A guide to making the perfect mashed potatoes

September 5, 2023
A guide to making the perfect mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes, the epitome of comfort food, have a special place on nearly every dinner table. Creamy, fluffy, and rich in flavour, they complement a wide range of dishes and are loved by both young and old. While making mashed potatoes may seem simple, achieving the perfect consistency and flavour requires a little finesse. 

Here are seven tips to help you create the perfect mashed potatoes:

1. Choose the right potatoes

The foundation of great mashed potatoes starts with selecting the right type of potatoes. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are excellent choices due to their high starch content, which results in a creamier texture. Avoid waxy potatoes like red or fingerlings, as they can lead to a gummy consistency.

2. Cut uniformly

When preparing your potatoes for boiling, cut them into evenly sized chunks. This ensures they cook at the same rate, preventing some from turning mushy while others remain undercooked.

choosing the right potatoes


3. Don’t skimp on salt

Add salt to the boiling water before you cook the potatoes. This not only seasons the potatoes from within but also helps them absorb flavours more effectively. Aim for a generous pinch of salt in the cooking water. “Unlike pasta, make sure you start cooking your potatoes from cold salted water. This will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly. If you use boiling or hot water, the potatoes will cook on the outside and leave the insides still a bit crunchy,” says recipe developer and food stylist, Jezza-Rae Larsen.

4. Use a potato ricer or food mill

“When mashing, be gentle, don’t use a food processor or a blender otherwise your potatoes will come out pasty.” For the creamiest mashed potatoes, pass your cooked potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill. This process breaks down lumps and produces a silky-smooth texture that’s hard to achieve with a regular masher.  Another pro-tip before mashing is to drain the potatoes thoroughly and allow them to sit so some of the moisture can evaporate. “It is also best to make sure your potatoes stay hot when you are ready to mash them, otherwise they can become gooey and snotty,” Jezza-Rae adds. 

Potatoes ricer


5. Warm up your dairy

Heat the milk and butter before adding them to the mashed potatoes. Cold ingredients can cool the potatoes and lead to an uneven consistency. Warm milk and melted butter blend more seamlessly, creating a luxurious texture.

6. Add flavour in layers

Season your mashed potatoes thoughtfully. Start with salt, then add freshly ground black pepper. Gradually incorporate any additional seasonings like garlic, herbs, or grated cheese, tasting as you go to achieve your desired flavour profile.

mashed potatoes 2


7. Don’t overmix

Once you’ve added your dairy and seasonings, be careful not to overmix the potatoes. Overworking can lead to a gummy texture. Mix until the ingredients are just combined, and your mashed potatoes are smooth and velvety.


ALSO SEE: A guide to making a lump-free white sauce

A guide to making a lump-free white sauce

Written by Maegan-Leigh Jacobs

Feature Image: Unsplash

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