Besides being an entertaining children’s toy (Potato Head FTW), potatoes are the most popular vegetable on earth and form an integral part of our diet in all their delicious guises. But how many are you supposed to eat with a meal?

Originally hailing from Peru (Perutato?), the humble potato made its way around the world before quickly gaining popularity in the United States — so much so that the average citizen now manages to munch their way through almost 50 pounds of taters every year.

So, we’ve established the spuds’ divine status as a culinary deity — but how many pounds of spuds do you need to prepare for each person? Let’s find out.

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It depends on who you ask. According to the Guinness World Records, the current holder of the world’s heaviest potato title weighs 10 pounds (lbs.) and 14 ounces (oz). That’s a lot of mash (a mash-ive amount, some might say).

If you’re after a more modest tater, then, according to FoodData Central:

  • 1 large raw potato weighs 369 grams (0.81 lbs.)
  • 1 medium potato weighs 213 grams (0.47 lbs.)
  • 1 small potato weighs 92 grams (0.20 lbs.)

The best potatoes to use for mash are Yukon Gold potatoes or Russet potatoes — or if you’re feeling fancy, a combo of both (oo-er).

Boiling spuds doesn’t change their weight significantly. So, if you’re aiming for a cup of mash (weighing half a pound) per person, you can begin with the same weight in raw spuds. That means a medium-sized potato will give you approximately 1 cup of mash.

The ultimate potato weight table for feeding a crowd

What if you’re serving a veritable gang of people? Well, lucky for you, we truly know our potatoes.

Number of peopleTotal potato weightNumber of medium-size potatoes needed
10.5 lb.1
42 lbs.4
63 lbs.6
105 lbs.10

Although the serving size for mashed potatoes is 1 cup, if you’re making mash as a side dish, you can halve this amount. Or not! It depends on how hungry you’re feeling.

You can also batch cook mashed potatoes and have leftovers for the next day. It’s always better to make extra than to not have enough.

Nope.

Well, technically you can, as there probably won’t be anyone to stop you, except for the potato police (and you know they make outstanding detectives because they always keep their eyes peeled).

But (and this is a biggie) you’d be doing yourself and your spuds a disservice. Potatoes lose their gorgeous flavor and creamy texture when you freeze and thaw them.

Your mashed potatoes will become grainy and watery instead of the fluffy, delightful texture they should be. They’ll collect ice, especially if you haven’t sealed them properly, and it’s all downhill from there — until you defrost them, and they’re a weird, flavorless mush.

Although you save some time (not much, though) by making your mashed potatoes ahead of time, it’s just not worth it.

If you put in a little bit of effort, you can easily create exquisite mashed potatoes that people can’t get enough of. Try this recipe and see what you think.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (or approximately 8 medium-sized potatoes)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Clean your potatoes. Peel them or leave the skin on, whatever you like best. If you’re aiming for creamy, fluffy mash, you’re better off peeling them.
  2. Cut the spuds into 1-inch pieces and place them in a pot with cold water. Make sure all the potatoes are covered.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring the pot to a boil on high heat. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, use your stand mixer or hand masher to mix the milk, heavy cream, and butter. Transfer into a small saucepan and warm up on low heat to melt the butter. Be careful not to burn the milk. Add the minced garlic and the remaining salt to taste and take off the heat.
  5. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the pot or a mixing bowl if you’re using a stand mixer. Using a hand masher or stand mixer, mash the potatoes until you have a creamy, smooth consistency.
  6. Slowly mix the milk and butter mixture into the mash until you get your desired consistency. Be careful not to add too much, or your mash will be runny.
  7. Serve warm and add any toppings that you fancy, like fresh chives, cheddar cheese, or bacon bits.

Mashing a potato doesn’t reduce its weight at all. The number of potatoes you need per person may vary depending on your appetite.

The USDA reckons that a cup (or 1/2 pound) of potatoes will do. If you want more, have more. (Keep an eye on those potato-induced blood sugar spikes though, and try to avoid going overboard on the mash servings.)

Mashed potatoes are, or should be, a staple side dish in everyone’s home. Not only do they provide you with a serving of healthy carbs, but they also taste delicious.

They’re usually a hit with fussy kids and picky eaters, and they’re hella versatile — you can prepare them to be mega-healthy or super-indulgent. It’s best to make your mash fresh, as this will give you the best flavor and texture. Many foods freeze well, but potatoes aren’t one of them.