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mashed potatoes

I've always used a potato masher but I'm thinking of finally breaking down and buying a ricer. Are the potatoes that much better with a ricer? Does it take a lot longer?

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  1. Several years ago my mother bought me a ricer not knowing what it is.
    it makes far better mash potatoes than a masher & I'll never go back to a masher for potatoes.
    I do still use a masher if I want texture in mashed swede for example.
    The only faff is that it only holds a few spuds at a time so is a bit time consuming but no more than trying to get a smooth mash with a masher.

    1. I own the four most common mashing tools I've seen around:
      Hand masher
      Ricer with various discs
      Food mill
      Electric hand mixer

      For good and a little rustic I always use my UK made hand masher
      If I want fluffy and creamy, I go electric hand mixer.

      Ricer is too time consuming for potatoes I personally feel and the food mil is even more of a time hog and mess maker.

      I do like the ricer for make spatezle but I now have a spaetlze maker so the ricer sits in the back of the cabinet.

      Buy or borrow a ricer and try it, but I personally didn't feel any ROI after I bought mine and it was a Williams Sonoma high end ricer.

      1 Reply
      1. Depends on how you like your mashed potatoes. If you want them smooth, go for a ricer. I stay away from the mixers because it seems to over do it, making the potatoes kind of gummy/starchy. I prefer a ricer or food mill for smooth potatoes. That said, I like a more "rustic" mash with a variety of textures, so use my hand masher.
        The ricer doesn't take too much longer, just more to clean.

        1. One is not better than the other, just different. Ricer gives a fine puree but I would recommend a food mill instead because it is more versatile (milling tomatoes for one) and handles a larger volume without your hand getting tired. You have to squeeze a ricer whereas a food mill has a handle you turn.

          1. Also just a heads up -- I got a ricer where there are holes along the sides as well as the bottom -- result is basically a mashed potato explosion all over my kitchen. Use it only occasionally for things like gnocchi.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aletnes

              Most all ricers have holes on bottom and sides, that's why you need to use it inside a deep bowl or pot. If the holes were only on the bottom, it would take forever.

            2. I love my ricer for mashed potatoes. I don't think it takes a whole lot longer at all. As for cleaning, I usually toss it in to soak in the a pot while we eat & it is not a problem. I do use a masher when I do red-skinned potates because I like those skin-on and chunkier. The ricer is our go-to for smooth potatoes.

              1. Food mill. Ricers take a long time. But I have the ones that only have the holes on the bottom, holes everywhere is a very good idea.

                1. A couple of years ago I got a ricer as a birthday present. Until then, I was a masher. Now, I'll never use anything but the ricer. I hate having potatos hanging around, so I typically cook 5 pounds at a time. And ricing really takes very little time.

                  I also mix in the butter first, because it coats the potato. Then I add in my half and half, and salt and pepper. And voila!! Guests at my table tell me they are the best mashed potatos they have ever eaten.

                  The extra gets frozen for later use.

                  1. Ricer is incomparable. For one thing, you don't have to peel the potatoes - the peel stays in the hopper. And the ricer doesn't work the potato starches as much as a food mill; I notice the difference - I was a dedicated food mill guy, but switched to the ricer because I noticed the improved margin of results. Not everyone does.

                    I use the ricer for starchy things (including rutabaga).

                    I use the food mill for fruits and fruit-vegetables (apples, tomatoes, et cet.)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Karl S

                      Great point Karl S, I was thinking about the starchy thing too. There definitely is not a chance of that gluey texture that can happen with other methods. Any vegetable soup, carrots. sweet potato, etc, works well with the ricer. Used it for apple sauce too.

                    2. I have always used a ricer for special-occasion mashed potatoes (as opposed to weekday dinner mashed potatoes), and it's always seemed worth the trouble. So delicious. But last week I ate my friend's mashed potatoes she did in three seconds in the food processor and they were just as good.

                      1. Yes. They are nice and fluffy, but it can be messy and if you don't have a lot of arm strength, it's a work out. My other problem is that I always sort of lose some of the potatoes because I'm not so coordinated so I involve my dh to help me. You can't beat the texture though, definitely use a ricer for your potatoes if you're trying for a memorable meal This is making me hungry.

                        1. Ricer all the way! And no peeling - a huge timesaver. Just scrub, poke, and bake the potatoes in their skins. When they are soft, cut them in half and place each one cut side down in the ricer and push the potato through. Open, remove the skin, and repeat until done. Beat in the salt and warm dairy of choice with a large fork. Easy, smooth, yummy.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sandylc

                            I have a ricer, but find it's the opposite of a timesaver if I have a lot of potatoes to mash. So I'll use the ricer for normal family meals... but if I have a big group (10+ people) then I'll use my hand masher.

                          2. I too am a devoted ricer convert. I looked around flea markets and antique malls until I found an old one in perfect condition - the kind with the round can with holes all over it - for maybe $5. After my first use of it I was so enchanted that when I saw another good one I bought it and gave it to my brother.

                            Yes, you DO have to hold the thing down inside whatever vessel you're putting them in. And yes, it does seem like a lot of work, though the product is definitely worth the trouble. As for large crowds, eight is pretty much our maximum for dinner parties of any sort, and eight to ten potatoes isn't that much work really.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              It's fun to find old tools
                              with good heft
                              and deep progeny.

                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                Okay, FF, I'm pretty hefty, and my sole progeny is a pretty deep guy. Does that make me an old tool?

                                Just kidding. Thing is, we started de-modeling our kitchen in Nashville to its Depression-era roots, and while we got a little out of hand with it we did build up a good stock of both hand and power tools that were sturdy and useful. My kitchen now is totally a kitchen - had enough museum, thanks - but hardly anything in it was bought new, except the fridge and the gas cooktop. And when we remodel the cooktop is going away and a lovely '50s 42" Wedgewood range is coming in.

                                I do however appreciate the Oxo stuff people keep mentioning; 70-year-old hands are much more easily injured than they were 30 or 40 years ago, and the Oxo people have gotten pretty good at making tools an old duffer can use without hurting himself. There's a damn good chance my sweet old green-enamelled ricer is about to become a display item, probably sometime before November 24th …

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  I hope one more season
                                  of taters in ricer
                                  even if it means attachment of 20 inch pipe on the handle
                                  to help with the leverage.

                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    I speak of replacing that soulful green ricer
                                    with one of the Oxo Good Grips, rubber-handled.
                                    No pipe will be needed,
                                    but thanks for the thought.

                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                    More specific on tools that were decades pre-Oxo
                                    there was a sweet journey to old Amish country
                                    to old antique store
                                    where I acquired a long board,
                                    well burnished,
                                    with sharp specific blade
                                    for sliding of cabbages
                                    to shred heads for the sauerkraut.

                                    And also four graters
                                    of four different gauges
                                    Hugh things of tinned steel.

                                    I have loved them, used them,
                                    cherished both their heft and their progeny

                                    But ya know what?:
                                    These days they be tough on the wrists.

                                    Perhaps Oxo will provide us
                                    with tools designed ergonomically
                                    for our shredding and grating.

                                    Their is still room in the market
                                    for pleasing us ole farts.

                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                      Recently saw a grater that was large, pyramid-shaped, and had a VERY large knob on the top to grasp it by, with rubber around the base to discourage slippage. Looked pretty good, but I want a PERFECT one!

                              2. Thanks for all the help. I'm convinced! I ordered an Oxo ricer. I figure since it wasn't expensive ($20) I've got nothing to lose. Can't wait to try it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ronojo

                                  I love the one Wms-Sonoma makes/sells. About the same price.

                                2. I alternate twixt ricer
                                  and stout hand held masher
                                  'cause sometimes I want smooth,
                                  and other times chunkier.

                                  But my secrets for taters,
                                  whatever their texture,
                                  is fish sauce, and some mayo,
                                  and hidden white pepper.

                                  And also the mandatory butter.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    FoodFuser, fish sauce as in what I get in the Asian foods section? Do you have a fave brand?

                                    PS I vote masher, but I like chunks (and potato skin) in my mashed.

                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                      Question of fish sauce much debated in these threads
                                      so my personal favorite would have little standing.

                                      But here's just my hint:
                                      I use one from an island in Thailand
                                      that is famous for its fishy's ferment.

                                      On this important decision
                                      I'd suggest search the threads.
                                      But remember that island in Thailand.

                                  2. I have been intrigued with the thought of using a ricer, but they look awkward to handle, you need to do the spuds in batches, and then the cleanup looks fussy. After reading all the comments, I think I'll stick with my masher. I use my late grandmother's Flint Stainless Steel, waffle pattern masher with the original riveted Bakelite handle. I am nearly 60 and the masher has been in use longer than I've been alive. I dislike skin in my potatoes; I use real butter, cream, sea salt and white pepper. Sometimes I add just a drop or two of white truffle oil. After I've mashed, I get a really good grip on the masher and whirl it around the inside of the pot like I'm whipping the spuds...it removes even more lumps and makes the spuds a bit fluffy, yet still creamy. The best part is my masher soaks in the empty pot while we eat, then it goes in the dishwasher. It also works perfectly for making egg salad (leaves some even cubes of white for texture) and guacamole!

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: MaineCook

                                        So good to be jeweled with such statured of tools. There is joy in your posting of the pleasure it gives you.

                                      2. You're gonna love having one, and yes it is well worth it for potatoes. I think it is my favorite gadget, along with my lemon/lime squeezer.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lilgi

                                          I gave it test run already--the best potatoes I've ever made! (And i agree--I love my lemon squeezer)