Foods | Cooking
Hints & Tips
Mashed potatoes are as simple to make, but still there is a real art in getting them perfect. Not too airy or too heavy, with just enough butter,
salt, pepper, and cream. Potatoes are basically water and starch. High starch potatoes like russet and Yukon Gold produce the best mashed potatoes. The final
result depends on the quality of the potatoes used. The below technique will produce the perfect mashed potatoes.
This easy-to-make mashed potato recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This recipe is classic, simple, and perfectly fits the
season. What could go better with Turkey than cranberry sauce and some mashed potatoes?
Find out about
Potato Hints, Tips, and Information,
Sweet Potato Tips or
History of Potatoes or more great
For a great holiday mashed potato recipe, check out
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes. Also check out my
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Menu.
Perfect Mashed Potato Recipe:
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Menu
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
1 1/3 pounds (approximately 4 medium) Russet or Yukon Gold
potatoes washed, peeled, and cut into uniform 2-inch chunks*
2 tablespoons warm butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot milk, half & half, or
* Do not cut the potatoes into smaller chunks as too much water will be absorbed by the potatoes.
After cutting the potatoes, immediately place in cold water to prevent discoloration of the potatoes.
** Buttermilk may be substituted.
In large saucepan, add cut-up potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil. Reduce heat
to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Potatoes are done when the
internal temperature registers approximately 200 degrees F. on your
is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers
asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the
Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the
right. To learn more about this excellent
thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined:
While potatoes are cooking, either in another saucepan or microwave, heat butter. Also heat hot milk or saucepan or microwave.
NOTE: Do not add cold butter or cold milk/cream when making mashed potatoes.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Return to saucepan; heat
over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally. NOTE: Boiled potatoes
left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. That is why it is important to let the
potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.
In the same saucepan that the potatoes have been heated in, mash potatoes with a
potato masher, potato ricer (do not use your electric mixer) until there are no lumps.
Stir in warm butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Add additional milk, a little at a time, if necessary, for desired consistency.
Note: Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over
mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those
granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.
I personally use a potato ricer when making mashed potatoes. Using a potato ricer, you can make velvety smooth mashed
potatoes right at home because potatoes come out fluffy without being gummy. Once you use the potato rice, you will never go back to the old traditional
potato masher. If you don't have one and would like to purchase a
potato ricer, just click on the green link.
Season to taste with additional salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
Potluck or traveling tip for prepared
mashed potatoes: Potluck dishes seem to cool off quickly.
To keep your prepared mashed potatoes warm, place them in an
attractive insulated ice bucket. The ice bucket will keep the mashed
potatoes warm until ready to serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Mashed Potato Variation Ideas:
Here are some mashed potato variations - start with my Perfect Mashed Potatoes (see above) then add additional ingredients, that you desire, below:
Bacon Mashed Potatoes - Cook 1/2 pound chopped bacon until crisp; remove from heat and drain (discarding the bacon grease).
Fold bacon bits into the mashed potatoes.
Blue Cheese-Walnut Mashed Potatoes - Brown 4 tablespoons
butter with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of sugar.
Crumble some blue cheese over the mashed potatoes and drizzle with the nut mixture.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Cook chopped cauliflower in a separate pot of salted water and puree in a food processor when done. Stir into the mashed potatoes.
Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes - Add 1/2 pound grated sharp
cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup minced green onions. Fold into the mashed potatoes.
Chipotle Mashed Potatoes - Fold in 1 tablespoon chopped
chipotles in adobo sauce. Garnish with chopped green onions and chopped fresh cilantro.
Vegan Mashed Potatoes -
Use soy or almond milk instead of cream and a soy-based margarine.
Caesar Mashed Potatoes: Omit butter and
oil; add ½ cup (125 ml) thick Caesar dressing and ¼ cup (50 ml) freshly
grated parmesan cheese before beating.
Comments and Question by readers:
What causes mashed potatoes to become
gooey and how can I prevent this from happening?
Help! I've been making mashed potatoes all my life and have never
had the problem I had today. I just made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes, using
a ricer, and for the first time ever I ended up with gluey mashed potatoes.
My ingredients were identical to what I always have used (potatoes, melted
butter, scalded milk, salt and pepper) but as soon as I added the butter to
the riced potatoes, the potatoes became gluey. I tried to save them by using
a blender and thinning with the milk but the problem intensified. Is there
any way to save the potatoes or do I have to start over? Please answer as
soon as possible. I have company coming tomorrow for dinner and time is of
Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. Peel them and cut
into equal-sized pieces. Boil and drain.
Dry over low heat for a few minutes. Mash with a potato masher,
potato ricer, or an electric beaters. Do this very quickly so the
potatoes will remain hot.
Note: Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over
mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor
can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those
granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of
starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.
NEVER use a blender or food processor to make mashed potatoes. There are
starch packets inside the potato cells and the blender blades rip right
through them, releasing the starch and this makes the potatoes into library
paste. The cells of the potato flesh contain a very fine starch. Mashing
gently leaves most of the cells intact. Processing in a blender or a Food
Processor acts like a cell homogenizer and releases all that starch into the
liquid. Adding any liquid early just makes the process more efficient.
Add one tablespoon butter (more or less if you like) for each two
potatoes, and salt to your taste. Beat until the butter is melted. Then
add milk or light cream that has been heated but not brought to a boil
(if you add cold liquid, the potatoes will be cold and gummy). Beat the
liquid into the potatoes to make a smooth, fluffy mixture. Add only
enough liquid to make the mixture smooth, about one tablespoon for each
potato. Do not over beat. they should be soft and moist, but firm enough
to hold their shape.
All this should be done as quickly as possible so the potatoes never
have a chance to get cold - that is the secret of delicious mashed