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Ricer v. Potato Masher

I bought a ricer a while back but hadn't used it. I gave it a try making garlic mashed potatoes a couple of times and it was slick, with potato sections easily being squeezed through the ricer. I've seen a lot of recipes for mashed potatoes, some calling for use of a potato masher, which seems like more work that a ricer. Any advice or thoughts on preference of one over the other?

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  1. Hi, wakondatch:

    I'm with the ricer (or a food mill or tamis) all the way. You get more smoother, consistent results.

    But there are people who like lumpy mashers, and some preparations (like German potato salad) that require a mix of mash and lumps. I mostly use my hand masher to crush berries for jams.


    1. You won't get as much gluten development with a ricer or a food mill = fluffier potatoes, not so gluey. It's a matter of preference.

      For speed, I go for the food mill when I have a lot of protatoes to prep (holidays) and use a simple masher when it's just the hubs and me.

      3 Replies
      1. re: breadchick

        You've both convinced me to give it a try! Can either of you recommend a good ricer or food mill?

        1. re: tessari

          I have the OXO food mill, and a smaller basic ricer. I prefer the food mill because it makes short work of all the tatties.

          1. re: tessari

            I have a oxo ricer that I've loved for years.

        2. With a ricer you can skip peeling the potatoes -- skins get left behind. But I usually use masher just out of habit.

          7 Replies
          1. re: drongo

            I love my masher, and never peel the potatoes.

            1. re: drongo

              True, and it ends up to be kind of a pain if one is after smashed taters vs. mashed as it necessitates digging out/scraping the skins off the ricer and mixing them back in. Which I guess is why I'm an advocate of both a masher and a ricer!
              Ricer= must have for perfectly smooth, elegant, fluffy mashed
              Masher= perfect for more homestyle mashed or skin-on smashed

              1. re: splatgirl

                I concur.

                Why not have both, which allows you to make what you want, and how you want it.

                We have both a heavy hand masher which my wife prefers, and a ricer with multiple forms, which I prefer. Both stainless steel, well engineered and easily cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher.

                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                  I also concur, I have both in my kitchen and implement each depending on the whims of my beautiful bride and accommodating friends.
                  A bit of chunks and a more home style texture?....the masher comes into play.
                  Smooth,silky,decadent mash?....The ricer is up to the task....along with mounds of butter and cream.
                  Don't limit yourself and your kitchen.....get and use both.

                  1. re: Duppie

                    I have both. But I must admit the action of mashing with the masher gives me pleasure -- maybe it lets me get the day's aggression/aggravation out!

                    I don't have one of those wriggly-wire mashers, but something like what's in the attached picture (though mine is stainless steel, whereas the one in picture appears to be plastic or teflon-coated).

                    1. re: drongo

                      I personally like the new OXO masher which allows a horizontal handle and better grip.

                    2. re: Duppie

                      AND, the riced potatoes can be piped much easier than mashed. Which is important if you're making ghost potatoes this time of year.

              2. Just depends on what you're shooting for. For a more rustic mash that's a little chunky use the masher. For a smoother uniform texture use the ricer. I personally like the chunkier texture when not entertaining. But different strokes....

                1. I always use a electric hand mixer...I've never had lumps ever.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: afoster86

                    With a mixer you have to be careful to not get a gluey texture from over mixing

                  2. Thanks for all the advice. I've got limited drawer and cupboard space, so I will stick with the ricer for the time being, but I do see the usefulness of the masher.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wakondatch

                      it's easier to improvise the effects of a masher than it is a ricer, so if you can only have one, I think you've made the right choice.

                    2. I like Kaleo's mention of the tamis, a rarely mentioned but very versatile item.

                      1. I have both and the only thing I ever use the ricer for is gnocchi. I don't consider it a huge waste or anything since it wasn't expensive and doesn't take up a lot of space, but I could live without the ricer.

                        1. For less starchy potatoes, I use the ricer. If I'm in a hurry, I grab the masher. I have my mother in laws old, old masher which works great. I also use the ricer when I make Yum!

                          1. I have both, and which one I use depends on what kind of result I'm after. With some meals, a nice cone shaped mountain of undisturbed riced potatoes with a generous amount of melting butter avalanching down the sides is the perfect way to serve potatoes, Other times, potatoes with a few traces of skin, mashed but not too smoothe, with butter and a bit of parsley plus a generous grind of black tellecherry pepper is the way to fly. Potatoes are extremely versatile, and I try not to serve them the same way very often...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Caroline1

                              I'm with Caroline
                              The good thing is that a masher and ricer take up little room and are not expensive

                            2. Bit of a digression, but let's run with it.

                              I don't own a ricer; I do own a grinder with a smal-gauge die. Think it might do the trick or is there something fundamentally different about ricers?