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Mar 11, 2013 06:46 AM

perfect mashed potatoes

Mine seem to come out lumpy half the time. Need to make perfect mashed potatoes on Saturday for the relatives. What's the trick?

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  1. Pass the potatoes through a ricer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Philly Ray

      This is a good suggestion and I agree with the recommendation.....but if you don't have one and intend to purchase another kitchen tool, consider purchasing a food mill. It achieves the same results, but also work great for other tasks like crushing and seeding tomatoes. The one shown in the picture I picked up at a thrift store for less than 3 bucks.

      I would also recommend using cream and butter....heated before mixing in with the potatoes. I do so by keeping the cream and butter in a stainless steel mixing bowl over the potatoes being cooked or kept warm in water over the pot the potatoes are in.

      If you really like fluffy mashed, then break out the stand mixer or hand held mixer for whipped potatoes. ...but no matter which method you choose, make sure your potatoes are cooked through. I boil the potatoes in the skins, but you may want to try baking them as an alternative.

    2. I don't use a ricer, just an old-fashioned masher, but mine aren't lumpy. I drain off the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot. Then shake the pot over a low flame until the remaining moisture evaporates. The potatoes get dry and fluffy enough that my masher does a good job of getting them ready for the half & half / butter (mostly butter for me!) mixture. Then a good workout with a strong wooden spoon. Et voila!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Violatp

        After she drained her boiled potatoes well, my German grandmother folded up a dish towel, placed it on the pot, replaced the lid, and put the pot back on the (now turned off burner) for 15 minutes or so. The residual heat from the pan and the burner really dries out the spuds, and you'll notice quite a bit of moisture in the towel. Been doing it this way for 40 years. Only other thing I'd mention is to have your water well-salted.

        1. re: Violatp

          I make mine just like violatp and people rave about them.

          I've tried the ricer and food mill but much prefer the old fashioned potato masher.

          Get the spuds dry, add the butter and mash it in. Keep mashing add salt and warm milk or half and half. Use a rubber scraper to get the edges mixed in.

          Just a little elbow grease!

          1. re: Violatp

            Yes! This is my method, except I leave the peels on and I like a dollop of yogurt in them along with the butter and a tiny spot of milk.

            If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you can beat or whip them smooth. But run hot water in the stainless bowl first to heat the bowl. I don't like doing that though.

            Also, use bakers or possibly Yukon Golds. Don't mash reds because they go gummy.

          2. Cooking potatoes properly is the answer mostly.

            I bring potatoes to boil in a large pot with lots of cold, salted water. Then turn them way down to a low simmer. After ten minutes, take a thin bladed knife and pierce one of the potatoes. I know they won't be done at this point, but I keep checking them the same way every couple of minutes. Once my knife pierces a few potatoes, sliding easily through, drain well. Put them back on the stove on low, until you see they are dry. Turn off burner. Mash well with a potato masher, Add butter, salt and pepper, taste. Then add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of warm milk, and stir well.


            1 Reply
            1. re: mcel215

              All of this. Get the butter fully incorporated before adding any liquid (I use cream). And be generous with the butter. Finally, I prefer Yukon Golds to russets or Idahos. They too are mealy and they have a slightly buttery taste. I talked my sister through this method last T-giving when she was responsible for mashed for 30 and she was a wreck, and they came out perfect.

            2. What kind of potatoes are you using? And how are you cooking them?

              The right answers to both questions for smooth as a baby's butt mashed potatoes are: (1) Idaho or russet and (2) steaming.


              If you want smooth mashed potatoes, start with mealy potatoes and stay away from waxy potatoes.

              That means use Idaho and russet potatoes, which have a higher starch content and lower moisture and will result in a mealier texture when cooked.

              Also, because of their higher starch content Idaho and russets will absorb more moisture when cooked and tend to fall apart when boiled. So if you prefer a smoother texture, use mealy potatoes like Idahos and russets but *steam* rather than boil.

              1. I agree with what others have said, start with a russet, cook the potato through, drain and let them evaporate a bit to dry out.
                A ricer or food mill does a great job of making a smooth mashed potato without over working it, then stir in warm milk, a touch of half-n-half, butter, s&p.
                Don't over beat a mashed potato, you don't want them to get gluey.
                I usually use a plain potato masher.
                Make sure the potato is cooked in salted water.