There’s a motto around our house: You can never have enough potatoes. The One and I love them boiled, roasted, smashed, punched, hashed, grated, and, especially, mashed.

We rarely have a dish without some sort of spuds accompanying it. So, understandably, it’s pretty hard for a potato recipe to stop us in our tracks. But this one did. Actually, it was so stunning I can’t recall what the main dish was! Chicken? Beef? Pork? It doesn’t matter.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: If It looks as if that pot above must be huge considering the recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes, it’s not. I ate about half before photographing them.

That should tell you all you need to know. So make these now!

david caricature

Why You’ll Love This Dish

Our recipe testers were delighted with this “fun spin on mashed potatoes” and praised the recipe for its “crystal-clear” directions. Irene Seales claims that Ina Garten’s mashed potatoes “elevates anything you think you love about mashed potatoes to a beautiful, perfect texture and silky flavor.” I can’t argue with that.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for lemon mashed potatoes--potatoes, butter, milk, and lemon.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes–These are the gold standard (no pun intended) of potatoes for a reason. I highly recommend using them to get the creamiest, smoothest mashed potatoes imaginable.
  • Unsalted butter—I prefer unsalted butter because salt content varies from brand to brand of salted butter. If all you have is salted butter, taste the potatoes before seasoning them in step 5 before salting.
  • Lemon–Since you’re zesting the lemon directly into the potatoes, I recommend using organic lemons. If they’re not available to you, give your lemons a good scrub before zesting.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes

A pot of cubed potatoes in water and a saucepan with milk.
  1. Peel and cube the potatoes. Add them to a pot of salted water, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook until very tender, then drain.
  2. Warm the milk over low heat until it simmers. Remove from the heat.
A saucepan of mashed potatoes with cubes of butter on top and a person adding milk to a saucepan of mashed potatoes.
  1. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or ricer into a large saucepan, or mash until smooth. Set the potatoes over low heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk until creamy.
A saucepan of mashed potatoes with lemon zest and black pepper on top.
  1. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon zest.

Common Questions

Can these potatoes be made in advance?

Only a few hours before serving. 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 to your preference. Whisk in the lemon zest just before serving.

How do I avoid Gummy, Gluey Potatoes?

Overworking your potatoes tends to cause them to become gummy. I recommend using a ricer for best results, but if you don’t have one available, use a hand masher or a mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment. Don’t use a food processor or blender, which will turn out over-processed, gluey mashed potatoes.

Helpful Tips

  • When you’re boiling potatoes, always start them in cold water so that they cook evenly.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets.

What to Serve with This Recipe

Everyone agrees that these mashed spuds were made to accompany roast chicken (especially with shallots and a spritz of lemon zest), but our testers and readers have also enjoyed them alongside roast pork, ribs, and spice-rubbed grilled pork chops.

A spoonful of mashed potatoes with lemon being held over a bowl of mashed potatoes.

More Superb Mashed Potato Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

These are amazing!! They’re incredibly creamy. 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.

Hilary M.
An enamel bowl filled with mashed potatoes, topped with black pepper and lemon zest.

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes with Lemon

4.78 / 22 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, peel and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch (4- to 5-cm) chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes and put it back in the fridge
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, from 2 lemons, preferably organic


  • Plonk the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover by one inch (25 mm), and add 2 tablespoons salt.
    A pot filled with cubed potatoes in water.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are very tender when pierced, 15 to 17 minutes.
  • Drain in a colander and reserve the saucepan.
  • Warm the milk In a small saucepan over low heat just until it simmers. Turn off the heat. Set aside.
    A pot with milk on a burner.
  • Using a potato ricer or food mill fitted with the finest blade set above the large saucepan, mash the potatoes into the pan.
  • Set the saucepan over low heat and vigorously whisk in the cold butter several cubes at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding more.
    A pot filled with mashed potatoes with cubes of butter on top and a whisk resting inside.
  • When all the butter is added, slowly whisk in enough of the hot milk to make the potatoes creamy but still thick. You might have some milk left over.
    A person adding milk to a saucepan of mashed potatoes.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk in the lemon zest, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.
    A pot of mashed potatoes topped with lemon zest and black pepper.


  1. Start them cold–When you’re boiling potatoes, always start them in cold water so that they cook evenly.
  2. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets.

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. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These lemon mashed potatoes are 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.

I was making fish tonight, so the combination of potatoes and lemon seemed perfect.

The directions were crystal-clear, resulting in soft, creamy, rich mashed potatoes with just enough lemon to complement the fish beautifully. I’d make this again, and my wife suggested serving this dish with chicken or ham. We served the mashed potato with lemon, fried whiting (coated Louisiana brand New Orleans style breading), peas, homemade roasted applesauce, and 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, satiny flavor. The lemon is delicate, and the steady addition of whisked-in butter and milk helps make these gleam like a silk ribbon. They’re surely worth the effort.

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.

The recipe serves 4 to 6, and only with great reluctance did we pass on seconds to have it again the next day. The first night, we had this with some lovely baby back ribs, and on day two, we had 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. 5 stars
    Aaaah, to plop or to plonk? That is the question!

    These mashed potatoes are buttery and delicious.