How many potatoes make 3 cups mashed?

Quick Answer

On average, 6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds) will yield 3 cups of mashed potatoes. However, the exact number can vary depending on the size and type of potato.

Calculating How Many Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

When making mashed potatoes, it’s important to know how many potatoes you need to end up with the desired amount. Here are some tips for calculating potato amounts:

  • Start by checking the recipe requirements – how many cups of mashed potatoes are needed?
  • Determine what type of potato you are using – russet, Yukon gold, red, etc. Different types yield different volumes.
  • Decide on the size of the potatoes – small, medium, large. Larger potatoes will give more mashed potato per spud.
  • Estimate the potato yield based on type and size. See the potato yield guide below.
  • Account for some waste and loss during peeling and mashing. Purchase a couple extra.
  • Adjust for personal preference on density – do you like fluffier or denser mash?

Having an estimate for how much you need will ensure you end up with the right potato amount for your recipe.

Potato Type Yield per Pound

The most common types of potatoes used for mashing have different yields when cooked, due to varying starch and water content. Here is a rough guide to the cooked, mashed volume each type will produce per pound:

Potato Type Mashed Yield per Pound
Russet 2.5 – 3 cups
Yukon Gold 2 – 2.5 cups
Red 2 – 2.5 cups

As you can see, russet potatoes tend to yield more cooked mash per pound compared to Yukon gold or red potatoes.

Potato Size Yield

In addition to the type of potato, the size also impacts how much mashed potato you get per spud. Larger potatoes will give more cooked mash compared to smaller ones of the same variety. Here is a rough guide:

Potato Size Mashed Yield per Potato
Small (1-3 oz) Around 1/4 cup
Medium (4-7 oz) Around 1/2 cup
Large (8-12 oz) Around 3/4 cup
Extra Large (12+ oz) Around 1 cup

Choosing larger potatoes will reduce the number you need to buy and prep for your 3 cups of mashed potatoes.

How Many Potatoes for 3 Cups Mashed?

Now that we know approximate yields for different potato varieties and sizes, we can estimate how many potatoes it will take to produce 3 cups of mashed potatoes.

For medium russet potatoes, at around 1/2 cup mashed per potato, it would take approximately 6 potatoes to end up with 3 cups mashed. This is equivalent to around 2 pounds.

For medium Yukon gold potatoes, at around 1/3 cup per potato, you would need around 9 potatoes or 2.5 pounds.

For a mix of small and medium red potatoes, you might need around 10-12 potatoes for 3 cups of mash.

These are just estimates – to be precise you’d have to weigh and measure out the actual cooked mash from your specific batch of potatoes. Expect some variation.

Tips for Mashing Amounts

Here are some additional tips for successfully mashing the right potato amount:

  • Start with extra – purchase a couple more potatoes than your estimate to allow for waste during peeling and cutting.
  • Weigh your potatoes rather than relying on potato counts for a more accurate amount.
  • Under-estimate density at first – you can always add more milk or cream for fluffier mash.
  • Save any extra cooked mash in the fridge for a day or two.
  • Consider doubling a mashed potato recipe and freezing half for later use.

Mashed Potato Ingredients

In addition to potatoes, some other common ingredients used to make mashed potatoes include:

  • Milk or Cream – For flavor and moisture. Use dairy or non-dairy milk. About 1/4 to 1/2 cup per pound of potatoes.
  • Butter – For rich flavor. A couple tablespoons to 1/4 cup or more.
  • Salt – For seasoning. Add to taste, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon or more.
  • Black Pepper – For spice. Freshly ground adds flavor.
  • Garlic – Minced or roasted garlic provides a savory boost. Optional.
  • Cheese – Grated parmesan or cheddar cheese can be mixed in. Optional.
  • Sour Cream – A couple spoonfuls provides tang. Optional.

Combine the potatoes with the desired ingredients using a potato masher, ricer or electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Avoid over-mixing which can lead to gluey mash.

Mashed Potato Cooking Method

The basic method for making perfect mashed potatoes is:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut into 1-2 inch chunks.
  2. Place potato chunks in a pot and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pot for 1 minute to evaporate excess moisture.
  5. Mash the potatoes while still hot using a tool like a ricer, masher or mixer.
  6. Stir in dairy, butter and any other ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The key tips are to cook the potatoes thoroughly until fork tender all the way through, then mash them right away while still hot to get the best texture.


Here are some guidelines for storing mashed potatoes:

  • Allow mashed potatoes to cool slightly before transferring to an airtight container.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheat gently on the stovetop with a little milk or broth, stirring frequently.
  • Can be frozen for longer term storage. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Freeze mash in single serving portions for easy weeknight sides.

Properly stored in the fridge or freezer, mashed potatoes will retain their texture and flavor for later use.

Serving Suggestions

Mashed potatoes pair well with many meals:

  • Serve alongside roasted chicken, meatloaf, sausages or chops
  • Use as a bed for pot pies or stew to soak up the delicious sauce
  • Pile into a casserole dish and top with cheese for easy potato gratin
  • Make potato pancakes by mixing in egg and breadcrumbs and pan frying
  • Stuff into peppers, tomatoes or squash for a tasty side
  • Top with corned beef and cabbage for a St. Patrick’s Day classic

Let your imagination run wild and come up with your own favorite way to serve this versatile side!


There are endless ways to adapt mashed potatoes with different ingredients:

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Add roasted garlic for extra flavor
  • Cheesy Potatoes – Mix in shredded cheese like cheddar, gouda or parmesan
  • Ranch Potatoes – Stir in ranch seasoning and herbs
  • Sour Cream and Chive Potatoes – Classically delicious combo
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes – Top with bacon, cheese, green onions and sour cream
  • Sweet Potato Mash – Sweeter and more colorful
  • Cauliflower Mash – Lower carb alternative, add cauliflower

Don’t be afraid to get creative and add new flavors to this comforting classic side dish!


Here are some common mashed potato issues and how to avoid them:

Issue Solution
Too gluey or gummy Avoid over-mixing which releases too much starch. Use a light hand.
Too thin or runny Cook potatoes thoroughly. Reduce amount of milk/cream. Add more potatoes.
Lumpy texture Pass through a ricer or strainer for smooth, lump-free potatoes.
Bland flavor Season well with salt, pepper and herbs. Add more butter or cheese.
Dry or crumbly Add more milk/cream or broth until creamy. Ensure potatoes are hot when mashed.

With a bit of tweaking, you can achieve picture-perfect mashed potatoes every time.


When making 3 cups of mashed potatoes, on average you will need:

  • 6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 9 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 2.5 pounds)
  • 10-12 small/medium red potatoes (about 2.5 pounds)

The exact amount can vary based on the potato type, size, and your own personal preferences. For best results, weigh or measure the potatoes rather than relying on potato counts. Perfectly smooth and creamy mashed potatoes can be achieved by choosing quality potatoes, cooking them thoroughly, using the right mixing technique, and incorporating flavorful ingredients like butter, cream and cheese. This versatile and comforting side dish can be varied endlessly and pairs well with all types of meals.

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