Red skin mashed potatoes are a wonderful side dish to go with a weekend roast or to serve with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. These easy mashed potatoes have a tangy twist that set them apart, thanks to extra amounts of sour cream!
Note: this post was originally published in 2021 and updated in 2022 with improved instructions.
Mashed potatoes are a must-have at any holiday meal or indulgent weekend dinner (like maybe as a side for my favorite Dutch oven pork tenderloin?). But, as delicious as they are, regular mashed potatoes can be a little uninteresting. So, if you're looking to step up your mashed potato game, this recipe for red skin mashed potatoes is just what you need!
Red skin potatoes are mashed with their skin on, adding more texture and a beautiful color to the final dish. This also saves a ton of time - no peeling needed at all!
Most of the moisture in this mashed potato recipe comes from a generous helping of sour cream, rather than milk. So, these red skin mashed potatoes with sour cream have a delightfully tangy and savory quality, that will have you coming back for a second helping!
Also, I want to give a shout-out to this article on mashed potatoes by Bon Appetit, I used it as a resource when developing this red skin mashed potato recipe. It was super helpful and interesting, I recommend giving it a read if you love mashed potatoes as much as I do!
- Herbs: I used a combination of mostly chives, with a bit of fresh thyme thrown in. Besides chives and thyme, parsley and dill would also be good options. The herbs add lovely fresh flavor, but you could also leave them out if you want.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter, but you can use salted butter if you like. If you are using salted butter, add less salt to the potatoes at first, taste, and add more if needed.
- Milk: I used 2% milk because that's what I had in my fridge, but you can easily use whole milk or even skim milk, since there is only a small amount in the recipe and most of the richness is coming from the butter and sour cream.
Step by step photos
Here's a breakdown on how to make red skin mashed potatoes with sour cream. For the full instructions, see the recipe card down below!
1. After scrubbing the potatoes clean, cut them into about 1 ½ inch chunks.
2. Add the potato chunks to a large pot and cover them with water. Place the pot on the stove over high heat. When the water starts to boil, add a generous pinch of salt.
3. While the potatoes are cooking, chop the herbs. If you're using thyme, you can just strip the small leaves off of the woody stem using your fingers.
4. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Heat the drained potatoes over low heat for 1 - 2 minutes, just to cook off the excess water.
5. Now mash the potatoes with a potato masher. You can keep them a bit chunky if you like, or mash them more thoroughly for a smoother texture.
6. Cut the butter into chunks and add them to the pot; mix the butter in until it has completely melted into the warm potatoes.
7. Next, stir in the sour cream.
8. Add in the milk, a little at a time, until the potatoes are the correct texture for your liking.
9. Finally, stir in the kosher salt, black pepper, and herbs. Taste some of the potatoes and add in a bit more salt and/or pepper if needed.
Tips and tricks
- Be sure to thoroughly scrub the potatoes. Since you are not peeling them, it's super important to make sure every bit of dirt is gone before cooking!
- I used Diamond Crystal kosher salt for this recipe, which is quite light and flaky. If you want to substitute regular table salt, start with only ¾ teaspoon, and add more as needed.
- Also, don't forget to salt the cooking water generously (a couple big pinches should do!). This helps the seasoning really penetrate into the potatoes themselves.
- These mashed potatoes have a generous helping of sour cream, which gives them a tangy note, adding a lot of interest to the usually mild flavor of potatoes. But, if you don't really like that tangy flavor, you can cut back the sour cream a little and add more milk instead. If you're unsure, you can always add a little at a time and taste as you go!
- This recipe makes enough for 8 small servings. But, to feed a crowd (or for families that really love potatoes!), you can easily double the recipe.
Storage and reheating
Fridge and freezer storage instructions
- While I think these potatoes taste the best when freshly made, they will last in the fridge for 3 - 4 days, kept tightly covered.
- You can also freeze them for up to 6 months, stored in an airtight food storage container (or gallon zip top bag). Please be aware that the texture of the potatoes will change when frozen; they will be less creamy and thinner in texture. Read on for the best way to reheat mashed potatoes that have been frozen!
Reheating instructions from fridge
- To easily reheat mashed potatoes from the fridge, you can microwave them on 50% power for 2 minutes at a time, stirring in between, until they are hot.
- Or, you can heat them over low heat in a small saucepan, stirring frequently.
- When using either the microwave or stovetop, it's always a good idea to mix in an additional splash of milk or dollop of sour cream (or both), since mashed potatoes can get a little dry when stored in the fridge.
Reheating instructions from freezer
- To reheat frozen mashed potatoes, first thaw them in the fridge overnight.
- You will find that the texture of the potatoes is looser after freezing, because sour cream becomes more watery when frozen and thawed (although the taste is still good!).
- To help restore the original texture, heat the previously frozen mashed potatoes on low heat in a small saucepan, stirring frequently. Continue to stir and cook until some of the moisture has cooked off; this will help thicken the potatoes. Stir in a spoonful of fresh sour cream to give even more creaminess!
- If you want to keep the mashed potatoes warm for a party or potluck, you can keep them in a crock pot or slow cooker set to warm!
- To make these red skin mashed potatoes with sour cream even more indulgent, try mixing in bacon crumbles and/or shredded cheddar cheese!
- These potatoes would taste great alongside my main course recipes for Dutch oven pork tenderloin with apples and onions, panko baked chicken, and garlic herb baked turkey meatballs.
No, and that's one of the upsides of red skin mashed potatoes - a lot less prep work! However, if you are not a fan of the texture of the skins, you could peel a portion of the potatoes so there is less skins overall in the final dish.
As I mentioned in the Storage and reheating section above, mashed potatoes will taste the best when freshly made, although leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. If prepping for a party, you could make them an hour or two in advance, and keep them warm in a crock pot or slow cooker.
Gummy (or gluey) mashed potatoes are caused by overmixing the potatoes, usually with electrical equipment such as a food processor or mixer. For really fluffy, smooth potatoes that aren't gluey, you could opt for a ricer or food mill. However, since this red skin mashed potato recipe is all about those potato skins, a chunky texture is what we are going for. So, a hand masher is the best bet!
Yes, you can use either regular-sized red potatoes, or baby red potatoes. If using baby red potatoes (about 1 inch in diameter), you don't need to cut them before adding them to the pot.
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Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
These red skin mashed potatoes are rich and indulgent thanks to lots of butter and sour cream, which gives them a slightly tangy twist that will keep you coming back for more!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 ½ pounds (1.13 kg) red skin potatoes
- 1 cup (229 g) sour cream
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter (to substitute salted butter, see note 2)
- ¼ cup (59 ml) milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste, plus more to salt water (see note 3)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup (9 g) fresh chopped herbs, plus more for garnish (suggestions: chives, parsley, thyme, dill)
- Scrub the potatoes thoroughly to remove any traces of dirt from the skin. Cut the potatoes into roughly 1 ½ inch chunks and add them to a large pot.
- Place the pot on the stove and cover the potatoes with water, making sure the top of the potatoes are submerged in at least 1 inch of water. Heat the pot over high heat; when the water begins to boil, add a couple generous pinches of salt. Turn the heat down if necessary to maintain a gentle boil. Continue the gentle boil until the potato pieces can be easily pierced with a fork. This process should take approximately 25 minutes from start to finish.
- While the potatoes are cooking, chop the herbs and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are done cooking, turn off the stove, drain the potatoes and return them back to the pot. Heat the potatoes over low heat for 1 - 2 minutes, just long enough for the excess liquid at the bottom of the pot to evaporate.
- Turn the heat off and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
- Cut the butter into chunks and add them to the potatoes. Stir the butter chunks into the mashed potatoes until they have melted fully into the potatoes.
- Stir in the sour cream and about half of the milk (2 tablespoons). If needed, continue adding splashes of milk until the desired texture is achieved.
- Stir in the kosher salt, black pepper, and herbs. Taste the potatoes and add more salt and/or pepper if desired. Serve immediately, garnished with additional herbs (optional).
This mashed potato recipe has a tangy, savory flavor thanks to the generous amount of sour cream. (In my opinion, this is what makes this recipe so irresistible!) But, if you prefer a subtler flavor, you can reduce the amount of sour cream from 1 cup to ¾ cup, increasing the amount of milk as needed to achieve the desired texture.
If you want to substitute salted butter, add about half the salt called for in the recipe, taste the potatoes, and then add more if needed to avoid over-salting the mashed potatoes.
This recipe was developed with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. To substitute regular table salt, start with ¾ teaspoon and add more as needed (but still salt the cooking water as well!)
Feel free to use your favorite type of herbs to flavor the mashed potatoes, but, I would recommend sticking to soft leafy herbs such as parsley, dill, and chives. You can also add in a small amount of woodier herbs like thyme and rosemary, but not the full ¼ cup because the flavor can become overwhelming. For example, I used a combination of chives and thyme in a ratio of about 3 parts chive to 1 part thyme.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ⅛ recipe
- Calories: 270
- Sugar: 1.8 g
- Sodium: 350 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 11.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.1 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 4.2 g
- Cholesterol: 44 mg
Keywords: red skin mashed potatoes, red skin mashed potatoes with sour cream