How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes for Dinner – The Art of Fluffy Mashed Potatoes!
A big bowl of mashed potatoes is comfort food extraordinaire and something that brings us great foodie pleasure! Who can pass up that bowl of creamy buttery spuds with its smooth deliciousness? Learn how to make perfect mashed potatoes in just a few easy steps. Whether you prefer gravy or butter on your potatoes, these potatoes make a great foundation for just about any topping or addition.
Always Start with the Right Potato!
The best bowl of mashed potatoes of course starts with the best potatoes! Choose a nice starchy potato like a russet potato. Yukon Gold potatoes also have a bit of a natural buttery flavor and make the perfect choice for mashed potatoes but a little less starch than the russet.
Two quick tips – Make sure your cooked potatoes are as dry as possible before mashing and never over-whip your potatoes. Leave the cooked potatoes sit in the pan after draining on the burner that has been turned off but is still warm. This well evaporate any excess water from the potatoes.
Pick the Perfect Potato for the Best Mashed Potatoes
Russet potatoes are perfect for mashed potatoes because they are a low moisture potato with a high starch content and will cook up nice and fluffy.
Russet potatoes can also be refereed to as Idaho Russets or Idaho potatoes. Idaho potatoes are called “Idaho” because they are … well you guessed it! Grown in Idaho. Any farmer can grow a russet potato, but only Idaho farmers can call their potatoes Idaho Russets. Idaho russet potatoes are grown in nutrient rich soil which is passed on to the potato making it the perfect place to grow a nutritious spud.
- On average, you will need about 1/2 lb. of raw potatoes per person.
- Always use full fat salted butter and whole milk or cream.
- Cut your potato cubes the same size so they cook evenly.
A Few Easy Steps to Delicious Mashed Potatoes
Remember – one pound of potatoes equals about 2 cups of mashed, so buy accordingly for your family or guests.
1. Fill a large pot with a couple inches of very cold water. Buy a good sturdy potato peeler and peel each potato and then put it in the pot of cold water. This will help to remove some of the starch that could leave your “fluffy” potatoes a little gluey. This will also keep the potatoes from starting to turn brown which they tend to do rather quickly after being peeled.
2. Let the potatoes soak for a few minutes and then give them a quick rinse and remove them to a cutting board or place in a colander in the sink. Cut each potato into cubes or small uniform pieces. Cutting each piece to the same size will ensure that the potatoes cook at the same amount of time and there are no pieces of hard or uncooked potatoes when you go to mix.
3. Fill your pot with cold water just to cover the potatoes and add salt. Don’t forget to add salt to the water as this is an important step. Salt will dissolve into the water and evenly flavor the potatoes as they cook.
4. Now it’s time to put the pot on the stove and cook the potatoes until just tender. Bring the water to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Potatoes are done when easily pierced with a fork or tip of a paring knife.
5. Drain potatoes into a strainer and let them sit there for a few minutes before returning them back to the same pot. After returning to the same pot, shake potatoes over light heat to remove any extra moisture before you start to mash. Removing extra water or moisture at this point is important to the perfect potato, so be patient.
6. Using a hand mixer or an electric mixer, mix the potatoes for a minute before adding your liquids. Add the butter, cream, additional salt, and pepper, then whip or mash until light and fluffy, carefully not to over mix.
• Electric mixers work very well to make fluffy potatoes but try the hand mixer too. Decide which is your preferred method of mashing. Over mixing can lead to gluey like potatoes.
• Let butter and cream (or milk) sit at room temperature until ready to use. Heat milk slightly before using if it’s chilled.
• Use fat-free chicken or vegetable broth in place of milk to reduce fat.
• Gently fold in fresh herbs such as chives to add flavor. Add plain Greek Yogurt with the chives instead of sour cream.
ROASTED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES –
Make delicious garlic mashed potatoes by roasting 5-6 (peeled) cloves of garlic in the oven. Simply place the garlic cloves on a small sheet of foil and drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Fold up foil until it makes a packet. Seal the edges tightly. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until garlic is soft and tender. Add garlic to potatoes with the milk and cream.
GARLIC CHEDDAR MASHED POTATOES – Do the same as above but add an additional 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese with the roasted garlic.
Learn some tips and tricks to making the best mashed potatoes
- 2 1/2 lbs. Russet Potatoes
- 2-3 teaspoons salt for the water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon butter
- 3 tablespoons of butter
Rinse potatoes under cold water. Peel potatoes and then rinse again.
Cut potatoes into cubes.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
Make sure to salt the cold water before cooking.
Start with about 2-3 teaspoons of salt. Taste the water to see if it's salty enough.
Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Test potatoes by piercing with a fork or sharp knife.
Drain well. Place pot back on the stove to remove any excess moisture.
Add the butter, cream, remaining salt, and pepper.
Mix until creamy.
Want to peel and cube your potatoes ahead of time? No one wants to be peeling potatoes on Thanksgiving day! Peel and cube your potatoes the night before and leave potatoes to soak in water in your refrigerator. Rinse well a few times to remove as much starch as possible. Rinse well again the next day before cooking.
You will also love our article on the health benefits of potatoes – Potatoes are Good for you!