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Apr 10, 2008 03:23 PM

Perfect mashed potatoes

So I'm still trying to work this out... I generally drain the taters, leave them in the pot, add either milk or sour cream and butter, salt & pepper, and they're all lovely and velvety -- fast forward maybe 5 minutes, and I have something more closely resembling crumbly stuff.

Why is that? Do I need to use more butter? I'm neither frugal nor excessive with butter for mashers, as it remains an important ingredient....

Am I not putting them together right? Any hints are, as always, greatly appreciated. Even more so if they come within the next 10 minutes or so '-)

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  1. The hot potatoes are absorbing the liquid. You need to add more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lattelover

      Lattelover is right. You can reserve some cooking liquid if you don't want to use too much milk, butter or sour cream. Also, heating the liquid with butter and herbs is another good way to get flavor well integrated & distributed without too much fat or over-working the potatoes into glue.

      1. re: trentyzan

        The cooking liquid is the secret weapon.

    2. Probably needs more butter if you like them velvety, etc.

      Personally I don't - so I never add anything & just give them a good mashing.

      1. I always add melted butter before I add any dairy in order to really coat the potatoes in fat.

        1. I've found that how you mash them is really really important -- perhaps more so than what you add to them. Hand mixers turn the potatoes gummy. The standard masher will make them crumbly. I have a feeling you're using a standard masher. The best tools I've found were a food mill and a ricer. The potatoes becomes very smooth, and I find that I don't have to add as much butter or cream to make it silky. And, of course, using the right type of potato. I like the general yukon golds.

          I also wanted to add that cooking the boiling the potatoes in heavily salted water as opposed to plain water and salting them yourself makes a big difference too -- not so much as in texture but in taste.

          1. Hey -- thanks all for your suggestions. I unfortunately am already done eating... but it'll be nice for the future. I added the butter first, then some sour cream & horseradish, mashed some more (yes, standard potato masher, as I heard a ricer can make them gluey), added a tad more butter -- they once again were great for ... 5 minutes (thank Evolution we're fast eaters '-), then became kinda dry again. Bummer. Next time, new try!

            4 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              I'd definitely try the ricer next time - that's what I use, or if I can't find it, the food mill.

              1. re: MMRuth

                another vote for the ricer or mill...and i also prefer buttermilk to sour cream. makes them more tender & creamy.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Yes, definitely a ricer. I'm surprised that you heard that a ricer can make them gluey as that has never happened to me. Perhaps if you use a ricer with cold potatoes, but not if you use them while they're hot.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I've succumbed to the ricer for mashed potatoes, too, and it makes such a difference. I find I need less butter and milk to get soft mashed potatoes and I've never noticed the cold ones getting dry and crumbly. A little stiffer, but still smooth.