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Nov 14, 2008 05:18 PM

Secret to making great mashed potatoes?

Better to bake them and use a ricer? or a food mill? Better to boil? Mine have never been quite right. Please advise.

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  1. I peel them, cut them into one inch think rounds, boil them until easily pierced with a fork, drain them. I then return them to the now empty pot they boiled in and heat for one minute to dry them out a bit. I smash them with a ricer and mix in scalded cream, nutmeg, salt and melted butter with a spoon. Don't over-mix.

    Things that ruin mashed potatoes: Not cooking the potatoes enough = lumps. Overcooking the potatoes = watery and poor tasting. Mixing too much = glue. Adding cold milk/cream/butter: room temperature potatoes. Using the peels in mashed potatoes = ew, you've ruined the lovely texture of the mashed potatoes and it looks ugly as all get out and people say they do it because they want to "keep the most nutritious part of the potato", but they just couldn't find a ten-year-old to peel the potatoes for them.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MollyGee

      I agree with everything except the peels part. Sometimes I peel the potatoes, sometimes I don't, depending on what I am serving them with and what flavours I am looking for. I like mashed potatoes with peels in them. They taste very good, add to the texture and look.

      1. re: Sooeygun

        I also like the peels in my everyday mashed potatoes. However, I usually peel them at Thanksgiving because I've got some Seniors to feed and they seem to like it without. It's a compromise I'll make once a year.

        I mash my potatoes by hand because I like a rougher texture. I don't care for "whipped" potatoes.

        Butter, hot cream, white pepper and more butter are all I add.

        1. re: bkhuna

          This is exactly how I like mine.

      2. re: MollyGee

        I follow all of these steps, with great success, but I'll add one more: I give my prepped potatoes a soak in salt water and rinse until the water is clear to remove as much starch as possible, which gives them even less opportunity to be gummy. I learned the trick of heating them after cooking from Julia Child, and it is a terrific tip. I used to mircowave the milk or cream before addind. Now when I'm doing weeknight mashed potatoes I just add the milk to the bottom of the pan after I have finished drying them on the eye and leave them for a minute longer (along with butter), and then add a little more as needed as I am mashing them.

      3. I wouldn't bake them, since I find the taste of the potato is a bit different than when they're boiled. I've used a ricer before and think it works great to take out all the lumps. But, if you like some lumps to it, then use the masher. To me, using cream or whole milk and real butter makes a world of difference. I also make sure to try and remove as much moisture from the potatoes by first draining them, then putting them back on the burner for a few minutes. The burner should be turned off so the potatoes don't burn. I also find that adding more milk or cream upfront helps make them more creamy. Another idea, is to cook the sliced potatoes in cream, until they're done. That is purely decadent but delicious. Also, use cold butter. Sometimes I use olive oil. And I prefer white pepper to black pepper.

        1. Boiled, drained and thoroughly dried out before mashing are the basics to making good mashed potatoes. And while I like Yukon golds for mashed potatoes, they can sometimes come out pasty. So just regular white potatoes for me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jeanmarieok

            yukon golds are the only potato i use any more. their inherent buttery flavor is perfect for mashed potatoes.

          2. Experiment. It's all a matter of personal taste. Some people like them with lumps, others don't. Some like them with garlic mixed in others don't. There's no correct way.

            1. Adding a little cream cheese adds a depth of flavor that is lucious. Try it. Really...any type of cheese, even blue.