic potato masher. Worked fine. The whisking of the butter bits and then the milk created a lovely creamy product. The lemon zest? Everything tastes better with lemon! Served this with your spice-rubbed grilled pork chops. Great combination. Thank you.

    1. You’re welcome, Jude. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoyed it!